COMUNIDADE DOS PAÍSES DE LÍNGUA PORTUGUESA – CHANCES FOR DEVELOPMENT OR A STEP TOWARDS NEOCOLONIALISM? THE PERSPECTIVES OF SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE´S MEMBERSHIP IN THE ORGANIZATION

Joanna Mormul
Institute of Political Science and International Relations
Jagiellonian University

joannamormul@gmail.com

Founded in 1996, Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa (Community of Portuguese Language Countries) – CPLP associates Portuguese-speaking countries, the majority of which are situated in Africa. Among the objectives of the organization are: political and diplomatic coordination between its member states, cooperation in almost all fields (education, health, defense, public administration etc.), together with promotion and dissemination of Portuguese language. Nevertheless these laudable goals are not eliminating large differences in development existing between the member states. On the one hand we have Brazil with its enormous economic potential and on the other hand Guinea-Bissau which currently occupies the 18th position on the Failed States Index 2011 prepared by Fund for Peace. The CPLP itself also causes some controversies as it is accused of reproducing neocolonialism, not only by the former empire – Portugal, but also by Brazil.

In comparison with the CPLP countries in Africa São Tomé and Príncipe is doing relatively well

The second-smallest African state and the smallest Portuguese-speaking one won’t be found among the 90 most failed states nor is burdened with difficult legacy of a civil war (as in the case of Angola or Mozambique). Even the coup d’etat occurred in 2003 did not last long and in the end became an opportunity for CPLP states to conduct arbitration proceedings. Furthermore, the expected oil crude exploitation on a large scale changes São Tomé and Príncipe’s position in regional politics from the poor cacao producer to the object of interest for the major players of world’s politics.

The aim of this paper is to try to answer the question whether or not the membership in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries is for the small states with perspectives, like São Tomé and Príncipe, more beneficial than developing of bilateral relations with individual countries (it is worth to mention very good mutual relations between São Tomé and Príncipe and also oil-rich Angola, called by their governments as ‘privileged’). The further analysis will focus on other benefits that can be brought by the cooperation within the CPLP, which without any doubts is the organization still in the process of creation, and is there any possibility that in the near future it can gain importance on the area of African and world’s politics (it cannot be forgotten that in the all member states live 240 million people which is a unique chance political, economic and cultural development).

Keywords: CPLP, São Tomé and Príncipe, development, bilateral relations, cooperation

Biography note: currently PhD student in the Institute of Political Science and International Relations at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, has a Master’s degree in International Relations and Spanish Philology (both 2011). Her research interests focus upon politics and history of Latin America, Portuguese – speaking African countries and human rights violations in Latin America and Africa. She wants to write her future PhD thesis about the influence of the presence of Nazi war criminals in South America on the politics of the continent.