Dining with Devils

by Ray Hibbs  |  published on August 8, 2014

Exclusive Editorial by Ray Hibbs

Congress may be in recess, but the limousines were out in force in our nation’s capital this week. Our golfer-in-chief took time away from the putting green to convene the historic US Africa Leaders Summit.

Gathered for banquets, concerts and receptions were some of the wealthiest people on earth, otherwise known as African heads of state. These kleptocrats are the among the most corrupt dictators on earth, responsible for poverty and mass misery unparalleled in contemporary times.

Seated with the potentates was Teodoro Obiang Nguema, consistently ranked in the top ten of the world’s worst dictators. Obiang has ruled over Equatorial Guinea and its huge trove of oil reserves since 1982. Close by was Denis Sassou Nguesso, the corrupt boss of the Republic of Congo.

Having stolen billions from his people since he grabbed power in 1979, Sassou is preparing to overturn his nation’s constitution so he can seek election to yet another term in office. It should be noted that elections among these African potentates resemble elections in the old Soviet Union – a former sponsor of Sassou – more than they do elections in the free world. Will a disengaged Obama rubber stamp Sassou’s assault on democracy in the Congo?

Like a meeting of the heads of mafia families, the African leaders supping at Obama’s banquets also included Paul Biya, ruler of Cameroon since 1982; Jose Eduardo dos Santos, boss of Angola since 1979; and Blaise Compaore, overseer of Burkina Faso since 1987. Also enjoying Obama hospitality were Joseph Kabila, the dictator of the “other” Congo; Paul Kagame, the butcher of Rwanda; and Yoweri Museveni, strongman of Uganda. What a gang.

Most of these men have held power since the era of Carter and Reagan. Their iron grip on the mineral wealth of their nations has meant a life of luxury and opulence, even as their populace suffers from malnutrition and poverty.

If these thieves had applied even ten percent of the billions they have pilfered from their nations to roads, schools and power projects, their people would be thriving. Children in the Congo can’t get a clean drink of water, yet Denis and Antoinette Sassou Nguesso sip Dom Perignon with Barrack and Michelle Obama. The hypocrisy and arrogance is galling.

When President Obama took office, reformers in Africa had great hope that his presidency would spell the end of dictatorial rule on that continent. If Obama’s influence could change any place for the better, it was Africa. But, after six years of Obama, the elites and billionaire kleptocrats continue to party on at the White House as their people struggle.

The time has come for Congress to intervene. Instead of permitting President Obama to reward crony heads of state such as Obiang and Sassou with $37 billion American taxpayer dollars as he has proposed, Congress should cut off this money and, instead, investigate the corruption and expose the forces that conspire to keep these robber barons in power, constitutional impediments notwithstanding.

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