Bohemian Blues: Considering Communism in the Czech Republic

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Prague is a beautiful city with a complex history.

Going into my recent press trip to the Czech Republic, which was called “The Way We Were: A Look Back at the Communist Era,” I was curious how the subject would be presented by a Czech government that is for now led by the conservative, free market Civil Democrat Party. And now that I’ve returned, I’m more fascinated than ever by a country that is still wrestling with its past and unsure about its future – and one that seems a microcosm for economic and political struggles around the world. Continue reading →

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My trek to the Czech Republic

I’m looking forward to reviving the travel log function of this site – as I did during my visits to Bolivia and Peru — and to devoting some of my energies into blogging my exploration of the Czech Republic. I’ll be on a press tour entitled “The Way We Were: A Look Back At the Communism Era” and I’m excited to see how the Czech government presents this era.

After all, Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is such a fervent support of neoliberal capitalism that called out President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus efforts as “a way to hell” (just before Obama’s recent visit to Prague, no less). Topolanek is at odds with Social Democrats and facing a no-confidence vote from legislators that threatens to collapse a government that is halfway through its presidential tenure in the European Union.

These are precarious economic times, and despite the fervent hopes of neocon true believers that we were at the end of history, the old struggles between socialism and capitalism haven’t been solved (certainly not using military and economic weapons). There are still open questions about the best way forward, which I’ll explore as I try to marry travel writing with sociopolitical analysis.

I find politically turbulent countries far more fascinating than stable ones (which was a reason that I liked Bolivia better than Peru during my trip there, although I do appreciate Peru’s recent conviction of former President Alberto Fujimori on human rights abuses from his “dirty war” with leftist rebels).

I’ll post my trip itinerary in the next couple days, and I’d love to get feedback from anyone out there with insights. And I’ll try to do posts every day or two, so come on back.