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Apr 10, 2015 0 Comments

Watch Correa, not Castro at Americas summit: Column Articles / Opinion Editorials, Publications

Authors: J.D. GORDON

As three dozen world leaders meet in Panama, April 10 to 11 for the 7th Summit of the Americas, conventional wisdom is to watch Barack Obama and Raul Castro.

After all, this is Cuba’s first attendance since these summits began in the 1990s. Based on the principles of democracy and free trade, the Organization of American States had excluded Cuba since the Castro regime obviously practices neither. Despite that reality, President Obama is normalizing relations with Havana after more than 50 years.

While most people will focus on Obama and Castro, the man to watch isn’t Barack, 83-year old Raul, nor his 88-year old brother Fidel.

Obama is already something a lame duck, with Republicans controlling Congress and less than two years left in office. And both Castro brothers don’t have much time left. Period.

The man to watch is Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, wherever he might be. He represents the future and his growing influence is more powerful than most think, and now is playing games with the summit, saying he might even boycott…. Continue Reading »

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Apr 1, 2015 0 Comments

Can basketball history justify fear in Baltics? Articles / Opinion Editorials, Publications

Authors: J.D. GORDON

While folks in Congress experience bittersweet moments as their home state and alumni college basketball teams rise and fall, brackets are busted, and office pool champs are crowned, when it’s all over, most still equate March Madness with fun and excitement.

But for the basketball powerhouses in the Baltics, the game also brings out another emotion: fear.  Based on a quick history lesson, those feelings are entirely justified.

I just watched the 2012 film “Dream Team 1935”which sends a powerful message.  It’s the true story about Latvia’s national team, a scrappy, underfunded longshot which won the first ever European Championship in Geneva that year.  A true Cinderella team, it was cobbled together from rival league teams, and against all odds, beat Hungary, Switzerland and Spain to claim the title.

But when the credits roll, we learn a decade later that most were already dead.  Some were conscripted by the Nazis during the German occupation of WWII.  Others were conscripted by the Soviets when they drove the Nazis out.  Two players were exiled to Siberia as part of mass deportations, including the team’s center and captain, Rūdolfs Jurciņš, who died there in 1948.  Most of the rest fled, living out their days in the U.S., Australia and Canada, including Coach Valdemārs Baumanis…. Continue Reading »