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  • Writer's pictureTéa Satariano

Weekly News Blast | Dec 3 - 10


Biden's commitment to fighting Trump in the upcoming presidential elections comes amidst questions surrounding his age and mental fitness (Phil Roeder, Wikimedia Commons).


Biden’s Controversial Comment


On December 5, United States President Biden told several of his campaign donors that he is not certain whether he will run for president if former President Trump is not also in the race. He followed the comment with a brief statement warning that democracy was “more at risk in 2024” due to the former president’s growing group of supporters. 


While the comment was meant to emphasize his determination to compete with the former president (recent polls have shown them neck to neck in the presidential race), as clarified by later comments, it did not come as a big surprise. Concerns have recently surfaced regarding his age and mental fitness for the position of President. While the comment may have been well-intentioned, it may only be used to fuel the flames of Biden’s critics.


Texas Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion


On December 8, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower court ruling that allowed Kate Cox to receive an emergency abortion due to a severe case of trisomy 18, which entails virtually no chance of her baby’s survival. Texas currently has several overlapping abortion bans in place, and they only allow for abortions in cases of medical emergencies or fatal diagnoses of the fetus. 


Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, who granted the original ruling allowing Cox to receive an abortion, argued that Cox met such requirements, as if her pregnancy continued it is likely she would not be able to conceive another child. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly combated the motion by filing an overnight appeal, arguing that Cox had not proven that she would suffer “immediate and irreparable injury.” A temporary hold has been placed on the lower court's ruling, as well as the ruling of several other abortion-related cases in Texas, as the state’s Supreme Court mulls the  appeal. 


Tensions Rise as Territorial Dispute Between Guyana and Venezuela Continues


On December 10, Venezuela approved a referendum to claim sovereignty over the mineral-rich territory of Essequibo, which currently accounts for roughly two-thirds of Guyana’s land mass. Disputes over this territory are nothing new, hailing from a colonial-era agreement in which the US and Britain decided the boundary between Venezuela and what is now present-day Guyana. However, the discovery of major oil deposits in the region in 2015 and subsequent pumping in 2019 has effectively propelled the Guianan economy from an agricultural state into the world’s fourth largest offshore oil producer. 


While Guyana’s economy has grown, Venezuela’s has begun to plummet as years of economic sanctions and government mismanagement of crude oil reserves all but cripple what was once regarded as one of the top oil industries in the world. As such, Venezuela has renewed its historically fluctuating interest in annexing Guyana, and President Maduro is likely to continue to push for Venezuelan ownership of the area. To Maduro, Guyana is both a method of gaining support for his reelection, as well as a way of kickstarting the Venezuelan economy.


 

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