- Following the documentation of government embezzlement of oil revenues in Equatorial Guinea, a broad political platform in Spain, the former colonial masters, now seeks the European Parliament to issue a warning. With the lack of transparency in Equatorial Guinea prevailing, the EU should develop "a clear attitude" towards the dictatorship.
The Spanish politicians and civil society groups recall the recent evidences presented by a US inquiry into the secret bank accounts of Equatoguinean President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, pointing to "the lack of transparency surrounding oil exploitation" in the small Central African country.
Spain's major political parties, trade unions and civil society groups have now signed a letter to the European Parliament to state their concern over developments in the former Spanish colony. The signatories include the ruling Socialist Party (PSOE), the formerly ruling conservative party PP, the leftist IU party, main trade unions (CCOO and UGT) and the broad-based Association for Democratic Solidarity with Equatorial Guinea (ASODEGUE).
The letter to the EU Parliament points to the recent revelations by the US Senate regarding President Obiang's dealings with Riggs Bank, where the Equatoguinean Dictator has deposited millions of US dollars on private accounts stemming from the poor country's oil exploitation. The US Senate report pointed to possible corruption involving US and other oil companies operating in Equatorial Guinea.
- The nature of the contracts with these oil companies remains among the best kept secrets of the Equatoguinean regime, the letter says. "The citizens of Equatorial Guinea are left unknowing of where, to whom and how much the oil companies are paying."
The letter points to "the complex relations with the Obiang family" maintained by the foreign oil companies, which were closely referred to in the US Senate report, leading the signatories to suppose the oil companies were engaged in "illegal relationship with the dictatorship" in Equatorial Guinea.
The signing politicians and trade unionists further emphasise that "the lack of transparency in the oil industry and its suppliers - the most important industry in Equatorial Guinea and one of the most important on the continent ... - is added to the lack of political control."
- General Obiang is ignoring the repeated calls that have been made by the international community and by his own people to engage in the democratisation process that was announced years ago but always has been frustrated and postponed, the letter says.
The Spanish letter further recalls all the studies published by different international institutions during the last few years that had demonstrated that "oil revenues only to a very small degree have improved living conditions for Equatoguineans." A very high percentage of the oil rich country's population "lives below the level of poverty," the letter recalls.
- These factors are, in out opinion, the basis of the permanent political instability that prevails in the country and that constitutes elements of concern for the entire Gulf of Guinea region," the Spanish politicians emphasise.
Based on these concerns, the political parties and trade unions urge the European Parliament to adopt "a clear attitude regarding the situation in Equatorial Guinea, which, in accordance with the desire of the large majority of its citizens, contributes to democratisation, well-being and peace" in the country.
With the election victory of the Spanish socialists in March this year, Spain has become tougher on the Malabo regime, while distancing itself from Spain's other former African colony, Western Sahara. The socialist PSOE party traditionally has rallied for democracy in Equatorial Guinea, while the conservative PP has rallied for the decolonisation of Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.
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