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Editorial

El Dictador del mes de Marzo 2005: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (en inglés)


publicado por: Celestino Okenve el 12/08/2005 5:57:47 CET

Biography
Early Life

was born on 05 June 1942 in the Akoakam-Esangui district of Mongomo; he was the third of ten brothers to father Nguema Eneme Obama and mother Mbasogo Ngui.

He commenced his schooling at the School of Mongomo in 1950. Recognized for his outstanding studies, he was transferred to the advanced scholar group of the ”Cardenal Cistnero” of Ebibeyin in 1958. In that year he also entered into the Mission School of the Priests of ”Claretrados de Bata” and was baptized in the Catholic faith.

In June 1963, he became a Cadet of the Territorial Guard and on 15 September 1963 he attended the prestigious General Francisco Franco Military Academy in Sargasso Spain. He graduated from the academy in 1965, specializing in the handling of military vehicles. On 5 July 1965, he became Lieutenant of the Territorial Guard of Equatorial Guinea and through the next years he served in several different military companies. On 20 November 1969, he was promoted to Lieutenant of the National Guard and within two weeks he was responsible for all troops defending the capital city region of the country (Malabo).

Ascent to Power

On 08 July 1970 he was appointed to the post of General Manager of Planning and Supplies for the Ministry of Defense and on 19 April 1971 he was promoted to Captain due to his participation in overthrowing a failed coup attempt against his uncle and then-leader Francisco Macías Nguema. After this point, Obiang´s career started to really move ahead with numerous promotions following in the successive years, propelling him to prominence within the government.

On 23 December 1975, Obiang was promoted to Commander of the Armed Forces of Equatorial Guinea. On 21 June 1976 he was appointed to the position of Secretary General to the Armed Forces, promoted once again in 1979 to Vice Minister of the Armed Forces and at the same time Lieutenant Colonel.

Francisco Macías Nguema´s regime was extremely repressive and was cited for numerous human rights violations, which were so brutal that reportedly one-third of the country´s population left as refugees; this set the stage for unrest and eventually another now-successful coup d´état against him at dawn on 03 August 1979 led by Obiang. Nguema was murdered shortly thereafter. On 18 August Obiang was chosen by a military panel unanimously to serve as the President of the Supreme Military Council and President of the Republic. He was officially sworn into office on 10 October 1979. He was later promoted to the rank of full Colonel on 31 January 1981.

His Reign

General sentiment at the time of the coup was that Obiang´s rule would considerably improve conditions in Equatorial Guinea and in the beginning, Obiang did, in fact, pardon political prisoners of the Nguema regime by decree and a new constitution for Equatorial Guinea was drafted and approved on 22 August 1982 by 95.38% majority obtained through referendum.

In 1987 the (Partido Democratido of Equatorial Guinea) or PDGE was formed by Obiang, and since then remains the only party in the country.

Since Obiang´s seizure of power in 1979, there have been numerous attempts on his life and failed coup attempts, yet he has been elected by more than 97% of the popular votes in 1998 and 2002. Although Equatorial Guinea is a constitutional democracy, opposition and international sentiment has alleged that the elections are hardly free and fair.

Support for Obiang at public rallies seems to be fervent and zealous, with literally thousands of followers literally screaming their support publicly; his practice of giving away wheelchairs at rallies surely helps in lending him loyalty among some of his population. Despite this, private accounts of locals paints a very dangerous picture, alleging that Obiang rules through terror, torture and political killings. Amnesty International and other human rights groups, including the UN, cite brutal human rights violations, torture of political prisoners, unfair trials as well as deplorable prison conditions. His opposition also maintains that the series of failed coup d´états have been staged in order to empower the President to engage in campaigns of retribution. His control over the media is rumoured to be absolute. He is also criticized for nepotism, as he has appointed many family members to key posts in the government.

In March 2004, another coup plot against Obiang failed, after an airplane that was purchased from a private American company was detained in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean Government alleged that the passengers on the plane were mercenaries from Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Congo, whereas the operator of the aircraft stated that the passengers were in fact contractors heading for the Congo.

Obiang maintains that the plot was orchestrated by the US and the UK, and although it appears that US intelligence agencies did have some knowledge of the plot, there is not much evidence that the US government was directly involved, despite allegations to the contrary. Nevertheless, Obiang was quite angered at the US´s decision not to reveal specifics of the plot against him.

Economics

When Obiang took control over the government after Nguema´s rule the economy was in absolute shambles. Over the first few years Obiang did make some improvements but even up until the early 90´s the country was hardly thriving on its dependence upon cocoa exports, and by 1993 the IMF had stopped granting foreign aid to the country due to graft and irresponsible handling of monies.

However Obiang enjoyed a stroke of luck which profoundly changed the economics of Equatorial Guinea permanently. In 1996, the multinational Mobil Corporation (now ExxonMobil) struck oil in the country, and by 2004, 185,000 barrels per day were being produced for the world oil markets. This has had a profound effect upon the country, spurring its economic expansion at the rate of 20% per annum.

In addition to the boon of oil, natural gas was also discovered in Equatorial Guinea and the US energy concern Marathon is building a large LNG processing plant which will be used for producing export fuel. The major finds of oil and natural gas have made Equatorial Guinea have given the country significant importance to US interests, and the country has been described as the new Kuwait.

The God of Guinea

Obiang is a man of contradictions, with feelings about him completely mixed.

In July 2003 the state radio station announced that Obiang was ”the God of Equatorial Guinea” and that he now enjoyed the right to ”decide to kill without having to give anyone an account and without going to hell”. Despite his reputation as a brutal leader that rules with an iron hand, he is very soft-spoken and not prone to public displays of anger; he is extremely in control of his person and patient. His mode of dress is typical very businesslike and professional for official matter, and in public rallies he is relaxed and comfortable, wearing party colours and baseball caps. He does not really seem to be concerned about his image outside the country.

Original article written by www.dictatorofthemonth.com

Sources:

http://allafrica.com/stories/200403120710.html http://www.guardian.co.ukɛquatorialguinea/story/0,15013,1313672,00.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3516588.stm www.ceiba-guinea-ecuatorial.org/guineefr/fpr_presentation.htm




Fuente: www.dictatorofthemonth.com

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