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US-Cuba relations, Rwandan sovereignty, Israel and the US, El Chapo escape, optimism for Greece

A round-up of global commentary for the Aug. 3, 2015 weekly magazine.

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The Cuban national flag is seen raised over their new embassy in Washington, July 20, 2015. The Cuban flag was raised over Havana’s embassy in Washington on Monday for the first time in 54 years as the United States and Cuba formally restored relations, opening a new chapter of engagement between the former Cold War foes.

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Deutsche Welle / Berlin
US-Cuba relations a good start, but not enough
“Ultimately, Obama’s predecessors should have approached Havana years ago,” writes Miodrag Soric. “No communist state can remain the way it is if its citizens enjoy the benefits of a free-market economy.... Opening the diplomatic door will bring light into the darkness of Cuban politics. The people on the island will look at their everyday life with different eyes. Political change will come. And it will be difficult.... [B]y then ... the Cubans will need a financially strong partner who can help them to cope with the ... transition to a free society. The US can and must be this partner – but only if it learns from the mistakes of the past.... With the establishment of diplomatic relations, a good start has been made – nothing more.” 

The New Times / Kigali, Rwanda
Hold on to Rwandan sovereignty
“[Rwandans] have the last say in charting their future for they know what is good for them,” states an editorial. “As many countries have come to realize – at their expense – powerful countries have the tendency of dictating terms and setting the agendas of weaker or poorer countries. It takes courage and determination to counter that attack on a country’s integrity.... Greeks [made] their opinions [known] on unpopular bailout conditions set by their richer European neighbours. With their economic prospects dithering on the brink of implosion, the Greeks called the bluff because their sovereignty was being tested.... Self determination is the essence of any self respecting nation; none would voluntarily accept to become a doormat for others to tread on. And that is Rwanda’s uncompromising position.”

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Al Jazeera / Doha, Qatar
US and Israel need to make amends
“[Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called [the Iran nuclear deal] ... a ‘stunning, historic mistake.’ He has a habit of hyperbole...,” writes Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst. “We in Israel should only hope that Netanyahu’s hysteria does not hurt the legitimacy of our valid concerns regarding the agreement.... The leaders of Israel have every right to voice their concerns.... [But] Israel should be just as concerned, if not more, with improving U.S. relations.... There is so much mistrust of the Obama administration’s Iran policy ... that Netanyahu has publicly declared that ‘Israel is not bound by the agreement.’ Israel’s ambassador Ron Dermer has been cut off from the White House.... This impasse must change. Senior U.S. and Israeli government officials must meet at the earliest opportunity to resolve differences and to come up with a common strategy to address any potential future threats posed by Iran.”

The News / Mexico city
El Chapo escape reveals government complacency
“This is a very difficult time.... [A]fter the [prison] escape of [Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán], now we are 120 million ashamed people,” writes Antonio Navalón. “It isn’t that we [the general public] were in charge of his custody,... but the Mexican state was complacent in the escape ... and is full of failure and shame.... [A]ll of this is happening at a moment when Europe – sun of freedom, reference of economic stability and the defense of human rights – is totally wrecked.... Meanwhile, we are more than 60 million poor people without any principle policy to end social inequality.... [We are] conscious that while El Chapo is free, the Mexican state is on vacation.”

Kathimerini / Athens
Greece should stay positive
“Historians will not cut Greece any breaks when analyzing the developments of the past year at some point in the future...,” writes Alexis Papachelas. “In order to do anything though, we must all decide – from [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras to each and every one of us – that we need to set a national goal and then do everything in our power to achieve it.... It is possible.... Greece can do this. Sure, we have made some terrible mistakes in the past.... But we stuck to Europe. This is not a time to lament our mistakes or to allow our stubbornness to lead us to disaster.” 


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