Since independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval. In 1980, a military coup established authoritarian dictator Joao Bernardo 'Nino' VIEIRA as president. Despite setting a path to a market economy and multiparty system, VIEIRA's regime was characterized by the suppression of political opposition and the purging of political rivals. Several coup attempts through the 1980s and early 1990s failed to unseat him. In 1994 VIEIRA was elected president in the country's first free elections. A military mutiny and resulting civil war in 1998 eventually led to VIEIRA's ouster in May 1999. In February 2000, a transitional government turned over power to opposition leader Kumba YALA after he was elected president in transparent polling. In September 2003, after only three years in office, YALA was ousted by the military in a bloodless coup, and businessman Henrique ROSA was sworn in as interim president. In 2005, former President VIEIRA was re-elected president pledging to pursue economic development and national reconciliation; he was assassinated in March 2009. Malam Bacai SANHA was elected in an emergency election held in June 2009.
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held on 28 June 2009 with a runoff between the two leading candidates held on 26 July 2009 (next to be held by 2014); prime minister appointed by the president after consultation with party leaders in the legislature
Malam Bacai SANHA elected president; percent of vote, second ballot - Malam Bacai SANHA 63.5%, Kumba YALA 36.5%
Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal da Justica (consists of nine justices appointed by the president and serve at his pleasure; final court of appeals in criminal and civil cases); Regional Courts (one in each of nine regions; first court of appeals for Sectoral Court decisions; hear all felony cases and civil cases valued at more than $1,000); 24 Sectoral Courts (judges are not necessarily trained lawyers; they hear civil cases valued at less than $1,000 and misdemeanor criminal cases)
African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde or PAIGC [Carlos GOMES Junior]; Democratic Alliance or AD [Victor MANDINGA]; Democratic Social Front or FDS [Rafael BARBOSA]; Electoral Union or UE [Joaquim BALDE]; Guinea-Bissau Civic Forum/Social Democracy or FCGSD [Antonieta Rosa GOMES]; Guinea-Bissau Democratic Party or PDG; Guinea-Bissau Socialist Democratic Party or PDSG [Serifo BALDE]; Labor and Solidarity Party or PST [Lancuba INDJAI]; New Democracy Party or PND; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Victor MANDINGA]; Party for Renewal and Progress or PRP; Party for Social Renewal or PRS [Sory DJALO]; Progress Party or PP; Republican Party for Independence and Development or PRID [Aristides GOMES]; Union of Guinean Patriots or UPG [Francisca VAZ]; Union for Change or UM [Amine SAAD]; United Platform or UP (coalition formed by PCD, FDS, FLING, and RGB-MB); United Popular Alliance or APU; United Social Democratic Party or PUSD [Francisco FADUL]
the US Embassy suspended operations on 14 June 1998 in the midst of violent conflict between forces loyal to then President VIEIRA and military-led junta; the US Ambassador to Senegal is accredited to Guinea-Bissau
two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red band on the hoist side; there is a black five-pointed star centered in the red band; yellow symbolizes the sun; green denotes hope; red represents blood shed during the struggle for independence; the black star stands for African unity
note:uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia; the flag design was heavily influenced by the Ghanaian flag
name: "Esta e a Nossa Patria Bem Amada" (This Is Our Beloved Country)
Amilcar Lopes CABRAL/XIAO He
note:adopted 1974; a delegation from Portuguese Guinea visited China in 1963 and heard music by XIAO He; Amilcar Lopes CABRA, the leader of Guinea-Bissau's independence movement, asked the composer to create a piece that would inspire his people to struggle for independence
One of the poorest countries in the world, Guinea-Bissau's legal economy depends mainly on farming and fishing, but trafficking narcotics is probably the most lucrative trade. Cashew crops have increased remarkably in recent years. Guinea-Bissau exports fish and seafood along with small amounts of peanuts, palm kernels, and timber. Rice is the major crop and staple food. However, intermittent fighting between Senegalese-backed government troops and a military junta destroyed much of the country's infrastructure and caused widespread damage to the economy in 1998; the civil war led to a 28% drop in GDP that year, with partial recovery in 1999-2002. In December 2003, the World Bank, IMF, and UNDP were forced to step in to provide emergency budgetary support in the amount of $107 million for 2004, representing over 80% of the total national budget. The combination of limited economic prospects, a weak and faction-ridden government, and favorable geography have made this West African country a way station for drugs bound for Europe.
1 state-owned TV station and a second station, RTP Africa, is operated by Portuguese public broadcaster Radio e Televisao de Portugal (RTP); 1 state-owned radio station, several private radio stations, and some community radio stations; multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
current situation: Guinea-Bissau is a country of origin for children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the scope of the problem of trafficking women or men for forced labor or forced prostitution is unknown; boys reportedly were transported to southern Senegal for forced manual and agricultural labor; girls may be subjected to forced domestic service and child prostitution in Senegal
Tier 3 - Guinea-Bissau is not making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; the government acknowledged that human trafficking is a problem in the country and took steps to enact legislation outlawing all forms of trafficking; Guinea-Bissau did not increase efforts to prosecute and punish trafficking offenders; the government did not take steps to proactively identify victims and lacked resources to provide victim services directly, but provided some resources to NGOs that care for victims (2011)
increasingly important transit country for South American cocaine enroute to Europe; enabling environment for trafficker operations thanks to pervasive corruption; archipelago-like geography around the capital facilitates drug smuggling