None of the great powers gave a damn for Equatorial Guinea’s 500,000 people when the country became independent from Spain in 1968.
The country was created in typical imperialist fashion—a square of territory carved out with a few islands added. In the 18th century the rulers of Portugal swapped the region with the rulers of Spain in exchange for bits of Brazil.
After independence the poverty-stricken country was left to rot.
But then in 1995 huge oil deposits were discovered. Since then it has become Africa’s third biggest oil producer.
The oil companies, headed by ExxonMobil, rushed to grab influence in the area.
At various times the US, French, British and Spanish governments have lined up either with the Obiang regime or its opponents depending on who they think will deliver most wealth into their hands.