African dictator arrives amid a hail of protests
15 November 2006
MADRID — The president of Equatorial Guinea arrived in Spain for a controversial ‘working visit’ amid protests by opposition parties and human rights organisations.
Teodoro Obiang was to have visited the Spanish parliament on his two-day trip to Madrid but this was cancelled at the last minute after protests by left-wing parties.
Obiang, whose country has one of the biggest reserves of oil in Africa, has been repeatedly criticised for political repression by groups like Amnesty International.
Despite the fact Spain’s former colony is the 43rd richest country in the world, the majority of its population live on less than USD 1 a day.
Only a tiny number of people taste the country’s riches. The president’s son, who is also a government minister, drives luxury cars and has bought a series of homes in Miami, Paris and London.
But Obiang is to visit Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and King Juan Carlos later on Wednesday.
He will also hold talks with the heads of a number of Spanish companies, among them Repsol. They have interests in the country.
The working visit came about after the foreign ministry Miguel Angel Moratinos invited Obiang when he went to Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.
But opposition parties criticised the visit and the invitation to parliament.
Joan Tardá, spokesman for the left-wing Republican ERC party, said: “This is a bad error, inviting a corrupt tyrant.
“This is hypocrisy on the part of the government.”
The government has said the way to change the country is through dialogue with the regime.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news