SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
For years it has been rumored that Brigadier General Teodoro Obiang, the long-time dictator of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, is a cannibal. “In similar fashion to Idi Amin, Obiang has also allowed rumours that he is a cannibal to circulate,” Wikipedia says in discussing the rumors. “Many testimonies of former residents of Equatorial Guinea…indicate that cannibalism had been applied as a tool of warfare.”
The allegations have not been proven and some of the charges may be politically motivated. For example, Severo Moto Nsa, an exiled opposition leader who was accused of plotting a 2004 coup against Obiang, once claimed that the dictator had “devoured a police commissioner” who was “buried without his testicles and brain.” Such reports are said to have led the rapper Eve to end a romance with Obiang’s son.
Now, London’s Daily Mail has weighed in on behalf of Obiang, whose regime has won strong support from the Bush administration and American oil companies (like ExxonMobil) that have billions invested in Equatorial Guinea. In a new piece about the 2004 coup, the tabloid has this wonderful line: “[The prisoner] was led to a chair in front of the dock and directly behind him, the face of President Obiang – who has been accused, without foundation, of cannibalism – glowered at him from a framed photograph hanging on the wall.”
Obiang’s exoneration as a flesh eater clearly marks a major victory for President Bush’s Freedom Agenda. Now, the only remaining human rights issues left to be addressed in Equatorial Guinea are “abridgement of citizens’ right to change their government; instances of physical abuse of prisoners and detainees by security forces; poor conditions in prisons and detention facilities; impunity; arbitrary arrest, detention, and incommunicado detention; harassment and deportation of foreign residents with limited due process; judicial corruption and lack of due process; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press; restrictions on the right of assembly, association, and movement; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women; suspected trafficking in persons; discrimination against ethnic minorities; and restrictions on labor rights.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida:
Florida’s wildlife officials decided to remove the manatee, which has a mild taste that readily adapts to recipes for beef, from the state’s endangered-species list.
A 64-year-old mother and her 44-year-old son were arrested for running a gang that stole more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes from Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores in Florida.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”