West African Nations - 2012

T HE I VORY C OAST

Yesterday (a day since we had returned from our trip there) I read in an international travel magazine that the US State Department has issued a warning to American tourists against visiting this troubled country until further notice. I had read about two weeks before that violence had broken out again in the southwest of the country. Once again, something terrible has happened in a country just a few weeks after we visit. In the past, we have “caused” riots near Speaker’s Corner in London, shook up things in New Zealand to the point where a volcano erupted, left Iceland trembling in an earthquake and there have been other such occurrences. And now this! Seriously, though, it does seem like we visit places just in time. This former French colony, about the size of New Mexico, attained independence in 1960 and has been unstable ever since. Sometimes it’s the military that takes over a civilian government--there are have been several military coups. Always the military is in the background of whatever government is supposedly in charge. Until this recent unrest, the government in charge was being supported by a UN presence in an effort to keep the peace. Not working too well, eh? The Ivory Coast was also drawn into the wars that engulfed Liberia and Sierra Leone. I guess it is “unlucky” like the others in that it has some oil, natural gas, and diamonds. Its other natural resources include manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, copper, gold, nickel, tantalum, silica sand, and clay. Its principal exports are cacao, coffee and palmoil. 71

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