The Year Ahead – Milestones…

Viva Latin America!

Two hundred years ago the first shots were fired in Latin America’s struggle for independence from Spain, so expect plenty of activity from the Latin American embassies.

For Mexico it’s a double whammy as they celebrate 200 years of independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

Remember to forget

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the long and bitter war between Iran and Iraq.

It also marks the 20th anniversary of the Gulf War – the first hot war of the post-Cold War era. Expect reflections on opportunism and missed opportunities.

Golden oldies

A whole swathe of francophone countries in West and Central Africa will be celebrating their golden jubilees this year. Not to be outdone, Nigeria, once a British colony, also attained its independence in 1960.

Cyprus also turns 50 this year, while Fiji and Tonga turn 40 and Vanuatu celebrates its 30th birthday. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the Lancaster House peace talks, which ended with Britain recognising Zimbabwe’s independence.

All of which means we can anticipate a whole host of top-notch national day celebrations this year.

Getting together and falling apart

Twenty years ago in South Africa, Nelson Mandela walked free on 11 Feb 1990, marking the end of apartheid and the beginning of the Rainbow Nation’s tough but miraculous journey towards freedom. The end of apartheid also saw the birth of Namibia on 21 March.

In the same year, West Germany was riding high on a World Cup victory – yet months later it ceased to exist when East and West Germans joined in a reunified Germany. Will the football team repeat that glory this year?

North and South Yemen also reunited, but secessionists are still agitating.

And while some nations were getting together, others were falling apart. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the start of the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia and Belarus all decided to go it alone.

Independence hero – Simon Bolivar

Twenty years ago Nelson Mandela walked free