24 November 2010

Equatorial Guinea - Clearly Continental

Didja like Fiji? Great station, huh?

In keeping with our cannibal theme from yesterday, let's head to Equatorial Guinea where President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo allegedly engages in the cannibalism of his political opponents. No one's quite sure whether or not it's true, but it's enough of an accusation to make American rapper Eve dump his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang. What would you
do if your boyfriend's dad was rumored to be a cannibal? "Huh-huh! No thanks Mr. Obiang, I'm not hungry. I had a bagel on the way over. Don't eat me, please."

"it smells as though the cook has burned the small intestine scramble i ordered for breakfast. yuck."

The one that put her over the edge was when he allegedly ate a police commissioner's brain and testicles. Can you imagine the White House Chef cooking up something like that? Well sure, maybe for Cheney, but still...

Once inhabited by pygmies (of which there are only a few pockets left), Equatorial Guinea was transformed by migrants from larger and more powerful tribes in the 16-1800's. During this time, the Europeans started coming around. The Portuguese were first; they traded Equatorial Guinea to the Spanish. The British were there for a little bit in the late 1800's, but it stayed pretty much a Spanish colony until independence in the late 1960's. 

just for some perspective

Francisco Macías Nguema, the first elected president, quickly declared himself president for life and started a nasty 10 year reign of terror which resulted in the death or exile of 2/3 of the population. Apparently he had 150 prisoners killed on Christmas in '75 in a soccer stadium while this song played over the loud speakers. Classy guy.

In 1979, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, nephew to the president and former director of one of Africa's most notorious prisons, led a successful coup d'état, and has remained in power ever since. Francisco Macías Nguema is still regarded as one of the most corrupt, kleptocratic, and tyrannical leaders in modern African history, and he was sentenced to death "one hundred and one times." We like the extra death thrown in there. That's a pretty good "fuck you."

Although Teodoro has been a better ruler than his uncle, that isn't saying a whole lot. He's regarded as Africa's worse dictator, even worse than Mugabe. And, their state radio declaring him a god a few years back. Despite this, the current and former pope both invited him to the Vatican. Guess they just wanted to be sure. 
A lot of the population wears clothes with his face on it too, which is kinda weird.

What really sucks is that Equatorial Guinea struck oil a decade or so back, and instead of using those profits to help his destitute people, Teodoro pretty much just pockets it. He's regarded as one of the wealthiest heads of state in the world and literally hooked the national treasury to his personal bank accounts so that he could keep an eye on it. According to Teodoro, the whereabouts of these funds are a "state secret."

Though one of the smallest countries in Africa, it is also one of the richest. But, all that money is concentrated at the top. It's GDP per capita is rated at about 44 out of 185 nations, if you average the IMF, World Bank, and CIA's ratings, but the majority of the population lives in dire poverty.

totally irrelevant, but entirely necessary.

There was a failed coup attempt 5 or 6 years ago with financial backing from Margaret Thatcher's son and alleged support from the CIA, MI6, Spain, and South Africa's military, but there ain't a whole lot of proof out there. Our governments actually have a pretty decent relationship, though this may be due to the fact that Equatorial Guinea pays a lobbying firm at least $1.5 million a year to get them in good with Washington. Money talks.

Ok, let's tune in and see what folks are listening to over there. With a closed press and tight borders, this is the best we could find, one of the regional African stations with a continental presence. It seems to be a pretty good station though!


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