News Timeline: July 2021

July 7 – Latin America: HAITI

Assassination of President Jovenel Moïse

President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, is assassinated and his wife injured during an attack by a group of assailants who stormed their home in Pétion-Ville.  He was sworn in as president in 2017 after winning the November 2016 election. Prime Minister Claude Joseph takes over as acting President.

Background: Opposition in Haiti claimed Moïse’s term in office ended in February 2021, but he refused to leave and insisted he had one more year to serve.  Because of a delay in parliamentary elections, Moïse ruled by decree.  He also faced accusation of corruption that caused widespread anti-government protests calling for his resignation. 

The worsening living standards in Haiti have recently pushed nearly 60 percent below the poverty line.[1]

Protests in Haiti explained, (video 02:16 min)

How the Assassination of Haiti’s President Follows Years of Strife and Gridlock

Who killed President Moïse

July 8 – WORLD

Global Health: Coronavirus, or COVID-19

The number of deaths from COVID-19 worldwide surpasses 4 million. It took nine months for the virus to claim one million lives.  The second million were lost in three and a half months, the third in three months, and the fourth in about two and a half months.

Spikes in new Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths caused by the new variant and low vaccination rates take place throughout Africa, Asia, and the Latin American region.   In Brazil, Covid-19 had has led to a significant decrease in life expectancy.   To date, about 3.3 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.  Regions where large numbers of people have been vaccinated, like the United States and much of Europe, have seen sharply lower death rates.[2]  In the United States, about 63 percent of adults have received at least one shot of the Covid-19 vaccine.  In general, the West and Northeast in the U.S. have relatively high rates of vaccination (about 70 percent are fully vaccinated), while the South and Northwest have the least (with Idaho and Mississippi at only 40 percent).[3]

More on the coronavirus situation worldwide

How Nations Are Learning to Live With Covid

Delta Variant Widens Gulf Between ‘Two Americas’: Vaccinated and Unvaccinated

(July 21): Countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, which so far were successful in containing the coronavirus, but have low vaccination rates, are now the new epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic.  They are dealing with their largest outbreaks yet, running out of hospital beds and oxygen, imposing new lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.   Indonesia has now the world’s highest count of new infections, surpassing India and Brazil.  The country reports 57,000 new cases in one day and a record 1,205 deaths, bringing the country’s official toll from the pandemic to more than 71,000.  Experts note that these numbers are underreported because of limited testing in the country.  Only 6 percent of Indonesia’s 270 million people are fully vaccinated and only 15 percent had at least one shot.  The country also relies on the Chinese vaccine made by Sinovac Biotech, which has proved less effective. The United States is donating 4.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Indonesia.[4]

July 11 – Latin America: CUBA

Anti-government protests

Thousands-strong rare antigovernment protests in Cuba take place throughout the country.  People are angry about the collapse of the economy, food and medicine shortages, rising prices, and the government’s poor handling of the coronavirus pandemic.  Tourism, one of Cuba’s most important sectors, has been devastated by the Covid-19 travel restrictions.  Protesters clash with the security forces and dozens are detained.  President Miguel Díaz-Canel blames sanctions imposed by the United States on Cuba for the economic problems.[5] 

Three reasons behind rare demonstrations in Cuba

U.S.-Cuba Relations

US-Cuba Sanctions: Are They Working Yet?

July 14 – World / Europe / North America


Environment: Plan to Cut Fossil Fuel

The European Union unveils a detailed plan to a significant cut of fossil fuels, 55 percent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels reaching a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.  The plan also means the end of sales in the European Union of new gas- and diesel-powered cars in just 14 years and imposes tariffs on some imports from countries with looser environmental rules.  In comparison, the United States has promised to reduce emissions 40 to 43 percent by 2030.[6]  China, the United States, and the EU are the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the world.[7]

More on the EU proposal

July 17 – North America / Europe

Climate: Global Warming and Extreme Weather

The extreme weather takes place this summer across Europe and North America. Devastating and deadly floods in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands submerge towns and kill at least 165 people with hundreds missing.  In the United States, the northwestern region registers record temperatures that lead to deaths from heat, while wildfires spread across 12 states.  In Canada, one village is completely burned off the map.  The specialists conclude that the extraordinary heat wave in the Northwestern United States in late June would not have occurred without global warming.[8]

More on climate and extreme weather

Heat wave in the West is fueling dozens of wildfires

Europe’s plan to shift from fossil fuels might cause trade disputes with the U.S. and China

July 19 – Latin America: PERU

Politics: Elections

A month after Peru’s general election, the country confirms a presidential victory of former schoolteacher and union leader Pedro Castillo.  He wins by a margin of only 44,000 votes beating right-wing Keiko Fujimori who now claims electoral fraud, however, with no evidence.  Election observers have found no irregularities.  This is Fujimori’s third run for the presidency.  She is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is in jail serving a 25-year sentence for crimes including corruption and human rights abuses.  Keiko Fujimori herself is being investigated for alleged corruption and money laundering.  During the campaign, Castillo pledged to nationalize Peru’s mining and hydrocarbon sectors and to create a million new jobs in his first year in office.[9]

Who is Pedro Castillo

July 25 – Africa: TUNISIA

Politics and Government

Tunisian president Kais Saied suspends the parliament, sacks the prime minister, and assumes power amid violent anti-government protests across the country.  The president’s supporters celebrate the move, while his opponents accuse him of staging a coup.  Under the Tunisian constitution, the president is only in charge of the military and foreign affairs, but Saied has long been in conflict with the prime minister. 

Background: Tunisia has had nine governments since the 2011 revolution. Issues such as endemic unemployment and crumbling state infrastructure that sparked the uprising have yet to be resolved.  The government inept handling of the coronavirus pandemic is adding to anti-government popular unrest.  Deaths from Covid-19 reached a record for the country last week and only 7 percent of the population has been vaccinated.[10]

About Kais Saied

Tunisia, 10 years after the Arab Spring


[1] “Haiti President Jovenel Moïse killed in attack at home.” BBC News. July 7, 2021. Accessed August 16, 2021.

[2] Daniel E. Slotnik. “The world’s known Covid death toll passes four million.” The New York Times. July 8, 2021. Accessed August 25, 2021.

[3] “See How Vaccinations Are Going in Your County and State.” The New York Times. Updated September 14, 2021. Accessed September 15, 21 from

[4] Fira Abdurachman, Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono. “The Pandemic Has a New Epicenter: Indonesia.” The New York Times. July 17, 2021. Accessed September 8, 2021.

[5] “Cuba protests: Arrests after thousands rally against government.” BBC News. 13 July13, 2021. Accessed September 13, 21.

[6] Steven Erlanger and Somini Sengupta. “Europe Unveils Plan to Shift from Fossil Fuels, Setting Up Potential Trade Spats.” The New York Times. July 14, 2021. Updated Aug. 25, 2021. Accessed August 25, 2021.

[7] Crippa, M., Guizzardi, D., Muntean, M., Schaaf, E., Solazzo, E., Monforti-Ferrario, F., Olivier, J.G.J., Vignati, E., Fossil CO2 emissions of all world countries – 2020 Report, EUR 30358 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2020, ISBN 978-92-76-21515-8, doi:10.2760/143674, JRC121460. Accessed August 25, 2021 from

[8] Somini Sengupta. “No One Is Safe’: Extreme Weather Batters the Wealthy World.” The New York Times. Published July 17, 2021. Updated Aug. 13, 2021. Accessed September 10, 21.

[9] “Pedro Castillo declared president-elect of Peru.” BBC News. July 20, 2021. Accessed August 24, 2021.

[10] “Tunisia’s PM sacked after violent Covid protests.” BBC News. July 26, 2021. Accessed August 18, 2021.