No New Spanish Empire?

The right wing Spanish government of Jose Maria Aznar was a favourite of the American Empire, enthusiastically supporting Bush’s invasion of Iraq. To the Empire’s chagrin, Aznar’s popularity wasn’t so good at home and he was booted from office by the anti-war Socialists. While Aznar was still in office, he agreed wholeheartedly with the Bushite policy of regime change. Now, it seems, this agreement with regime change extended to aggressive acts on the Spanish regime's own behalf.

map_eqguineaAccording to the Times of London:

”The plot involved the overthrow of the dictator, President Obiang Nguema [of Equitorial Africa], and the installation of Severo Moto, a veteran political exile in Spain who is backed by rich British businessmen.”
This is the same greedy business that Maggie Thatcher's preternaturally greedy kid Mark is being detained for in South Africa. News of the coup surfaced when a planeload of mercenaries was stopped in Zimbabwe. The Times continues the story:
”As the mercenaries were allegedly completing their plans to topple Mr Obiang, two Spanish warships slipped out of the Rota naval base near Cádiz in January. The frigate Canarias was supported by a combat vessel Patiño with 500 crack troops and marines on board. No official announcement was made but those on board knew they were headed for Equatorial Guinea … But someone, South Africa is a suspect, told the Spanish press. The two warships docked in the Canary Islands and the apparent objective of their voyage was aborted …

motoThis week in Spain, various media reports suggest that Mr Moto, the veteran leader-in-exile of Equatorial Guinea, who has lived in Madrid for many years, was either on board one of the warships or had been flown to Mali in anticipation of a triumphant return to his fatherland.”

The coup in Equitorial African collapsed in the wake of the arrest of the mercenaries, and the old dictator stays in power. There is oil in the country so this won’t be the last coup on behalf of some company or another. However, what was interesting to me was a sentence buried in the story:
” Since Rota is a NATO base, used by the United States, one would assume that the US knew of the mission as well as their close allies, the British.”
Given that one of the "crimes" Saddam was accused of was trying to overthrow neighbouring regimes, the hypocrisy of all this is astounding. But not surprising.

Update: The Guardian and the Sunday Herald have more on the mechanics of the coup, Thatcher's involvement, and the knowledge of British and US officials.

August 28, 2004 in Africa, America Inc, Spain | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack