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How US Treated Mandela in '80s Has Lessons for Today

vanden Heuvel: Think war on terror instead of war on communism

(Newser) - Nelson Mandela is winning deserved praise in this country and across the world, but it's useful to remember that it wasn't always so, writes Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post . Go back a few decades, and you'll find that Republicans and Democrats alike, but conservatives especially,... More »

FBI Suspected Ray Bradbury of Communist Leanings

Huffington Post unveils writer's FBI file

(Newser) - Ray Bradbury's criticism of the government got him investigated by the FBI in the 1960s as a suspected Communist sympathizer, according to FBI files obtained by the Huffington Post via a FOIA request. Bradbury was reported to the FBI by screenwriter Martin Berkeley, who years earlier had told the... More »

China to North Korea: Loosen Up Those Markets

Powerful Pyongyang official visits Beijing

(Newser) - It's time for authoritarian North Korea to let in some free markets, urged Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today, following a rare meeting with a high-ranking North Korean official, reports Reuters . Wen and President Hu Jintao met yesterday with Jang Song Thaek, the powerful uncle of North Korea's young... More »

Spain's 'Robin Hood' Mayor Raids ... Supermarkets

Sánchez Gordillo urges local pols to ignore gov't austerity measures

(Newser) - He's being called both Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham. First Juan Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, mayor of the town of Marinaleda ( population 2,645) in southwestern Spain, led seven followers in a raid of two local supermarkets last week, stealing food and distributing it to local... More »

Cuba's 500K Layoffs a Sharp Capitalist Turn

Raul Castro's slow reforms hastened by crap economy

(Newser) - Cuba's announcement that it's looking to whack a half-million workers off the state payroll by March is a significant move toward capitalism, reports the Wall Street Journal. Bearing some 85% of the nation's 5.5 million workers on the government payroll, as well as a ravaged economy, the island nation... More »

Islamophobia Is the New McCarthyism

We're going after the 'enemy within'

(Newser) - With anti-Muslim sentiment and racist fears about President Obama at an all-time high, America is experiencing “the worst spasm of paranoia and bigotry of the post-Cold War age,” Peter Beinart writes in the Daily Beast . And we can look to the “red scares” of the last century... More »

Fidel: 'Cuban Model Doesn't Even Work For Us'

Castro suggests state has too big a role in the economy

(Newser) - Fidel Castro doesn't seem thrilled with the way his revolution is working out. Asked by Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic whether the Cuban model should be exported, he came back with this remarkable reply: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore." Whaa? Goldberg gets help interpreting... More »

N. Korea Allows Private Food Markets

Pro-capitalist policy shift comes amid growing famine

(Newser) - North Korea has effectively admitted that it can't feed its citizens by allowing people to buy food and other necessities at private markets, the Washington Post reports. Such markets have existed under the radar for years, but the government order sanctioning what amounts to capitalism "abandons all pretense of... More »

Germany Celebrates Fall of the Wall

Twenty years later, unified country celebrates togetherness

(Newser) - Fireworks illuminated the rainy skies above Berlin as Germans and high-profile visitors came together today to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall exactly 20 years ago. President Obama unexpectedly joined the festivities—in a video greeting introduced by Hillary Clinton. "There could be no clearer rebuke of tyranny,... More »

Miami Cubans Feud Over Havana Peace Concert

Cuban regime using Juanes, critics say

(Newser) - Juan Esteban Aristizábal, the Colombian pop star better known as Juanes, has sparked a generational spat among Cuban-Americans by agreeing to sing at a “peace concert” in Havana, the Economist reports. Many elders view the event as the Cuban regime’s latest attempt to manipulate public opinion, but... More »

Toilet Paper Shortage Gives Cuba a Pain in the . . .

(Newser) - Cuba is battling a toilet paper shortage, the Miami Herald reports. The country says the global financial crisis and recent hurricanes have forced it to shutter factories and cut down on electricity usage. The result: The cost of a four-pack of TP in Havana is the equivalent of 2 days'... More »

Hungary Fetes 1989 'Picnic' That Led to Fall of Berlin Wall

Provided escape from Communism for East Germans

(Newser) - Hungary is celebrating the 20th anniversary today of its “Pan-European Picnic”: the day it opened its border with Austria, providing a pathway for hundreds of East Germans to exit Europe’s communist east. “The Soviet bloc was like an air balloon with over-pressure so it needed only a... More »

Communists Rise in Japan

Young Japanese see red over lack of workers' rights

(Newser) - The recession has reversed a long slide in the fortunes of the Japanese Communist Party, the BBC reports. The party had been shrinking for decades, but membership is now growing at the rate of a thousand people a month. Young people—introduced to Communist ideology through efforts like a manga... More »

Kinsley: Cuba Policy Hasn't Just Failed—It's Backfired

If we can be sure of anything, this is it

(Newser) - It's time—actually it's way overdue—for America to admit that its Cuba policy simply hasn't worked, writes Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post. The US has been "unrelentingly hostile" to Havana, but to what end? Communism has collapsed just about everywhere else, but here it survives "unreformed... More »

Cuba Poisons US Diplomats' Pets: Report

State Department unveils '07 findings as relations with Cuba warm

(Newser) - President Obama better hide the family dog when he reaches out to Cuba, The Hill reports. As Obama and Congressional Democrats seek warmer relations with the island nation, the State Department released a 2007 report saying Havana has been poisoning the pets of US diplomats in Cuba. "The apparent... More »

N. Korea Fetes Rocket, Kim's Imminent 'Re-Election'

Tens of thousands turn up to celebrate rocket launch

(Newser) - Tens of thousands celebrated North Korea’s weekend rocket launch on the streets of Pyongyang today, a day ahead of a meeting in which the communist state’s new parliament is expected to re-elect Kim Jong Il. The satellite launch and the rally are a timed effort to increase support... More »

Cubans Mark 50 Years of Fidel

Celebrations sobered after tough year for Cuba

(Newser) - New Year's Day marks a sober occasion for Cuban-Americans: Fidel Castro's takeover 50 years ago and the exile and family separations that ensued. Many Cubans once hoped the dictator would bring them prosperity. Today, with their beloved island in decay and many lives lost in attempts to flee, few of... More »

Castro Calls for More Work, Less Welfare

Cuban president cuts worker subsidies to shore up struggling economy

(Newser) - Saying Cuba’s finances “don’t square up,” President Raul Castro called for belt-tightening measures in the wake of three hurricanes and a global recession that have hobbled the communist nation. The state plans to dole out fewer worker subsidies, halve the number of overseas trips, and halt... More »

Madoff Scheme Not Much Worse Than Legal Ones

End of communism let Wall Street become unhinged: Friedman

(Newser) - Wall Street used to be the epicenter of capitalism that the whole world wanted to emulate, but, on a trip to Hong Kong, Thomas Friedman discovers that the American financial establishment has lost its credibility. "We don’t just need a financial bailout," he writes in the New ... More »

In China and Russia, a 'Springtime for Autocrats'

Is the Age of Authoritarianism upon us?

(Newser) - The autocratic world powers that were crumbling in the late 1980s may yet have their day, and sooner than we think, writes executive editor Bill Keller in the New York Times. As China keeps its stranglehold on free speech despite promises to the IOC, and Russia tests how far it... More »

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