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.
According to 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 Guinea-Bissau.
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 amnesty.
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.