1. Bolivia: New Leader Leaves Her Mark

 Jeanine Áñez assumed power as interim leader of Bolivia after the resignation of former President Evo Morales and senior government officials after accusations of fraud. Since assuming office, Áñez replaced Bolivia’s top military officials, cabinet members, forced out allies of the old government including Venezuelan and Cuban diplomats. Her newly appointed foreign minister also announce Bolivia’s exit from the Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, a union of socialist nations based in Caracas. Under Bolivia’s Constitution, new elections have to occur within 90 days of Morales resignation.  Áñez promised to announce the date for the new elections in the coming days. 

  1. Chile: Student Movement Leads To A New Referendum On A New Constitution

Chilean protesters achieved a milestone victory as lawmakers agreed to hold a referendum on the nation’s dictatorship-era constitution established in the Pinochet Era, a move that was started with students from the Instituto Nacional organizing a mass strike using an Instagram account urging each other to hop subway turnstiles in protest of the fare hike. Authorities proposed the fare increase per trip of 30 pesos during peak subway hours. This increase is substantial considering the Chilean minimum wage is roughly $400 USD  per month, meaning the increased fare would mean that commuters would spend 13.8% of their monthly income on transportation alone. The April referendum, according to the agreement, will ask voters whether they want a new constitution and, if so, who should compose it. The writers of the new constitution would be picked in October 2020 and a separate vote to ratify the new constitution would occur 60 days after the proposed constitution is published which would coincide with Chilean presidential elections in 2021.

  1. Iran: Total Internet Blackout

Iran imposed a total nationwide internet blackout after protests over gas price escalated with the death total rising, leaving hundreds injured, and over 1,000 people arrested. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to the protestors as “thugs” and endorsed the government’s decision to raise prices it sets for rationed gasoline by 50%. The price of gasoline in Iran is now roughly $.50 per gallon. Popular apps like Instagram and WhatsApp were specifically targeted to make it difficult for Iranians to plan and spread the word about the location and time of protests. The blackout is the largest internet shutdown ever observed and the most severe disconnection tracked by NetBlocks in any country in terms of its technical complexity in Iran and the world. 

  1. Gambia: Tiny African Nation Files Lawsuit at the United Nations’ Top Court

Gambia, the smallest country in continental Africa, files suit accusing Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya Muslims. The case is raising international attention because Myanmar sits roughly 7,000 miles from Gambia, which lacks any connection to the genocidal crisis in Southeast Asia. The U.N. Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called the military’s tactics “grossly disproportionate” to any security threat, adding, “Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages.” Cases like this tend to last for years and exceed millions of dollars which is a serious burden for a country with a gross domestic product of $1.48 billion. Luckily, the state is backed by the “Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” a group of 57 states that calls itself the “voice of the Muslim World.” It is also aimed by the U.S. law firm Foley Hoag. Little Gambia is taking a stance against genocide for the rest of the world.

  1. Greece: Announces Steps To Shut Down Refugee Camps

The Greek government announced plans for replacing the overcrowded migrant camps on the Aegean Islands with new centers that would be more restrictive of the migrants’ movements as a more humane alternative. The camps, on five Aegean Islands, together hold some 34,000 people. The Greek government’s new plan foresees replacing three big camps on Lesbos, Samos, and Chios with smaller ones while renovating camps on Leros and Kos. The goal is to increase control over the camps and improve screening of migrants to determine who stays and who goes. The plan estimates the transfer of 20,000 asylum seekers from the island camps to less crowded facilities on the mainland by early 2020. Pregnant women, unaccompanied children, and elderly persons would be the first groups moved to the mainland.

Lucy Kate H