A coup d'état took place in Guiney-Bissau on April 12. The military arrested acting President Raimundo Pereira and Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior (who resigned a few weeks ago to take part in the presidential elections to be held on April 22), as well as some presidential candidates.
They blocked all avenues of approach to the buildings of the United Nations and other diplomatic missions. It was done on purpose. One of the reasons – constant intervention into the Guiney-Bissau’s affairs on the part of other states by “providing funds for projects”. The last “project” was… the presidential election! The UN and some “international partners” (1) have allocated a few million dollars for the event. It’s a long time the “partners” have been involved in this kind of business. The conclusions made by “international observers” look the very same way. Armed attacks against authorities took place during the election in 2005 but the international observers said all was quiet, the law and order situation was normal.
What makes Guiney-Bissau stand out in world politics? For almost twenty years the country was one of the most stable ones, what has made it a coup “champion”?
Guiney-Bissau is a small state in West Africa. The population is one million 600 thousand. It became independent in September 1973 (the official Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Guiney-Bissau says “after receiving independence in 1974…”. Two mistakes at once. First, Guiney-Bissau didn’t receive independence, it was hard won in armed struggle. Second, it did become independent in 1973. The mistake is not the date but the sequence of events. Guiney-Bissau declared independence in September 1973, it was recognized by Portugal in September 1974. It’s exactly what the document says. The mistake is even more annoying taking into consideration the USSR established diplomatic relations with the country in 1973.
Stability had been preserved till 1998, but starting from June 1998, Guiney-Bissau has experienced a wave of coups and civil wars. In 1999 Nino Vieira was overthrown. He headed a coup himself to come to power in 1980. President Kumba Yala was overthrown in 2003 for “inability to solve the country’s problems”. In 2005 Nino Vieira came to power again as a result of election to be killed in March 2009, a day after the assassination of Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Batista Tagme. A new coup attempt took place in April 2010. Those days Gomes Junior, a leading presidential candidate now (prime-minister until recently) was put under house arrest. In January 2012 President of Guiney-Bissau Malam Sanha died in Paris. It was his death that led to the would-be election. Now a new coup has taken place.
So, six coups in thirteen years. An occasion? By no means. It’s all about special geographic position of Guiney-Bissau and its territory (not the state itself but the territory) used for unhindered drug trafficking. The time when the chain of frequent coups started to take place in the country “coincided” with the country’s becoming converted into a staging point for drug trafficking from South America to Europe, Asia and, of course, Africa itself…
A number of sources say some top military and political officials of Guiney-Bissau are the drug business patrons, including the chiefs of Navy and Air Force. It’s noteworthy, no matter the country has small territory (just 28 thousand square km), it has 27 airports. To compare: the neighboring Guiney (Conakry) has ten times larger territory but only 16 airports (only five of them have hard surface landing strips). (2) Besides, especially indented sea shore makes the country a special valuable asset for drug dealers. The Bijagós Islands are of special importance, they are situated near the shore and have no infrastructure to control drug trafficking. So, it’s Guiney-Bissau what the international drug dealers need.
Delivering a speech to the UN General Assembly in September 2011 the prime-minister addressed the international community calling for help to protect the shore from drug traffickers. Guiney-Bissau received nothing but promises. But what it may get is the help to “revise the constitution!” This unbelievable statement was made by United Nations envoy for Guinea-Bissau! (3)
A specific feature of the situation is a split in the country’s power structures. There are direct skirmishes between police and armed forces, the military beat up policemen and disarm their units. There are instances when top military officials get shot. Former military intelligence chief and former Chief of Staff of Armed Forces were killed in March. The head of National Election Commission and the military leaders stood as one saying the killings had no relation to the electoral process. A statement of very dubious nature. Looks like they have a direct link to it. The internal political struggle in Guiney-Bissau, including among the military and inside the government, is related to acceptance or staunch refusal of the drug state concept.
It’s against this background that the general situation in West Africa is getting worse …
The Muslim sect Boco Haram continues terror activities in Nigeria. After Christmas terror acts, dozens of people died as a result of Easter explosions. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called these bomb attacks “senseless barbarous” actions. (4) Though barbarous they are, the Boco Haram’s activities are far from being senseless. Openly man-hating they are aimed at provoking clashes between Christians and Muslims – the very thing that can make Nigeria dismembered and uncontrolled…
The situation in Mali is getting exacerbated, almost half of the country has gone under the separatists’ control. The complexity of situation and perplexity of authorities were reflected in the speech delivered by the Head of Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mali to the United Nations. He stated with despair: “Mali has never been in a worse situation. Not even in our worst nightmares could we have imagined our current suffering. The situation is indescribable and unprecedented. We have never experienced its like. Nowhere in the world has such a situation been seen: even a precedent might have helped us to overcome the depths of despair.” (5) The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the Azawad separatists (the very notorious Mali’s tuaregs) don’t act on their own. They are supported by Islamist group Ansar al-Din and terrorist organization Al-Qaeda of Islamic Maghreb that created an uncontrolled hotbed of terrorist threat in the Sahara and the Sahel desert areas. (6)
The new coup in Guiney-Bissau have become the next step within the framework of global governance scheme. The events are a bright example of a “small state involved in big business”. On the one hand Guiney-Bissau has become a hostage in a big game around world drug trafficking avenues and has to be involved in “big business” serving the interests of global elite. On the other hand, no matter the situation is difficult, there are political forces standing up to state destruction. Actually these forces take forward positions in fighting the global drug mafia. That’s where the small state really does big business.
(1) Reference.: UN Security Council press-release, April 2, 2012.
(2) Reference.: CIA World book , 2009, p.168,170.
(3) Reference,: UN Security Council session, March 28, 2012, verbatim report // UN Document S/PV.6743. С.5.
(4) Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on the situation in Nigeria, April 9, 2012.
(5) UN Security Council session, April 4, 2012, verbatim report // UN Document S/PV.6745. С.3.
(6) Russia’s Minisrty of Foreign Affairs statement on the situation in Mali, April 6 2012.