It came as a slight shock to me to learn today that the President of Guinea-Bissau was assassinated late Sunday/early Monday in the United States. The fact that he was assassinated is not what is shocking; the military blamed him for involvement in the assassination of the head of the Armed Forces recently and there was sporadic but increasing fighting over the weekend between the military and the President’s supporters. Guinea-Bissua has a population of only 1.7 million and is one of the poorest nations in the world. It is sandwiched between Senegal and Guinea, and the recent events has prompted condemnation by the EU’s head of foreign policy, Javier Solana, and the assembling of both the Council of Portuguese speaking nations and ECOWAS.
What is shocking is that there has been no mention of the assassination all day on any of the major new networks. While Guinea-Bissau is, apparently, insignificant compared to all the stories on CNN, MSNBC, including the box office success of Tyler Perry’s latest movie and the release of the Jonas Brothers movie, I would have thought the threat of turmoil – regardless of the undertakings by the army to stay loyal to democratic principles – in a key transhipment point for South American cocaine would be worthy of note, of assessment and certainly of even passing comment. One has to wonder was the media simply inept in missing the assassination, embarrassed to mention it without being able to bring live coverage, or believed that the US public didn’t care and didn’t care to explain, or even to simply mention.
In this very public new era of the US Administration we can only hope that the Obama Administration will be leading by example and tackling issues forward, rather than waiting until they directly affect the US, its citizens and their votes before becoming involved.