The Sao Tome authorities have confirmed that there was recently an attempted coup d’etat, a sign of the extreme political instability in the country.
The current situation is due to a clash between the President and the main political party (MLSTP – PSD) over the choice of the Prime Minister. President Menezes was elected in July with 56.31% of the vote.
Tension has been rising in Sao Tome in recent weeks and there have been rumours of a plot to overthrow and kill the President for some time, according to the Director of the Criminal Investigation Police, Jose Bandeira.
Sao Tome is a group of islands in the Gulf of Guinea, 124 km. off the Western coast of Africa. The two main islands are Sao Tome and Principe. The total area of this republic is 1,001 sq. km., the population is 166,000 and the GNP is 40 m. USD per year. Main exports are coconut, copra, palm oil and bananas but the severe drought of recent years has led to an economic crisis.
Poor management of aid funds has led to a debt crisis, with the country’s economy controlled more from abroad than in the capital, Sao Tome. The latest economic figures point towards budget revenue of 58 m. USD p.a. and expenditure of 114 m. USD p.a., including a 54 m. UDS p.a. debt repayment scheme.
With financial policies like this, how can the poorer countries of the world break loose from the yolk imposed upon them by so-called benevolent financiers?
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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