Guinea: Background and Relations with the United States
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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This report analyzes developments in Guinea, a poor West African country, following the death of longtime president and former military leader Lansana Conte in December 2008. It focuses on the militarys seizure of power after Contes death, U.S.-Guinea bilateral relations, and U.S. policy in the wake of the coup. It also provides background on Guinean history and politics. Guinea is a Francophone country on West Africas Atlantic coast with a population of about 10 million. It is rich in natural resources but characterized by widespread poverty and limited socioeconomic growth and development. While Guinea has experienced regular episodes of internal political turmoil, it had been considered a locus of relative stability over the past two decades, a period during which each of its six neighbors suffered one or more armed internal conflicts. At the same time, democratic progress was limited, and Guinea has never undergone a democratic or constitutional transfer of power since gaining independence in 1958. On December 23, 2008, following the death of President Conte, a military junta calling itself the National Council for Democracy and Development CNDD, after its French acronym seized power. It named as interim national president a previously relatively unknown figure, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara. After taking power, the CNDD dissolved the constitution and legislature, appointed a civilian prime minister, and promised to hold presidential and legislative elections. Elections were repeatedly postponed, however. On September 28, 2009, Guinean security forces opened fire on some 50,000 civilian demonstrators in Conakry who were protesting the CNDD and Dadis Camaras perceived presidential ambitions, killing many. The protest sparked wide international condemnation, including from the United States.
- Government and Political Science