Guinea Bissau. Although Guinea-Bissau on paper was ruled
by a civilian transitional government that would conduct
democratic elections, it was nevertheless clear that the
militants behind the 2012 coup had still retained much of
their influence. The country also had major financial
difficulties, not least because several donors, including
the EU, withheld their support.
A fall in cashew nuts, which usually accounts for 90% of
export earnings, worsened the situation and made the UN warn
of starvation. In July, almost half the population was said
to suffer from food shortages. Both teachers and health care
workers went on strike in protest that they had not received
their salaries. Without financial support from the West
African cooperation organization ECOWAS and Nigeria, the
situation would have been even worse.
Countryaah, the smuggling of cocaine from Latin America to Europe via
Guinea-Bissau was considered to contribute to power
struggles between the military and high-ranking politicians.
According to a report by the UN Drug and Law Enforcement
Agency UNODC in February, people who tried to intervene in
drug trafficking were murdered or kidnapped. However, there
were those who believed that the drug cartels had moved on
to other countries because of the precarious situation in
In April, the United States Drug Police (DEA) arrested
former Navy commander José Americo Bubo Na Tchuto and
several others on international waters off Cape Verde. They
were brought to the United States where drug crime charges
were pending (the United States had already in 2010 called
him international for his involvement in the drug trade).
Guinea-Bissau's army chief António Indjai, who was widely
believed to have been behind the 2012 coup, was also charged
in his absence in the United States for selling weapons to
the Colombian FARC guerrilla. Indjai denied there was
anything in the charges.
At the beginning of the year, President Manuel Serifo
Nhamadjo announced that it was technically impossible for
the parliamentary elections to be held during the spring as
planned. Later, the election day was set for November 24,
but the election was rescheduled until March 16, 2014. It
was also decided that the presidential election should be
held on the same day.
Guinea-Bissau already had civilian rule. However, there
were strong forces that counteracted this, especially in the
military. An important reason for the 2012 coup was concern
among many in the Army that they would lose their positions
in a planned defense reform. A backlash for the coup makers
came in September when the transitional parliament voted by
a clear majority to a proposal that would have given them
In July, the country's new presidential palace was
inaugurated in the capital Bissau, built with the help of
Chinese money. The old had been destroyed during the civil
war of 1998-99.