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Mixed Bag for Africa’s Democracy Rankings

Freedom House, releases its annual report on freedom and the state of democracy around the world. Continuing a 14-year trend, some of the findings are discouraging. A decade ago, Freedom House rated freedom in the United States on a par with nations such as Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In its latest report, the U.S. ranking has dropped 8 points, behind Slovakia and Mauritius and just ahead of Argentina and Croatia. Forty nine nations are listed as “not free” in the report, with Syria ranking dead last among the 10 nations identified as the “worst of the worst.” Others earning that dubious distinction include Eritrea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia. Abramowitz, the Freedom House president, finds a bright spot in an otherwise largely dismal outlook for freedom last year in the rise of street protests in Hong Kong, Bolivia, Chile, Sudan, Russia, Algeria, India and Iran.