Congo bleeds and imperialism and its transnationals profit

Congo bleeds and imperialism and its transnationals profit

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César Neto


In recent weeks we have seen images of players from the Democratic Republic of Congo football team making two simultaneous signals. One hand on their mouth and the other with their fingers simulating a gun against their heads. This image is a symbol of decades of violence against the Congolese population. Currently, it expresses the violence practiced by mercenaries organized from the neighboring country Rwanda and with the support of the USA, France, Belgium and England, who with these actions practice ethnic cleansing and support the network of mineral smugglers. Large demonstrations have taken place in recent weeks in Congo and abroad.

In 1885 with the partition of Africa, Belgian imperialism occupied an area 75 times larger than its territory. During the initial 30 years of the occupation, it killed thousands of elephants to extract ivory and then exploited rubber to produce solid tires for the nascent automobile industry. To remove the latex, he imposed violent punishments on workers and their children, including cutting off the feet and hands of adults and children[1].

King Leopold II of Belgium, a mix of Adolf Hitler and Benjamin Netanyahu, died in 1909 and Belgium continued to dominate the country until independence in 1960. During this period, Congo was the third most industrialized country on the continent and its working class fought heroic actions that imposed independence in 1960. It was half-hearted independence insofar as it was independence only in the political field. The main leader, Patrice Lumumba, was assassinated by the Belgians themselves and in this way the path was paved for the bloodthirsty dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko (1965 to 1997) who defeated the workers' resistance struggle.

In 1997, the Mobutu government fell and Laurent Kabila took over with the support of Paul Kagame, from Rwanda. Was it really a support? After all, this support meant that the Commander of the Congolese Army was a Rwandan appointed by Kagame. Laurent Kabila ruled from 1997 to 2001, when he was assassinated. Like a dynasty, his son Joseph Kabila took over and ruled until 2019. There were 24 successive years of Bonapartist governments by the Kabila family.

Between 1998 and 2003, a conflict of gigantic proportions involving eight African countries and 25 armed groups decimated approximately between 5 and 6 million Congolese. This conflict is considered the deadliest since World War II.

How to explain these successive Bonapartist and genocidal governments

The massacres against the Congolese population began with King Leopold II, of Belgium in the service of the nascent automobile industry (Ford, Peugeot, etc.) and tire industries such as Dunlop, Good Year, etc., which needed the natural latex existing in the Congo .

The massacre carried out by Leopold II turned into an international scandal. To improve his image, he favored two English brothers, who, with slave labor and ethnic cleansing, formed Lever’s Brothers, and they started an empire that is today known as Unilever, or Unikiller[2].

Mineral and natural riches have always been a source of greed on the part of different imperialisms. For example, to build the atomic bomb, the USA removed one million and two hundred thousand tons of uranium from the Shinkolobwe mine, without protective measures against radiation and today, 80 years later, children are still born with congenital defects.

The eastern region of Congo, made up of the states of South Kivu, Ituri and North Kivu, borders Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda, is extremely rich in minerals such as gold, coltan, cassiterite cobalt and uranium.

Since at least the 1990s, Rwanda has become a major exporter of agricultural and mineral products. It is a very small country, the smallest in Africa, 88 times smaller than Congo. In such a small area there is no way to be a producer and major exporter of various natural and mineral products. In fact, much of it is smuggled from Congo and for this purpose there is a whole network of smugglers and militiamen.

In Rwanda and Uganda (a neighboring country), gold smuggled from Congo is refined by Belgian companies owned by Tony Goetz's family. The family is accused of illegally buying and selling gold, financing militias and money laundering. Tony Goetz passed away in 2018 and his empire continues to be run by his children. One of the sons, Sylvain Goetz, convicted by Belgian justice for money laundering and gold trafficking, is the owner of the gold refining company, North Star, located between Baia do Guajajara and Av. Artur Bernardes, in Belém do Pará/Brazil [3]. The Gaetz, in addition to laundering gold money in Dubai, are also suppliers of “Tesla, Amazon, Dell, Johnson & Johnson and HP, and even Starbucks coffee makers”[4].

The involvement of these companies undermines the entire discussion in the bourgeois press that treats the conflicts in Congo as a consequence of ethnic conflicts between Hutus and Tutsis and other ethnicities.

Rwanda, the gendarme state and mirror of Israel

Paul Kagame, has led Rwanda since 1994. First militarily and from 2000 as elected president. Kagame is Tutsi, his ethnicity was allegedly massacred by the Hutus in 1994 in the well-known massacre in Rwanda when 800,000 people were murdered in just over a week. Even though he was a member of the massacred minority, he imposed himself militarily on the Hutus. Paul Kagame is also held responsible for the I and II Congo War. Internally, the country is a bloodthirsty dictatorship. Patrick Karegeya, Rwanda's former intelligence chief, fell out with Paul Kagame and went to live in South Africa where he was murdered. Kagame's statement to the newspapers about the assassination explains itself: "Whoever betrays the country will pay the price, I assure you. Anyone still alive who may be conspiring against Rwanda, whoever they are, will pay the price. Whoever Whatever it is, it's a matter of time"[5]

Rwanda today has the same profile as Israel in that it acts as a gendarme state in the region. In several conflicts, Rwandan troops are sent to intervene. Unlike other armies, the Rwandan one is highly professionalized, with a lot of financial help from Belgium, England, France and the USA. When the interests of Total Energies and ExxonMobil, for gas exploration in Cabo Delgado (Mozambique) were at risk, it was Rwandan troops who defeated the Islamic groups. If the national army, as in the Mozambican case, does not have sufficient forces, Rwanda rents its army of professionals.

In the Congolese case, Rwanda's interests are related to territorial control of gold areas, exploration and smuggling. Their actions include numerous cases of territorial cleansing, expelling the local population. In recent days, for example, 135,000 people were expelled from Masisi towards the capital Goma. Before their expulsion, they carried out mass kidnappings, murders and rapes. According to the organization Doctors Without Borders, there are at least 60 cases a day.

In Congo, all this violence is carried out by a very well-armed militia, including planes, bombs and drones, called M23, and which, from the UN to the simplest inhabitant, knows that they are financed by Rwanda, and this country is financed by the United Kingdom. , France, Belgium and the United States. All this financing is to guarantee the interests of transnational companies that operate in Congo or that need its raw materials.

In addition to the M23, another 120 armed groups operate in the region, according to studies by several international organizations.

Capitalism kills. Death to capitalism

The Democratic Republic of Congo's history is associated with successive genocides. All of them practiced by imperialist nations at the service of their transnational companies.

King Leopold of Belgium is accused of the murder of several million people. There are data that vary between 1 and 10 million Congolese[6]. This killing was related to the ethnic cleansing and enslavement of men and women to extract rubber that would be sold to Dunlop, Firestone, GoodYear, among others. These tire manufacturers were suppliers of automobile companies Peugeot, Ford, Daimler Benz, etc.

At the end of World War II, the USA launched the Manhattan project to produce the atomic bomb. The essential raw material was excellent uranium from the Shinkolobwe mine, owned by the Belgian company Union Minière de Haut Katanga. Exploration, transportation and shipping to the USA yielded astronomical profits for companies: Bechtel, DuPont, Raytheon, Eastman Kodak, Union Carbide, Pan American Airways, Caltex (currently ChevronTexaco), etc. Deaths to the Congolese population have occurred over the years due to contamination with radioactive material. The few photos from the time show North American inspectors wearing protective equipment and Congolese workers without protection. The uranium was transported in camouflaged wagons, without protection and on the long journey it contaminated the populations.[7]

During Mobutu's dictatorship, the policy imposed by the World Bank, called Strategy for African Mining, was applied, which imposed the privatization of the state-owned Gecamines and the total deregulation of mining. At that time, gigantic companies such as Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore, among others, emerged and began to control all industrial extraction. At the same time, semi-artisan mining gained great momentum and with it illegal trade, smuggling and the emergence of militias. A 2014 UN report states that: “The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the world's second largest producer of diamonds and the world's largest exporter of cobalt ore, is the country most affected by the illegal exploitation of its natural resources, notably “exploitation illegal mineral and exports” and that, more seriously, the money generated by this trafficking finances armed groups”.

In this sequence there are companies that explore the extraction of mineral or natural resources, companies that operate in pre-industrialization such as the Gaetz family, owner of the African Gold Refinery (Uganda) capable of refining more than 220 tons of gold per year, from the Aldango Refinery ( Rwanda) which can process up to 75 tonnes per year and a company in Dubai, PGR Gold Trading which buys all this gold. In addition to these companies, the Gaetz, as we said above, installed a gold refinery in the State of Pará (Brazil) and coincidentally, the participation of militia groups in the country is growing.

In addition to gold, the region's coltan goes through the same process and will be used by companies such as Tesla, Dell, Microsoft, Amazon, HP and even Starbucks.

As you can see, capitalism kills. We must fight for the end of capitalism. But on an immediate level we need to denounce the recurrent genocide in the Congo and in particular, at this moment, be alongside the large demonstrations taking place in Belgium and France against the actions of the M23, against the interference of Paul Kagame's regime (Rwanda) and against the financing of the Rwandan militias and army by transnational corporations and imperialist countries.



[1] The genocide in the Belgian Congo and the fight for reparation -

[2] UNILEVER Boycott -

[3] THE WAY TO GOLD - New gold refinery in the Amazon has a partner convicted of money laundering in Belgium - -da-amazonia-has-as-a-partner-convicted-of-money-laundering-in-belgium/

[4] ditto

[5] Rwanda’s Khashoggi: who killed the exiled spy chief? -

[6] King Leopold's legacy of DR Congo violence -

[7] Williams, Susan. Spies in the Congo. The Race for the Ore that Built the Atomic Bomb. (London: Hurst & Company, 2018), pg. 266

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