Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
<-- Previous | Newer --> | Current: 982827848 cr542767-a.rchrd1.on.wave.home.com at Thu, 22 Feb 2001 07:44:08 +0000.
http://www.bartleby.com/151/images/maps/802693.jpg Beyond Yaounde, to the East, South and West, lies the great rainforest of the Congo basin. This region of Africa from Southern Cameroon, running Southwards through Gabon and the two Congos to Angola; Eastwards through Central Africa to the Western parts of Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, is covered by the vast Central African rainforest. This belt also comprises the most ravaged countries of modern Africa. As long ago as the early 16th century, only a few decades after the first contact with Europeans, King Alfonso of the Congo was complaining to the Portugese about depopulation of his lands due to excessive slaving. In colonial times they remained almost totally undeveloped. The harsh climate amd impenetrable forests of the region caused it to be neglected in favour of lands where wealth was easier to extract. Today the countries of the region are extreme examples of exploited and impoverished third world countries. Their economies are dominated by a small number of foreign companies who extract oil and minerals from the abundant sources of diamonds, gold, copper, aluminium, crude and timber and other riches from the central african soil. Roads, where they exist at all, run from the mining centre to the port, airport or river, from where the goods arer shipped straight to Europe. There are no paved roads linking any of the capital cities of any of the central African countries to each other. They are completely focused on exporting raw materials to Europe and America. The small amount of wealth remaining in the country, after the multinationals have taken their profits, accumulates in the hands of those who control political power. Outside the capital city and the few centres of extraction, there is virtually no development whatsoever. No roads, no large towns, just subsistence villagers, abandoned by the state except for its constant attempts to extort money from them through police, army and taxman. The capital cities swell with hungry peasants while the elite squander the country's meagre resources consuming expensive imported European luxuries. The swollen cities woefully lack services and breed desperation and crime. Because wealth resides in small cliques and is dependant primarily on physical control of a small number of strategic sites, wars, coups and invasions of mercenary adventurers are common. Angola has been at war for 40 years for control of its diamonds and offshore oil. Congo-Zaire has seen 5 years of bloody war for control of its vast mineral wealth. The robber-barons who rule these unfortunate states are famed for their brutality and greed: Idi Amin, Mobutu, Bokassa in the past, today Omar Bongo in Gabon, Denis Sassou-Nguesso in Congo-Brazzaville and Laurent Kabila in Kinshasa. Yet these brutal rulers have generally relied on the support of the multinational companies and the governments that sponsor them. To give a few examples: Elf-Aquitane largely financed the 1997 coup in Congo-Brazzaville. Mobutu's kleptocracy in Zaire was consistently assisted by France and the US, including French military interventions to quell rebellions. France backed the regime that was responsible for the Rwandan genocide to the last. There have been at least 6 major French military interventions in Central Africa since 1990. [http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/africa/accounts/chekov/cameroon.html An Irish Anarchist In Africa -- Cameroun Cameroon Kamerun]