Today marks the one-year anniversary of the military coup d’état in Guinea Bissau. For some reason, I thought there might be some sort of celebration, or national convergence, or meeting or something. Nothing happened. It was just like another day. But the thought was definitely there on everyone’s mind.
But other political events have taken place recently that has left the country on its toes. About a week ago or so, American FBI or CIA captured one of Guinea-Bissau’s top military officials, Bubo Na Tchuto, and are accusing him of attempting to selling drugs in the US and engage in weapons trade with Columbia.
What I have been learning is that there are actually a lot of African American undercover agents working in Guinea-Bissau trying to get more information about the drug trafficking here. There was an American investigator who crossed paths with Bubo and that American investigator is now no longer living. With double incentive, the Americans took Bubo on what they are calling “ international waters.”( I put it in quotes because no one seems to be able to agree where and how he was taken, but the US claims it was international waters.)
But his capture is very controversial here and for that reason the country has been on high alert, or lock down rather. All airlines into the country ( TAP-Portugal, TAVC- Cape Verde, SenegalAirlines, and RAM- Morocco) were canceled for fear that the military would try and claim their planes in retaliation. The French embassy has even told French people living here be indoors after 8pm.
Since then, I’ve been told by several different people not to say I’m American because I could be associated with the American DEA or working undercover and could easily get mixed into some problems. Fortunately for me, people are generally at a loss when it comes to figuring out where I’m from. I get a lot of Spain, Portugal, and Brazilian. Never American. Plus I can speak Portuguese and Creole which helps create more confusion.
Though this is the current situation, it sounds a lot scarier then it seems. Everyday has been normal, for me, and it’s only when I check the news site that I am reminded about what is happening here politically.
On the other hand, some people are pretty excited about the recent US involvement in the country. It is said that military and government officials run the country like they are the highest authority under God and that they think they are untouchable because they are at the top of the social and economic power ladder. By the US taking Bubo into custody, it shows the other dirty generals and politicians that there are bigger fish in the ocean, so they better watch out. Some folks even think that if the US come and takes enough generals involved in the Drug Trafficking then the country can begin to stabilize and begin to develop.
The only slightly comical thing about this situation is that Bubo had approached my stepdad weeks before inquiring about his car. My step-dad has a 1999 Lincoln Navigator here and that car is almost always considered the presidential car. There are only 2 in the country: My step-dads, and some other guys. Lincoln Navigators are a rare, big, and American, so it just screams wealth, and all big military guys have their ‘wealth screaming’ car. Anyhow, Bubo was offering to buy the car, but since he was taken into US custody in New York, my dad is now looking for someone else to sell his car too.