In the midst of this scenario there are mining encampments extracting cobalt, copper, diamonds, gold, silver, and zinc as well as uranium and timber. None of the massive wealth that the "Democratic" Republic of Congo have been allowed to reach the majority of the Congolese population that live in abject poverty. The outside acquisition of Congolese resources--many would say theft of--began in the Belgium colonial period of the Congo from 1885-1960.
In 1961, the Congo upon holding its first free election chose Patrice Lamumba. Lamumba wanted to use the country's resources to improve the lives of the Congolese people and develop relations with other poor people around the world. Shortly after his election as prime minister, Lamumba said "We are not alone. Africa, Asia, and free and liberated people from every corner of the world will always be found at the side of the Congolese." Within a year, Patrice Lamumba was assassinated and replaced by Mobutu Sese Seko, who acquiesced to U.S. mining and hegemonic interests.
While Mobutu is no longer there, the mining interests are and the humanitarian needs that cry out are not being addressed sufficiently. The U.S. could and should step up to the plate. We owe it to them many times over. The humanitarian organizations such as Oxfam, UNICEF, and DIAKONIE Emergency Aid are having some positive impact, but from the reports coming out of the region, much more is needed and time is a factor.
Why do the majority of people in one of the richest places on earth continue to live in abject poverty?