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Liberia, Cape Verde and The End *updated*

August 14, 2009

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:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, second from right, gestures to Liberian supporters after giving an address to parliament in Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.(AP Photo/Pewee Flomoku)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, second from right, gestures to Liberian supporters after giving an address to parliament in Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009.(AP Photo/Pewee Flomoku)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reviews an honour guard of U.N. Indian police during a welcoming ceremony at Roberts International Airport near Monrovia August 13, 2009.   REUTERS/Glenna Gordon/Pool

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reviews an honour guard of U.N. Indian police during a welcoming ceremony at Roberts International Airport near Monrovia August 13, 2009. REUTERS/Glenna Gordon/Pool

LIBERIA-CLINTON/

Secretary Clinton & President Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Aug. 13th, 2009

Secretary Clinton & President Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Aug. 13th, 2009

LIBERIA-CLIONTON/

Liberia loves Hillary!

Liberia loves Hillary!

Liberia Clinton Africa

Liberian women line the road to wait to greet Secretary Clinton's motorcade, Aug. 13, 2009(AP Photo/Pewee Flomoku)

Liberian women line the road to wait to greet Secretary Clinton's motorcade, Aug. 13, 2009(AP Photo/Pewee Flomoku)

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.”

Secretary Clinton at her arrival at the airport near Monrovia, Aug. 13th, 2009(REUTERS/Glenna Gordon)

Secretary Clinton at her arrival at the airport near Monrovia, Aug. 13th, 2009(REUTERS/Glenna Gordon)

Airport, Liberia, Aug. 13, 2009

Airport, Liberia, Aug. 13, 2009

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:

Secretary Clinton at joint press briefing in Cape Verde Aug. 14th, 2009

Secretary Clinton at joint press briefing in Cape Verde Aug. 14th, 2009

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. alinosof permalink
    August 14, 2009 5:46 pm

    Yes, her mission to the African continent was a tour de force. I think she accomplished the goals the administration and her self set up at the beginning of her trip and in the process, she endeared her self to the people. Lot of things could have gone wrong but she and her team triumphed with flying colors. Now, we’ll see how the execution of the reforms she suggested and the follow by the State Department work out. Kudos to you too for keeping up with her travels.

  2. August 14, 2009 6:06 pm

    Didn’t see she went on any safari? How can you focus on the continent of Africa without focusing on the preservation of wildlife?
    Glad she had enough pant suits for trip, but not pit helmet?

  3. Terry permalink
    August 14, 2009 6:30 pm

    We have to remember that this tour was a much bigger event in Africa than here in the states and the local newspapers were full of stories and photos of her. Was it in Liberia they called her the Iron Lady and lined the streets? She has done a world of good, laid down the Obama policy and seen for herself what she is up against in the African third world. I would love to see an hour long interview with her just overviewing all she did and saw. I see she has not put away the headbands she was famous for in the nineties. I can only imagine what the humidity and heat are like over there. I do hope she will go back again soon.

  4. Terry permalink
    August 14, 2009 11:26 pm

    Just watched a terrific recap of Hillary’s trip through Africa on Washington Week by Bloomberg’s Janine Zacharia. She accompanied the SOS on the trip. Video and transcript is available on this page:

    http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/

  5. Terry permalink
    August 14, 2009 11:31 pm

    Correction the transcript and video will available by noon on Monday unless you can catch a broadcast before then. Try to catch it. Hillary was huge hit and worked like a demon for us over there.

  6. Terry permalink
    August 14, 2009 11:37 pm

    Correction again. Sorry about that. Streaming section video is available after 11:00 p.m. on Fridays at the following url.

    http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/transcripts/

  7. pcfs permalink
    August 15, 2009 10:08 am

    Great photos, did you ever notice Hillary when she is excited, her eyes get real big. When she arrived in Cape Verde it was raining but boy they really greeted her with a wonderful welcome. (See pic with Hillary holding umbrella) I just love her. The reporters that went with her on this trip will be reporting great and wonderful events that she held.
    Madam Secretary, welcome home and you made us all so proud of you.

  8. pcfs permalink
    August 15, 2009 10:14 am

    Everyone please read The Washington post this morning issue. They say she went for a dip in Ocean early in morning.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/08/14/ST2009081403320.html?sid=ST2009081403320

  9. August 15, 2009 10:24 am

    pcfs- thanks, I saw that last night- that is a good article- I’m working on a round-up of news right now…

    You guys need avatars! (hint, hint…wordpress.com)

  10. May 8, 2010 10:48 pm

    Secretary Clinton visit to Africa is a good will gesture, and will be appreciated by many African leaders. But Africa problems will not be solve by a mere visit of U.S. chief diplomatic; whose mission is to provide Africans leaders with lips-service and empty promises or in some cases bribed to pressure them to vote in favor of the U.S. at the UN or to support other U.S. -activities, in exchange for a peanut [Loan of $10 million at a time, which is not even enough to run the Police Department in Wahington, D.C. for one week, while at the same time sending ten million dollars a day to Israel].

    Is high-time African leaders start to take self initiative to develohepe an objective criteria either to build their individuals country base on their natural resources and plan–and, of course seek alternative sources of money supplies to finance these projects. And if possible, refuse these petty loan from Western nations. They need to realized that they will never developed Africa on these welfare loan — African should move away from this welfare dependentcy.

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