Soviet forces leave Afghanistan after nine years
In the wake of Gorbachev's glasnost, a wave of political activity erodes
historic cold war divisions. Soviet states, such as Lithuania and the
Ukraine, agitate for independence. East Germany allows citizens to leave
the country without exit visas, resulting in a breech of the ``iron curtain''
and a rush of migration to West Germany. The Berlin Wall, symbol of the
chilly, decades-old division between East and West, begins to be dismantled
piece by piece.
Nicolae Ceausescu, brutal military dictator of Romania, is overthrown.
U.S. savings and loan institutions have been failing and losing billions
of dollars. The Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation fails this
year, prompting new government control of the crisis.
Vaclav Havel and Civic Forum dissident groups rise against the Communist
government of Czechoslovakia and successfully install a multiparty government.
In Paris, I.M. Pei's pyramid entrance to the Louvre Museum opens to visitors.
The United States invades Panama to arrest General Noriega on charges
of drug trafficking. Noriega escapes briefly to the residence of the Papal
Nuncio in Panama City before surrendering to U.S. authorities.
Chilean voters elect Patricio Aylwin president, formalizing the end of
General Pinochet's repressive regime.
Brazil, the economic heavyweight of South America, has profited from land
clearances in the Amazon basin through the 1980s despite the protests
of environmentalists. With a loan from the World Bank, Brazil begins to
10 million gallons of oil pollute Alaskan waters when the Exxon Valdez