• Mass protests gripped Belarus, a week after the disputed re-election of President Aleksandr Lukashenko, an authoritarian leader often called “the last dictator of Europe.” Lukashenko, who has been president since 1994, declared he had won over 80 percent of the vote in the Aug. 9 election.
(“The Gentle Revolution,” Economist, Aug. 15, 2020; “Widespread Torture Inflicted on Protesters,” BBC, Aug. 13, 2020; “Thousands Attend Funeral of Protester Amid Unrest,” BBC, Aug. 15, 2020)
• Former right-wing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe was placed under house arrest by the national Supreme Court as a result of an investigation into the bribing of witnesses involved with right-wing paramilitary groups during decades of political violence. Uribe, Colombia’s president from 2002 to 2010, waged a U.S.-backed war against leftist FARC rebels while attracting foreign investment and tourism.
(“Columbia’s Ex-President Uribe Put Under House Arrest,” NPR, Aug. 5, 2020; “Colombia: Court Order Detains Ex-President,” Guardian, Aug. 4, 2020)
• Naturalist John Muir, one of the founders of the U.S. conservation movement, made his mark preserving the Yosemite Valley, supporting the establishment of the National Park Service and founded the Sierra Club in 1892. More than a century later, the Sierra Club is coming to grips with Muir’s objectionable racial views toward Blacks and Native Americans — as well as his strong association with leaders of the American Eugenics Society, and its links with Nazism.
(“Sierra Club Calls Out Racism of John Muir,” Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2020; “Liberal-Progressive and Racist? Sierra Club Faces Its White Supremist History,” Washington Post, July 22, 2020)
This week’s News Summary was narrated by Anna Manzo.