Housing and pluralism
The recent National Housing Program (PNH) presented by the Government came to show satiety the country that we are. A country “bound by wires” and oscillating between the extremes of “silk ties and bare feet”, which makes a balanced/equal solution almost unfeasible, since the individual interests in which “money” becomes status and brings with it an ideology that is most often cluttered, because it has little of ideology, they reach the shame of – as I have seen and read – criticizing public spending on behalf of the poor, when those who say and write it are filthy rich. Social democracy is fading away in what should be an example of how an idea would have to shape a practice derived from it.
Once here, allow me to warmly salute the PUBLIC, for the variety of diverse opinions that – despite my “pessimism” expressed in the previous paragraph –, at least it safeguards democratic freedom, which is no small feat. The Wednesday edition is a good example of this, with articles by Maria João Marques, Carmo Afonso and Helena Roseta. Among the first, navigating among many things but ending up defending à outrance private property and markets, and the second, much more in favor of those who need a house to live in but do not have enough money, is the position of the third that grants (hello!) giving the State a regulatory role that should be central to the entire debate.
Still relying on PÚBLICO, I feel like paraphrasing Miguel Esteves Cardoso (02/18), who, at a certain point in his text on the PNH, writes: “The reaction from the right (it’s communism!) and from the left (it’s capitalism!) confirm this impression. It’s a good sign.“ I also think so.
Fernando Cardoso Rodrigues, Porto
Crimea and Donbass
Our media has treated these two territories that Russia has annexed or intends to annex as if they were one and the same thing. They are not. Crimea was conquered by Tsarina Catherine (known as Catherine of Russia) to secure Russia’s access to the sea. In the Soviet Union, Crimea was not a Soviet Republic like Ukraine, but was part of the Russian Federation. It was the then President of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, who handed over Crimea to Ukraine, because access was better through Ukraine and, after all, everything was in the same country (the USSR). As is easy to understand, the population of Crimea that was Russian more than a century ago continued to be Russian.
When the USSR broke up, it would be logical for Crimea to revert to Russian territory. It was not so. There was only an agreement to keep Russian naval bases and for Ukraine to allow Russia land access to these bases. When, after the “events” of 2014, Ukraine started talking about joining NATO, Russia annexed Crimea and began construction of a bridge connecting Russian territory to naval bases in Crimea.
As far as Donbass is concerned, however much Russian is spoken there (possibly due to the displacement of people in the USSR era), Russia has not the slightest reason for its pretensions. A little truth wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Carlos Anjos, Lisbon
Reflection on a solution for peace in Ukraine
At a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been one year in sight, there is no horizon to put an end to this absurd war. Neither party admits to giving up on the territorial positions in which the conflict is found. In this situation of impasse, which could escalate into warlike actions, with an unpredictable escalation, I would propose, if I were allowed to be heard by the decision-makers of this world, a possible peace solution:
- The UN would take the initiative, supported by its security body, to energetically call for a truce between the belligerent parties, with the express aim of negotiating a peace solution, which would be followed by an associated set of specifications.
- The disputed territories (Donbass, Zaporijjia and Crimea) would come under UN administration (protectorates with this type of status would not be unheard of) and a “Blue Helmet Force” would be established to replace the withdrawal of all belligerent forces.
- Under this umbrella, a UN mission would be appointed, complemented by representatives from both parties and beyond, which would be in charge of assessing the conditions under which a reconstruction plan for these territories could be established.
- Creation of a reconstruction fund with the participation of the United Nations and the countries involved in financial aid (USA, EU and others).
- To establish a relatively short period in which the populations that were removed from these territories could, in a controlled manner, be helped to return home.
- Agree on a date, as reasonable as possible, to enable the holding of a referendum, which could contain, for each of the three territories, the option of having an independent status, or being integrated into the Ukrainian nation or the Russian Federation .