Useful Notes / Central African Republic

You cannot miss it in the map, because it’s right there in the middle, just as its name states.

The Central African Republic started as a French colony until it gained its independence in 1958, which kicked off a series of power struggles, and the country ended up falling in the hands of Col. Jean-Bédel Bokassa, a certified nutcase. Bokassa quickly turned the repression machine on high speed, decided to transform the republic into an empire (the Central African Empire), where he crowned himself in a ridiculously expensive ceremony (which cost roughly 1/3 of the national GDP for that year), and generally made a spectacle of himself internationally until he was eventually deposed and tried.

Sadly, the nation hasn’t improved much since then, having political instability, high HIV/AIDS rate (about 11%) and being one of the poorest nations in the world. In a 2003 coup, president Ange-Félix Patassé was overtrown by General François Bozizé. A bush war between Bozizé's forces and various insurgent groups began in 2004. The Muslim groups joined forces in 2012, forming a new group called Séléka and attempting to overthow Bozizé. Despite being close to success, the group fell short and fell apart. Some splinter factions of Séléka began attacking Christian communities; in return, the Christians formed a group called Anti-Balaka ("Anti-Machete"). The conflict now became religious. Throw in the remnants of the regime and various extremist groups from neighbouring countries (most notably Chad and Sudan) and you got yourself a Death World.

Most of the country is a jungle, which has the potential of attracting hundreds of tourists. Diamonds are its main export, but the poor economic development prevents its full potential.

If you want an idea of Bokassa’s regime, you can watch Echoes from a Somber Empire, made by Werner Herzog.

If you want to see how the last years of Bozizé's rule looked like, you can watch The Ambassador, made by Mads Brügger.

If you want to see a documentary about the recent religious war, you can watch The Devil Tried to Divide Us, made by VICE News.

A minor bit of Memetic Mutation on Pointless has the CAR being used as the default example of 'an obscure country' whenever one is needed for a question.


The Central African flag
The flag combines the red/white/blue colors of France, the country's former colonial power (as Ubangi-Shari), and the red/green/yellow of the Ethiopian variant of the Pan-African colors. The blue, white, green and yellow horizontal stripes symbolize the sky and freedom, peace and dignity, hope and faith, and tolerance, respectively; a vertical stripe crossing the center is colored red (the common element of both colors) to stand for the nation's lifeblood; and the yellow star at the canton symbolizes independence.