Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Double standards

OK, double standards in international relations are a dime a dozen, but it's interesting to compare the treatment of Zimbabwe with that of Equatorial Guinea:
As world attention is fixed on Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, there has been hardly any outcry from the international community about the dire human rights situation in another African country—Equatorial Guinea—where Teodoro Obiang has ruthlessly ruled for nearly thirty years. Obiang has been called the worst dictator in Africa, but since vast oil and natural gas reserves were discovered in the mid-1990s, he has become a close US ally.
From Democracy Now, via sgm at babble. Most noteworthy, he was on America's shitlist for years until they realized they needed the oil:

KEN SILVERSTEIN: Well, Equatorial Guinea is a small West African state. There’s an island off the mainland, and then there’s a small square of land on the continent itself. It’s a country that for years and years and years was just completely ignored. I mean, there was—the dictator before Obiang was in some ways even more ruthless, but no one really paid attention to what was going on there, and the United States closed its embassy in 1996, I believe, in part because of death threats against our then-Ambassador John Bennett, who I believe succeeded Frank.

And then, lo and behold, not long after that, American oil companies discovered vast reserves in Equatorial Guinea, and suddenly, ever since then, beginning with Clinton and then very, very quickly under Bush, there has been a backtracking, because $5 billion—at least $5 billion in American oil investments have poured into the country. And so, now Equatorial Guinea has become the third largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, major US investments, very close friend of the United States government, and so now there’s a little bit more importance given to Equatorial Guinea.
Jesus wept. Well, probably not, actually; there's so much of this shit that if Jesus wept every time something like this happened, he'd quickly drown all his followers, which would be a bit counterproductive for someone who wants to be worshipped. But no doubt he would at least be able to summon a world-weary sigh.

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