The Week in Review- April 25, 2018

Nicaragua Protests Result in Nearly 30 Fatalities
Protests erupted throughout Nicaragua in response to President Daniel Ortega’s new social security reforms on Wednesday April 16. The reforms raise income tax while reducing benefits for Nicaraguan citizens. Centrally located in the capital of Managua, the protests have been occurring for the last several days and have led to looting, destruction of property, vandalism and mass amounts of violence. During the violence, reporter Angel Gahona was shot and killed while filming on Facebook live. The police reportedly were using tear gas and rubber bullets. It is estimated that at least 26 people have died in the past week during these demonstrations. On April 22, President Ortega called off the social security reforms that caused the uproar. Protests over President Ortega and his decisions have been occurring since 2014, but this is the first time the protests have been so deadly.

Cuba sans Castro for the First Time in 59 Years
For the first time since 1959, the Castro family is no longer politically leading Cuba. On Thursday, April 19, Raúl Castro, who took over as president of Cuba from his brother Fidel in 2006, stepped down from power. He handed his presidency over to Miguel Díaz-Canel. This marks the first time since the end of the Cuban Revolution 59 years ago that someone outside of the Castro family will be in power, someone who wasn’t born yet when the revolution happened. Miguel Díaz-Canel has been vice president in Cuba for five years and, as a member of the Communist party who is a very close ally of Raúl Castro, he is not expected to make any radical changes to the country. Raúl Castro will be functioning as leader of the Communist Party from now on, still wielding significant political influence.

Peace Treaty to Officially End the Korean War 60 Years Later
The United States, with its South Korean allies, is working toward forming a peace treaty with North Korea. The Korean War, which culminated with a a truce in 1953, never officially ended. China is making statements that support the idea of a peace treaty for the war, in which around 3 million Chinese soldiers fought alongside the North. All four of these countries—North and South Korea, China and America—would be involved in any potential peace treaty which would include extensive negotiations and a considerable amount of time. Attempts to persuade North Korea to denuclearize have been ongoing. The peace treaty attempts seem to signify progress. Last month, North Korean Prime Minister Kim Jong-un told South Korean officials that the North may be willing to give up its nuclear programs in exchange for certain security guarantees, including normalized relations with the United States. All countries involved appear motivated at the moment to compromise in order to finally bring a 60-year-old war to a close.

Comey’s Continued Contention with Trump: Releases Book and Memos
Former FBI Director James Comey’s written memos were declassified this past week. The Justice Department sent these memos to Congress on the night of April 19. Certain parts of the memos were redacted, yet they still relay a detailed look into private conversations between President Donald Trump and Comey in the months leading up to Comey’s firing in May of 2017. The memos are open to the public. Trump responded to the release of the memos by emphasizing that they demonstrated no collusion with Russia’s election interference. Trump then went on to criticize Comey for releasing the classified information. The release of the memos happened concurrently with the release of Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.” Comey spoke about his book and his career at Seattle University to a small group of people in the Campion Ballroom this past Sunday night, April 22. No press were allowed to attend the event. When speaking to how he thinks the publication of his book was important, he said, “We’re all afraid of our bosses.”

DAMN, Kendrick Makes History with Pulitzer Win
Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize for his fourth LP “DAMN.” last Monday. This is the first time in history that the Pulitzer Prize for music went to an artist outside of the categories of jazz and classical. Even diverging from traditional classical music has been a rare occurrence for the prize, with only three jazz songs to ever win in history. The music prize was becoming more and more steadily viewed as irrelevant, which is why having not only a mainstream popular album chosen, but a rap album specifically, is such a significant divergence from the norm. This shift in the culture around prestigious awards is as groundbreaking as when Bob Dylan won a Nobel prize for literature. This is not only a monumental step towards the modernization of the Pulitzer, but also a spectacular acknowledgment of hip-hop and its cultural significance as an art form.

Sarah can be reached at
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