Equatorial Guinea. According to countryaah, Malabo is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Equatorial Guinea. Six Armenians who were convicted in 2004 of participating in a coup attempt were pardoned by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema shortly after Amnesty International had sharply criticized the conditions in their prison. Amnesty also claimed that serious misconduct occurred during a new trial against 70 people accused of yet another alleged coup attempt in 2004. That coup attempt was almost not noticed at all in the outside world, and the trial was conducted largely unobstructed. In September, 23 people were sentenced to prison for up to 30 years.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym GQ stands for the country of Equatorial Guinea and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
In December, the fugitive opposition leader Severo Moto was deprived of the right of asylum he has enjoyed since 1986 in the former colonial power of Spain. The Spanish authorities accused him of using the asylum to plan coup attempts in his home country. Moto, who was sentenced to 63 years in prison in 2004 in his absence for a coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea, accused Obiang’s regime of affecting Spain and said the decision would be appealed.
The regime in Equatorial Guinea is one of the toughest in Africa but is supported by many democratic states because of its vast oil resources. So far, mainly US companies have been handling oil recovery, but in October the President announced that China was invited to participate in the exploitation of Equatorial Guinea’s oil and other natural resources after amortizing a “large portion” of Equatorial Guinea’s debt to the country.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the political life of GE was still dominated by the Partido Democrático de Guinea Equatorial (PDGE) and its leader, T. Obiang Nguema, who came to power in a coup in 1979. The constitution was launched in 1991, with which political freedom had been sanctioned and multi-partyism introduced, in fact continued to remain disregarded in the face of an increasingly authoritarian and personalistic management of power by Obiang Nguema and his small entourage, expression of the Esangui clan, of ethnicity Bantu. In their hands was concentrated the absolute control of the country’s economic resources, which had increased considerably since the 1990s following the discovery and exploitation of important oil fields. This led to a dramatic growth in the personal wealth of the president and members of his family, while the government investments for services and for improving the standard of living of the population were scarce, and the vast majority remained in conditions of extreme poverty. The repressive climate established by the regime kept the opposition forces on the margins of political life which, decimated by arrests, continued to boycott the political and presidential consultations considered, due to the way they were carried out, to be completely meaningless. Left without credible competitors, Obiang Nguema was thus re-elected President of the Republic with a large majority in the elections held in December 2002, and the PDGE and its allies again won an absolute majority of seats in the legislative consultations of April 2004. During the same year, the government managed to foil a coup attempted by some British businessmen and by a group of mercenaries of the past white South African regime, considered by Obiang Nguema to be linked to the opposition leader S. Moto, exiled in Spain. The case caused particular uproar in international public opinion because it was involved, among others, Mark Thatcher, son of the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, considered one of the financiers of the coup, and for this condemned (Jan. 2005) by a South African court to pay a financial fine.
In foreign policy, the country maintained close relations with the United States in recent years (the United States were the main companies for the exploitation of the oil fields that operated in the territory), while in 2004 relations with Spain became strained, suspected by the government of GE to be involved in the coup attempt. Relations with Gabon also worsened following the latter’s occupation (March 2003) of the small island of Mbagne, located in an area potentially rich in oil. In January 2004, the two states decided to accept UN mediation to resolve the dispute.