Secretary Clinton, during her trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo has made it clear that although America has had a terrible past in Africa that the time is now to look forward. In response ot a question from a Congolese student referring to the assassination of Congolese President (with help from the CIA) the New York Times reports1 Clinton responding,
“I can’t excuse this past and I won’t try,” [Clinton] said. Congo and much of Africa, she said, have been dominated by “a history of colonialism and abuse.”
This is quite a statement for an American Secretary of State, although it would be so for any foreign secretary, for a representative of the United States it is quite surprising. Recognition of the abuses by the US Government, in particular that of the Central Intelligence Agency, is quite rare. Furthermore, accepting the colonial nature of this involvement is also notable as it has been so vehemently rejected in the past. In fact, those who suggest it have often been ridiculed for as much.
But what concern would this be in the Eritrean context? For the simple matter that the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afewerki, has for some time now been insistent that colonial, anti-indigenous moves have been taken by the Government of the United States, in particular the CIA. For suggesting this he has been ridiculed as a paranoid and worse. Although the comments of Secretary Clinton do not prove President Isaias’ comments true, it certainly gives us a foundation for them, after all, if you do not recognize the past you are doomed to repeat it.