The Acts of the Democracies




Belgium and Congo (Assassination of Patrice Lumumba)

Belgium agrees to the independence of Congo with the charismatic and popular leader, Patrice Lumumba. During the independence ceremony Lumumba calls for economic and political freedom for Congo.

Eleven days after independence, Belgium intervenes militarily to set up the mineral rich southern part of the country into a separate state, Katanga, ruled by Moise Tshombe and financed by European and American mine owners.

Lumumba is arrested by the Belgian military and transferred in early 1961 to Katanga where he is tortured and killed by Tshombe's forces and their Belgian advisors. After his death his body is dissolved in acid by the Belgian police under Gerard Soete. The USA CIA is later implicated in the assassination after an approval by the USA president Dwight Eisenhower. Belgium would apologise for the death of Lumumba in 2002.

Tshombe rules a united Congo after independence, allowing Western companies access to the minerals. The West's business interests over-ride the wishes and interests of the local people.

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