A lobbyist who once represented the brutal regime in Equatorial Guinea whose dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, has been accused of eating his political rivals, is in line for a position in the Biden administration’s State Department.
Amos Hochstein is being considered to lead the administration’s efforts to cut off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a project near and dear to Vladimir Putin’s heart, that would connect Germany and Russia. The U.S. has been opposed to the project from the start but so far, Biden has done little to stop it.
Hochstein used to work for Cassidy and Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm. His portfolio included representing Obiang before the U.S. government.
Equatorial Guinea regularly sees the detention of journalists and violent torture from police forces, placing the country among the least free places in the world, according to the human rights nonprofit Freedom House. Obiang’s agents have been accused of urinating on and maiming prisoners. Obiang himself has been alleged to cannibalize his political enemies.
As a vice president at Cassidy, Hochstein led the lobbying firm’s work with the Obiang government for a time. According to Steve Coll’s 2012 book Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power, Cassidy entered into a contract with the regime after a failed coup attempt, seeing an opportunity to let the regime “break out of Washington’s punishment box” for African dictators..
Indeed, Hochstein fit right into the Obama administration. He said that Obiang “has taken some serious steps that are moving the country in the right direction” and that his work helped “move the ball forward on human rights” in the country.
Maybe that should be “move the balls forward.”
Whatever his other faults, Zimbabwe’s leader – to take one example – has never been accused of cannibalism. But if Obiang’s opponents are to be believed, the dictator of Equatorial Guinea likes nothing more than to eat the testicles of those who have crossed him. Since Mann is accused of plotting to overthrow Obiang to get his hands on the tiny state’s massive oil wealth, he could be excused for having sleepless nights.
Severo Moto, the exiled politician whom Mann and his fellow adventurers hoped to install in power, says Obiang “systematically eats his political rivals”. He once told Spanish radio that the ruler “has just devoured a police commissioner. I say ‘devoured’, as this commissioner was buried without his testicles and his brain”. Other opponents have had their livers removed, although it is not known whether they were served to the president.
Now, no one is saying that Hochstein eats people. Only that he hangs around with people who do. But what in the Sam Hill is a president even considering this slimeball for any position?
The Nordstream-2 pipeline project is well along now and meeting some resistance from the Germans who don’t want to be beholden to Putin for anything, much less their oil and natural gas supplies. Hochstein has a major selling job ahead of him. But after making Obiang look like a “reformer,” this will be a piece of cake.