International Tidings, Feb. 19, 2019

El Chapo Found Guilty

Last Tuesday, Joaquín Guzmán Loera, better known as El Chapo was found guilty on all 10 counts of his indictment. The three-month drug trial, which took place in New York, revealed the inner workings of decades of violence, prison escapes and his control of an expansive drug cartel responsible for smuggling massive amounts of drugs into the U.S. According to the New York Times, the verdict was decided after a week of deliberation by the jury in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn where, “prosecutors presented a mountain of evidence against the cartel leader, including testimony from 56 witnesses, 14 of whom once worked with Mr. Guzmán.” The trial marks the culmination of years of the infamous drug lord evading the Mexican government as well as U.S. officials. Guzmán now faces a lifetime in prison at his sentence hearing which is scheduled for June 25.

Lawmakers Turn Down the Government’s Budget Plan

For the first time since 1995, Spanish lawmakers turned down the budget plan introduced by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. After narrowly winning the 2018 election with his Socialist party, Sánchez hoped to use his budget to fix the inequalities caused by Spain’s economic recovery, as well as to increase social spending. Instead, the withdraw of Catalan lawmakers support brings the issue of the Catalonian region’s independence to the forefront of Spanish politics. While the next elections are not scheduled to take place until 2020, it is almost certain that voters will return to the polls by the end of the summer, according to the New York Times.

Iran Suicide Bombings

Accusations against the U.S. arose last Wednesday after a suicide bomber targeted a bus in an Iranian province near the Pakistan border. According to reports from BBC News, the attack killed at least 27 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and wounded at least 13 others. The Revolutionary Guards, a powerful military, political and economic force in Iran, blamed foreign powers, namely the U.S. for the attack. Iranian leaders including the foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, were quick to accuse the U.S. of the attack in the midst of the Warsaw Summit arranged by the U.S. which will include discussions about Iran’s activities in the region. A tweet from the foreign minister’s twitter account reads, “Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that #WarsawCircus begins?”

Yellow Vest Protests

The Yellow Vest Movement, which started in France in Nov. of 2018, continued for the 13th consecutive Saturday in Paris and other major French cities. According to the New York Times, the sizes of the protests have shrunk since November, but anti-semitic acts have increased dramatically. The movement, which began in protest to high gas prices, in France has evolved into an aggressive and even violent attack against the large Jewish population. According to Time Magazine, Frederic Potier, a French government official in charge of fighting anti-Semitism, racism and anti-gay discrimination, said some far-right groups have managed to infiltrate yellow-vest demonstrations. Despite the large majority of the protesters being neither radical nor violent, fringe groups have latched onto the weekly protests. According to the New York Times, these groups have clashed with the police, set cars on fire, smashed store windows and vandalized property with anti-semitic slogans and symbols.

Leave a Reply