Goldman Sachs’s Angolan interests

When the Financial Times commits an entire article to topics Angolan, it fills my Google news alert for a week.

"Washing the windows of the Porsche dealership on Avenue Amilcar Cabral in central Luanda"

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Cobalt International Energy, a Houston based company with investments in the Angolan oil sector, for possible violation of anti-corruption legislation. Last week the Financial Times reported that three Angolan officials – the same three officials named in muckraking journalist Rafael Marques’s case now waiting before Angola’s Supreme Court – “confirmed to the FT (…) that they and another general have held shares in Nazaki Oil and Gáz, the local partner in a Cobalt-led deepwater venture launched in early 2010.” The Financial Times is no slouch of a newspaper. When they commit an entire article to topics Angolan, it fills my Google news alert for a week.

The Angolan press, both official and independent, has been largely silent. The website Club-K (their slogan is “We Report, You Decide”) posted an article from the Portuguese press and the usually lively comments section had nothing beyond the predictable: “band of thieves”; “now maybe Marques’s case will get somewhere”; and “if the Americans really wanted to catch them they could…this is one more distraction.” What’s really going on here? The FT cares because one of Cobalt’s backers is Goldman Sachs. Angola matters little to them. Angola matters only insofar as it rattles Wall Street. Life there matters only insofar as it touches on life, or rather, the bottom line, the U.S.

Further Reading

The price of contamination

Legal cases against foreign multinationals in the Central African Copperbelt seek justice for decades of pollution. But activists should also investigate the historical legacies of colonial mining companies.

Remembering Emma Gama Pinto

To those who did not know Emma Gama Pinto, she was just “the wife of Pio Gama Pinto,” the Kenyan anticolonial fighter, but to those who knew her, she was fearless in her own right.

Living on

The Indian activist ES Reddy led the fight against South African apartheid at the UN. More importantly, his life reflected the best of left internationalism.

Slam democracy

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has a rigid educational system, largely unchanged from the colonial era. Slam artists and activists are working to open it up to alternative spaces of expression.