The Diamond Wars in Africa

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Diamonds may just be a Guerrilla’s best friend and Africa’s worst enemy.

Since the KGB and the CIA stopped financing civil-wars, African rebellions have turned to diamonds for cash. Exchanged for arms and supplies, smuggled under tongues and in the soles of shoes to markets from Antwerp to Manhattan, diamonds now finance the brutal wars raging in Sierra Leone and Angola. Diamond-lust has also drawn six African countries into Congo’s civil wars.

Africa’s abundant natural resources have often worked against Africa’s people. Congo’s rubber and ivory made Belgium rich, gold and diamonds sustained apartheid South Africa, and it was Rhodesia’s diamonds that made it Cecil Rhodes’ colony. De Beers has been working for a century to keep the stain of blood and greed off the diamond, but now, the 50 billion dollar industry worries that the gem of romance could become the forbidden animal fur of the new century.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Steve Morrison, director of Africa Programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC

Mark Von Bockstael, with the Diamond High Council in Antwerp, Belgium

and Christine Gordon, journalist and independent diamond expert.