Factal Forecast

Castro steps down, Cape Verde elections, Texas special election, Chauvin trial, Iran nuclear sabotage

April 15, 2021 Factal Episode 1
Factal Forecast
Castro steps down, Cape Verde elections, Texas special election, Chauvin trial, Iran nuclear sabotage
Chapters
Factal Forecast
Castro steps down, Cape Verde elections, Texas special election, Chauvin trial, Iran nuclear sabotage
Apr 15, 2021 Episode 1
Factal

Raul Castro is expected to step down as leader of the country’s communist party. Cape Verde will hold its seventh general elections since it achieved independence from Portugal in 1975. The first day of in-person early voting starts in the Texas special election. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is expected to move into closing arguments. And an interview with Factal editor Alex Moore on the explosion that rocked Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment site and led to power outages over the weekend.

These stories and more are available in our weekly Forecast email and you can subscribe for free.

This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Irene Villora, Jess Fino, Jimmy Lovaas, Joe Veyera and Alex Moore.  Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note: hello@factal.com

What's Factal? Created by the founders of Breaking News, Factal alerts companies to global incidents that pose an immediate risk to their people or business operations. We provide trusted verification, precise incident mapping and a collaboration platform for corporate security, travel safety and emergency management teams.

If you're a company interested in a trial, please email sales@factal.com. To learn more, visit Factal.com, browse the Factal blog or email us at hello@factal.com.

Show Notes Transcript

Raul Castro is expected to step down as leader of the country’s communist party. Cape Verde will hold its seventh general elections since it achieved independence from Portugal in 1975. The first day of in-person early voting starts in the Texas special election. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is expected to move into closing arguments. And an interview with Factal editor Alex Moore on the explosion that rocked Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment site and led to power outages over the weekend.

These stories and more are available in our weekly Forecast email and you can subscribe for free.

This episode was produced with work from Factal editors Irene Villora, Jess Fino, Jimmy Lovaas, Joe Veyera and Alex Moore.  Music courtesy of Andrew Gospe.

Have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed? Drop us a note: hello@factal.com

What's Factal? Created by the founders of Breaking News, Factal alerts companies to global incidents that pose an immediate risk to their people or business operations. We provide trusted verification, precise incident mapping and a collaboration platform for corporate security, travel safety and emergency management teams.

If you're a company interested in a trial, please email sales@factal.com. To learn more, visit Factal.com, browse the Factal blog or email us at hello@factal.com.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

JIMMY LOVAAS, HOST:

Welcome to the Factal Forecast, a look at the week’s biggest stories and what they mean from the editors at Factal. I’m Jimmy Lovaas.

Today is April 15th.

This week we’ll be talking about the Cape Verde elections, Raul Castro stepping down, the Texas special election, Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, and an attack on an Iranian nuclear facility."

You can read about these stories and more in our weekly newsletter, which you can find a link to in the show notes.


Raul Castro expected to step down as head of the ruling Communist Party
Information compiled by Irene Villora

JIMMY: Tomorrow, Raul Castro, the youngest brother and successor to late Cuban ruler Fidel Castro, is expected to step down as leader of the country’s communist party.

The move is expected during the organization’s eighth congress, which is slated to run from Friday until Monday.

While it’s clear the congress will meet in Havana, as it does every five years, it’s still unclear if the meeting will be held virtually, considering Havana is also the island’s current epicenter of coronavirus infections.

Castro will delegate all his powers to Miguel Diaz-Canel, as he announced back in 2018 when he handed over the presidency of the country.

He also suggested other revolutionaries from his generation should retire, too, though it’s unclear if that will happen.

The total transfer of powers from Castro to Diaz-Canel marks the end of an era in Cuba’s history, but some argue the new generation of leaders will not change the longstanding status quo.

Still, for the first time since Fidel rose to power, the generation born after the 1959 revolution will take the reins of the political sphere.

It’s also the first time a civilian will be in charge of the only party authorized in the country.

The topics of debate and the decisions made during the four days of meetings will show whether the new executive will stick to the immobilism of the old generation or if he will shepard a progressive opening of the country.


Cape Verde general elections
Information compiled by Jessica Fino

JIMMY: On Sunday, Cape Verde will hold its seventh general elections since it achieved independence from Portugal in 1975.

The island nation’s fifth and current prime minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva, is seeking re-election and heads the political party called Movement for Democracy.

His opponents include Janira Hopffer Almada, who leads the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde and António Monteiro, who is a member of the conservative party known as the Democratic and Independent Cape Verdean Union.

More than 600 people from six parties are also running for just 72 seats in the country’s National Assembly elections.

With elections being held in the midst of the pandemic, candidates have centered their campaign around the country’s health system and the promise of speeding up vaccination against coronavirus.

Also a key issue is Cape Verde’s chronic water shortage, which the current prime minister argues is caused by climate change.

In an effort to ensure social distancing rules are respected, the electoral commission extended the poll hours so voters can cast ballots from 7 am until 6 pm.

The vote will also set the stage for October’s presidential election, where two former prime ministers and presidents of the two main political parties are expected to run.


Early voting begins in Texas special election
Information compiled by Jimmy Lovaas

JIMMY: On Monday, the first day of in-person early voting starts in the Texas special election.

In addition to some local measures, voters will start deciding who will replace former Republican Representative Ron Wright, who died February 7th after a nearly three-week fight with coronavirus.

A total of 23 candidates have thrown their hats into the ring, looking to compete for the seat in the 6th congressional district.

The area represents nearly 600,000 people and covers southeast Tarrant County, including most of Arlington, as well as all of Ellis and Navarro counties.

The 10 Democrats running are said to believe they can flip the seat, though the district hasn’t had a Democrat representative since 1983.

With so many candidates it’s quite likely the special election will ultimately involve a summer runoff between the two top contenders.

Among the Republican contenders: veteran activist Susan Wright, who is also Ron Wright’s widow, two former Trump administration officials, Brian Harrison and Sery Kim, and Michael Wood, a combat veteran and small business owner who has campaigned on an explicitly anti-Trump platform.

How Republicans fare -- and which Republicans do well -- may give the rest of the country an idea about where the 2022 midterms might be headed and whether or not the Republicans are ready to turn the page on Donald Trump. 
     

Closing arguments in Chauvin case
Information compiled by Joe Veyera

JIMMY: Another situation we’ll be following Monday is the case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The trial is expected to move into closing arguments on Monday, ahead of jury deliberations on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

The killing of Floyd last May sparked widespread protests across the country, after video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

Chauvin's defense team has argued that Floyd died from a combination of cardiac arrest and illicit drugs in his system, and not a lack of oxygen.

The prosecution has called on medical experts to testify that asphyxia caused Floyd's death.

Following closing arguments, the jury will be sequestered for as long as necessary to deliver their verdict and there’s currently no indication how long that may take.

Protests outside the trial have been small and peaceful so far, but Minneapolis has seen a bit of unrest in the days following the shooting death of a Black motorist in nearby Brooklyn Center.

Israel-Iran and Natanz incident
Information compiled by Alex Moore

 JIMMY: Our last item for this week’s forecast is a look at growing tensions between Israel and Iran. Those tensions were taken up a notch last week after an apparent attack on an Iranian nuclear facility -- something Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called “nuclear terrorism." For more on that, I recently spoke with Factal editor Alex Moore.

JIMMY: Hey, Alex, thanks for taking the time to talk about some news with us.

ALEX: Always, Jimmy. My pleasure.

JIMMY: Okay, before we get into ‘nuclear terrorism’ claims and all that just, what in the world happened last weekend?

ALEX: Yeah, so an explosion hit Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment site and led to power outages over the weekend. And it was an apparent sabotage attack that's been widely attributed to Israel.

JIMMY: Wow. Has that happened before?

ALEX: Yeah, it's happened before. This exact site, actually, which is Iran's most prominent uranium enrichment site, has been targeted, most recently in mid 2020. And this is, Natanz has augmented a spate of other various, you know, Iranian nuclear program-related attacks carried out by allegedly Israel, namely assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and also a cyber attack during the Obama administration called Stuxnet, that targeted Natanz as well.

JIMMY: Why now? Iran's had a nuclear program for a while?

ALEX: Yeah, so the timing coincides with American and Iranian diplomats converging in Vienna as they seek to kind of negotiate a way along with the other JCPOA parties for the US to return to the deal and for both parties to return to compliance. Because both parties are currently not complying with the JCPOA's stipulation. So that's kind of the context Israel has.

JIMMY: I can't imagine that went over well.

ALEX: No, yeah. Yeah, I mean, Israel has been opposed to this nuclear agreement from the start. You recall Netanyahu coming and addressing Congress in 2015 without the invitation of the Obama administration. So they made no secret that they were a fan of the Trump administration's decision to pull out and impose additional crippling sanctions on Iran. And they are not happy with the Biden administration decision to return to seek a return rather to the deal.

JIMMY: What’s Iran's reaction been to all this?

ALEX: Yeah, so the Iranians, the foreign minister, Javad Zarif, directly blamed Israel for the attack. And in response they in turn announced they were going to increase enrichment purity to 60%, up from the previous 20%, which was already well over the limits imposed by the nuclear deal, which were 3.67%.

JIMMY: Wow. Well, you know, what should we be watching for? What comes next out of this?

ALEX: Yeah, so the Iranian nuclear program is going to survive. Definitely a setback, no doubt, but U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials estimate that it's set the program back nine months, so they're going to have thousands of centrifuges to replace in Natanz. But it's important to remember they also have another uranium enrichment facility called Fordo, which is not as expansive as Natanz but they were already enriching up 20% there as well. So it's going to set the nuclear program back to a certain degree, but it is by no means going to cripple it indefinitely.

JIMMY: Is it going to have any effect on the nuclear deal?

ALEX: Yeah, so that's where it gets more interesting. So while the direct aim of the attack was obviously Natanz, the broader, you know, context that it happened while the US was engaged in some pretty high stakes diplomacy with Iran in order to return to this, you know, historic deal. So this throws a wrench in that obviously, you know, Iranians, bumping up to 60% enrichment is a significant step, you know, weapons grade is 90%. And enriching, going from 20% to 60% enrichment, is doing most of the work required to go up to 90%, which is weapons grade. So it definitely throws another wrench in the ongoing efforts for both sides to return to compliance. So that is the broader context diplomatically.

JIMMY: How does this impact the US?

ALEX: As far as the U.S. once again, it's The Biden administration is attempting to rejoin this historic agreement. And while the US is out of compliance, the Iranians have made a litany of moves as well to get out of compliance after the Trump administration pulled out of the deal. So them deciding to bump their enrichment, purity up to 60% is yet another step further away from the deal which is reversible. Of course, all this is reversible, but it just makes it more difficult for the US and Iran to come together and agree to unwind the sanctions in exchange for the verifiable constraints that were placed on its nuclear program in the wake of the deal. And Iran has a presidential election coming up in June. So a lot of moving parts regarding the efforts to return the JCPOA for the US and for both sides return to compliance.

JIMMY: Well, we'll definitely have to keep an eye on that. Thanks for taking the time to catch us up to speed there.

ALEX: No problems Jimmy. Thanks for having me.

JIMMY: Take care.

JIMMY: Thanks for listening to the Factal Forecast. We publish our forward-looking podcast each Thursday to help you get a jump-start on the week ahead. You can, of course, subscribe for free. And if you have feedback, suggestions or events we’ve missed, drop us a note by emailing hello@factal.com”

 

This transcript may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability not guaranteed. 

Copyright © 2021 Factal. All rights reserved.

Music: 'Factal Theme' courtesy of Andrew Gospe