Ten events and scenarios that summarize the international scene of 2021

The year 2021 has brought with it the vaccination against the COVID-19 pandemic, changes of governments and presidents, coups d’état or crimes and abuses that have marked the evolution of politics at the international level.

Here is a sample of ten events and contexts that have contributed to setting the informational rhythm of the last twelve months:


The year 2021 practically started – on January 6 – with a mob of followers of the then US President, Donald Trump, storming the Capitol in an attempt to block the ratification of the electoral results that gave victory to the current tenant of the White House, Joe Biden.

The investigation into the incident now tightens the fence around the New York tycoon and has led the Justice to impose sentences of up to five years for the main culprits. The assault, which was put down by the National Guard, left five dead, fifteen wounded – most of them policemen – and more than 50 arrested.


On February 1, Burmese democracy suffered a severe setback: the military carried out a coup against the Government of the now former ‘de facto’ leader Aung San Suu Kyi and his National League for Democracy after elections that revalidated their power but in which, according to the Armed Forces, fraud had occurred.

This led to both Suu Kyi and the country’s President Win Myint being deposed and imprisoned, sparking a wave of protests that the military has dealt with forcefully. Since then, the Asian country has been mired in a serious crisis that has so far resulted in more than 1,300 deaths and thousands of detainees.


Belarus has become the center of a migration crisis this year, especially on its border with Poland, where thousands of migrants, mainly from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries, have gathered in an attempt to reach community territory.

The situation, for which the international community blames the Government of Alexander Lukashenko, has led the European Union to impose a new package of sanctions against Minsk, which insists on denying the accusations made from Brussels.


The 20 years since the start of the US invasion in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center have witnessed the return of the Taliban to power after a brilliant advance towards the capital that finally caused the president’s flight from the country. , Ashraf Ghani, and that marked the hasty withdrawal of international troops.

The Taliban, who have restored the Islamic Emirate, have promised to respect the peace agreement signed with the United States and the rights of the entire population of the country, mired in a serious humanitarian crisis, although the lack of representativeness of the interim government and the complaints on extrajudicial executions and the curtailment of the freedoms of women and girls have sparked international criticism.


For the first time since the so-called Cuban ‘revolution’ came to power more than 60 years ago, thousands of people took to the streets of the island in July to protest the serious economic and health crisis left behind by the coronavirus pandemic. , whose impact, managed by the Government at first with reasonable success, was added to the effect of an embargo that has suffocated the country for decades.

What began with a modest mobilization in southwest Havana to protest recurring power outages and food shortages soon spread across the island and unleashed a cascade of harassment and arrests against opponents.

The opposition tried to repeat the mobilization in November, but by then the government of Miguel Díaz-Canel and his supporters were under warning and quelled any hint of protest before it even took place.

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This 2021 has hosted numerous electoral processes in several Latin American countries. Some have meant a change of trend after decades of governments of the same sign, such as the triumph of Pedro Castillo in Peru; others aspire to regain lost stability, like Luis Arce in Bolivia; or they are continuists of the inheritance received, Guillermo Lasso in Ecuador; or they have been internationally questioned for their opacity, like Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua.

In turn, others have been a milestone for its internal history, such as the victory of Xiomara Castro in Honduras, who will be the first woman to serve as president in that country; or that of Gabriel Boric in Chile, who at 35 will be the youngest head of state on the continent.

The regional and local elections held in November in Venezuela, meanwhile, saw the return to the polls of the Venezuelan opposition led by Juan Guaidó and the presence of electoral observers from the EU, although Chavismo was once again clearly dominant.


The unprecedented global health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic a couple of years ago has also meant the launch of a vaccination plan against the disease, which has once again highlighted the abysmal differences that exist between the two hemispheres, with the North hoarding vaccines while some sectors of its society lead a crusade against them, and a South where they barely arrive.

The situation has worsened in recent weeks with the arrival of omicron, a variant first detected in mid-November in South Africa. Its appearance has caused restrictions such as those of the toughest moments of the pandemic, with new confinements and closures of air traffic.


The African continent has been the scene during 2021 of an increase in political and social tensions, materialized in several coups d’état and attempts in countries like Chad – after the death on the front lines of the president, Idriss Déby, against a rebel group -, Mali – the second since August 2020 -, Guinea, Sudan, Niger and Guinea-Bissau.

The increase in riots reverses a downward trend during the first decades of the 21st century, in a context of economic and social crisis deepened by the effects of climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and the expansion of attacks by jihadist organizations in different areas of the continent, especially the Sahel strip.


The perennial crisis at all levels that has dragged on Haiti for years worsened in July when a command of Colombian mercenaries stormed the official residence of the president, Jovenel Moise, whom they executed without officially confirming the reasons for getting rid of the.

Since then, the island has been left even more without room at the mercy of the lack of control. The shaking a month after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake only exacerbated an unsustainable social situation, with armed gangs in alliance against the Government and roaming freely especially over the capital, Port-au-Prince.


Europe has witnessed several changes of leaders in these twelve months, but none with the continental relevance that has marked the end of the Angela Merkel era in Germany. The veteran chancellor completed her announced retirement by not running for election in September.

In these elections, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) won a victory that opened the doors of a tripartite with Greens and Liberals to the country. The traffic light coalition has Olaf Scholz as chancellor and aspires to address the urgent, mainly the containment of COVID-19, while underpinning a new social and economic model.


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