Former miners of OCP, the state-owned phosphate company that paid more than $1 million to sponsor the outdoor gala, say the company forced them to retire early with cut pensions. They also said they saw “arbitrary and prolonged detention” and “physical and verbal abuse” that Moroccan authorities directed at Sahrawis advocating for independence in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.
“Hillary Clinton sold her soul when they accepted that money,” said Mohamed Lahwaimed. “And now we are concerned that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency of the United States of America, she will take the side of Moroccans even more,” Lahwaimed said through an interpreter.
This revelation comes as Hillary, the runaway favorite for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential race, struggles with accusations that her family’s $2 billion global charity affected her actions as secretary of state.
The Moroccan King Mohammed VI has pledged more than $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation to help build Bill Clinton’s presidential library. OCP has donated nearly $6 million in recent years to the Clinton Foundation’s efforts. The king even loaned one of his palaces to Bill and Chelsea Clinton during the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.
In a statement, the Clinton Foundation says it doesn’t have a stance on the Western Sahara dispute and the issue did not factor into the CGI meeting.
“The purpose of the CGI Middle East & Africa meeting—like all CGI meetings—is to encourage meaningful Commitments to Action that address many issues, and that will ultimately expand access to clean water, create new employment opportunities for young people, and empower women and girls.”
The foundation has so far not contributed to any projects in Western Sahara.