Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, February 25, 2013

Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, February 25, 2013

Javier El-Hage and Thor Halvorssen profile Guillermo Cochez, the former Panama ambassador to the Organization of American States, whose outspokenness on human rights issue led to his premature departure. 

In our latest Lab Report, Phil Gunson offers an in-depth analysis of the Venezuela that Chávez built, and wonders whether the construction can survive its founder. Reporting from Caracas, Juan Nagel shows what it’s like to live through a currency devaluation. 

In his weekly column, DemLab editor Christian Caryl explains why the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites is likely to dominate the news for decades to come. 

Anna Nemtsova takes a skeptical look at Vladimir Putin’s new campaign against corruption. 

Sarah Kendzior explains why stability has been a raw deal for Central Asia. 

Mohamed Eljarh sets out a to-do list for Libya in the coming year. 

And now for this week’s recommended reads: 

Writing for Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Deana Kjuka offers examples of authoritarian leaders who are embracing social media.

Syed Zain Al-Mahmood reports for The Guardian on the ongoing protests and clashes between Islamists and "athiests" in Dhaka’s Shahbag Square following the recent war crimes tribunal. (The photo above shows a protest on February 22.) 

The Boroumand Foundation presents a report on a little-noted agreement between the governments of Iran and Argentina to create a truth commission to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires. 

Robert Kagan and Michele Dunn argue in The Washington Post that it’s time for the United States to start showing Egypt some tough love. 

At TEDxWomen, 22-year-old teacher Shabana Basij-Rasikh tells of the dangers and the opportunities that confront girls and young women as they seek education in today’s Afghanistan. In her TED talk, Libyan activist Zahra Langhi explains how smart feminist politics can yet make a mark on the next stage of Libya’s revolution. 

Al Jazeera profiles Martha Karua, Kenya’s former minister of justice and a very unique candidate in that country’s presidential race. James Verini provides a pithy overview of the recent Kenyan presidential debate in The New Yorker

Dan Glazeman, writing in Al-Ahram, contends that the West’s military interventions in the Sahel and Sahara are self-serving efforts to gain access to cheap raw resources and minerals. 

In a new in-depth report, the Transnational Institute makes a plea for "people-centered development" in Burma. And Burma Partnership explains why the country’s transition continues to be dogged by the inadequacies of an outmoded constitution.

Sarah Leah Witson of Human Rights Watch writes a public letter to the Egyptian Justice Minister on the problematic provisions included in the draft law on demonstrations.

David Trilling reports for EurasiaNet on World Bank support for the hydropower project that is the center of a Tajikistan-Uzbekistan feud.