29.1.14

Egipto: O novo faraó encontra-se nas graças de Washington

Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is the most powerful man in the country. Although his title is defence minister in a government formed after the army-led ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, Sisi has the upper hand in Egypt's political scene. By presenting himself and the army as "guardians of the people's will" and using colloquial, sometimes sentimental speeches to address the nation, Sisi has retained the admiration of many, despite daily bloodshed sparked by last year's eviction of pro-Morsi sit-ins, carried out by security forces. 'Obligation, not a choice' In his first comments to the public since the dispersals, General Sisi said the army's intervention was an obligation, not a choice, because the people's demands had gone unheeded by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed government. "I swear to God, we were told by an official that they came to rule for 500 years. But how could they?" he said. Morsi's appointment of General Sisi one year ago to replace Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi was praised by revolutionaries, who later pitted the young army leader against his president. Morsi critics accused the former president of neglecting voices not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood - allegations that Sisi relayed in his Sunday speech. "We warned that if the demands of the millions who took to the streets went unheard, they will resort to violence. We said all that, but were ignored.” When Sisi was named the new general commander of the army and chairman of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, some speculated a possible alliance may have formed between the military and the new Islamist leaders, to which the army had previously been hostile. Known to be religious, Sisi was accused of being too close to the Muslim Brotherhood. But like many Egyptian army officers, Sisi was also a fervent admirer of Egypt's nationalist President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Supporters compare Sisi's challenge to mounting international pressure on Egypt to the actions of the much-idolised Nasser. Born in Cairo in November 1954, Sisi graduated from an Egyptian military academy in 1977 with a diploma in military sciences. He continued to train in the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College in 1992, and received a master’s degree at the US Army War College in Pennsylvania in 2006. Sisi, who does not have combat experience, served as a military attache in Saudi Arabia during Mubarak’s regime. He then became chief of staff to the commander of the northern military zone. When the military council took power after the revolution, he was appointed as the head of military intelligence in February 2011. Criticised over 'virginity tests' Sisi has come under criticism for defending "virginity tests" applied to female protesters during the revolution, which he said were conducted to "protect girls from rape as well as the army from possible allegations". However, he later pledged to ban virginity tests. He has said in the past he is keen on "increasing the efficiency of the armed forces", seen to be outdated and currently struggling to restore order in the troubled Sinai Peninsula area. Politicians and journalists who have met Sisi believe his main preoccupation is rebuilding the army's reputation, tarnished by its time in control of the country with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The army chief is also known for his close relationship with the US military. The US has not cut the $1.3bn in annual aid it supplies to the Egyptian military in the wake of last July's coup and the violent dispersals of the pro-Morsi sit-ins, though it cancelled joint military training exercises in September. AlJazeera

Egipto: A tomada do poder pelo marechal de campo Al-Sisi

The prospect of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi becoming Egypt’s President offers, at the minimum, the virtue of clarity. The Egyptian military, which on Monday “mandated” its Chief of Staff to stand for President, has never actually been out of power in the Land of the Pharaohs. Al-Sisi became its public face only on July 3 last year, the day the career soldier stepped before a microphone and announced the removal of the only freely elected government in the nation’s thousands-year-old history. The ecstatic cheers that greeted the announcement spoke volumes about Egypt’s disenchantment with the clannish and tin-eared Muslim Brotherhood administration that al-Sisi sent packing. The adulation also demonstrated the comfort level of many ordinary Egyptians for being ruled by men in uniform. In many countries where a military coup has taken place, the etiquette calls for a firm suggestion that the top brass, having performed a distasteful but necessary duty, leave the field of politics and “go back to their barracks.” In Egypt, the cry being heard after al-Sisi’s nomination was: “The military and the people are one hand.” It was heard in Tahrir Square almost three years ago to the day. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces, soon to be widely known by the scabrous-sounding acronym SCAF, issued Communique No. 1, a statement supporting the “legitimate demands” of protesters demanding the removal then of Hosni Mubarak as President. Like Anwar Sadat before him, and Gamal Abdel Nasser before Sadat, Mubarak was a military man. “You know, we’ve always had the military running things,” a liberal activist told me on the banks of the Nile, shortly after Morsi had been removed. “It’s as much a part of Egypt as the Nile.” Al-Sisi is the latest, if least known, in the line. Born in Cairo in 1955, he was raised in a modest home in the Gamaleya neighborhood. His father made furniture; his mother was described in rare published profiles as devout. Al-Sisi joined the military as a career soldier. Though he never saw combat — Egypt’s last war was in 1973, against Israel, and he graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy four years later — he rose steadily through the ranks, going abroad to study in Britain and, more important, the U.S. Washington’s intimate involvement with the Egyptian military dates back more than a century, to the 18 veterans of the American Civil War who arrived to train its armed forces in 1869. It was the Americans who first urged the establishment of the staff and naval colleges that dominate any map of Cairo today; the military also dominates a large portion of the Egyptian economy. The relationship with the U.S. remained strong, both through exchanges like the one that brought al-Sisi to the U.S. War College to study for a master’s degree in 2006, and the $3 billion in direct military aid that flowed from Sadat’s decision to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. A portion of the money was withheld after the July 3 coup, a vacillation that al-Sisi denounced bitterly. But the vital relationship persists. Al-Sisi and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel speak on the phone regularly. (MORE: Egypt’s Military-Backed Rulers Brand Muslim Brotherhood ‘Terrorist’ and Extend Crackdown) Al-Sisi’s popularity on the Egyptian street was like his sudden emergence in the top ranks of its military — elevated in 2012 to the post of Defense Minister by President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist whose scant year in office was defined by a majoritarian impulse and rising distrust of the Brotherhood that too long remained his point of reference. Al-Sisi had replaced Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, a septuagenarian shunted aside by Morsi in what was then seen as a deft and felicitous political move. In time it was understood as a changing of the guard supported by a younger generation of officers. When al-Sisi joined the general staff, he was among the youngest at the table, and held the intelligence portfolio. That Morsi selected him in his Cabinet suggested a level of comfort with al-Sisi’s Muslim faith. In a detail that was widely repeated as evidence of his family’s piety, one of the general’s daughters was reported to wear the niqab, which covers the entire face. But the general made clear in public statements that his priority was Egyptian unity and that the military would be its guarantor. First privately — and finally, publicly and angrily — al-Sisi was dismayed at Morsi’s rejection of his overtures to bring the Brotherhood and other stakeholders in Egypt’s future together to hash out their differences. By late June of 2013, the overtures had turned to ultimatums — calling for people to take to the streets to signal their appetite for a military intervention. “We understand also that the military’s intervention to support the Egyptians was not a surprise,” al-Sisi told the Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth a few weeks after the coup. “We can go back [through] my statements, starting with my invitation to the political powers in Egypt to come to a negotiating table for reconciliation in November of last year until the last 48-hour deadline I gave the President and the political powers to come to a compromise.”
The military wrapped its takeover not only in the flag, but also the original 2011 uprising — in the days after July 3, Egyptian flags were draped from helicopters, painted in the sky by fighter jets and dropped by the thousands over Tahrir Square. And the armaments were not just for show: hundreds of Brotherhood supporters have been shot in the streets, and the organization declared a terrorist group. With a shooting war with religious extremists under way in the Sinai Peninsula, the lines between political Islam and extremism have disappeared, at least in the public space that the Egyptian military has taken over. A new constitution passed a referendum with the kind of support — 98% — associated with the sham presidential elections under Mubarak. Activists who dared post a sign urging a no vote were taken into custody. Through it all, al-Sisi — all but unknown two years earlier — appeared to grow more comfortable with the role of the Indispensable Man, left vacant since Mubarak. He was promoted to field marshal just a few hours before being nominated by his fellow officers as the nation’s President. “I have a long history with visions,” al-Sisi is heard to say in an interview session with a friendly journalist, on a tape that was later leaked. “For example, I once saw myself carrying a sword with ‘No God but Allah’ engraved on it in red … In another, I saw President Sadat, and he told me that he knew he would be President of Egypt, so I responded that I know I will be President too.” It hasn’t happened yet. But after Monday’s events, the field marshal’s election has taken on a certain foreordained quality. Read more: Egypt: Abdul Fattah al-Sisi Wins Army Support for Presidential Run | TIME.com

28.1.14

RCA: Necessários pelo menos 10.000 capacetes azuis

The UN believes at least 10,000 troops will be required in any force sent to end unrest in Central African Republic, the French UN envoy says. Ambassador Gerard Araud described the situation in CAR as "very, very dire". His comment comes after the UN Security Council approved a resolution allowing European troops to use force in CAR. About a million people - 20% of the population - have fled their homes during months of religious violence, after rebels seized power last March. Speaking to reporters, Mr Araud said the African Union force in the country, intending to reach 6,000 troops, "is considered now too low because frankly the situation is very, very dire and the country is huge". Threat of sanctions The UN Security Council resolution, which was passed unanimously, allows reinforcements to use "all necessary measures" to protect civilians in the country, which has been in near anarchy since its president was overthrown 10 months ago. Seleka Muslim militias evacuate the Camp de Roux downtown Bangui, Central African Republic, Monday Jan. 27, 2014, to relocate and join other Selekas at the PK11 camp. Former rebels, mostly Muslims, are being evacuated from military camps In addition to the use of force, the resolution allows for sanctions against the ringleaders of groups blamed for massacres and human rights abuses. Security Council members have been alarmed by the vicious cycle of vengeance between Muslim and Christian militias in the Central African Republic, says the BBC's Nada Tawfik in New York. There is concern that without a stronger international response - the situation will degenerate into a countrywide religious divide and spiral out of control, she adds. The EU has agreed to send up to 600 troops to help African and French troops already deployed in the country to prevent further bloodshed. France, the former colonial power, has 1,600 troops in CAR, working with some 4,000 from African countries. On Monday, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said the situation was getting even worse despite the inauguration of a new leader last week. She called for more international help, saying Muslim civilians were being targeted. Many Christian communities set up vigilante groups, accusing the mainly Muslim rebels of attacking them. Also on Monday, Christian and Muslims leaders asked UK Prime Minister David Cameron for more assistance. CAR is rich in gold and diamonds but years of unrest and poor governance have left most of its 4.6 million people in poverty. BBC

Bissau: Uma carta de Carlos Gomes Júnior

«Sua Excelência Senhor Ban Ki-Moon Secretário-Geral das Nações Unidas Lisboa, 27 de Janeiro de 2014 Assunto: Guiné-Bissau – eleições gerais marcadas para dia 16 Março 2014 Apresentamos a V. Exa. os nossos melhores cumprimentos, com votos de um Feliz Ano de 2014. Aproximando-se a data de prevista realização das eleições gerais no meu País, a República da Guiné-Bissau, é em espírito de sentido cívico e patriótico que endereçamos esta missiva a V. Exa para dar conta da nossa crescente inquietação quanto ao degradado ambiente político e socioeconómico hoje vivido pela Guiné-Bissau e pelo seu Povo, por demais evidenciado pelas reiteradas violações dos direitos humanos, de intimidação psicológica, de violência física contra opositores ou simples vozes dissonantes, por uma notória repressão e opressão dos fundamentais direitos e liberdades de expressão e de manifestação. Uma vez mais manifesto, reitero e sublinho a minha firme intenção e vontade de defender e servir os interesses do Povo guineense, na minha qualidade de cidadão guineense que deu provas reconhecidas enquanto líder governamental, e ainda como candidato mais votado nas eleições presidenciais de 12 de Abril de 2012, brutalmente interrompidas por um golpe de estado militar. Para tal asiste-me plenamente o direito, como V. Exa certamente reconhecerá, de regressar à minha Pátria, para junto do meu Povo. Contudo, e também como certamente é do conhecimento de V. Exa, uma sucessão de factos ocorridos desde há largos meses e também recentemente, clara e frontalmente em violação dos princípios básicos do Estado de Direito Democrático provam à saciedade que as ditas autoridades de transição, em conluio com as autoridades militares golpistas, constituem e constituirão sérios e recorrentes obstáculos a um processo eleitoral verdadeiramente livre, justo e inclusivo. Em abono de tal, apenas exemplifico com os últimos acontecimentos inaceitáveis de prepotência e arbitrariedade ocorridos no passado dia 17 de Janeiro, com a invasão de várias instalações e bens das Nações Unidas por elementos das Forças Armados e de segurança alegando conhecimento da minha presença nessas instalações e com o intuito de me deterem. Estas acções patenteiam, uma vez mais, a arbitrariedade da conduta das autoridades de transição e os muitos sérios riscos de segurança para a defesa da minha candidatura no terreno, bem como para a perspectiva de umas eleições gerais verdadeiramente livres, justas e inclusivas. Gostaria também de partilhar com V. Exa a nossa apreensão quanto ao desenrolar do processo de recenseamento eleitoral caracterizado, desde o início, por inúmeras irregularidades que fazem perigar não só todo o processo eleitoral, por princípio já de si descredibilizado, adiado por duas vezes, como ainda todos os esforços e empenho da comunidade internacional tendentes ao retorno da ordem constitucional e ao primado do Estado de direito democrático constitucional na Guiné-Bissau. Excelentíssimo Senhor, A convicção que me anima e sustenta a minha legítima aspiração em colocar a minha candidatura à superior consideração do Povo guineense advém dos meus elementares direitos de cidadania guineense e é confortada pela já várias vezes anteriormente manifestada vontade soberana do Povo guineense. E se em democracia reina e deve reinar a vontade do Povo, então esta deverá ser respeitada por todos os meios possíveis contra os interesses sectários, ilegítimos e altamente perniciosos ao interesse público guineense, sob pena também de ferir os respectivos princípios básicos que são património e direito de toda a Humanidade e por certo também do sofrido Povo guineense. Foi, assim, em coerência com esta firme convicção que me recenseei e que diligencio para a formalização da minha candidatura às eleições presidenciais agendadas para 16 de Março de 2014, direito inalienável que me assiste como a qualquer cidadão guineense, como estou certo V. Exa reconhecerá. Nesse sentido apelo a V. Exa para que exerça os seus bons ofícios e capacidades mandatadas visando promover todas as medidas necessárias, justas e apropriadas que permitam garantir a segurança e a verdadeira democraticidade dos importantes actos eleitorais que se avizinham na República da Guiné-Bissau, no que se inclui naturalmente a minha própria candidatura e campanha eleitoral no território do meu País. O exercício de tal direito inalienável, deve ser garantido e assegurado por quem de direito, com destaque para a Comunidade internacional. Esperando que esta minha comunicação mereça de V. Exa a atenção devida, em sentido de urgência e em prol de uma verdadeira democracia na Guiné-Bissau para o qual patenteio a minha inteira disponibilidade para aprofundar o assunto exposto. Queira aceitar os protestos da minha mais alta estima e consideração. _________________ Carlos Gomes Júnior Presidente do PAIGC» (No blog Ditadura do Consenso)

Conakry: Ajuda da União Europeia

CONAKRY, Jan 27 (Reuters) - The European Union has released 140 million euros ($192 million) in aid to Guinea after resuming full cooperation with the West African nation following a successful return to civilian rule, the bloc's executive said on Monday. The European Union, Guinea's main donor, suspended ties with the mineral-rich nation following a 2008 military coup. It conditioned the resumption of cooperation on a return to civilian rule. After the election of President Alpha Conde in 2010, a parliamentary vote needed to complete the process was repeatedly delayed as opposition parties and Conde's ruling coalition argued over the organisation of the poll. The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, said in a statement that the 140 million euros - left over from a suspended five-year development programme - will be used to finance projects in the transport, justice and security sectors. "The European Union is committed to supporting the Guinean government's efforts in finding its way back to sustainable and fair growth," EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said in a statement. ($1 = 0.7307 euros)

Egipto: Presidenciais em Abril, ou a vez do marechal Al-Sisi

Egypt's interim government has announced presidential elections have been moved forward. This means parliamentary polls will happen later, not first as originally envisaged by the military-backed authorities' "roadmap" to democracy. The move is like to intensify speculation over whether army chief field marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi will stand. Many have urged to him to stand after he led the removal of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last July. Mr Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was deposed after mass protests against his rule. Rival rallies Interim President Adly Mansour announced the decision to bring forward the presidential poll in a televised speech, saying the decision had been taken after dialogue with "national forces and representatives of various orientations and trends". Supporters of the military held rallies on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Thousands gathered in high-profile locations including Tahrir Square - the focal point of the 18-day 2011 popular revolt - many waving Egyptian flags and banners showing army chief Gen Sisi. Anti-government protests also took place, with 49 people killed in clashes and arrests reported in several cities. Amidst continuing violence and instability, many Egyptians believe Gen Sisi is the strong man the country needs, the BBC's Arab affairs analyst Sebastian Usher reports. But others are concerned that if he stands and wins - which seems the likeliest outcome - it will make him too strong, giving him all but complete control of the now modified roadmap, our correspondent adds. ---------------Egypt transition dates 14-15 January - Egyptians vote on new constitution, passed by 98% on a turnout of 38.6% Presidential elections to be held in April Parliamentary elections now set to be held before end of July BBC

27.1.14

RCA: A situação está a agravar-se

The security situation in the Central African Republic is getting even worse despite the inauguration of a new leader, the UN human rights chief says. "Muslim civilians are now extremely vulnerable," said Navi Pillay. Her statement came as a Muslim and Christian leader met British Prime Minister David Cameron to lobby for more international assistance. About a million people - 20% of the population - have fled their homes during months of religious violence. "I call as a matter of utmost urgency upon the international community to strengthen peacekeeping efforts... Many lives are at stake," said Ms Pillay. Mob in Bangui Mobs continue to hunt out Muslim civilians France, the former colonial power, has 1,600 troops in CAR, working with some 4,000 from African countries. Last week, new President Catherine Samba-Panza said this was not enough. Since the country's first Muslim leader Michel Djotodia resigned earlier this month, there have been widespread reports of revenge attacks on Muslim civilians. Members of the Christian majority said they were attacked by members of Mr Djotodia's former rebel group who installed him as leader last year. But Archbishop of Bangui Dieudonne Nzapalainga and Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, president of the Islamic Central African community, said the unrest was caused by politicians. "This is not a religious crisis; it's a military-political crisis," Mr Layama told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme. Dieudonne Nzapalainga (R), archbishop of Bangui and Imam Oumar Kobine Layama, president of the Islamic Central African community (file photo) The two religious leaders warned of a possible famine "We need help for the population, because all our infrastructure is gone, shattered. There is no education, no health care, no medicine," he said before meeting the British prime minister. "Homes have been razed and famine is on the horizon if we do nothing." Catherine Samba-Panza was sworn in last week by the interim parliament. The businesswomen is seen a politically neutral. CAR is rich in gold and diamonds but years of unrest and poor governance have left most of its 4.6 million people in poverty. BBC

Egipto: Chegou a hora do marechal Sisi

Egypt's top military body has given its approval for army chief Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to run for the presidency, state media report. Field Marshal Sisi led the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader, in July. He is expected to accept the nomination from the Supreme Council for Armed Forces (Scaf) and resign from his military position within days. Earlier, the interim president promoted him from general to field marshal. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Three years after the revolution of 2011 swept away the military strongman, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt could soon by ruled by another. The newly minted Field Marshal, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, has no experience of war but has shown himself to be a skilled political tactician. He became a national hero, for some, after he ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in a popularly backed coup last July. His popularity has spawned a cult, and his image adorns everything from mugs and T-shirts to chocolates and pyjamas. To supporters, the softly-spoken former military intelligence chief is a strong leader who can restore stability after years of unrest. To critics he is a military hardliner who is returning Egypt to the repression of the past, with mass arrests and killings by the security forces. Saviour or villain, his victory looks all but guaranteed. But he will inherit a deeply divided country, and a failing economy. Without quick solutions he too could face the wrath of the people. Field Marshal Sisi is popular with much of the Egyptian public and analysts say he would be expected to win the presidential election, to be held by late April. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people joined a rally in Cairo to mark the anniversary of the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak and call on Field Marshal Sisi to stand. The BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo says many Egyptians see him as being the strongman needed to pull their country out of its political crisis, but that others fear his election could mark a return to the authoritarianism the revolution sought to end. Saturday also saw widespread anti-government protests, with dozens of people killed in clashes and arrests reported in several cities. Field Marshal Sisi served as defence minister under Mr Morsi, but spearheaded the military intervention which removed him after mass street protests. Earlier this month a new constitution, replacing one introduced under Mr Morsi, was overwhelmingly approved in a referendum. The military-backed government said the vote had been an "unrivalled success" but critics say the document favours the army at the expense of the people, and fails to deliver on the 2011 revolution that led to the fall of Mubarak. The banned Muslim Brotherhood, which Mr Morsi comes from and which boycotted the referendum, dismissed it as a "farce". BBC

Moçambique: Uma forte presença chinesa

O novo palácio presidencial de Moçambique, composto por dois pisos de mármore e cristal com vista para a Baía de Maputo, e construído por chineses, foi inaugurado sexta-feira pelo Presidente, Armando Guebuza. “Expressamos a nossa gratidão e reconhecimento ao Governo da República Popular da China, que criou as condições para a construção deste projecto”. As autoridades não divulgaram o valor do financiamento desta obra feita pela China Foreign Economic Construction Corporation no último ano e meio, que também construiu terminais de aeroportos, o estádio nacional de futebol e começou a construção de um hotel de cinco estrelas no terreno onde está implantado o Centro Internacional de Conferências Joaquim Chissano, em Maputo. O novo edifício “é um testemunho de amizade e cooperação entre os povos moçambicanos e chineses”, congratulou-se o Presidente. Correio da Manhã, de Maputo

26.1.14

Um artigo de ficção: O Concílio Vaticano III

For the last six months, Catholic cardinals, bishops and theologians have been deliberating in Vatican City, discussing the future of the church and redefining long-held Catholic doctrines and dogmas. The Third Vatican Council, is undoubtedly the largest and most important since the Second Vatican Council was concluded in 1962. Pope Francis convened the new council to “finally finish the work of the Second Vatican Council.” While some traditionalists and conservative reactionaries on the far right have decried these efforts, they have delighted progressives around the world. The Third Vatican Council concluded today with Pope Francis announcing that Catholicism is now a “modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes. The time has come to abandon all intolerance. We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone. Even atheists acknowledge the divine. Through acts of love and charity the atheist acknowledges God as well, and redeems his own soul, becoming an active participant in the redemption of humanity.” “Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace. Like the fable of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God” Pope Francis declared. In a speech that shocked many, the Pope claimed “All religions are true, because they are true in the hearts of all those who believe in them. What other kind of truth is there? In the past, the church has been harsh on those it deemed morally wrong or sinful. Today, we no longer judge. Like a loving father, we never condemn our children. Our church is big enough for heterosexuals and homosexuals, for the pro-life and the pro-choice! For conservatives and liberals, even communists are welcome and have joined us. We all love and worship the same God.” One statement in the Pope’s speech has sent traditionalists into a fit of confusion and hysteria. “God is changing and evolving as we are, For God lives in us and in our hearts. When we spread love and kindness in the world, we touch our own divinity and recognize it. The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture. In accordance with our new understanding, we will begin to ordain women as cardinals, bishops and priests. In the future, it is my hope that we will have a woman pope one day. Let no door be closed to women that is open to men!” In addition to the Pope’s sweeping calls for tolerance and a new progressive understanding of Catholicism, he condemned racism, raising his voice and pounding the podium in front of him. Pope Francis spent over an hour castigating anti-immigrant politicians, parties and individuals. Wagging his finger sternly with righteous indignation, the Pope shouted “Racism today is the ultimate evil in the world. When Italians, Spanish or French turn back the boats of African migrants seeking a better life, are they not like the inn keeper who told Mary and Joseph that there was no room for them and the infant Christ? These migrants are children of God and we are commanded to love them!” His voice loudly echoing through St. Peter’s basilica, the Pope stated “those who would dare to turn immigrants away, be they legal or undocumented, turn their backs on Christ himself! A racist is not a true Christian. A racist casts aside his humanity to become a beast, a demon! He is the embodiment and personification of evil, a Satan!” To a chorus of thunderous applause, Pope Francis stated “because Muslims, Hindus and African Animists are also made in the very likeness and image of God, to hate them is to hate God! To reject them to is to reject God and the Gospel of Christ. Whether we worship at a church, a synagogue, a mosque or a mandir, it does not matter. Whether we call God, Jesus, Adonai, Allah or Krishna, we all worship the same God of love. This truth is self-evident to all who have love and humility in their hearts!” In a announcement that shocked many people, Pope Francis warned that “those who seek to deny a home to the migrant, to the African and the Muslim, risk their membership in the church. We will consider excommunication for those whose souls willingly dwell in the darkness and evil of intolerance and racism. Satan himself is a metaphor or a personification, for the collective evils of mankind. Today, these evils manifest foremost as racism, intolerance, religious persecution and bigotries of all kinds.” A couple of prominent Catholic cardinals have responded to Pope Francis’ declarations by leaving the church. Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria asked, “what do we stand for if we declare that truth is relative? On the contrary, truth exists independently of our personal feelings. All of this talk of love and tolerance is hollow if we have no identity of our own, if we stand for nothing. I charge that Francis has become a heretic, and that he is not a valid Pope. Indeed, Francis is no longer even a Catholic. The seat of Saint Peter is vacant. I am now a Sedevacantist. I should have become one long ago. The Vatican has embraced ecumenism in the past, but worse than that, it has now embraced moral relativism on abortion and homosexuality. At the same time it is embracing moral absolutism in favour of illegal immigration and cultural genocide against Europe.” In his most controversial statement, Cardinal Arinze said “Islam has overrun my own country, and now it threatens to overrun Europe. Some parts of Nigeria now live under Islamic Sharia law. Catholics there are no longer free to practice their faith publicly. Francis is a fool if he thinks that his liberal immigration policy will end well. He has betrayed western civilization. Vatican City will one day become a giant mosque if things continue in Europe along their present course. Those in the West who ignore this truth, do so at their own peril.” In an angry and vitriolic rant revealing deep self-hating tendencies, the African Cardinal Arinze stated “There is nothing wrong with Europeans who want to protect their borders. The problem is that there is not enough border control and the immigration policies are far too lenient in Europe. Is it racist to desire to preserve one’s own home? Why is it racist to want to preserve your own culture and a future for your people and your children? Have white people gone stupid today?” This much is clear, the Catholic Church has made a decision to rejoin humanity and to reject intolerance and extremism. The church has lost a few narrow-minded bigots, with reports of some small parishes and a few cardinals and bishops defecting, but Pope Francis has gained the friendship of the world. Pope Francis deserves praise for taking a humane stand in defence of human rights and against bigotry. Credit to diversity Chronicle

24.1.14

A liberdade no Mundo continua a diminuir

The state of freedom declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, according to Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House’s annual country-by-country report on global political rights and civil liberties. Particularly notable were developments in Egypt, which endured across-the-board reversals in its democratic institutions following a military coup. There were also serious setbacks to democratic rights in other large, politically influential countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Venezuela, and Indonesia. Findings of the 41st edition of Freedom in the World, the oldest, most authoritative report of democracy and human rights, include: ◾Fifty-four countries showed overall declines in political rights and civil liberties, compared with 40 that showed gains. ◾For the eighth consecutive year, Freedom in the World recorded more declines in democracy worldwide than gains. ◾Some leaders effectively relied on “modern authoritarianism,” crippling their political opposition without annihilating it, and flouting the rule of law while maintaining a veneer of order, legitimacy, and prosperity. ◾Central to modern authoritarians is the capture of institutions that undergird political pluralism. They seek to dominate not only the executive and legislative branches, but also the media, judiciary, civil society, economy, and security forces. There were some positive signs for the year: ◾Civil liberties improved in Tunisia, the most promising of the Arab Spring countries. ◾Pakistan showed gains due to successful elections and an orderly rotation of power. ◾In Africa, gains occurred in Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo, and Zimbabwe. ◾The addition of Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, and Pakistan raised the number of electoral democracies to 122. Worst of the Worst: Ten countries were given the lowest possible rating of 7 for both political rights and civil liberties. Central African Republic Somalia Equatorial Guinea Sudan Eritrea Syria North Korea Turkmenistan Saudi Arabia Uzbekistan Middle East and North Africa The Middle East and North Africa registered the worst civil liberties scores of any region. Gains: Iraq’s political rights rating improved as the result of greater political activity by opposition parties during provincial elections, and Tunisia earned an increase in its civil liberties rating. Declines: Egypt saw its status decline from Partly Free to Not Free. The Gaza Strip received a decline in its political rights rating. Sub-Saharan Africa In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has been the most politically volatile region, with major democratic breakthroughs in some countries, and coups, insurgencies, and authoritarian crackdowns in others. This trend continued in 2013. Gains: Mali moved from Not Free to Partly Free due to successful elections and an improved security situation in the north. Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Zimbabwe all saw ratings improvements. Declines: The Central African Republic dropped from Partly Free to Not Free because of a rebellion that ousted the president and parliament and suspended the constitution, and Sierra Leone’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to persistent problems with corruption. Ratings declines were also seen in South Sudan and Uganda. Eurasia Eurasia continues to be one of the most repressive areas in the world. Three of its countries—Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are among the worst-rated. Russia intensified domestic persecution of political opponents and vulnerable minority groups in 2013. Gains: None. Declines: Azerbaijan suffered a downgrade in its civil liberties rating due to blatant property rights violations by the government. Asia-Pacific China became increasingly intolerant of dissent in 2013, as officials expanded the criminalization of online speech and police arrested dozens of activists who had advocated anticorruption reforms. Gains: Bhutan, Japan, Maldives, Papua New Guinea, and Tonga all registered improvements. Declines: Indonesia’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to a new law restricting the activities of nongovernmental organizations. South Korea registered a downgrade in its political rights rating. Americas The death in March 2013 of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez brought early hopes of improvements in the country’s political rights and civil liberties environment. However, his successor, Nicolás Maduro, further weakened the independent media, reduced the opposition’s ability to serve as a check on government policy, and made threats to civil society groups. Gains: Nicaragua’s political rights and civil liberties ratings improved due consultations on proposed constitutional reforms, gradual improvements for the rights of women, and advances in efforts to combat human trafficking. Declines: The Dominican Republic and Panama suffered declines due to the stripping of citizenship from Dominicans of Haitian descent and the Panamanian government’s corruption problems. Europe Most countries in Europe showed respect for democratic standards and civil liberties, even as many faced growing nationalist sentiment in response to an influx of immigrants. However, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan displayed increasingly authoritarian tendencies, including a crackdown on protesters in Istanbul and a campaign against critical voices in the media. Gains: Italy’s political rights rating rose following free and fair national elections and improvements in the country’s anticorruption environment. Declines: None.

Mali: Cruzada francesa contra o Islão

BAMAKO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - French forces killed at least 11 suspected Islamist fighters and seized large amounts of weapons and ammunition during an operation in Mali's northern region of Timbuktu, a French army source in Mali said on Friday. "The operation was carried out on Wednesday night around a hundred kilometres north of Timbuktu," the source said, requesting anonymity. "Eleven terrorists were killed and one French soldier was wounded." (Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Bissau: Uma montanha de problemas a equacionar

Por Francisco Henriques da Silva (no blog Luís Graça e camaradas da Guiné) Raul M. Braga Pires, politólogo, arabista, professor da Universidade de Rabat e investigador do Observatório Político em Marrocos, doutorando do ISCSP, edita com regularidade um blogue, também publicado no conhecido semanário “Expresso”, sobre assuntos do Médio Oriente e Magrebe, tendo dedicado alguma atenção à Guiné-Bissau, onde se deslocou váriasvezes. Lançou recentemente um livro “Magrheb/Machrek – Olhares luso-marroquinos sobre a Primavera Árabe” (Diário de Bordo, Lisboa, 2013), onde reproduz todos os textos que publicou no “Expresso” e no dito blogue. Após uma incursão pelo Norte de África, Médio Oriente e Sahel, ou seja o prato forte da obra, digamos assim, apresenta três capítulos (ou, se se quiser, 3 “posts”) relevantes e bastante informativos sobre a atualidade daquele pais lusófono oeste-africano, que, no seu entender, tem que ver com a evolução política e estratégica das regiões contíguas. Daí a sua inclusão. Depois de ler o que Raúl Braga Pires escreveu, elaborei uma pequena recensão, que complementei com outros elementos e com algumas reflexões da minha lavra. O autor começa por se referir à “intentona/inventona” (?) de 21 de Outubro de 2012, classificando a situação como sendo “confusa” e considerando que “a realidade ultrapassa em muito a ficção”. Acrescentaria que estas classificações e considerações são quase eufemísticas perante o caos que é hoje a Guiné-Bissau e do qual teima em não sair. Braga Pires menciona a balantização do Poder político e militar (que, aliás, não é de hoje, mas que se terá acentuado com o “putsch” de 12 de Abril de 2012), em que Kumba Ialá emerge com ambições ao Poder (no meu entender e para que as coisas não aparentem ser tão óbvias, Kumba tem no terreno, como se sabe, gente sua e poderá controlar a situação de fora sem necessidade de grande exposição pessoal, manobra táctica que me parece óbvia). Menciona um sem-número de factos, bem como algumas suposições plausíveis, atenda-se ao contexto. Em primeiro lugar, assistia-se – e assiste-se - a uma tribalização do poder político e militar, donde no conflito balantas-felupes, os primeiros levaram necessariamente a melhor. As danças e contra-danças entre as classes castrense e política, a promiscuidade generalizada sobretudo a este nível, são o que se adivinha e não valerá a pena pôr muito mais na carta. Carlos Domingos Gomes (Cadogo), PM deposto e frustrado candidato presidencial, continua a aspirar elevar-se um dia à cadeira do Poder. A actuação do capitão Pansau N’Tchama é no mínimo surrealista e as suas ligações a Portugal e à CPLP (leia-se Angola e Cabo Verde) abstrusas. O autor suscita as estranhas coincidências de ter chegado a Bissau com uma equipa de reportagem a escassas horas da “intentona/inventona” e da libertação de Pansau N’Tchama, com alegadas ligações a Portugal, ter precisamente ocorrido na véspera da sua partida. Braga Pires faz uma análise do primeiro trimestre de 2013, salientando a chegada de Ramos Horta e a sua declaração algo desmedida ao considerar a “Guiné-Bissau como o país mais seguro da África Ocidental” (sic). O representante da ONU chega também num momento em que o PAIGC assina o Pacto de Transição e em que era já perceptível que o período transitório teria de ser necessariamente prorrogado. Neste quadro, há que tomar-se em atenção que o recenseamento biométrico da população não poderia ser feito durante a época das chuvas, o que levaria inevitavelmente a um adiamento das eleições. Apesar da descentralização anunciada e auto-elogiada pelo Governo, o autor põe em causa o recenseamento biométrico, efectuado sem grande publicidade nem campanhas de sensibilização junto da população. Neste contexto, acresceriam ainda enormes dificuldades de ordem logística e financeira. Tendo em conta os factores enunciados, o próprio PR admitiu a inevitabilidade de se prolongar o período de transição. Ao referir-se à cimeira da CEDEAO (Comunidade Económica de Estados da África Ocidental), que a Guiné-Bissau integra, considera Braga Pires que “a solução da questão Norte do Mali/terrorismo estará sempre dependente duma resolução dos conflitos internos da Guiné-Bissau, ambos os países têm governos provisórios saídos de golpes de Estado” . Com efeito, os dois países ter-se-ão comprometido a realizar sufrágios eleitorais até 31 de Dezembro de 2013. Viu-se. Por outro lado, haveria a necessidade do Governo de Transição ser reconhecido internacionalmente, para poder levar a cabo as tarefas a que se propôs, designadamente a condução do processo eleitoral, o que o autor admite como plausível. Mas, acrescento, com excepção da CEDEAO, mais ninguém o reconhece. Menos claro foi o julgamento do capitão Pansau N’Tchama que acusou o deposto CEMGFA, Zamora Induta, de o ter coagido à tentativa de “putsch” de 21 de Outubro de 2012, acusando as autoridades gambianas de envolvimento na suposta operação, bem como inúmeras personalidades locais com ligações ao PAIGC e a figuras militares e politicas, algumas de destaque como é o caso de Domingos Simões Pereira, então Secretário Executivo da CPLP. O julgamento, aduzo, poderia, por assim dizer, “limpar o terreno” de muitos elementos incómodos e permitir uma actuação “mãos livres” de António Indjai (actual CEMGFA) e de Bubo Na Tchuto, entre outros. Até aqui nada de novo, a Guiné-Bissau conhece desde há muito estes processos sombrios como devem ser conduzidos e para que servem. Alguns factos, porém, vêm a alterar o panorama. Em Abril de 2013, o almirante Bubo Na Tchuto é apanhado numa armadilha muito bem montada pela DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) norte-americana, detido em águas internacionais e levado para os EUA, a aguardar julgamento. Estavam em causa 4 toneladas de cocaína (cujo valor médio na rua pode atingir entre 130 a 160 milhões de Euros!). Sabia-se que Na Tchuto, bem como Papá Camará (Chefe de Estado Maior da Força Aérea) e o próprio António Indjai, estão desde há muito envolvidos no tráfico de droga. O primeiro estava identificado pela DEA desde 2010. Tanto quanto sei por outras fontes, a operação consistiria na troca de armamento das Forças Armadas da Guiné-Bissau para a guerrilha colombiana das FARC por cocaína. Não se trataria de armamento convencional, mas, sim, de mísseis terra-ar! Os agentes da DEA fizeram-se passar por membros da guerrilha. Em suma, estamos a falar de uma operação sofisticada a uma escala muito grande e que teria outros envolvimentos cujos pormenores, porém, desconheço. Por outro lado, soube-se que Na Tchuto permitiu a evasão de 3 jihadistas mauritanos acusados de terem assassinado 4 turistas franceses no sul da Mauritânia em 2007. Um agente secreto norte-americano teria sido despachado para o local mas apareceu morto (degolado), o que indicaria a presença de fundamentalistas islâmicos. Na opinião de Braga Pires, para além de traficante de droga, Bubo Na Tchuto teria ligações à AQMI (Al Qaeda no Magrebe Islâmico) que opera na África Ocidental, designadamente na Guiné-Bissau. Para a detenção de Na Tchuto, os norte-americanos terão presumivelmente obtido a cumplicidade de Indjai, uma vez que este queria livrar-se de um rival e os norte-americanos a detenção do almirante. Este último era objecto de um processo de reabilitação por envolvimento num golpe de Estado (mais um no rol que averba a Guiné-Bissau) em 26 de Dezembro de 2011, que levou ao seu exílio temporário na Gâmbia. Ora, Na Tchuto tinha por objectivo principal substituir Indjai como CEMGFA. É tão simples quanto isto. Como refere a justo título o autor e citamos: “A primeira novidade da acusação apresentada pelos americanos é absolutamente demolidora para as duas principais figuras do Período de Transição: o Presidente interino, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo e o Primeiro-ministro interino, Rui Duarte Barros, são implicados nas provas apresentadas pela DEA.” Aparentemente, essas altas figuras do Estado beneficiariam de 13% do “produto/negócio” (?), apesar dos desmentidos indignados, a dúvida obviamente permanece. Dizer que a credibilidade da Guiné-Bissau e das mais altas figuras civis e militares do Estado foi afectada é um mero eufemismo. Resta saber neste quadro pouco auspicioso como é que a Guiné-Bissau se vai financiar para poder realizar eleições? O próprio Secretário-geral da ONU já admitiu que pode deixar cair a Guiné-Bissau e abandoná-la como a Somália. Se a Guiné-Bissau não consegue assumir as funções basilares de um Estado será ou não um Estado falhado? Era bom que não se mastigassem as palavras. Aliás, os acontecimentos mais recentes naquele país, caso dos 74 sírios embarcados à força nos aviões da TAP, que levaram à suspensão das ligações aéreas Lisboa-Bissau, reforçam a nossa tese, isto é que não se está perante um Estado minimamente sério. No meio de tudo isto e tendo em conta o julgamento do capitão Pansau N’Tchama, as tensões étnicas, as fricções do foro castrense, as rivalidades entre diferentes pseudo-líderes civis e militares e, agora, os atritos inter-religiosos geram um quadro de forte instabilidade que pode desembocar numa guerra civil gravíssima. O alerta aqui fica. Registo que Raúl Braga Pires chama a atenção para um facto novo: o conflito entre sunitas e xiitas. A maioria da população islamizada é como se sabe de obediência sunita, mas os libaneses, de fé xiita, há muito radicados no país, já criaram raízes e prosélitos na Guiné-Bissau. Iremos assistir à criação de mais um foco de tensão, até agora insuspeitado? Haveria que reflectir-se sobre a intervenção francesa no Mali e no problema da droga. A questão é, para todos os efeitos, regional. De acordo com várias fontes fidedignas, o circuito da droga parece estar a alimentar os jihadistas e a Guiné-Bissau aparece nesta equação como um factor que, pelas razões expostas, não pode ser ignorado. A pacificação do Mali – e sabendo-se da proliferação dos grupos islamitas por todo os Estados do Sahel – é uma questão de importância vital, mas essa intervenção não pode limitar-se apenas ao Norte do Mali, como se tratando apenas de um abcesso localizado a extirpar, a Guiné-Bissau, cujos governantes actuais não merecem qualquer credibilidade, terá também de ser intervencionada, ou seja o alargamento da Missão de Paz no Mali pode (deve) estender-se à Guiné-Bissau. Bom, já agora, eleições para quando? ____________

23.1.14

Adiado sine die o julgamento do Presidente do Quénia

La Cour pénale internationale a annoncé, ce jeudi, le report sine die de l’ouverture du procès pour crimes contre l'humanité du président kényan Uhuru Kenyatta. La chambre de première instance de la Cour pénale internationale (CPI) a décidé, jeudi 23 janvier, de reporter la date du début du procès pour crimes contre l’humanité du président kényan Uhuru Kenyatta, prévu le 5 février. Une audience technique aura lieu à cette date pour discuter du délai de trois mois demandé par l'accusation, après le retrait de deux témoins. Le 19 décembre dernier, la procureure Fatou Bensouda avait demandé le report du procès, affirmant ne plus avoir suffisamment de preuves après le retrait de ces deux témoins. L'un d'eux avait admis avoir livré un faux témoignage contre le président kényan concernant un évènement crucial. Son témoignage concernait une réunion qui aurait eu lieu entre Uhuru Kenyatta et des membres du principal groupe criminel du Kenya, les Mungikis. Or, ces liens présumés sont au cœur des arguments du procureur dans ce procès. Le chef de l'État kényan est poursuivi pour son rôle présumé lors des violences ayant suivi la réélection contestée du président Mwai Kibaki qui avaient fait plus de 1 000 morts et plus de 600 000 déplacés. William Ruto, le vice-président kényan, est poursuivi pour des faits similaires mais se trouvait dans le camp opposé à celui d'Uhuru Kenyatta à l'époque des faits. Les deux hommes sont maintenant alliés politiques et ont été élus en 2013 sur un ticket commun. De multiples reports Il ne s'agit pas du premier contretemps dans la procédure contre le président kényan, son procès ayant déjà été reporté à de nombreuses reprises. Les questions d'intimidation de témoins et de faux témoignages sont elles aussi récurrentes. Le procès contre son vice-président William Ruto a lui aussi connu des retards, mais a finalement débuté le 10 septembre. Le bureau de Fatou Bensouda a accusé le Kenya de ne pas coopérer avec la CPI, et de ne pas avoir fourni des preuves qu'il considère comme cruciales dans le cas du président. Les deux dirigeants kényans ont promis de coopérer avec la CPI, mais se sont aussi plaints d'un procès qui les obligent à se déplacer aux Pays-Bas, handicapant leur gestion du pays, et notamment dans la lutte contre les combattants islamistes en Somalie. Depuis l'ouverture du procès de William Ruto, le 10 septembre, la CPI a ajourné le procès et permis à celui-ci de s'en absenter pour qu'il puisse rentrer au Kenya gérer certaines affaires au caractère exceptionnel. (Avec AFP)

Carta de Joaquim Chissano a todos os dirigentes africanos

This is a transformative moment for Africa – and indeed, for the world. Decision-makers from across the continent, under the able leadership of Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, are finalising a crucial document outlining a common position for Africa on the development agenda that will replace the Millennium Development Goals after 2015. Since the 1990s, Africa has gained considerable strength in international negotiations by sticking together and forging consensus on important issues. It is a strategy that has empowered us in many ways. And it means that our voices will be heard when the framework that will guide governments, donors and development partners for years to come is negotiated. So we need to be careful what we ask for. I urge our leaders to draw from the lessons of the past, but also to heed current realities. And to look ahead to what the future is calling forth – because this new development agenda will affect the lives of millions of our people at a very critical time for Africa. I encourage leaders to take a strong stand for fundamental human rights, and advance the trajectory for basic freedoms. This means pushing for three priorities that lie at the heart of sustainable development: the empowerment of women and gender equality; the rights and empowerment of adolescents and youth; and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of all people. These interlinked priorities and their policy implications have been carefully analysed by the High-Level Task Force for the ICPD that I co-chair. We have found that they represent not only human rights imperatives, but smart, cost-effective investments to foster more equitable, healthy, productive, prosperous and inclusive societies, and a more sustainable world. Sexual and reproductive health and rights, in particular, are a prerequisite for empowering women and the generations of young people on whom our future depends. This simply means granting every one the freedom – and the means -- to make informed decisions about very basic aspects of one's life – one's sexuality, health, and if, when and with whom to have relationships, marry or have children – without any form of discrimination, coercion or violence. This also implies convenient, affordable access to quality information and services and to comprehensive sexuality education. We can no longer afford to discriminate against people on the basis of age, sex, ethnicity, migrant status, sexual orientation and gender identity, or any other basis – we need to unleash the full potential of everyone. As an African who has been around a long time, I understand the resistance to these ideas. But I can also step back and see that the larger course of human history, especially of the past century or so, is one of expanding human rights and freedoms. African leaders should be at the helm of this, and not hold back. Not at this critical moment. The international agenda that we will help forge is not just for us here and now, but for the next generations and for the world. As I think about these issues, I am reminded of the words of our recently departed leader, who gained so much wisdom over the course of his long walk to freedom. "To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains," Nelson Mandela reminded us, "but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Let us live up to his immortal words. Read the original article on Theafricareport.com : An Open Letter to Africa's Leaders - Joaquim Chissano, former President of Mozambique |

22.1.14

Cimeira EUA-África, sem Bashir nem Mugabe

Après l'Élysée, les dirigeants africains sont invités début août à la Maison Blanche pour participer au premier sommet États-Unis - Afrique. Mais tous ne sont pas les bienvenus à Washington… Une première dans les relations africano-américaines. Barack Obama a invité les chefs d'État et de gouvernement du continent à prendre part à un sommet États-Unis-Afrique les 5 et 6 août prochains à Washington. L'annonce a été rendue publique le 21 janvier sur le site internet de la Maison Blanche. Objectif affiché : "renforcer les liens avec l'une des régions les plus dynamiques du monde", en mettant l'accent sur "les objectifs de l'administration américaine en matière de commerce et d'investissement et sur son engagement vers la sécurité et la gouvernance démocratique" sur le continent africain. Une liste de 47 pays africains Qui sont invités à ce sommet sans précédent ? "Il est trop tôt pour avoir tous les noms, explique une source proche du dossier. Il faut encore régler toutes questions protocolaires au cas par cas". Mais on peut déjà se faire une petite idée sur les probables invités de mois d'août de Barack Obama. Une liste circule en effet à la Maison Blanche reprenant 47 pays qui seraient en "bonnes relations avec les États-Unis" et dont les dirigeants seraient potentiellement les bienvenus aux États-Unis. Il s'git entre autres du président rwandais Paul Kagamé, malgré les récentes tensions entre les deux pays suite aux prises de position du gouvernement américain sur le soutien présumé de Kigali aux rebelles du Mouvement du 23-Mars (M23), dans l'est de la RDC, ou, plus récemment, sur l'assassinat de l'opposant Patrick Karegeya, ancien chef des services de renseignement extérieur du Rwanda. Le Kenya se retrouve également sur la liste. Son président Uhuru Kenyatta et son vice-président William Ruto sont pourtant poursuivis pour crimes contre l'humanité dans deux procès séparés devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI). Le président soudanais, Omar el-Béchir, recherché par la CPI, n'est en revanche pas le bienvenu : son nom ne figure pas sur la liste des États retenus par Washington. Le Zimbabwe, qui entretient des rapports exécrables avec les États-Unis, n'est pas non plus convié. L'opposant Morgan Tsvangirai (il avait été reçu en 2009 par Barack Obama à la Maison Blanche), qui faisait jusqu'ici le pont entre Harare et Washington, n'est plus à la tête du gouvernement zimbabwéen. Le poste de Premier ministre qu'il occupait a été supprimé au lendemain de la présidentielle controversée qui l'avait opposée fin juillet 2013 au président Robert Mugabe. Preuve des tensions entre les deux pays : depuis plusieurs années, Mugabe et tous les autres dirigeants de son parti, le Zanu-PF, sont interdits de voyager aux États-Unis. Les pays suspendus de l'UA non conviés Et pour être sur la même longueur d'ondes que l'Union africaine, la Maison Blanche ferme également ses portes à tous les leaders dont les pays suspendus par l'organisation continentale. L'Égypte, la Centrafrique, le Madagascar, l'Érythrée et la Guinée-Bissau sont, pour le moment, black-listés. "Les derniers développements à Bangui, avec la démission de Michel Djotodia et l'élection d'un nouveau président de la transition, pourrait peut-être contribuer au repêchage de la Centrafrique", estime cependant une source proche du Conseil de paix et de sécurité de l'UA. Signe encourageant : l'organisation panafricaine a salué la désignation de l'ancienne maire de Bangui à la tête du pays. De son côté, la Grande île vient également de tourner la page sombre du coup de force de 2009, laquelle avait valu non seulement la suspension du pays de l'UA mais également son exclusion de la liste des pays africains pouvant bénéficier d'un partenariat privilégié avec les États-Unis. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, soutenu par l'ancien homme fort du régime de transition Andry Rajoelina, a été investi, le 17 janvier, chef de l'État malgache. Suffisant pour signer le retour du pays sur la scène internationale ? Pas sûr. Comme pour le cas de l'Égypte qui vient d'adopter une nouvelle Constutition, Washington voudra voir la suite des événements. "La démocratie est plus qu'un référendum ou une élection (...). C'est ce qui [vient] après qui [forge] le cadre politique, économique et social" d'un État, insiste John Kerry, le chef de la diplomatie américaine. ________________ Par Trésor Kibangula Jeune Afrique

21.1.14

Grande Canal da Nicarágua: Uma obra chinesa na América Central

The $40 billion Nicaragua canal project is on schedule to break ground this year, despite rumors of a delay. Construction for the 170-mile canal, an anticipated rival to the Panama canal, is expected to begin in December and take five years to complete. "The Nicaraguan government and HKND Group are pleased to confirm that canal construction work will begin as planned in December 2014," Chinese entrepreneur Wang Jing and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said in a statement. The statement comes after Nicaragua's Canal Authority chief Manuel Coronel Kautz was quoted as saying work for the Nicaraguan canal would not begin until 2015. The Chinese consortium HK Nicaragua Development, led by Wang, won the license to develop the canal last summer, amid concerns from critics. President Ortega has shown enthusiasm for the project since its announcement, focusing on the proposition that the canal would capture 4.5 percent of world maritime freight traffic and double the country's per-capita gross domestic product. Last July Mr. Wang announced the canal's route, saying it would start at the port of Brito in the Pacific, cross Lake Nicaragua, pass the small airport at Morrito and work its way to Bluefields. The mega-waterway is expected to challenge the trade monopoly held by Panama, as global trade increases and container ships grow in size. Critics for the Nicaragua canal project raise feasibility questions, as well as concerns of potential environment damage to the country. However, Mr. Wang previously acknowledged the importance of environmental protection. "It is very clear to us that Lake Nicaragua is the mother lake of the country, a symbol like the Yellow River is to China. So protecting this lake is the focus of our feasibility report," he told The Telegraph. "I take all responsibility for any environmental damage. I have told my employees that if we make a mistake on this front, we will be dishonored in the history textbooks of Nicaragua."
http://www.worldpropertychannel.com/

20.1.14

RCA: Catherine Samba Panza, Presidente interino

L'actuelle maire de Bangui, Catherine Samba Panza, 58 ans, a été élue lundi par le Parlement au poste de présidente de transition. Elle a devancé Désiré Kolingba, le fils de l'ancien président André Kolingba, et devient la première femme centrafricaine à accéder au rang de chef de l'État. Cinq choses à savoir sur elle. Elle fut parmi les premiers candidats déclarés au poste de président de la transition. L'actuelle maire de Bangui Catherine Samba Panza, 58 ans, a été élue au rang de chef de l'Ɂtat par le Conseil national de transition, lundi 20 janvier. Cette femme d'affaires, mère de trois enfants, a devancé Désiré Kolingba. Elle a obtenu 75 voix contre 53 pour le fils de l'ancien président André Kolingba (1981-1993). Prenant la parole devant les parlementaires dès son élection, la maire de Bangui - première femme de l'histoire de Centrafrique à accéder à ce poste - a lancé un appel vibrant à renoncer aux armes. "Je lance un appel vibrant à mes enfants anti-balaka (miliciens chrétiens) qui m'écoutent. Manifestez votre adhésion à ma nomination en donnant un signal fort de dépôt des armes", a-telle déclaré. Avant d'ajouter : "À mes enfants ex-Séléka qui m'écoutent aussi, déposez vos armes". Saura-t-elle mener son pays sur la voie de la paix ? "À compter de ce jour, je suis la présidente de tous les Centrafricains sans exclusive", a-t-elle assuré avec détermination. Mais qui est vraiment cette femme de 58 ans au passé associatif bien fourni ? Réponse en cinq points. Femme d'affaires De père camerounais et de mère centrafricaine (Sud-Est), Catherine Samba Panza est née à N'Djamena, au Tchad, le 26 juin 1956. Elle grandit à Bangui avant d'entamer des études de droit en France. Elle obtient plusieurs diplôme à Paris : une licence en sciences de l’information et de la communication et un diplôme d’études supérieures spécialisées (DESS) en droit des assurances obtenus à l’Université de Paris II – Assas. Dans les années 1990, Catherine Samba Panza revient à Bangui pour intégrer la filiale en Centrafrique du groupe Allianz. Elle se lance ensuite dans les affaires et fonde sa propre société de courtage en assurances. CV associatif bien rempli Avocate de formation, Catherine Samba Panza a milité au sein de l'association des femmes juristes de Centrafrique (AFJC). L'AFJC est spécialisée dans la lutte contre les mutilations génitales et toutes autres formes de violences dont les femmes sont victimes en Centrafrique. Formatrice en droits de l’homme du programme Afrique d'Amnesty International, elle a sillonné plusieurs pays de la région des Grands Lacs à la rencontre de nombreuses ONG. Dialogue national En 2003, Catherine Samba Panza co-préside le dialogue national organisé peu de temps après le coup d'État de François Bozizé. Elle est ensuite élue président du comité chargé du suivi et de l’évaluation périodique de l’application des recommandations issues de ce dialogue. Maire de Bangui En mai 2013, lorsqu'elle devient la 37e maire de Bangui, cela fait près de deux mois que la Séléka a renversé le régime du président François Bozizé. Nommée par le nouveau régime, elle prend en main une ville à l'arrêt, minée par les pillages et les exactions. Le 15 novembre, elle participe à l’assemblée générale de l’Association des maires francophones (AIMF). "François Hollande m’a saluée et confié 'Tenez bon', nous arrivons !", a-t-elle raconté. En décembre, elle a également effectué une tournée en France pour nouer des partenariats de développement. Neutralité C'est semble-t-il l'une des qualités qui ont séduit les parlementaires centrafricains. La maire de Bangui n'est affiliée à aucun grand parti politique. On ne lui prête pas non plus d'accointances particulières avec l'ancien régime de la Séléka. Son mari, Cyriaque Samba Panza est une personnalité politique reconnue. Il a été plusieurs fois ministre, notamment sous André Kolingba et François Bozizé. ________ Par Vincent Duhem
Jeune Afrique

19.1.14

Burkina Faso: Compaoré há 26 anos no poder

Des milliers de Burkinabè ont défilé samedi dans les rues de Ouagadougou pour protester "contre la création du Sénat, contre la modification de l’article 37 et contre la mauvaise gouvernance". Les participants de la marche du 18 janvier entendaient bien faire passer leur message : non à un nouveau mandat de Blaise Compaoré en 2015. Reportage. Le jour s’est levé depuis trois heures sur la place de la Nation, épicentre de Ouagadougou, mais le soleil, caché par les nuages, ne s’est toujours pas montré. "Il pleut ! Il pleut !" s’égosille l’animateur à la tribune devant une foule encore clairsemée. Plusieurs mois que les Burkinabé n’avaient pas vu tomber une goutte. Dans les rangs de l’opposition, on veut y voir un signe du destin. "La pluie, c’est bon présage chez nous", glisse un des organisateurs de la marche du 18 janvier "contre la création du Sénat, contre la modification de l’article 37 (qui limite à deux le nombre de mandats présidentiels et, de fait, interdit à Blaise Compaoré de se représenter en 2015, NDLR) et contre la mauvaise gouvernance" - marche organisée par plusieurs partis d’opposition et des organisations de la société civile. "Ils doivent quand même avoir peur là-bas", poursuit l’animateur. Là-bas, c’est le palais de Kosyam dans son esprit. Là d’où règne Blaise Compaoré sur le pays depuis des années. Là où, veut croire Germain, un enseignant arrivé parmi les premiers sur la place, "on a dû prier toute la nuit pour qu’il pleuve". Cela n’a visiblement pas brisé l’élan qui était né en juin dernier, lorsque l’opposition avait rassemblé des dizaines de milliers de manifestants pour contester la création d’un Sénat jugé "budgétivore et inutile". Depuis, Compaoré a fait comprendre à ses concitoyens qu’il entendait bien modifier la Constitution pour se représenter – c’était en décembre -, et certains des barons de son parti, le Congrès pour la démocratie et le progrès (CDP), lui ont fait faux bon – début janvier. Ils sont là ce matin, place de la Nation. Roch Marc Christian Kaboré est arrivé main dans la main de Zéphirin Diabré, le chef de file de l’opposition qui fut lui-même un cadre du parti au pouvoir dans les années 1990. Victor Tiendrébéogo, un ministre du Mogho Naaba, le roi des Mossi, est là lui aussi, tout comme Simon Compaoré, l’ancien maire de la capitale. Seul manque Salif Diallo, un autre des "barons" démissionnaires. >> Lire aussi : Démission de Tiendrébéogo, nouveau coup dur pour le parti de Blaise Compaoré Sous la tente qui les protège de la pluie, ils côtoient les leaders de l’opposition : Bénéwendé Sankara, Hama Arba Diallo, Ablassé Ouédraogo, Saran Sérémé, Boukary Kaboré dit "Le lion"… Combien sont-ils ce matin autour d’eux ? Certainement pas 200 000, chiffre avancé par quelques journalistes. Mais plusieurs dizaines de milliers, oui. 60 000 ? 70 000 ? 120 000 ? Qu’importe. Au fil de la marche et des slogans ("Libérez Kosyam", "Démission"), le message envoyé à Kosyam est clair : si Compaoré persiste dans sa volonté de briguer un nouveau mandat, il trouvera face à lui des Burkinabé résolus. Il y a là des jeunes (peu d’enfants), des vieux, des femmes. Des chemises africaines ou occidentales, des faso dan fani (la tenue imposée sous la révolution de Thomas Sankara), des maillots de l’équipe nationale de football… Il y a des balais à brosse, des balais végétaux ou des balais de paille, en référence au Balai citoyen, l’une des organisations de la société civile qui a appelé à manifester et qui veut envoyer Compaoré "à la retraite en 2015". Il y a aussi des pancartes explicites : "1987. Je suis né, il était déjà au pouvoir" ou encore "Les cimetières sont pleins de personnes qui se croyaient indispensables…" "Notre combat ne fait que commencer" Après la marche, qui s’est déroulée sans heurts dans le centre de Ouagadougou, voilà le temps des discours. Le rappeur Smockey, un des animateurs du Balai citoyen, cite les paroles que Compaoré avait tenues en 1987 après l’assassinat de Sankara : "Je n’ai jamais rêvé du pouvoir. Je ne m’y accrocherai pas". "Vingt-six ans après, il est toujours là", peste Smockey, avant d’inviter le président à "rentrer quand même dans l’histoire" en transmettant le pouvoir à son successeur "dès 2015". "Nous n’avons qu’un seul Mogho Naaba. Tout autre prétendant veut voler l’histoire", clame ensuite Arba Diallo. Qui poursuit, provocateur : "Nous sommes tous des CDP, ce qui veut dire : Compaoré doit partir". Hilarité générale. C’est Diabré qui finira (Roch Kaboré, lui, n’aura pas droit au micro, mais tout de même à quelques acclamations). "Avec cette mobilisation historique, le monde sait maintenant qu’au Burkina Faso, le peuple est debout pour dire non au pouvoir à vie, attaque le chef de file de l’opposition. Rien ne sera plus comme avant". Et de réclamer la "dissolution" de la Fedap-BC, une association de soutien au président qui a pris les rênes du CDP au fil des ans. Et d’appeler les cadres du CDP à rejoindre les opposants : "Nous n’avons pas de revanche à prendre". Et de lancer un nouvel avertissement au président : "Notre combat ne fait que commencer". Lire l'article sur Jeuneafrique.com

18.1.14

Bissau: A polícia não respeita as Nações Unidas

«No dia 16 de Janeiro, por volta das 10h30, as instalações da UNIOGBIS em Buba foram rodeadas por elementos da POP da Guarda Nacional. Segundo o Comissário da Polícia local, teriam sido recebidas informações no sentido em que Cadogo Jr. (o primeiro-ministro afastado pelos golpistas, Carlos Gomes Júnior)se encontrava no interior destas instalações e como tal iriam proceder à sua detenção. Apesar de insistentemente o pessoal das Nações Unidas ali de serviço ter negado tal acontecimento, o mesmo comissário tentou por várias vezes entrar dentro das instalações, juntamente com pessoal armado a fim de proceder a buscas. Após várias explicações dadas pelos funcionários e depois de vários alertas feitos pelos mesmos em que as instalações em causa eram das Nações Unidas e que ao agir daquela forma as autoridades estavam a cometer uma série de infracções, foi então ordenado pelo respectivo comissário que se mantivesse o cerco às instalações. As instalações estiveram cercadas por um efectivo de cerca de 10 elementos armados de AK-47.» Comunicado distribuído pela representação da ONU na Guiné-Bissau

17.1.14

Reino Unido: Sete anos com os salários a descer

The last few years have been tough for many economies, but the UK has been particularly hard hit. The economy shrank by over 7% over five quarters in 2008-09 and has rebounded slowly since, but 2014 should be the year that real GDP finally regains its 2007 high. The depreciation of sterling and the incipient global recovery are leading to increasing net exports, while investment growth in 2014 should top 3% for the first time since 2007. Nonetheless, business confidence lags that of consumers, and the ongoing reliance on consumer spending is a risk. Meanwhile, high unemployment and stubbornly rapid consumer price inflation have led to a painful seven years of real wage declines for UK workers. This decline will continue, but the Bank of England will be pleased that falling global prices for energy and food have finally bought inflation back to its 2% target, although we expect inflation to increase again in 2014. The coming year will still be tough in the UK, but the signs are that the economy has turned a corner. The Economist

Cartum ajuda Sudão do Sul, por amor ao petróleo

As the conflict between South Sudan’s government and rebels worsens, President Salva Kiir has found succor from an unexpected source: Sudan, the country that southerners fought against for two decades to win independence. Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir’s motivation in helping his former enemies is based on the need to maintain oil flows from the south, according to analysts including Magdi El Gizouli at the Nairobi-based Rift Valley Institute. His government is also concerned that instability along its border will hamper the battle against its own rebels, he said. “For the first time in history they are interested, even more than the South Sudanese themselves, in retaining stability in South Sudan in some form under a government that is ready to do business, and Kiir is ready to do business,” El Gizouli said Jan. 15 by phone from Freiburg, Germany. Since South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and took with it three-quarters of the formerly united country’s oil production, Sudan has depended on revenue it earns from shipping the crude through its territory to an export terminal on the Red Sea. The violence has brought production almost to a halt, according to the U.S. Transit fees for southern oil were set to earn Sudan’s $59 billion economy about $1.4 billion this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. “We are the country to be most harmed from this crisis,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Abu Bakr al-Sideeg said by phone from Khartoum on Jan. 14. “A breakdown of security in the south directly affects our own.” Improved Relations Al-Bashir flew to Juba, the South Sudanese capital, on Jan. 6 to meet with Kiir and said he wouldn’t support the insurgents. When rebel militia crossed into Sudan seeking refuge, the authorities disarmed them. Relations between Kiir and al-Bashir have improved in the past year after they resolved a dispute over oil transit fees and border security that sparked a 15-month freeze on production until it ended in April. Over the long term, Khartoum “would like a government in Juba that forswears any support to those fighting the Khartoum regime, that honors the oil agreement,” former U.S. special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman said in an e-mailed response to questions on Jan. 15. Khartoum also wants Kiir’s government to drop claims to the oil-producing region of Heglig, where the two countries fought battles in April 2012, and demands for a referendum in the disputed region of Abyei to decide whether it joins South Sudan or Sudan, he said. ‘Weakened South’ “Khartoum benefits from a weakened south, but not one that is unable to have the oil flow,” Harry Verhoeven, a Sudan analyst at Oxford University, said in an e-mailed response to questions on Jan. 14. “Bashir’s money, for the time being, is on Salva to make that continue.” As Kiir’s forces battle insurgents led by his former vice president, Riek Machar, oil production has dropped. When pumping facilities in South Sudan’s Unity state were damaged by fighting, al-Bashir’s government pledged to help restore output. While the South Sudan government says oil production has fallen to 200,000 barrels a day from 245,000 barrels a day, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that most output has stopped. Companies Evacuate Companies including China National Petroleum Corp. and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) have evacuated employees from the country. South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc (BP/) data. Rebel forces “appear to be in control” of Malakal, the capital of oil-rich Upper Nile state, Farhan Haq, spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Bentiu, the capital of Unity state that was recaptured by government forces last week, experienced “heavy shooting and shelling,” he said. The death toll from the fighting is approaching 10,000, according to the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, while 80,000 have fled to countries including Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Internally, 413,000 people have fled their homes, according to the UN. Disputes within South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, or SPLM, erupted in July when Kiir fired his cabinet, including Machar, who said he planned to seek the party’s leadership. Alleged Coup The violence broke out on Dec. 15 with gunshots at a meeting of the ruling party in Juba. Kiir then accused Machar of trying to stage a coup, a charge Machar denies, and arrested 11 prominent politicians, including Pagan Amum, the former SPLM secretary-general, and ex-Cabinet Affairs Minister Deng Alor. The arrests have pleased Khartoum, which views figures such as Amum and Alor as loyalists of SPLM founder John Garang, who died in a helicopter crash in 2005, according to El Gizouli. Garang called for the overthrow of al-Bashir’s government and a united Sudan rather than independence for the south. Sudan regards Amum as a key supporter for the rebels who are fighting its forces in the border states of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, while Alor champions the adhesion of the disputed region of Abyei to South Sudan. “So the current situation where you have all the ‘Garang boys’ in prison, this is a very good situation for Khartoum,” El Gizouli said. Bloomberg News

16.1.14

Egipto: Al-Sissi, o faraó que se segue

Terminado o referendo no Egipto, resta agora esperar pela possível entronização do General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, ou al-Sissi (foto), como o novo Nasser ou faraó. O autor do golpe de estado contra o Presidente Mohamed Morsi e os Irmãos Muçulmanos é dado há uns cinco meses como o homem providencial que muitos egípcios aguardam, um novo Rais envolto em mistério, saído dos serviços secretos militares para uma marcha triunfal até à Presidência da República. O inflexível ministro da Defesa e Chefe do Estado-Maior General das Forças Armadas, que têm a seu cargo 20 por cento da economia egípcia, contará muito provavelmente com o apoio dos Estados Unidos para colocar o Cairo bem no centro do mundo árabe. Aos 59 anos, mantém boas relações com os serviços secretos norte-americanos e poderá muito bem estar interessado em tentar ensaiar uma espécie de democracia muito própria, baseada em crenças islâmicas mas sem se deixar dominar pelo Corão. O principal obstáculo que se levanta no caminho de Al-Sissi é a existência de 20 a 25 por cento de egípcios afectos aos Irmãos Muçulmanos. JH

RCA: Risco de genocídio

(Reuters) - A senior U.N. humanitarian official warned on Thursday of the risk of genocide in Central African Republic without a massive scaling up in the international response to the crisis. The country descended into chaos last year after a Muslim rebel coalition, Séléka, seized power, unleashing a wave of killings and looting that in turn sparked revenge attacks by the "anti-balaka" Christian militia. "It has all the elements that we have seen elsewhere, in places like Rwanda and Bosnia. The elements are there, the seeds are there, for a genocide. There's no question about that," John Ging, director of operations for the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told a news conference in Geneva. Ging, just back from a five-day trip to the country, said the crisis was foreseen, avoidable and produced by the international community's neglect over many years. A U.N. human rights spokesman said earlier this week that intercommunal violence had risen to "extraordinary vicious levels", but Ging said it was incorrect to describe the situation as intercommunal violence, although an extremely violent minority were intent on inciting a wider conflict.

O crescimento de Angola e de Moçambique

Moçambique e Angola são dois dos países da África subsaariana que terão maior crescimento económico neste e nos próximos anos, prevê o Banco Mundial no relatório sobre as Perspectivas Económicas Globais. De acordo com os números divulgados esta semana, Angola deverá ter crescido 5,1% em 2013 mas, neste ano, vai acelerar para os 8% e depois abrandar para 7,3 e 7% nos dois anos seguintes, ao passo que Moçambique acelera de 7% em 2013 para 8,5% neste e no próximo ano. “O crescimento na re- A NÍVEL DE TODA A REGIÃO SUBSAARIANA Moçambique e Angola entre os que mais crescem gião subsaariana deverá ser impulsionado quer pelos países com recursos naturais, quer pelos outros. Os países exportadores de petróleo, liderados por Angola, deverão crescer 6,4%, em média, entre 2014 e 2016”, refere o aludido relatório. Esse “crescimento deverá também permanecer robusto em muitos países exportadores de minerais, incluindo Gana, Moçambique e Tanzânia, alicerçado nos fluxos de Investimento Directo Estrangeiro no sector dos recursos naturais e por um aumento de produção nos projectos em andamento”, pode ler-se no relatório na parte que analisa a África subsaariana. RAS “puxa” para baixo Nesta região, a economia deverá continuar a crescer, recuperando dos 3,5% de 2012 e dos 4,7% do ano passado, para uma média de 6% este ano, excluindo a África do Sul, que puxa os valores para baixo, nota o documento, que sublinha que apesar de um terço dos países abaixo do Saara ter crescido mais de 6% no ano passado, as desigualdades continuam grandes e o desemprego mantém-se alto. “As perspectivas de crescimento a médio prazo são fortes. O PIB regional deve fortalecer-se para 5,3% este ano, melhorando face aos 4,7% de 2013, aumentar para 5,4% em 2015 e atingir os 5,5% em 2016”, lê-se no relatório, que explica que “a procura interna, associada aos investimentos em infraestruturas e ao consumo das famílias, vai continuar a ser o maior motor do crescimento económico na maioria dos países desta região”. As dificuldades, sublinha o relatório, são já esperadas quando se fala no desenvolvimento de África: “embora o PIB (Produto Interno Bruno) real em muitos países desta região deva permanecer mais elevado que noutras regiões em desenvolvimento, a fraca infraestrutura física limita o crescimento potencial − geração instável de energia e más estradas vão continuar a impor custos altos aos negócios, reduzir a eficiência e impedir o comércio". Correio da Manhã, Maputo

15.1.14

Reformulada a vigilância ao Banco do Vaticano

Cidade do Vaticano, 15 jan 2014 (Ecclesia) - O Papa renovou a composição da comissão de cardeais com funções de vigilância sobre o Instituto para as Obras de Religião (IOR), conhecido como o ‘Banco do Vaticano’, anunciou hoje a sala de imprensa da Santa Sé. O organismo, com cinco elementos, tinha um elenco mandatado por cinco anos pelo Papa Bento XVI, em fevereiro de 2013, pouco antes do final do seu pontificado, dos quais apenas permanece em funções o cardeal Jean-Louis Tauran, presidente do Conselho Pontifício para o Diálogo Inter-religioso. A “Comissão Cardinalícia de Vigilância do Instituto para as Obras de Religião” passa a incluir, no próximo quinquénio, D. Christoph Schönborn, arcebispo de Viena (Áustria); D. Thomas Christopher Collins, arcebispo de Toronto (Canadá); D. Santos Abril y Castelló, arcipreste da basílica papal de Santa Maria Maior; D. Pietro Parolin, secretário de Estado do Vaticano, que será criado cardeal a 22 de fevereiro. O Papa Francisco criou em junho de 2013 uma comissão de inquérito para o IOR, com o objetivo de “conhecer melhor a posição jurídica e as atividades do Instituto, para permitir uma melhor harmonização do mesmo com a missão da Igreja universal e da Sé Apostólica, no contexto mais geral das reformas que for oportuno realizar por parte das instituições que coadjuvam a Sé Apostólica”. O cardeal Tauran integra também essa comissão, com o cardeal Raffaele Farina (presidente), D. Juan Ignacio Arrieta Ochoa de Chinchetru (coordenador) mons.Peter Bryan Wells (secretário) e a leiga norte-americana Mary Ann Glendon. O Instituto para as Obras de Religião foi fundado em 1942 por decreto papal e o seu objetivo é “servir a Santa Sé e a Igreja Católica em todo o mundo”. O IOR protege o património de um grupo “claramente determinado de pessoas físicas e jurídicas” com filiação na Igreja Católica, definida pelo direito canónico ou pelo direito do Estado da Cidade do Vaticano. O governo do instituto é constituído por uma comissão cardinalícia, um prelado, um conselho de supervisão e uma direção. Em julho de 2013, o IOR apresentou pela primeira vez o seu relatório anual, revelando um lucro de 86,6 milhões de euros em 2012.

RCA: Perspectivas terríveis

GENEVA, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The violations of human rights in Central African Republic (CAR) remained dire, said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Tuesday. The preliminary findings of the OHCHR revealed a cycle of widespread human rights violations and reprisals, including extra judicial killings, sexual violence, mutilations, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment, rape and the deliberate targeting of civilians based on their religion. The report came after a four-person human rights monitoring team deployed by the UN human rights office in CAR carried out 183 interviews in the chaotic African country with victims, witnesses, and other relevant interlocutors. "The widespread lawlessness and gross human rights violations highlighted in these preliminary findings confirm the need for urgent action and accountability," Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement. In recent days, the severity of on-the-ground situation in the central African country remained extreme, as the OHCHR highlighted, and despite that the number of clashes appeared to have slightly reduced, some 40 people were reported to have been killed in the capital, Bangui alone since Friday. A number of kidnappings, mutilations and widespread looting also occurred over the weekend in the country. Pillay warned that "despite some important reconciliation efforts in Bangui, the situation remains extremely volatile and dangerous," calling for serious intervention to stop further attacks. CAR has been thrown into turmoil since Seleka rebels launched attacks a year ago and forced president Francois Bozize to flee in March, 2013. A transitional government was formed heading by interim president of Michel Djotodia since then but armed clashes erupted again. Last month, Christians and Muslims launched reprisal attacks against each other in and around Bangui, worsening humanitarian situation. Djotodia and prime minister Nicolas Tiangaye were forced to resign on Friday. Alexandre-Ferdinand Nguendet, who has been serving as the speaker of the CNT since Djotodia came to power, has been serving as the country's leader since Saturday and he is expected to hasten the process of electing a new president and prime minister. Statistics from UN showed that nearly 1 million people have fled their home in the ongoing conflict in CAR and more than 2 million are in need of humanitarian aid there. The UN human rights office said that Pillay would give a fuller account of the team's findings, and an update on the current human rights situation in the country during the Human Rights Council Special Session on Jan. 20.

Bissau: Quase impossível começar eleições em 16 de Março

Bissau - O Representante Especial do Secretário-geral das Nações Unidas para a Guiné-Bissau, José Ramos-Horta, alertou as autoridades de transição para que, caso as eleições Gerais sejam novamente adiadas não cumprindo a data de 16 de Março, a comunidade internacional vai actuar. Ramos-Horta alertou para que, caso se verifique um adiamento, «a responsabilidade única e exclusiva é das autoridades da Guiné-Bissau e a comunidade internacional vai ter, na altura, uma resposta a dar ao novo adiamento destas eleições». Neste sentido, o Representante Especial citou as Nações Unidas, a União Europeia, a União Africana, a Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (CPLP) e a Comunidade de Estado da África Ocidental (CEDEAO), informando que estas organizações terão que concertar e tomar uma posição sobre a Guiné-Bissau. Ramos-Horta disse ainda que o eventual adiamento destas eleições é adiar e agravar a situação do país, à responsabilidade do Presidente de transição, Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo, e do Primeiro-ministro Rui Barros. De referir que tecnicamente não é possível realizar as eleições a 16 de Março, tendo em conta os trabalhos de recenseamento eleitoral que ainda se encontram aquém das expectativas, quer a nível nacional como na Diáspora guineense. A título de exemplo, o prazo para entrega de candidaturas dos candidatos aos cargos de Presidente da República e dos partidos políticos ao nível dos círculos eleitorais termina esta terça-feira, 14 de Janeiro, junto do Supremo Tribunal de Justiça. A nível do Parlamento, a projectada sessão da Assembleia Nacional Popular (ANP) para o encurtamento de prazos com vista a salvar a data de 16 de Março ainda não tem dia previsto, devido a várias razões como a ameaça de greve por parte dos funcionários da ANP, que já enviaram ao Presidente do Parlamento, Ibraima Sory Djalo, um pré-aviso com efeito a partir da data em que seriam agendados os trabalhos dos deputados no hemiciclo guineense. Caso se confirme o adiamento destas eleições, esta será a terceira vez que o Governo decorrente do golpe de Estado de 12 de Abril de 2012 adia o período de transição em curso na Guiné-Bissau. (c) PNN Portuguese News Network

14.1.14

Sudão do Sul: Conversações num clube nocturno

A shift in the venue for talks aimed at brokering a ceasefire in South Sudan has left some delegates bemused. The government and rebel teams have moved to the dance floor of a top nightclub in an Addis Ababa hotel. The
club was selected after the room in the Sheraton hotel the teams had been using was booked by a Japanese delegation. Sources close to the talks said some delegates were unhappy with the poor lighting and excess noise. The Gaslight club, in the grounds of the five-star Sheraton hotel, is arguably the most opulent in Addis Ababa's thriving nightclub scene. You enter it via a glass-floor bridge hovering over a mini-moat. There, three bars (one is a VIP members' only club) are arranged over three floors, with plush velvet soft seating and opulent art deco interiors in addition to padded leather bar stools. Gaslight is where the rich and beautiful go to party. It enforces a strict no-photo policy. On a typical weekend night, the local elite are to be seen mixing with foreign NGO workers and diplomats with a few graduating university students or newly-weds depending on the time of year. And should your dancing feet become weary, you can head upstairs for complementary al-fresco coffee, popcorn and small portions of diced beef and the local flatbread (enjera). Talks aimed at securing the ceasefire in the month-long conflict in South Sudan have now resumed in the Ethiopian capital. But the delegates are now in the basement of the luxury hotel, amid faux gold columns. Their previous room has been taken over by the Japanese - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently visiting Addis Ababa at the end of his first tour of Africa. The talks in the nightclub are at least taking place during the day - when the dance floor is not normally in use. BBC Focus on Africa's Hewete Haileselassie says the Gaslight is arguably the most opulent in Addis Ababa's thriving nightclub scene and is where the rich and beautiful people go to party. The negotiations are being overseen by the East African regional bloc, Igad. The delegates hope to secure a ceasefire after a month of fighting that has left "substantially more than 1,000 dead", according to the UN. The conflict began on 15 December between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and soldiers backing Riek Machar, his former vice-president. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a long and bloody conflict, to become the world's newest state. BBC

13.1.14

RCA e Sudão do Sul: duas tragédias paralelas

No interior da África Negra, por volta da latitude 5 graus acima do Equador, os povos do antigo Ubangui-Chari (hoje República Centro-Africana) e da parte meridional de um Sudão que chegou a ser condomínio anglo-egípcio estão hoje a viver um sofrimento indescritível, merecedor de toda a nossa compaixão. Tentemos compreender o que se passa. Jorge Heitor Depois de a maior parte dos actuais estados africanos ter obtido a sua independência, muitos deles há 50 ou há 54 anos, as fronteiras artificiais de uns quantos foram consideradas a mais potente fonte de conflito e de instabilidade, pois que não correspondiam de forma alguma ao que uma grande parte da África verdadeiramente era ainda em meados do século XIX. E surgiram acalorados debates sobre se se deveria ou não rever as fronteiras traçadas pelas potências coloniais, na Conferência de Berlim e algum tempo depois. A Organização da Unidade Africana (OUA), que entretanto deu origem à União Africana (UA), foi da opinião de que tudo se deveria manter como estava, para evitar males maiores. Mas a verdade é que acontecimentos como os destes últimos meses na República Centro-Africana (RCA) e no Sudão do Sul vieram uma vez mais demonstrar o artificialismo de tantos estados da África, onde sete, dez ou vinte povos coabitam muito mal, cada um deles com a sua língua e com uma cultura próprias. Pretende-se que as repúblicas africanas tenham uma estrutura e uma vida política equiparáveis às do Reino Unido, da França ou da Alemanha. Só que, isso não está de acordo com a verdade mais profunda de muitas etnias da África, que ainda desconhecem o que seja um Estado, nos moldes em que o entendemos em Lisboa, Paris ou Berlim. E desse equívoco derivam os conflitos e a incapacidade de a RCA, o Sudão do Sul ou a República Democrática do Congo (RDC), por exemplo, viverem tão cedo dentro do estilo de unidade que há muito se forjou em Portugal, na França ou na Alemanha. Realidades completamente diferentes não se podem reger por modelos idênticos. Conflitos estão para durar O perigo de conflitos desestabilizadores vai-se continuar a sentir, ainda durante mais algumas décadas, na RCA, no Sudão do Sul, na RDC ou na Guiné-Bissau. Ninguém pense que os problemas básicos destes países se consigam resolver de forma satisfatória nos próximos seis ou sete anos. Não há, de modo algum, condições para tal; por mais conferências ou discursos que se façam. É a esta luz, em grande parte, que deveremos ler e interpretar as notícias assustadoras que em Dezembro de 2013 e em Janeiro de 2014 nos chegaram de Bangui e de Juba, com muitos mortos, feridos e desalojados; num infindável cortejo de horrores. A coabitação forçada de grupos étnicos que há 70 ou 90 anos nada tinham a ver uns com os outros só poderia gerar faísca, ingovernabilidade. Nas capitais dos estados africanos até se poderá viver de uma forma não muito diferente da de Lisboa, Madrid, Paris; mas quando se sai 300 ou 400 quilómetros dos grandes centros populacionais logo se encontra uma África muito diferente, com costumes bem arreigados, dentro dos quais é muito difícil vingar o projecto de eleições presidenciais e legislativas que decorram como nos países mais desenvolvidos; ou até mesmo a existência de um hino nacional sentido de igual modo por 15 ou 20 etnias diferentes. A grande mistificação Criados dentro de fronteiras que a França, o Reino Unido, Portugal e alguns outros países europeus delinearam, os estados africanos começaram por ser dirigidos por políticos formados em universidades ou outras instituições europeias ou norte-americanas, longe da realidade dos seus antepassados; e que portanto tentaram seguir modelos que nada diziam aos seus pais e avós, surgindo daí a grande mistificação da África contemporânea. Só depois de todo este preâmbulo é que nos podemos debruçar sobre a triste situação humanitária da RCA, com um bom milhão de desalojados, num território a que há 60 anos se chamava Ubangui-Chari e tinha como principal político Barthélémy Boganda, que em Março de 1959 morreu num desastre de aviação, tendo-lhe sucedido como principal figura local seu primo David Dacko. O golpe de Março do ano passado, que depôs o Presidente François Bozizé, foi apenas mais um, num espaço que só há menos de seis décadas se chama RCA e que, portanto, não se encontra de forma alguma consolidado, como entidade nacional. É um mero projecto, como tantos outros existentes num continente do qual se poderá dizer que ainda há meio século tinha comunidades a viver como que no neolítico. Os ataques a civis, os saques e a intervenção do Exército francês marcaram estes últimos meses na RCA, que (recorde-se) até já foi um "Império", por decisão do louco coronel Jean-Bedel Bokassa, primo de David Dacko. A coroação, ao estilo de Napeolão Bonaparte, verificou-se em 4 de Dezembro de 1977 (foto). Instabilidade crónica Na senda de uma instabilidade crónica, grupos de rebeldes, essencialmente muçulmanos e congregados numa rede designada Seleka, afastaram o ano passado o Presidente Bozizé (de formação evangélica) e provocaram o caos, até que os militares franceses intervieram, ao lado de 4.000 soldados de diferentes países africanos. Nestes últimos 10 meses, 75.000 cidadãos da RCA fugiram para o estrangeiro, nomeadamente para os dois Congos, o Chade e os Camarões, demonstrando assim, uma vez mais, o quanto os acontecimentos de um país se podem repercutir em outros, originando verdadeiras crises regionais. Há semanas, o Presidente interino da República Centro-Africana, Michel Djotodia, completamente incapaz de acabar com a violência entre milícias cristãs e muçulmanas, foi obrigado a demitir-se e a partir para o exílio, no Benin, de modo a dar lugar a alguém com mais capacidade para impedir o genocídio sectário. E de igual modo se demitiu o primeiro-ministro Nicolas Tiangaye Nessa altura, na segunda semana de Janeiro, já havia 2,2 milhões de cidadãos centro-africanos a necessitar de ajuda humanitária. O falhanço de Juba Quanto ao Sudão do Sul, o Congresso norte-americano, que se regozijara com o seu nascimento, manifestou agora a opinião de que a actual crise não era inevitável nem imparável. Tratar-se-ia, isso sim, de uma crise política e de um claro falhanço da liderança do jovem país, que algum tempo antes de nascer perdera o seu principal mentor, John Garang. Como em tantos outros casos, estaria a verificar-se que determinados grupos sabem alcançar a independência mas depois não sabem muito bem o que fazer com ela; não a sabem defender e consolidar. A vida independente do território começou apenas há três anos, em 2011, com grandes promessas, associadas a uma certa abundância de recursos naturais (a começar pelo petróleo) e ao forte apoio internacional, designadamente de Washington e das igrejas cristãs. Mas permaneceu o perigo de assuntos ainda por resolver com Cartum, muitos deles relacionados com a exploração petrolífera e com o desenhar das fronteiras, como na caso da região de Abiyei. Permaneceram as feridas profundas dos 22 anos da mais recente guerra entre o Sudão setentrional e o meridional, só para falar destas últimas décadas, uma vez que já outros combates se tinham travado em épocas anteriores. Falta de prática O Sudão do Sul não estava muito habituado a ser autónomo (uma autonomia não é coisa que se possa solidificar em meia dúzia de anos) e era constituído por uma série de comunidades, umas cristãs e outras animistas; comunidades que só tinham em comum o desejo de se libertar da opressão nortista, que lhes queria impor a sharia, a lei muçulmana. Não havia uma boa rede de estradas nem de telecomunicações. Não havia um bom ponto de partida para colocar em funcionamento normal um Estado moderno, pelo que alguns analistas começam agora a perguntar se não teria havido uma certa precipitação na proclamação da independência. Possivelmente, funcionou mais o coração do que a cabeça. Traduzindo tudo isto em termos mais concretos, a actual crise é o resultado directo da incapacidade do Presidente Salva Kiir (sucessor de Garang) e do antigo vice-presidente Riek Machar para evitar o recurso à violência como forma de resolver as suas divergências políticas. E só não é pior porque, felizmente, não alastrou à totalidade do país. Algumas zonas permanecem pacíficas, com dirigentes da sociedade civil e de instituições religiosas a esforçarem-se para que se alcance um apaziguamento, um arrefecer dos ânimos. ---------- (Trabalho a sair em Fevereiro na revista comboniana Além-Mar)