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America and fuel driven politics

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Ethan Zuckerman writing on his blog My Heart’s in Accra got me interested in a New York Times article entitled Taint of Corruption Is No Barrier to U.S. Visa. Apparently Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the agriculture minister of Equatorial Guinea and the son of its ruler, has a $35 million estate in Mailbu, California.

Ethan reflected as follows

As the New York Times reported this weekend, the strong evidence that Obiang is systematically looting his nation’s treasury hasn’t prevented him from getting US visas and visiting his estate several times a year. So why does Obiang get to play in Malibu while Robert Mugabe is forced to live it up in Hong Kong? According to the US State Department officials quoted in Ian Urbina’s New York Times story, the answer is simple: Zimbabwe doesn’t have oil, while Equatorial Guinea does.

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