Documenting Utter Failure Versus Cataloging Perennial Excusese
According to BTI 2012 Eritrea Country Report: Eritrea’s GDP for 2010 was $2117.0 (mn) more importantly its External Debt was $1009.8 ( mn).
By Seyoum Tesfaye
Lately the Isaias regime has been facing a litany of international condemnation and outright marginalization based on documented exposure of its draconian external and internal policy. Before 2012 is over more damming information will follow. The instinctive and entrenched reaction of the regime will be a more bizarre and irrationally defensive pronouncement. This will not resolve the regime’s pariah position, at least, internationally but will help consolidate its isolation and nurture objective internal conditions that could be more favorable for change. Whether Eritrea politicians and activists will take full advantage of this isolation by coalescing around and concertizing a more refined pragmatic Road-map for Democratic Transition is the million dollar question.
The recent Security Council decision to accept the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group’s report as strongly affirms and consolidates general trend towards the regime’s isolation. The US government’s decision to add two key regime agents to the designation and travel restriction sends a stronger message to the regime, further strengthening the condemnation. Hopefully with a more diligent and nuanced engagement the USA will tighten the screw further.
The reason for writing this brief article is basically to share and show the contrast in the two diametrically opposed trends as depicted by two official documents that I just finished reading:
“BTI 2012 – Eritrea Country Report” produced by Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index and the “UNPROVOKED US HOSTILITIES AGAINST ERITREA” written by Shaebia- Research and Documentation Department of people’s Front for democracy and Justice- Asmara, July 2012.
The BTI 24 page report lucidly demonstrates the utter failure of the Eritrean regime in a very professional way. BTI states:
“BTI is a global assessment of transition processes in which the state of democracy and market economy as well as the quality of political management in 128 transformation and developing countries are evaluated.” (Cover page).
According to BTI Eritrea is rated 126 out of 128 countries -As low rating as you can get. This rating was not plucked from the blue sky. It fits well with the pattern of reports that have been issued by various independent international institutions in the last few years.
I hope many activists will take time and read the entire document to grasp the intensity of the political and economic failure in Eritrea under the PFDJ regime. The last decade the political side of the failure has received more attention than the economic devastation under the regime. Hopefully the kind of documents released by BTI will force us to pay more attention to the economic disaster and its long range implication to the post –Isaias transition and rebuilding of Eritrea. The economic indicators presented by BTI shows (contrary to the celebrated empty Isaias’ rhetoric on Debt Free Eritrea) that Eritrea had the following massive External debt (in millions of dollars) – in 2007 -$859.4, 2008- $961.4, 2009-$1018.9, 2010-$1009.8. Eritrean GDP for 2010 (according to the report) is $2117.00 million dollar. The External Debt is about 50% of the GDP- So much for self-reliance and debt free economy.
BTI is not an American organization. By the time the PFDJ disinformation department finishes reading BTI’s Country Report BTI will be promoted to a branch of the American government and under contract with CIA. The international consensus on the nature and direction the Eritrean regime is in total convergence. The international actors have basically come to this consensus within a decade. This is a remarkable achievement regardless of who should get the credit. BTI is just one more institution that has added its objective and critical voice to the consolidation of the devastating political, economic and management failure by the Eritrean regime.
Removing the undemocratic regime might look like a herculean task at this time. In a strategic sense, reorganizing Eritrea’s devastated economic “system” and integrating it with the global economic system might even be a more formidable long range challenge to those leaders that assume the grand responsibility of guiding Eritrea through its inevitable democratic transition. Hopefully, BTI’s Report will help focus Eritrean activist’s determination to be resilient, creative and undaunted in their struggle to remove the present unjust system and establish a government of rule of law to transform Eritrea into a democratic polity based on hard facts and deeper knowledge of what it really takes to conduct democratic transition and reconciliation, national reconstruction and reintegration into the global economic and political system.
Now let us see what PFDJ propaganda Department is trying to pass as a genuine document under the pretext of “UNPROVOKED US HOSTILITIES AGAINST ERITREA”.
The 10 page “document” has no semblance of even un-edited work in progress “White Paper”. If you want to see how tyrannical control water’s down intellectual capital here is a good example. Supposedly the “document” was pulled together to give a detailed account of how the US has been hostile against Eritrea for the last 70 years. The bulleted 51 listing is a cut and paste shabby work by the PFDJ so called “Research and Documentation Department”. It is a must read for activists to indirectly learn how consecutive US governments have been slowly coming to grip with the Isaias regime’s destructive internal and external policy.
The regime wants to leverage US’s misguide 1950 policy towards Eritrea as permanent and overarching mission statements towards the new State of Eritrea and the Eritrean people. This kind of mishmash quilting of selective information to advance a greater disinformation agenda, at this juncture in the Eritrean political discourse, holds no water.
Most of the “documentation” is basically deals with the post 1998 relation with the present Eritrean regime and the USA. Everything that has gone wrong in Eritrea, the so-called “Badme War” and its political and diplomatic consequences are attributed to USA design against Eritrea. Accusing the USA has now become the default and go- to position of the Eritrean regime. The regime wants us to feel Eritrea is in hands of heavenly saints who are so determined to defend Eritrea’s interest they will see it go down in flame than address their grave a mistakes and crimes.
The shameless regime dares to refloat the gross fabrication of accusation labeled against G-15 in section 6 by stating:
“The US also extended both direct and mostly through convenient proxies, military support to Ethiopia during the war. Although the government of Eritrea has not to date disclosed fully the information at its disposal, US intelligence agencies were further embroiled, at the height of the Ethiopia’s third offensive in May 2000, in instigating acts of sedition and treason, including attempted liaison with Ethiopia, within a small ring of senior government officials.” (Italic added for emphasis)
If there is anything that Isaisas and his handpicked Trojans Horses are good at is damping all sorts of disinformation without an iota of evidence to back up their accusation. Those who talk about “acts of sedition and treason” are the individuals who have stolen the constitution and trampled upon the right of the Eritrean citizens to have their day in court. The true traitors are those who have denied the prisoners their day in court. Until the Isaias regime has the nerve to bring the accused to court this is just one more effort to try to hoodwink the people of Eritrea both home and in the Diaspora.
The USA is now blamed for the “Badme War”, the conflict with Djibouti, For the Eritrean Youth flooding out of the country, for UNSC resolution 1907 and 2023 etc. This is nothing more than cataloging of perennial ready made excuses. Castro has done it for years and it should not be surprising when a cornered and self-wounded Eritrean tyrant political organization dumps this much wholesale garbage at as it stands face to face with its own people and the world. The US government has plenty of weaknesses and mistakes but it cannot be blamed for the adventures and irrational decisions of the Eritrean regime in the last 10 years.
Governments can manipulate political conversation to certain extent but in the end a deepening economic crisis, as documented by BTI, cannot be derailed or postponed by cataloging hodgepodge of recycled accusation in order to deflect legitimate internal challenges and an avoid an inevitable showdown with its own people.
Hope you will Google and get the opportunity to read both documents and come to your own conclusion.
Disclaimer: I share this view with a clear understanding that perspective is just my own opinion and only my perspective.