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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Neo-colonialism driving Madagascar to a civil war!

After nearly one month of confrontation between the supporters of the Malgasy president Ravalomanana and the mayor of the capital (Antananarivo) and leader of opposition Rajoelina, more then a hundred person died. On the 7nth of February 28 people were killed by the Presidential guard. Magascar is on the verge of a civil war! 
Here is the larger picture: Last July (2008) the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics signed an agreement with the Malgasy government allowing it to exploit 1,3 million hectars of arable land for a period of 99 years in this African Island. The area represents nearly half of the cultivatible land of Madagascar but also half of Belgium! In this land Daewoo will cultivate palm oil and corn, the half of which will be exported to South Korea, and the remaining will be exported elsewhere, the local population shouldn't expect recieving much food. In return the Asian firm should invest $6 billion in infrastructure and provide employment for 71000 people.
                                              (Source: EIU)

This huge project comes in order to assure food security for South Korea by cultivating half of the Malgasy arable land, while 3.5% of the population of Madagascar benefits from Word Food Program! This program comes in aid to countries who are not able to feed their citizens, hence the Malgasy president leases tis land to Daewoo instead of feeding his people. Moreover, 70% of the poplutation lives under the poverty line, and 50% of children aged under 3 years suffer from food deficiency. Therefore instead of facing these difficulties, the president chooses to hand over the natural ressources to Korean multinational firms: in fact not only Daewoo is interested in Madagascar, but other Korean firms are exploiting other ressources in the island.
The Malgasy people are very attached to their land, hence seeing 1.3 million hectars stripped from them is not smething they could tolerate. This adds up to the authoritarian practices of the president, and to his ultraliberal economic vision (he is the owner of a large groupe, Tika, which is also involved in agro-business) in opening the country wide open to such investements. Therefore this triggered a contestation movement that demands the overthrow of the president and the abrogation of this agreement, the stubborness of the president and the determination of the opposition have triggered fears of civil war.
The agrarian neo-colonialism of Daewoo is not isolated: in fact many Asian and Arab golfe countries are interested in expoiting African arable lands in order to feed their populations. This practice cannot be called other than colonialism where the firms of those countries extract the African ressources in order to benefit the exploiting country's population and for exportation while many African populations are starving. The silence of the international community is not surprising, all what they care about is an investement environmnent and for their multinational firms to exploit the ressources of developing countries like in the good old days!
What is even more pitiful is that the countries who were exploited and colonized like China and South Korea are now taking the roles of the ex-colonial powers in Africa, the oppressed became the oppresser. Apparantly that this is a phase that every country should go through in order to obtain the capitalism diploma, otherwise its capitalism is incomplete!
Colonialism was never history, it is the present and the struggle will continue eventhough, in some cases, it is against the comrades fo yesterday...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for seeing the situation in Madagascar so objectively for a foreigner and someone who lives in Bangalore!:)). The ex-president had a total different agenda that excluded the word "patriotism". Understandably, we're an island that should not be isolated and diversify our global partnership and greatly welcome foreign investors, that HOWEVER, should be done without injuring ourselves. There's a threshold of national sovereignty to observe and especially as a leader of a nation. Daewoo is just an illustration to wake up the world but there are others in our backyard. It's amazing when one analyzes most of his past actions as to the amount of real personal interests involved in these kind of partnerships that he did not even mind to totally reap the country off (cause the expected counterpart is not much at all). That makes him look as if he was not working on behalf the Malagasy people as sound economic policies & actions that could launch our economy have been set aside. Sadly, many of the Merina (the ethnic group to which he belongs) think differently even after the murders of protestors in front of the presidential palace, they amazingly went to an extent length to justify those murders against all odds. They raised a huge army of protestors abroad and staged violent attacks for his comeback. The whole stake on the part of his followers that spurred this fervent movement is the protection of the supremacy of Merina and is not based on his merit as a model of good governance. The current transitional government has been accused of "Coup d' Etat" in toppling him down. However, he swiftly and subtly engineered economic manoeuvers to provoke hyperinflation, international economic crisis aiding, months before the tensions with his opposition came to their peak(when he foresaw the serious stance of his opponents). The burning of Tiko, his monopoly of basic commodities (rice, oil, sugar, etc) worsened that hyperinflation, and next thing we witnessed was his stepping down transferring his seat not to a council of Ministers but to a Military Directory whose allegiance, he knows very well, has not been untainted given that a substantial part of the military forces rallied to the cause of his opponent. The next course of events is a whole set of conspiracies that aggravated the previously provoked inflation in conveying abroad the images of the capital in chaos convincing the international financial community and rallying more followers to his side for the need for his triumphant comeback. Obviously, this looks to people who care to analyze throroughly the situation as not a "coup d'Etat" but a cleverly orchestrated step-down for an incredible comeback. He has not succceded after diplomatic negotiations had failed, so after trying to convince the SADC & COMESA to invade Madagascar with foreign military forces which they refused of course, he is now hobnobbing again for the nth time the world of private military firms to provide him for mercenaries to invade his own country to topple Rajoelina. So much so for the love of a


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