Welcome the world democracy news section where you will find coverage on the quest for democracy worldwide. Be sure to also see our political dissidents section and our series of articles on worldwide democracy
Contemporary political artist active in sculpture, installation, architecture, music, photography, film, and political critic frequently seen clashing with the dictatorship. Born in Beijing, he is openly critical of the dictatorship’s dangerous stance on democracy and he has worked on many popular investigations into government corruption despite his constant repression.
Investigations of corruption on his blog, vocal criticism of the dictatorship, and unconventional grassroots organizing activities have made Navalny a national figure in Russia. He organized large-scale demonstrations promoting democracy against dictator Vladimir Putin and Putin’s political allies. He has also run for office on an anti-corruption platform including Moscow Mayor.
Suu Kyi is an opposition politician in Burma. After winning the 1990 elections she was placed under house arrest for the next 21 years until emerging to become figurehead for democracy reform in transforming Burma. Suu Kyi announced on the World Economic Forum’s website that she wants to run for the presidency of Burma if she can manage the existing regime’s barriers.
Civil rights activist worked on human rights in rural areas of China. Blind from an early age and self-taught in the law, he is frequently described as a ‘barefoot lawyer’. He advocates for women’s rights, land rights, and welfare of the poor. He is popularly known for exposing government abuses in official family-planning practices, often involving violence and forced abortions.
The dictator of Saudi Arabia. The country remains one of the most repressive societies in the world especially for women and minorities. Political parties are forbidden and organized political opposition exists only outside the country. It is one of few countries that doesn’t even pretend to be democratic. The ‘king’ has a personal fortune that makes him one of the wealthiest people in the world although his true wealth is likely much greater. The extended Saudi royal family live in extreme luxury while financing extremism abroad.
Dictator of about half of Syria and responsible for heinous crimes both before and especially after the Arab Spring protests that called for his downfall and new path towards democracy in Syria. After trying to kill every protester he could, the Syrian Civil War began causing horrific destruction in the country as his Shiite government tried to regain control over the Sunni majority of Syria. The death toll is in the hundreds of thousands, millions have become refugees, and the country is falling apart. He succeeded his father who led Syria for 30 years until his death.
Dictators of Cuba, Fidel and Raul Castro rule with an iron fist. Cuba is the only country in the Americas that consistently makes Freedom House’s list of the Worst of the Worst: the World’s Most Repressive Societies for widespread abuses. The Castro government remains highly repressive of political dissent. Although the degree of repression has ebbed and flowed over the past decade, the neutralization of organized political dissent remains a regime priority. No political parties are permitted to nominate candidates or campaign.
Dictator of Turkmenistan ‘reelected’ to a second five-year term, winning 97 percent of the vote against a field of candidates who were all associated with the ruling party. None of the country’s elections since independence in 1991 have been free or fair. Berdymukhammedov has maintained all the means and patterns of repression established by his predecessor Niyazov, whose rule lasted over twenty years since independence. Elections in 2009, 2010, and August 2012 mimicked previous stage-managed polls.
Dictator of North Korea and son of Kim Jong-il. Candidates for office run unopposed and ALL media is run directly by the state. There are no known associations or organizations other than those created by the state and there is no freedom of movement even their own citizens inside the country. Has a semihereditary system of social discrimination that classifies people into subgroups based on security ratings like ‘core’, ‘wavering’, and ‘hostile’ to the regime. Labor camp system is described as the worst and most extensive human rights crime since the Nazi Party in Germany.
The dictator of Sudan, al-Bashir has been issued an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in relation to his genocide of ethnic minorities in the Darfur region. After growing calls for his ouster al-Bashir responded brutally to social protests in June, conducting mass arrests and placing further restrictions on the embattled local media. Multiple armed uprisings continue in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile states, worsening dire humanitarian situations including a chronic lack of food and water.
Dictator of Zimbabwe for last 33 years. After the fraudulent 2012 elections, he ranks third in sub-Saharan Africa for longest executive tenure, behind Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos and Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Zimbabwe has never experienced a democratic transfer of power, and Mugabe’s 33 years in office have been marked by violations of basic freedoms, undemocratic governance, and economic crisis. New annual trend involves millions of people seeking food assistance in the dry season when year’s harvest run out.
Post-Soviet oil dictator of Russia and head of mafia. Imposed increasing restrictions on public assemblies, nongovernmental organizations, and the internet to squelch protest movement. Vaguely defined amendments to the law on treason criminalized a variety of activities, including ordinary interactions with foreigners. The 2011 Democracy Index stated that “a long process of regression culminated in a move from a hybrid to an authoritarian regime” and cables leaked by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks reveal that Putin’s Russia has become a “virtual mafia state.”
time for world democracy?
The world democracy movement is being driven forward by the relentless advances technologythat have defined our era. The internet is the modern version of the printing press on steroids. With each new shipment of devices and each price reduction, the power of the underlying technological revolution is feeding calls for democracy and openness in government. Once online, anyone today has more information at their disposal than the majority of history’s most influential thinkers.
The ongoing protests in Brazil, China, Egypt, India, and Russia (to name a few) have been deeply connected to each other through technology that didn’t exist a few years ago. We are living in an era of world democracy protest that rivals the largest political eruptions of people power in history, while the number of individuals taking part and the connection between political movements is on an unrivaled historical scale. The same pressures that brought down Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Qaddafi will bring down more dictators until there is none of their kind left.
Yet the time is now for critical support for these fledgling democracy movements. This will be a definitive time in history that is more accurately covered by media that understands how the daily headlines relate to this global expansion of democracy. Which side are the large media companies on today?
freedom house for world democracy
There are also many great non-profit organizations and charities for international democracy that are wonderful places to support. One that is very important to Democracy Chronicles is Freedom House. Freedom House’s Freedom in the World annual reports, its international democracy advocacy and many other heroics represent the best that America has to offer. There is no better illustration of world democracy than the “Map of Freedom in the World” published annually since 1972 by Freedom House. According to Freedom House, in 2013 the world had 43% of its population living in democratic countries and only 35% in non-democratic countries.