Since then almost everything possible has gone wrong for Eritrea. This is from a review of Martin Plaut's Understanding Eritrea in the May 5 TLS:
Since independence President Isaias Afwerki has exploited the state of "no peace no war" with Ethiopia to kill or jail perceived political opponents, and to introduce indefinite military conscription for eighteen- to forty-five-year-olds. Draft dodging is punishable by death. "Isaias," as he is universally known, has also created a policy of self-sufficiency, whereby the state owns much of the economy and seeks to prohibit all foreign capital of influence. The resulting poverty, alongside the regime's human rights abuses, mean that hundreds of thousands of Eritreans have fled across Africa (there are 250,000 Eritreans in Ethiopia and Sudan) and Europe. No other country supplies as many asylum seekers to Britain.Yeah, national independence is doing the people of Eritrea a whole lot of good. Just like a lot of other places. I am especially struck by all the cases in which people from the newly independent state end up living as refugees in the country from which they just gained independence; Moscow, I have read, is full of refuges from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
I don't believe that national independence is always a bad thing; my readers know that I am dubious of the European Union. My point is that who governs you is not the most important thing and is often of no importance whatsoever. What matters is how well you are governed, and how much influence you the ordinary person have over that government. A native dictatorship can end up worse than "foreign" rule, especially when the whole question of who is native and who foreign is highly debatable – as it is in Eritrea and Ethiopia. We humans have a terrible habit of tossing away the rest of reality when we have a chance to celebrate our own ethnic or national pride, and this is an invitation to disaster.