Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Apr 5, 2013

Africa’s rise pays out dividends for democracy

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Africa is rising not only on the growth charts of economists.

The continent that was a byword for poverty, chaos and bloodshed only a few decades ago, providing a media feast of famines and wars, is slowly but steadily notching up gains on the democracy scorecard too.

Mar 27, 2013

BRICS “Big Five” find it hard to run as a herd

DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) – At a summit in South Africa on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin likened the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to Africa’s “Big Five” game beasts of trophy hunting lore – the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros.

The Russian president’s comparison captures the dilemma of these muscular emerging global powers, which together present a formidable potential economic and political counterweight to the developed West, but individually could hardly be more different.

Mar 26, 2013

BRICS chafe under charge of “new imperialists” in Africa

DURBAN, South Africa, March 26 (Reuters) – “BRICS, Don’t
Carve Africa” reads a banner in a church hall in downtown Durban
where civil society activists have gathered to cast a critical
eye at a summit of five global emerging powers.

The slogan evokes the 19th Century conference in Berlin
where the predominant European colonial states carved up the
African continent in a scramble historians see as epitomising
the brash exploitative capitalism of the time.

Mar 24, 2013

Bozize ouster is latest power grab in Africa’s “phantom state”

DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) – The French dubbed it the neglected “Cinderella” of their African colonial empire; modern observers have called it a “phantom state”.

Landlocked, isolated and poverty stricken, despite its reserves of gold, timber, uranium and gemstone quality diamonds, Central African Republic has been racked by debilitating rebellions for more than a decade.

Mar 18, 2013

Embassy surrender is end of line for Congo’s “Terminator”

By Pascal Fletcher and Richard Valdmanis

(Reuters) – It was a surprisingly meek end of a career for “The Terminator”, one of the world’s most wanted war crime fugitives.

Bosco Ntaganda, the Rwandan-born Tutsi rebel sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and an alleged leader of the M23 revolt in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, walked into the U.S. embassy in Rwanda on Monday and handed himself over, the U.S. government said.

Mar 6, 2013

Insight: Mending Mali poses political and ethnic puzzle

BAMAKO (Reuters) – When former colonial power France sent warplanes and troops to Mali on January 11 in a historic intervention, it did not just halt a menacing advance on the capital Bamako by Islamist rebels allied to al Qaeda.

It also snuffed out what diplomats and local politicians say was a political conspiracy in the capital to oust Mali’s interim civilian rulers, an attempted replay of the March 2012 coup that had plunged the Sahel state into turmoil and made it a potential launch pad for attacks on Western interests.

Feb 21, 2013

Mali war aims to crush rebels: African commander

BAMAKO (Reuters) – French and African forces aim to hunt down and eradicate Islamist rebels in northern Mali, not contain them, the African contingent commander said on Thursday.

The African military force (AFISMA) drawn mainly from Mali’s neighbors is accelerating deployment in support of around 4,000 French soldiers already on the ground in the Sahel nation, said its commander Nigerian Major General Shehu Abdul-Kadir.

Feb 20, 2013

French general urges EU to equip “impoverished” Mali army

BAMAKO, Mali (Reuters) – The European Union should complement a mission to train Mali’s army, routed by rebels last year, by providing equipment from uniforms to vehicles and communications technology, a French general said on Wednesday.

General Francois Lecointre, appointed to head the EU training mission to Mali (EUTM) that was formally launched this week, said in Bamako equipping the “very impoverished” and disorganized Malian army was as important as training it.

Feb 18, 2013

U.S. could resume direct Mali military aid if elections successful

BAMAKO, Mali (Reuters) – The United States is likely to eventually resume direct support for Mali’s military, but only after full restoration of democracy through elections, the head of a visiting U.S. Congress delegation said on Monday.

Senator Christopher Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, was leading the first American congressional visit to the West African nation since France sent a military force there last month to halt an offensive by al Qaeda-allied insurgents.

Feb 1, 2013

France, Africa face tough Sahara phase of Mali war

BAMAKO/DAKAR (Reuters) – The French or African troops who hunt down the Islamist fighters holed up in the mountains and deserts of northeast Mali may find a resilient enemy capable of fighting back with a concealed arsenal of surprising firepower.

France’s initial success in its three-week old intervention in its former colony has gained Paris plaudits at home and abroad as a welcome blow struck against radical jihadists threatening Africa and the West.

    • About Pascal

      "I am based in Miami, heading the editorial reporting team covering the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This includes Cuba and Haiti and we are also in charge of covering the annual Atlantic hurricane season and Space missions from Cape Canaveral. Previously, I was Chief Correspondent for West and Central Africa, and chief correspondent, Venezuela, following earlier postings in Cuba, Brazil, southern Africa, Portugal and Spain."
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