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History As It Happens

Nov 2, 2023

In late 1960 the Congo crisis was front-page news. Photographers and newsreels captured the humiliating arrest and imprisonment of the newly independent country's ousted prime minister, Patrice Lumumba. In January 1961, his domestic political enemies murdered Lumumba in a remote clearing. What the world did not know at the time was the role the Eisenhower administration had played in backing the coup d'etat to topple Congo's first democratically-elected leader while covertly supporting the army officer who would then rule Congo for more than three decades, Mobutu. Also secret in late summer 1960 was Eisenhower's decision to have Lumumba assassinated, although multiple CIA killers never got to him. In this episode, Stuart Reid, the author of "The Lumumba Plot" discusses the enduring importance of a largely forgotten Cold War drama, part of a transformative period for the CIA as well as the United Nations, with utterly tragic consequences for the people of Africa.