How Socialism Reshaped Africa

SAO TOME e PRINCIPE

These are African West Coast islands formerly owned by Portugal.  At independence the country swung into East Bloc orbit, resulting in the exodus of about 2000 Whites.  Ill-conceived land distribution and other socialist schemes bankrupted the economy.  The republic is now being advised by the IMF and switching to multiparty status, though socialist influences are still strong.

CAPE VERDE

An offshore archipelago nation formerly owned by the Portuguese, now switching from socialism to the free market.  It will hold multi-party elections in November.

SOMALIA

Another country trying to extricate itself from a Marxist quagmire.  President Mohamed Siad Barre embraced Marxism in 1970, largely to win Soviet support, but expelled 6000 Soviet advisers in 1977 when Moscow sided with Ethiopia in the Ogaden conflict.  Last October (1989), with his country in disintegration, Barre announced the introduction of multi-party democracy.  He had come under strong pressure to resign from his own Socialist Revolutionary Party, and was under unprecedented attack from his own party newspaper, bitterly critical of his links with the late President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania; the intelligence service run by his wife and the excessive numbers of high-living Barre relatives occupying official posts.  While desperate to democratise itself and win international approval, Somalia’s base for doing so is dangerously fragile.  A very uncertain future.