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Africa Betrayal

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  • Bob Utne <bobutne@aol.com>
    Thanks to Steve Bean, I am re-reading African Betrayal by Charles and Alice Darlington. Steve was also in the first group of PCVs sent to Gabon and
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 14, 2003
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      Thanks to Steve Bean, I am re-reading "African Betrayal" by Charles
      and Alice Darlington. Steve was also in the first group of PCVs sent
      to Gabon and graciously sent me a copy of this book. The book is
      about the three plus years that Darlington served as the first US
      Ambassador to Gabon.

      It's been a long time since I first read this book, published in
      1967, and forgot that the reason we PCVs were pushed to the limit to
      finish the construction of our primary schools throughout Gabon,
      ASAP, was that Darlington wanted to impress the Gabonese government
      that their 20% share of the school cost was well spent and that his
      own reputation/ego was on the line.

      We Volunteers, over four decades, worked, usually, six days a week in
      sweltering Equatorial Africa to eventually build approximately
      several hundred primary schools and hundreds more teacher houses and
      thousands of student desks throughout Gabon.

      Re-reading "African Betrayal" brings back a lot of memories and is
      worth a read for every new Foreign Service Officer assigned to the
      developing world and to those interested in Gabon.
    • Bob Utne <bobutne@aol.com>
      From Feb 9, 2003 news release: President Omar Bongo of Gabon has offered 100 million francs CFA (US $153,846) to help the Central African Republic (CAR)
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 17, 2003
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        From Feb 9, 2003 news release:

        President Omar Bongo of Gabon has offered 100 million francs CFA (US
        $153,846) to help the Central African Republic (CAR) government
        prepare for a national dialogue to resolve its political and security
        logjam, Abdel Beolo, the head of communications at the CAR
        presidency, said in a communique issued on Thursday.

        The Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States has
        designated Bongo as mediator in a diplomatic standoff between the CAR
        and Chad over the latter's alleged support for CAR rebels trying to
        unseat President Ange-Felix Patasse. A Gabonese general commands the
        community's 303-man peacekeeping force in the CAR, to which his
        country contributed 146 soldiers, the Republic of Congo (ROC) 126,
        and Equatorial Guinea 31. The force's authorised strength is 350.

        Meanwhile, Radio Centrafrique has announced that the national
        dialogue coordination team, headed by Bishop Paulin Pomodimo and
        former Prime Minister Henri Maidou, flew to Paris on Thursday. "We
        are going to meet CAR people who love their country, we are going to
        invite them to attend the national dialogue," Pomodimo told reporters
        before leaving.

        The team had earlier been to the Gabonese capital, Libreville, to
        meet Bongo, and the ROC capital, Brazzaville to meet President Denis
        Sassou-Nguesso, for consultations.

        The 750-million-franc CFA budget for the national dialogue was fixed
        in February, with one-fifth of cost to be met by the international
        community and friendly countries.
      • Bob Utne <bobutne@aol.com>
        I notice that Charles Darlington was the only non-Foreign Service Officer who served as the Ambassador to Gabon (1961-1964) and was the only US Ambassador
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 23, 2003
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          I notice that Charles Darlington was the only non-Foreign Service
          Officer who served as the Ambassador to Gabon (1961-1964) and was the
          only US Ambassador asked to exit Gabon by a Gabonese President.

          This could lead one to postulate that it is weak US foreign policy to
          send non-career FSO's to serve as Ambassadors abroad since they are
          ill-prepared to deal with the intricacies of foreign diplomacy

          In my opinion, just the opposite is true. By the time career FSO's
          attain Ambassadorial positions, most have lost touch with their
          American roots and have been thoroughly indoctrinated into serving
          the demands made upon them by Washington's bureaucrats, politicians
          and by big business.

          Charles and Mary Darlington made a special effort to live their lives
          in Gabon as they would in the US in the best spirit of America. They
          opened their home to all, traveled throughout the country and
          volunteered their time and money to meet local needs.

          It was clearly evident in their book, "African Betrayal", that Gabon
          was not only betrayed by its leadership and the French but by the US
          Government, also.

          Charles Darlington, also, was a good friend to all of us Peace Corps
          Volunteers who served in Gabon during the Darlington era. He was a
          man of the highest integrity and both Charles and Mary were
          universally loved by the Gabonese and even most of the French.
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