On February 28, 2019, the last financial wire transactions between the small socialist country of Eritrea and all the western countries were stopped with no further wire transfers in USD$ or Euros to or from Eritrea being allowed.
UNjust and illegal UN sanctions against Eritrea were lifted recently but the damage being done continues. During the 9-year long UN sanctions period the US shut down all Eritrean government bank accounts and cut off all access to USD international transfers. The USA and its European lackeys even tried to prevent Eritreans in the diaspora from paying their national 2% income tax (something all US citizens outside the country must do), critical to the creation and survival of the country.
After being kicked out of the dollar market Eritrea’s next turn was to the EU to no avail. The EU would not allow Eritrea access to international euro transfers so Eritrea was forced to fall back on her only international friend, Russia, as a conduit for international banking transactions in euros.
US sanctions against Russia enforced against the EU are now officially the cause for shutting down Eritrea’s last western foreign exchange access completely cutting off Africa’s only socialist country from western capital transfers.
While diplomatic ties between Eritrea and the USA have improved dramatically under Trump the economic sabotage of our country’s economy continues. As with all sanctions by the USA, the target is always the people of the sanctioned country, bringing untold misery in the name of “Defending Freedom and Democracy”.
Sanctions have almost never achieved the political aims of the USA with Iraq a prime example during Saddam Hussein’ rule. Half a million dead Iraqis “was worth it” as Hillary Clinton’s mentor Lady Albright so infamously proclaimed.
In the case of us living here in Eritrea and our family and friends in the diaspora, it’s cash and carry, the only way to get part of the country’s hard currency lifeline in and out of our homeland.
When this economic sabotage will end is a question that must be asked in light of the recognition Eritrea has received in being a critical player in the peace that has broken out in the Horn of Africa, never mind the peaceful revolution that took place in Ethiopia in 2018.
It goes without saying that small socialist countries have never been treated fairly, with Cuba and North Korea paying a brutal price in human suffering. Eritrea is the latest victim of Pax Americana and it failing grip on the world’s economic lifelines via the USD. The shameful thing is how spineless the Europeans are, bowing down to the US Empire in the most craven manner. How this story will end remains unknown, but for Eritreans at home and abroad, its just another challenge to overcome.
Thomas C. Mountain is an historian and educator living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. See thomascmountain on Facebook, thomascmountain on Twitter or best reach him at thomascmountain at g mail dot com.