The region of the current Central African Republic has been populated for millenniums. However, the French government and other imperialist countries built the frontiers artificially and enslaved the population for agricultural work, particularly coffee and cotton plantations, and ivory and diamond extraction.
By Américo Gomes.
Due to forced exploitation, the Central African natives began to rebel in the early XX century, like in the Kongo-Wara Rebellion (1928-1931) [also known as the War of the Hole Handle and the Baya War; T.N.], violently repressed by French imperialism.
After the country achieved independence, the French government supported a series of dictators who guaranteed a semi-colonial situation. Among them, the Emperor Jean-Bédel Bokassa, in 1976, who committed atrocities against his people. He was ousted on 1979.
One of the last dictators was François Bozize (who led a coup d’état in 2003) and was ousted in 2013 by the Seleka coalition, fleeing to Cameroon. He was responsible for unleashing a civil war between 2004 and 2012, with confrontations between the government, Muslim armed groups and Christian factions, with ethnic and religious cleansing and massive population displacements.
Seleka seized power and instated the Muslim, Michel Djotodia, in office. He unleashed a wave of violence against the Christian community in a bloody conflict with the so-called anti-Balaka. Before leaving office in 2014, they killed thousands, stole and burnt down houses, making the country become a lawless land. Djotodia himself attempted to dismantle the Seleka, but several of his members created new militias, known as the ex-Seleka, which continued to fight the anti-Balaka and the government troops.
These factions took great parts of the land, creating frontiers, collecting taxes and exploiting the country’s natural resources. Besides, in 2008, the Lord’s Resistance Army, of Joseph Kony, Lord of War, entered the country fleeing Uganda, attacking the population with more death, rapes, abductions, destruction and pillage of villages. The mercenaries of the neighbor Chad and the feared Janjaweed of the Darfur region in Sudan also constantly cross the frontier.
François Hollande, increased French military presence in the ex-colonies, including Cote d’Ivoire and Mali in 2013. The following year, the pro-imperialist Catherine Samba-Panza, the African Mother, entered office and remained until 2016. The French troops, representing the UN, were denounced for rapes and sexual harassment . In 2015, in an independent panel created to analyze the rape and sexual harassment cases of children by military accused the UN of gross negligence in the treatment of these accusations. Today, there is a proposal for Brazilian troops to be sent to the Central African Republic.
The 2016 elections led Faustin-Archange Touaderá to office, without a decrease in violence. At least 75% of the population is under 35 years of age, with official youth unemployment of 12.5%. The new government exerts its power practically only in the capital, Bangui. The paramilitary and the factions control 80% of the grounds with parallel governments. The center and east of the country are divided between the ex-Seleka and the anti-Balaka, and Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army controls the southeast. In the northeast, there is a growing violent ethnic conflict between the farmers and the livestock producers.
In the last twelve months, around 2,000 people died in conflicts, a degree of violence only seen during the civil war.
Imperialist profits: the exploitation of the African people
One of the most compelling examples of the damage generated by imperialist exploitation in Africa is what happens in the Central African Republic. Imperialist exploitation in benefit of the great multinational capitalist entrepreneurs led to a process of disintegration of the State. A conflict that fragmented the communities, which today continue armed by the arms industry of imperialist countries.
The country has Uranus, oil, gold, diamonds, wood, and hydroelectric energy reserves, just as important amounts of arable lands, but it is among the ten poorest countries of the world, with the lowest level of human development. The average life expectancy is 51 years, and half of the five million inhabitants need humanitarian aid.
Even with all the efforts, many publications on the relationship between Europe and Africa do not manage to express the damage caused on African economy, the people and continental development due to slave trafficking and European colonialism. They destroyed cities and pre-colonial states that dominated sub-regions, controlled trade routes and sustained government structures.
The instability of the Central African Republic is not a result of ethnic or religious conflicts. Undoubtedly, some of these elements are present. However, the root of generalized misery and poverty is the presence of financial capital. Not by chance, armed groups control mining areas and cross-border trade routes.
Only a revolutionary process of African nations to expropriate these multinationals and expel imperialist presence from the continent and set workers and the people in power will be able to bring true economic development to these peoples and end violence and armed conflicts.