Cuba

Gulag v. Guantánamo
June 03, 2005

In a recent report, Amnesty International referred to the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo as "the gulag of our time." The term--a Russian abbreviation for Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration--refers to the network of Soviet labor camps established during Stalin's rule that continued, in a different form, for much of the Soviet Union's history. During a press conference on Tuesday, President Bush rejected the charge as "absurd." Amnesty has defended its use of the term.

Close, but ...
May 23, 2005

It's Thursday evening in Trinidad, Cuba, and Fidel Castro has a captive audience. In house after house on the cobblestoned main street of this river town 200 miles southeast of Havana, the image of El Comandante flickers from Soviet-era TV sets. Of course, it's hard not to score high ratings when your country has only two TV stations, both of them state-run, and the neighborhood Committee for the Defense of the Revolution keeps watch on who's tuning in and who isn't.

Havana John
July 26, 2004

The House of Representatives is such a reliable rubber stamp for George W. Bush that it's remarkable anytime the body votes against the president's wishes. It's even more remarkable when the House thwarts one of Bush's few election-year legislative priorities. But that's exactly what happened last week. It was lost in the hoopla surrounding John Edwards's selection the previous day, but, on July 7, 46 Republicans joined 174 Democrats to block parts of the Bush administration's new Cuba policy.

Judge Not
January 26, 2004

On December 18, two federal appeals courts rejected the Bush administration's claim that the president has the unilateral authority to identify citizens or aliens as enemy combatants and to detain them indefinitely, at home and abroad. The rulings were a clear sign that President Bush's sweeping claims that he can do whatever he likes in the war on terrorism without review by the courts or Congress are provoking a judicial backlash.

Resolved
March 03, 2003

@font-face { font-family: "Times"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } TOCQUEVILLE FIGURED THAT a liberal society could not, in fact, wield power. The vitality of American life confirmed his belief that social equality ("democracy," in his usage) was the wave of the future, even in Europe.

Rights of Passage
February 25, 2002

A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by Mary Ann Glendon (Random House, 333 pp., $25.95) Are rights universal? Can diverse people, across religious and ethnic differences, agree about what rights people have? Might it be possible to produce agreements about the content of rights among people from different nations--not simply England, America, Germany, and France, but China, Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Kenya, Egypt, Uganda, Cuba, and Japan, too? What would such an agreement look like?

Exorcisms
February 11, 2002

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa translated by Edith Grossman (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 404 pp., $25) "There are no limits to deterioration: it can always be worse." This observation by Alejandro Mayta, the disenchanted guerrilla fighter of Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta, who returns to his birthplace after many years, freed of ghosts but devoid of hope, came to mind in March, 1990.

Such Nativity
October 29, 2001

Borrowed FineryBy Paula Fox (Hentry Holt and Company, 210 pp. $23)  Despite having been recently re-issued with introductions by modish writers such as Jonathan Franzen and Jonathan Lethem, the six dense little masterpieces that make up Paula Fox's fictional oeuvre still have not penetrated the mainstream. It is unlikely that they ever will. Fox is a tough writer. Even her most devoted fans are often tentative about recommending her work to their friends. She specializes in humid domestic tension, alienation, anomie. She is a poet of appalling moments.

Mies and the Mastodon
August 06, 2001

Coming to grips with the master architect's politics.

J-School Confidential
April 18, 1993

Columbia: the inside story.

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