Editorials: Choosing Our Oil Over Their Democracy: Elections as Farce in Equatorial Guinea | David Shook/Huffington Post

An Equatorial Guinean friend sends me a message on Facebook. Abrazo. A hug. He’s upset, because to walk to work he’s had to pass through Malabo’s Plaza de la Mujer, which is currently occupied by a large contingent of riot police and K-9 units, not unlike the Ukrainian mercenaries that searched my luggage on the tarmac of the Bata airport in 2011, on a short domestic flight from Equatorial Guinea’s island capital Malabo. This Sunday, May 26, 2013, was the latest Parliamentary Election under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, now the longest serving African head of state, following the 2011 overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Obiang, who overthrew his despotic uncle Francisco Macías in late 1979, has since held five presidential elections, though he ran as the only candidate in the first three and de facto sole candidate in the last two, when most opposition parties called for boycotts. Rightfully so — in 2002 one Guinean precinct registered 103 percent of the vote in Obiang’s favor. Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of the nonprofit EG Justice, which presses for human rights and the rule of law in Equatorial Guinea, said, “The sad truth is that Equatoguineans have never experienced a free and fair election.”