The work by American PR firm Qorvis for the government of Equatorial Guinea is what Teju Cole would call surrealistan.
Qorvis runs the @EGEmbassy twitter handle, and just tweeted the following:
Tweet from twitter handle run by Equatorial Guinea’s PR firm, Qorvis.
The link is to a YouTube video from the account FocusWashington.com. What is FocusWashington.com, you might ask? It’s a site run by Qorvis to publish videos like this one.
What shows up on the tab when you open focuswashington.com
In the 8 minute video, the interviewer, Chuck Conconi, a Qorvis vice chairman who used to be a legitimate journalist, throws softball questions to the ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to the US such as: “Since there has been petroleum there have been many accomplishments. What have your accomplishments been?” The ambassador says that since 1979 one of the biggest accomplishments has been education. What does he mean by this? He means that the country has sent hundreds of people to universities abroad. I will note here that according to UNDP the mean number of years of schooling of Equatoguinean adults is 5.4 years.
Conconi, who honestly should be ashamed of himself, says, at one point, “So I assume you would use this as the kind of advice you would give to other developing countries on what to do?” (As a not-so-random aside: Life expectancy in Equatorial Guinea? 51.4 years.)
Conconi asks: “Your president made legal reform a priority. What have been some of the most significant reforms?” The ambassador says the biggest reform is the new constitution. This constitution, he does not mention, was passed amid wide allegations of voter fraud and lifted the age limit for presidents, which will allow Obiang (who has been in office for almost 35 years) to run again. Conconi, of course, asks no follow ups. The ambassador concludes by saying: “The principal of rule of law is fully observed and respected,” and the interview ends there.
Watch the interview here:
My previous post on Qorvis and Equtorial Guinea is here.