Liberia, Cape Verde and The End *updated*
Despite my obvious pro-Hillary Clinton bias, I think it’s fair to say Secretary Clinton’s Africa trip is/was a raging success and that largely seems to be the analysis of many foreign policy hands and yes, even those in the pundit-class, minus some of the usual suspects/critics who could find fault with almost anything Hillary did or does. But more on that later- that’s not for this post- I’ll deal with that later.
According to this afternoon’s State Department Daily Press Briefing, Secretary Clinton is already home-bound:
“…The Secretary is airborne, coming back to Washington, D.C., after her compelling trip to Africa. She met this morning before departing Cape Verde with Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves. But obviously, the trip represents the commitment of the Obama Administration and the Secretary to a partnership with Africa. Obviously, a great deal of discussion over the past 12 days about reform on the continent – electoral, judicial, police, constitutional; about stability in different parts of Africa ranging from Sudan to Somalia; the United States interest both in promoting trade between Africa and the United States, but also promoting trade among the states of Africa; a great deal of discussion paid to the outstanding PEPFAR efforts in the continent, both in terms of combating HIV/AIDS, but also malaria; her trip to Goma, where she focused on the crimes of gender-based violence; and very direct conversations with a number of countries about the imperative of good governance and transparency in the continent…”
Props to Secretary Clinton, her staff and everyone involved in the Africa trip- I can’t imagine the logistics of such a huge travel itinerary and I think Hillary did more in two weeks to repair some of the frayed relations on the continent, than any of her predecessors before her.
Yesterday’s post about Liberia is here but here are some photos I just stumbled across from her stay there:
From the Washington Post (regarding the final two days of Hillary’s trip):
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton wrapped up her seven-nation tour of Africa on Friday with a brief stop in this palm-dotted island nation, which the U.S. government has hailed as an African success story.
Clinton stayed overnight in Cape Verde and met with Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves on Friday morning before returning to Washington.
“I leave Africa even more energized about what lies ahead,” Clinton told a news conference before her departure. “We’re not sugarcoating the problems. We’re not shying away from them. We are investing time and effort in the people of Africa.”
She added that “few places . . . demonstrate the promise of Africa better than Cape Verde.”
The 11-day trip was aimed at emphasizing the Obama administration’s interest in Africa. Clinton pressed for good government and democratic reforms, bluntly criticizing such countries as Nigeria and Kenya for corruption.
But she also sought to emphasize positive examples, such as Cape Verde.
This former Portuguese colony was a one-party state from its independence in 1975 until 1990 and was ranked one of the world’s poorest nations at the time. In recent years, the country has had a string of democratic elections and surging economic output, with an average 5.7 percent growth from 1996 to 2006.
Clinton flew to Cape Verde after spending most of a day in Liberia, which is struggling to rebuild from 14 years of civil war that ended in 2003. Clinton’s visit there was intended to provide a boost for Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s only democratically elected female leader, who has faced criticism lately for her support of Charles Taylor when he was plotting a coup in 1989.
Clinton received the warmest reception there of any country on her trip, with Liberians lining the roads in driving rain, waving tiny American flags. In a speech in the national legislature, Clinton brought Liberian lawmakers to their feet by stressing reconciliation — using her own political life as an example.
Clinton told the legislators that one of the questions she often faced was how she could go to work for President Obama after running against him in the Democratic primaries.
“Because we both love our country,” Clinton declared, as the legislators rose to their feet in thunderous applause and a man tooted a traditional horn. “It is that love every successful country has to inculcate in its people and its leaders.”
UPDATE: Ok, found a few Cape Verde pictures. Also, this weekend I’m going to take the advice of PYW (from the comments) and try to get my act together and do a photo-round-up (ie. big, huge photo bomb) of her entire Africa trip.
With the PM of Cape Verde: