Research I: Equatorial Guinea

Spanish press

Given the widespreak lack of knowledge about Equatorial Guinea in Spain, I was curious to have a look at the news about Equatoguineans that are published in Spanish newspapers. 

From a historical point of view, it is worth mentioning that during the 1970s, Equatorial Guinea was declared “classified material” (“materia reservada”) through the Law of Official Secrets (Ley de Secretos Oficiales). Any kind of references to the former Spanish colony was prohibited by law, both in official discourses and in private life. In those years, the Spanish media contributed actively to the official silence about Equatorial Guinea, promoted by the Spanish government.

La Vanguardia, 14.08.1976
La Vanguardia, 19.10.1976

Nowadays, Equatorial Guinea appears with some frequency in the Spanish newspapers. Mostly, these news talk about the diplomatic relations between both countries, and about economic and political issues. 

More interesting for my research is the news about the Equatoguineans in Spain. Therefore, I established and analyzed a corpus of 250 newspaper articles, published between 2010 and 2018 in El País and La Vanguardia. Three major conclusions can be highlighted (for further details, access the online publication in Discurso & Sociedad): 

First, the Equatoguineans are hardly ever mentioned as an independent community in Spain, despite its long and numerically important presence.

Second, very often, the Equatoguineans are disguised behind generalizing terminology such as the following: África and africanos, subsaharianos (many of these articles talk about racism or xenophobia and mention widespread stereotypes and prejudices about African immigrants in Europe), Guinea and guineanos (Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Guinea or Guinea-Bissau?), negro(s) and negra(s), afrodescendientes and afroespañoles (the last two usually appear when talking about politically sensitive issues such as invisibility, discrimination or racism).

  • El País, 10.11.2017
  • El País, 20.09.2018
  • El País, 07.02.2017

Finally, some topics are recurrent: cultural activities, political activism and afro-consciousness, and portraits of selected Equatoguinean personalities. In the first group of articles, about cultural activities, some refer to events specifically related to Equatorial Guinea, whereas others focus on Africa as a whole: festivals, literature, expositions, cinema, etc. The second thematic series of articles focuses on social and political activism in favor of the African and Afro descendent community in Spain. The third group of articles presents Equatoguineans in Spain of certain popularity, such as politicians, political activists, writers, musicians, researchers or journalists.

  • El País, 27.03.2017
  • La Vanguardia, 18.06.2018
  • El País, 12.04.2018

Further analyses could study in more detail and critically question the role of the Spanish news media with regard to the visibility or invisibility of Equatorial Guinea and the Equatoguineans in Spain. This would help to understand the (marginal) position of Equatorial Guinea in the general knowledge of the Spanish society.