I have been reading John Perkins Confessions of An Economic Hitman-five years after it was published and not at all with the sense that I have read it too late. If you have not read this book, it is one of the few books I would recommend, yes, go to Aristoc Booklex on Kampala road, and however painfully, fork out that 30,000 Uganda Shillings it is likely to be priced at now.
This is the book to read if you have always wondered-
- What do Developed Countries have to gain by ‘generously’ giving Less Developed Countries aid, year after year, for decades, even when those countries have the most corrupt governments, and leaders who, listening to them, sometimes you think should be in mental institutions.
- How come some ‘terrible’ leaders, presidents, in ‘third world countries’ can murder all those who oppose them, appropriate state property and yet still get invited to meetings at the White House in Washington DC or in No. 10 Downing Street, London, and never be overthrown? Despite their unpopularity and sometimes active dislike by their own populace. Then all of a sudden, they are out of favour, and their former ‘friends’ lead the crusade in condemning them and finally booting them out of power.
- What does having oil resources change in a country? A question Ugandans need to be asking themselves now that we hear we also have oil resources and active exploitation should be starting soon. What should we expect? What is going to happen to Uganda?
A few things I learned while reading John Perkins Confessions of An Economic Hitman-
- Now I get the reasons that were behind the movement to have third world countries debts written off...Perkins reveals that the reason for giving loans to poor countries is because the lenders actually do not want these poor countries to ever repay the loans. This is because by ensuring all the money actually goes to American or European companies to implement the programmes the loans are for, those first world countries are actually giving employment to their mega conglomerates. So in effect, third world countries trying to pay off their loans is really like a bonus for the lenders...they can squeeze the poor countries for as long as they wish. The reason for writing off those third world countries debts was to enable the developed countries to “give us” more loans.
- If you are a country with abundant natural resources-you are basically fucked! It is not really in the interest of the developed countries for abundantly resourced countries to have efficient, working governments. A strong man/woman/ political party/army in charge will do very nicely. Because it is easier to control such a country if there is one man/woman or group in charge than dealing with like a parliament that is accountable to the people of that unfortunate country. In Perkins book-the countries that were ravaged are Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Ugandans, we should prepare for a real ravaging to come soon! Confessions actually made me appreciate that it might be government policy restricting ‘open flow’ of information on the oil exploration in Bunyoro region; it might be the oil drilling giants who have forced the government to ‘hide’ those facts.
- The fabled Saudi Arabian wealth, according to Perkins, is actually based on something he claims to be SAMA-or the Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Affair. Basically with the SAMA, these companies-with the active support of the USA government , alleges Perkins, set the template that would be used in many third world countries when granting ‘development aid’ which really turns out to be dependence aid.
- Even presidents can be made ‘small’ when they go to face their ‘masters’ in the USA and Europe. At least there is the documented case of former Panama strongman Manuel Noriega who was once, again according to Perkins, a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency-not just once, not just twice, but for over 20 years he supplied regular info to the CIA! Kind of like a Panama Wikileaks for the US government. His reward? Currently serving yet another 7 year jail term in France, after finishing his 17 year USA jail stint. Were you outraged by the illegal US invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein? USA has been doing just that in Latin America almost since USA existed as a nation. The 1989 Panama invasion one of the many such invasions. Leaders who swoon when they are named ‘Africa’s hope’ by USA and others...beware!