From Wikipedia: Leon Howard Sullivan (October 16, 1922 - April 24, 2001) was a Baptist minister, a civil rights leader and social activist focusing on the creation of job training opportunities for African-Americans, a longtime General Motors Board Member, and an anti-Apartheid activist.
The Washington DC based Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, which bears the name of a distinguished fighter against Apartheid and other human rights violations, has decided to celebrate its IX Summit in…. Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. This is something akin to holding a Vegan’s Convention in Buenos Aires or a Naval Conference in La Paz, Bolivia. The Foundation has as main principle “an unwavering commitment to democratic ideals, both in the U.S. and across the world”. However, Equatorial Guinea’s regime is dictatorial and one of the most corrupt and abusive in Africa. In spite of this the website of the Foundation describes the host government as follows: “Since August 3rd, 1979, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has been lead (sic) by H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Equatorial Guinea has enjoyed the most productive period of peace, stability and development in its history. A period of peace and development have allowed Equatorial Guinea’s income per capita to steadily rise to one of the highest on the continent….” [in fact, 2/3 of the population live in extreme poverty].
The Foundation has closed its eyes to the long record of corruption of the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and of his son Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue, now second vice-president of the country and the dictator’s heir apparent.
In Equatorial Guinea “there are no civil society organizations (See http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/364 ). Human rights defenders suffer every kind of violation. Avelino Abaha Elo, Alberto Nguema Ndong were killed in December 2002; Reverend Father León Mba Ncogo on January 2004. Arbitrary arrest, prison and torture are rampant”.
In a letter to the Sullivan Foundation EG, a human rights organization based in Washington DC, said that the son of the dictator has been issued an international arrest order for corruption by French judges. He has spent “about $300 million” in the U.S. in the last ten years, obtained through extortion and fraud. In http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/equatorialguinea/8851377/Equatorial-Guinea-dictators-son-splurged-millions-of-impoverished-countrys-money.html ) the Telegraph, U.K. reported that his toys included “a $2 million Maserati, and two Bugatti Veyron worth $2 million and $1.3 million. He also owned eight Ferraris, seven Rolls Royce, five Bentleys, four Mercedes, two Lamborghinis and an Aston Martin. In June 2005 he bought two high performance 50ft speedboats worth $2 million and had one shipped to Hawaii so he could use it on a visit there. It capsized and had to be salvaged at a cost of $400,000…. In what would have been his most lavish expense he commissioned a German company in 2008 to design a "mega yacht" worth $380 million, nearly three times what Equatorial Guinea spends on health and education in a year”.
In a very strong letter of protest (http://humanrightsfoundation.org/August_1_Sullivan_Foundation_Letter.pdf ) addressed to the Sullivan Foundation against its intentions to hold its IX Summit in Equatorial Guinea, the Human Rights Foundation, based in New York, has said: “In just one Washington, D.C.-based scandal at Riggs Bank they were caught transferring sums as large as $700 million into personal bank accounts. The Obiang family is currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for corruption. The DOJ is currently attempting to seize one Gulfstream jet, one palatial mansion in Malibu, California, and millions of dollars of Michael Jackson memorabilia belonging to Obiang’s son, Teodorin. In court papers filed
in June, prosecutors laid out evidence of alleged grand corruption in Equatorial Guinea, where Obiang allowed his son to amass a fortune by stealing from the country’s resource wealth. A French judge has also issued an arrest warrant for Teodorin on charges of money laundering. In response, your host has recently appointed Teodorin the country’s new vice-president”.
The Equatoguinean government, adds the letter from The Human Rights Foundation, has been described as a “family criminal conspiracy” by former U.S. Ambassador to that country, John Bennett.
Why is this happening? It seems irrational that a Human Rights organization like the Sullivan Foundation decides to do what it has decided to do. One only possible explanation (is there another one?) is that money from the Obang regime is going to the Foundation. I can find no other motive that could “persuade” the foundation to do what is doing. If there is another one that would at least explain ( never could it justify it) the reason for the decision I would be more than glad to stand corrected. No matter what the reason for the decision might be, it represents a tragic betrayal of the legacy left to the foundation by Reverend Leon H. Sullivan