Eritrea, one of the world's poorest nations, has a novel response to offers of foreign aid: refusal. President Isaias Afwerki argues that African nations that accept money from the World Bank or food from the UN are "crippled societies." In a time of global connection, the LA Times looks at a country that's willfully shutting itself down.
"It's like they have self-imposed sanctions; they're turning into an Albania or North Korea," says one American diplomat. The president, once hailed as a democratic hero, now seems an autocrat. Afwerki has many in Washington worried, and US accusations that Eritrea sponsors Somalian terrorists are straining relations further. But the president's message is simple: "Leave us alone."