Democracy Lab Weekly Brief, May 18, 2012

Can Burma make headway towards democracy when it’s still saddled with an authoritarian constitution? Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo argue that countries in comparable situations have managed to overcome similar obstacles in the past. Skeptics say that Brazil’s economy is losing its mojo. But Albert Fishlow begs to differ, explaining why investors shouldn’t give up ...

MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/GettyImages
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/GettyImages
MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/GettyImages

Can Burma make headway towards democracy when it's still saddled with an authoritarian constitution? Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo argue that countries in comparable situations have managed to overcome similar obstacles in the past.

Can Burma make headway towards democracy when it’s still saddled with an authoritarian constitution? Michael Albertus and Victor Menaldo argue that countries in comparable situations have managed to overcome similar obstacles in the past.

Skeptics say that Brazil’s economy is losing its mojo. But Albert Fishlow begs to differ, explaining why investors shouldn’t give up so soon.

Christian Caryl tells the peculiar story of a West Texas town that has become a player in the global human rights industry.

Mohamed El Dahshan describes his mixed feelings as he casts his ballot in the first round of Egypt’s presidential vote.

Min Zin writes about the legal implications of the U.S. decision to suspend sanctions against Burma.

Francisco Toro reports on a Venezuelan prison riot with ominous implications for the country as a whole.

Endy Bayuni explains why the cancellation of Lady Gaga’s planned concert in Indonesia is no joke.

And Jackee Batanda tells the story of two remarkable Ugandan tech start-ups — and offers a wonderful snapshot of Africa’s literary networkers.

This week’s recommended reads:

Democracy Digest offers several must-reads this week:

A rich overview of the candidates and the issues in the run-up to Egypt’s presidential election.

A meaty analysis of the complicated situation in Libya in the run-up to next month’s elections. (See photo above.)

And a long report on the challenges that continue to face Syria’s opposition as it struggles to overcome the rule of Bashar al-Assad.

The Council on Foreign Relations looks at the central role women play in development in post-conflict zones around the world.

Human Rights Watch has issued a detailed report scrutinizing widespread allegations of torture and abuse by the Iraqi government.

Jeffrey Tayler offers a timely profile of Henrique Capriles, the man who hopes to mount a challenge to Hugo Chavez in this year’s Venezuelan presidential election.

National Geographic offers a richly textured portrait of Hong Kong and its evolving identity.

And Der Spiegel takes a long, lingering look (complete with slideshow) at the breast-baring antics of the Ukrainian activist group Femen.

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