Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cabo Verde

Or Cape Verde, if you insist. Ten islands four hundred miles off the West African Coast, all of them volcanic; total size fifteen hundred square meters. Prone to drought. No arable land. Population – difficult to say as it diminishes daily: more than two hundred thousand fled from poverty during the 20th century, and more than half its native population no longer is - though actually its native population never really was, because the islands had never been inhabited by anyone until the Portuguese colonised them in the 15th century, and made them one of their key transportation centres for African slaves en route to the Americas. 

The islands became independent in 1975, though Portuguese remains the "mother tongue". There was a brief and somewhat tentative exploration of a possible unification with Guinea-Bissau, but that was abandoned when the party they were supporting in Guinea-Bassau was overthrown in a coup. Instead, in 1981, a one-party system was established under Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro, which held power until elections were held in 1990, which Monteiro won; only then was a multi-party system created, though Monteiro still managed to go on winning elections until 2001. 

Cabo Verde is now regarded as one of Africa's most stable democratic governments. Supported by massive amounts of food and other aid, it has risen out of the bottom league of underdeveloped countries, until, in 2008, it followed Botswana out of the United Nation's list of the world's 50 Most Under-Developed Nations. It now has three international airports, which may seem excessive for a country of less than half a million people, but you have to get around those islands, and planes are easier than boats. 

But now we know, we have the evidence, are on the right road towards the proof: create an island in the middle of the ocean, render it virtually uninhabitable, make sure it has no natural resources that others might make war to obtain, restrict its economy to farming and fishing with a little tourism, limit its population to a tiny few, and you have the chance to create a world in which freedom of the press, fairly elected government, and progress are achievable.

Marks For: 9

Marks Against: 2

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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