You don’t read much about Azerbaijan in the USA. You don’t read much about many other countries here. Maybe you read about China. Or Venezuela. Occasionally Russia or Mexico. But - the truth is that so much attention of the US media whirls around things that aren’t really that important. Are other Republicans apologizing too much to Rush Limbaugh? Who is getting kicked off “Dancing with the Stars?”
And, legitimately, everyone is watching the economic storm clouds. Are things getting better? Will Obama’s plans work? Will the Republicans be successful in their bid to stifle economic recovery and prove Obama to be a failure.
The Christian Science Monitor did write a nice article on the referendum. This is the longest piece I’ve seen in the US news media - not counting a piece by the Voice of America. According to the Central Elections , the turnout for the vote last week was 71 percent, and 92 percent of the voters approved scrapping the term limits on the president.
Effectively, this means that President Ilham Aliyev can stay in power as long as he likes. He is in charge of the New Azerbaijan Party. The media is nearly completely owned or muzzled by the government. The opposition parties are fragmented and weak. At one point, it seemed to me like the president might have over reached, that his opponents were finding new strength and unity in their opposition to the referendum. That hope now seems naive.
Since the vote, I’ve been in touch with friends in Azerbaijan. The climate there seems discouraging for people who seek some democracy in that country. I look closely for signs of hope in their correspondence, but I don’t find it.