Site Created By:
Last Updated : December 2004
The Congo: Lumumba, Mobutu and the CIA
Like many countries in Africa, the Congo has been ravaged by war and colonialism. During the wide spread independence movement in Africa in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Patrice Lumumba sought to release the Congo from its colonial leaders. His platform was simple: he advocated independence, a strong central government and for his country to join the modern world in industry and technology.
After independence, however, the country suffered greatly due to the drastic change of government. Military unrest and rioting ensued soon after. As prime minister, Lumumba turned to the United States for support. When his requests were unanswered, he turned to the Soviet Union. This move alarmed the United States because of the Cold War and congress feared the mineral rich Congo would be under Soviet influence.
The CIA decided that Lumumba had to be eliminated and replaced with corrupt puppet military leader Joseph Mobutu. The United States covertly backed Mobutu’s coup, and Lumumba was assassinated soon afterwards. Well into the 1990’s the U.S. continued to support Mobutu corrupt government financially, even though his human rights record was terrible. In addition, most of the aid money sent to the Congo found its way into Mobutu’s personal Swiss bank accounts.
Eventually in 1997 Mobutu was ousted
out of power just like he gained it: by military coup. He fled
to Morocco where he died at the age