Monday, February 07, 2005
Some good news? In Liberia, the first elections since Charles Taylor's ouster have been announced for October 11. With the country still reeling from more than a decade of war, the new government will have its work cut out for it.

Mandela has this exactly backwards:
Mandela, former South African president and former prisoner of that country's apartheid government, called for trade justice, an end to rising debts for the poorest countries, and more and higher-quality aid.

"Where poverty exists, there is not true freedom," said Mandela, who wore a white strip of cloth around his wrist. "The world is hungry for action, not words. I am proud to wear the symbol of this global cause to action."

It would be closer to the truth to say, "Where there is not true freedom, poverty exists." If Mandela is asking for the elimination of trade barriers, I'll go along with that, but he is truly naive if he thinks that a simple redistribution of wealth from the West to the Third World would solve the problem of poverty. No, poverty can only be reduced by economic growth and that can be achieved by the expansion of political and economic freedoms -- an area in which many African countries, sadly, fall short.

Plus ca change...

Gnassingbe Eyadema, dictator of Togo and Africa's longest-ruling head of state, has apparently died of a heart attack. After some constitutional fiddling, Eyadema's son has been installed in his place.

Despite the hand-wringing from the usual suspects (France, the UN and the US State Department), it is most unlikely that anyone will do anything to stop this. Togo was and remains a police state, so these sorts of things shouldn't surprise anyone.

As for Eyadema, good riddance. But unfortunately for Togo, it looks as if little has changed.

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