The history of Congo is a sad story...
(and yes, I put this story first under the other Congo node, thanks Segnbora-t)
The explorer Stanley found Congo for the Belgian king Leopold II. Congo was his private property, he built his personal fortune on it. His greed caused such suffering, some Belgians are still ashamed to admit it.
Later, he turned Congo over to Belgium as a 'gift'. The plundering of Congo (by companies like Union Minière) went on but at least the people were treated a bit better. Some of them even got a decent education.
When Congo got its independance, Belgium, France and the United States still considered Congo as theirs to play with (interested mainly in riches like diamonds and uranium). They drove the first president Patrice Lumumba to communism, and (at least) planned his assasination.
This part of Congolese/Belgian history is a hot topic in Belgium at the moment, with the parliament investigating the role of Belgium in the assasination. I hope this will lead to some kind of compensation for all the wrong we did over there. For starters Belgium could support the proposition to drop the debt of 3rd world countries.
For a long time Belgium supported the corrupt regime of Mobutu (who renamed the country to Zaire), but when Mobutu lost grip on his country, the foreign support stopped. Mobutu died of cancer as a fugitive (an appropriate end for every dictator).
Zaire was renamed to Congo again and Laurent Kabilla took over. Under a foreign influence, a rebellion started, resulting in his assasination. Then his son Joseph took over.
Large parts of Congo are now beyond the control of the congolese government.
According to the Belgian minister of Foreign affairs, Karel De Gucht it is very difficult to find capable Congolese politicians
. He even proposed to install a foreign directorate.
'Thanks to' the rebellion, Congo's riches are stolen once again. And everyday people die for this. This time the candy is called coltan. Coltan is primarily used in cellular phones. Remember this when you call your sweetheart...