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.
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...