#ERITREA: One of its biggest enterprises, copper is a major factor in the country’s high level of economic growth. (In bitter irony, another is emigration— a third of the country’s GDP comes from remittances from the 5% of the population forced to emigrate by the same situation that makes Eritrea so attractive to foreign capital.) The mine is majority-owned by the Canadian transnational company Nevsun; mine workers have filed a civil suit accusing Nevsun of complicity in torture and slavery. The class action suit says that copper provides “massive financial support and incentives to continue Eritrea’s system of forced labor and human rights abuses.” The regime initially instituted obligatory military service in response to a longstanding border dispute with neighboring Ethiopia, including outright war in 1998-2000.
The region’s European colonial powers had enabled Ethiopia to annex Eritrea, and Mengistu continued this. After Mengistu fell in 1991, Eritrea did not gain independence for another two years and the former allies entered into confrontation. The new Ethiopian regime was brought under the wing of Washington. The U.S. found Ethiopia useful in its efforts to dominate the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia’s army has acted as a gendarme for the U.S. in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
In short, the imperialist countries are deeply implicated in creating and continuing the situation that forces so many Eritreans to flee their country. Human lives weigh nothing when it comes to imperialist economic and political interests. This is also clearly demonstrated by the European governments’ latest policies toward Eritrean and other refugees, whom these governments would rather see drowned in the Mediterranean Sea.
Get with the REVOLUTION at revcom.us #Africa #BlackLivesMatter #RefugeesWelcome #Communism