July 30, 2007 [LINK / comment]

"Revolutionary" shift in Cuba?

Even though Fidel Castro continues to recover from abdominal surgery nearly a year ago, he is still too frail to make public appearances. His younger brother Raul, designated as Fidel's successor, spoke at the annual Revolution Day celebrations and surprised some people by suggesting that Cuba adopt some market-oriented policies. Capitalist heresy!? See the Washington Post. Such a shift in policy in the "socialist paradise" would be downright revolutionary -- in a very ironic sense. You might say Cuba is following in the footsteps of Vietnam, where untold thousands of lives were lost so as to pave the way for Marxism-Leninism. Then, 20 years later, they finally figured out (like China) that the only sure path to prosperity is to open up to global markets. Better late than never, I suppose.

Fujimori loses election in Japan

The former President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, lost an election for a senate seat in Japan, where his parents were born. He could not campaign for the race because he is under house arrest in Chile, pending possible extradition to Peru. His rationale for running -- pledging to "restore Japanese traditional values of hard work and humility" -- apparently didn't convince many people, since he has an obvious incentive to avoid having to face prosecution in Peru. So, the question once again turns to when and whether Chile will turn Fujimori over to Peruvian authorities. See BBC.