Equatorial Guinea is one of the most corrupt and economically unequal countries in the world. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled with an iron fist since he seized power after deposing and executing his uncle in 1979. Since then, he and his inner circle -- including his son, who was recently appointed by Obiang as second vice president and likely successor -- have accumulated extreme wealth from the country's oil profits, while the majority of citizens live on less than a dollar a day. Political opponents are monitored, harassed, arrested, and tortured; ethnic groups that do not belong to Obiang's clan are deprived of their political rights and marginalized; journalists are censored and prosecuted; and the parliament and judiciary serve as nothing more than a rubber stamp. Constitutional amendments approved in November 2011 that will allow Obiang to hand-pick his successor and extend his influence over the judiciary even after he leaves office only served to bolster his power. Human rights groups have also decried increased abuses of activists, media, and political opposition in advance of parliamentary elections in May 2013.
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