Tuesday, February 13, 2007

America's Favorite Tyrant (part 2)

Despite Equatorial Guinea's politically motivated kidnappings and torture, the US State Department describes that "[t]he conditions of jails and prisons in the country remained harsh and life threatening; inmates frequently were not provided with sufficient and consistent food, medical care, working toilets, drinkable water, or clean and healthful living space."

"The lack of a published penal code allows for frequent abuses by security forces... Several of the persons had been detained for months or years without judicial proceedings. They were brought before a judge during the year for brief hearings and remanded back to prison for unspecified crimes against the state, rebellion, or terrorism, to be held in 'preventive detention' until trial."

"…there were reports that officials tortured political opposition activists and other persons during the year...During the year authorities reportedly detained members of political opposition parties. Prominent members of the 'illegal' opposition Republican Democratic Forces (FDR), the PP, and the NPU remain detained at Black Beach Prison for their political activities. It remained difficult to estimate the number of political detainees..."

"During the year the government monitored journalists, the media remained firmly under government control, and journalists practiced self-censorship... The government did not tolerate criticism of public institutions and public sector mismanagement and permitted no criticism of the president or the security forces."

"An independent or privately owned press was nearly nonexistent... Journalists were subject to harassment…"

Freedom of assembly, association and movement are highly restricted.

"There have been no free, fair, and transparent elections since independence in 1968."

"The president exercised strong powers as head of state, commander of the armed forces, and founder and head of the government party... Leadership positions within the government in general were restricted to the president's party or the coalition... Membership in the ruling party generally was a great advantage for hiring and promotion, both in the public and private sectors."

This is all in the latest Country Report on Human Rights by the US State Department, yet on April 12 of that year (35 days after the release of the report), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was welcomed into the White House by Condoleezza Rice and called a "good friend."

It's funny how the world works. And, if we go by the logic of the caller to Radio Mambi yesterday morning, the United States of America is an "accomplice" to the tyranny in Equatorial Guinea. Is this reality?

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