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Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"

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  • dupont3@juno.com
    Well my comparison was meant to show how we both have much of the same problems. Even though one nation is trillions of dollars richer than the other! Of
    Message 1 of 24 , Aug 21, 2003
      Well my comparison was meant to show how we both have much of the same
      problems. Even though one nation is trillions of dollars richer than the
      other! Of course you have to consider that many of the Gabonese people
      are tribal natives and that most of the country is rain forest with some
      regions even unexplored. Compared that to our problems in the over
      developed US. I would wager that a homeless person living on the street
      in America is not rich compared to a homeless Gabonese. That is a
      ridiculous assumption considering the stress and indignity of such a
      life in America. What is the suicide rate in the US compared to Gabon?
      For example. in Japan people are killing themselves daily because of the
      stress.
      Do you really believe that the Gabonese government has a policy to keep
      people uneducated? Why even go there without considering the possibility
      that the Bush administration had something to do with 9/11?
      I am trying to show you that whatever you think is bad about the
      Gabonese leadership is multiplied exponentially when you look in the
      mirror and focus on your own government here in the US. That does not
      make it ok, but if the reality is such, then shouldn't we focus on what
      truly makes a difference?

      Ciao,
      dupont


      On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 14:52:45 -0000 "tracywerblow"
      <tracywerblow@...> writes:
      > Hello,
      >
      > I respectfully want to point out that it is not a useful comparison
      >
      > to place the poor of America next to the poor of Gabon. YOu know
      > that the stardard is not the same. We do have homeless, hungry
      > people in the US, but even they live in better conditions that the
      > Gabonese and seem almost rich in comparison. The collective
      > infrastructure here is developed and conditions are more sanitairy
      > and there are services available to help the poor.
      > This is very much lacking in Gabon. Not only that, but here in the
      >
      > US the poor who live in truly horrible conditions are a minority, in
      >
      > Gabon it is the majority of the population.
      > The Gabonese government actually has a policy to ensure that the
      > people do not receive a good education with the theory that educated
      >
      > people would know how to do something about their situation and
      > therefore be a threat to the government (by its probable removal).
      >
      > Moreover, there is not any opportunity to improve one's condition in
      >
      > Gabon without conections as nephatism is rampant and education means
      >
      > nothing in procuring jobs or status. What eles could you expect
      > from
      > a government with a president that has his ministers sign an undated
      >
      > resignation letter to procure their place in the government?
      > Something that Bongo has continued from his predecessor Leon Mba
      > (See
      > Darlington's "African Betrayal").
      >
      > Tracy
      >
      > Hi Carol! ;)
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > - In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, dupont3@j... wrote:
      > > Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have been to
      >
      > poorly
      > > supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you consider to
      > be
      > the
      > > obvious hypocrisy.
      > > But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor people
      >
      > is no
      > > different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor people here
      >
      > in the
      > > US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend money
      > lavishly
      > > in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless people
      > abound
      > on
      > > the streets and our political system although 2 party,
      > disenfranchises
      > > many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there done
      > that" when
      > > you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a
      > nations
      > > development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist system like
      >
      > in
      > > Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
      > > I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to jump
      > start
      > > any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong with a
      > healthy
      > > dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic values
      > are
      > the
      > > foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is getting
      > people
      > to
      > > believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
      > > Now to say that a majority of people do not support President
      > Bongo
      > is
      > > not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all that's
      >
      > worth
      > > and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The man is
      > a
      > > national treasure! Why would you want him out?
      > > If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then you are
      >
      > not
      > > being realistic about facing the challenges of such
      > underdeveloped
      > > nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard issues
      >
      > and
      > > instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap opera.
      > > I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world poverty.
      >
      > Step
      > > back and look at this picture and you will see that the difference
      >
      > points
      > > to the policies of the so-called first world nations and not that
      >
      > of a
      > > few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are still poor
      >
      > in
      > > comparison.
      > >
      > > Ciao,
      > > dupont
      > >
      > >
      > > On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
      > > writes:
      > > > With all due respect,
      > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the people's level?
      >
      > > > Have you
      > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
      > his"friends"?
      > > > Have you
      > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of the
      > obvious
      > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the national
      >
      > > > train
      > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to
      > Franceville
      > > > for his
      > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation to the
      > > > capital
      > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to
      > distribute
      > > > condoms
      > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft drinks has a
      >
      > > > problem and
      > > > it starts with the government.
      > > >
      > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support the
      > > > president and
      > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great
      > democracy?
      > > > Another
      > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was freedom of
      >
      > > > choice. Have
      > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
      > > >
      > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their governments and
      >
      > > > country if
      > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and spending
      > it
      > on
      > > > lavish
      > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics where
      > women
      > > > struggle
      > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary school
      > students
      > > > who have
      > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic
      > approach
      > to
      > > > the
      > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a better
      > > > approach.
      > > >
      > > > Carol
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > >From: dupont3@j...
      > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
      > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
      > > > >
      > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating on
      > Bongo's
      > > > bank
      > > > >account will get you nowhere.
      > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve some of
      >
      > the
      > > > >nations problems?
      > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and this is
      > the
      > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
      > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying schools in
      > inner
      > > > cities
      > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing together. We
      > are
      > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time when our
      > > > schools
      > > > >need books.
      > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having President Bongo
      >
      > step
      > > > down
      > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for the
      > better?
      > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is dependent
      >
      > on
      > > > the
      > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave would it
      > make
      > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make anything better
      >
      > > > and
      > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably destabilize the
      > > > country and
      > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like going
      > back
      > in
      > > > time.
      > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to think
      > more
      > > > about
      > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for developing
      > their
      > > > >country.
      > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a solution.
      > In
      > > > Gabon
      > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the state.
      > Only
      > > > then
      > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major issues.The
      > > > founding
      > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand Divided We
      >
      > > > Fall"
      > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must first find a
      >
      > > > common
      > > > >ground to stand on.
      > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and sure, there
      >
      > are
      > > > many
      > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also many who do
      >
      > > > not
      > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo. Many
      > who
      > do
      > > > not
      > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not only
      > > > Africans,
      > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop their
      > > > economies in
      > > > >this new world order.
      > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can help the
      > > > President
      > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
      > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's
      > inauguration
      > > > speech
      > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but
      > what
      > > > you can
      > > > >do for your country."
      > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood correctly,
      >
      > can
      > > > >inspire man to great heights.
      > > > >
      > > > >ciao,
      > > > >dupont
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
      > > > >writes:
      > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a "Bongo
      >
      > > > house"
      > > > > > while my
      > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children to
      > school
      > > > and
      > > > > > riding on
      > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were going to end
      >
      > up
      > > > in
      > > > > > the water
      > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are just
      > that -
      > > > > > words. Don't
      > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French government in
      >
      > > > order to
      > > > > > have
      > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at Bongo's
      > bank
      > > > > > accounts and
      > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in LBV. If
      > Bongo
      > > > is
      > > > > > such a
      > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on his
      > promise
      > > > to
      > > > > > step down
      > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule forever? Ask
      > many
      > > > > > Gabonese and
      > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
      > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@j...>
      > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
      > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
      > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >Hello:
      > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa depends
      > more
      > > > on
      > > > > > just
      > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course all
      > leaders
      > > > of
      > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does that
      > > > "keep"
      > > > > > them
      > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to say
      > about
      > > > the
      > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think that it
      >
      > is
      > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and aid for
      >
      > > > African
      > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how the
      > marketing
      > > > of
      > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not
      > controlled
      > > > by
      > > > > > the
      > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
      > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the infrastructure
      >
      > > > where
      > > > > > oil
      > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that is
      > > > produced.
      > > > > > Or
      > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of resources
      > like
      > > > > > timber,
      > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by Africans
      > native
      > > > to
      > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things are more
      > > > > > important
      > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in
      > political
      > > > > > control
      > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away. I
      > think
      > > > > > arguably
      > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of state
      > deserves
      > > > to
      > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill Gates
      > for
      > > > that
      > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in the
      > stock
      > > > > > market
      > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a resource rich
      > > > African
      > > > > > >country!
      > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his country than
      >
      > Bush
      > > > or
      > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be leaps and
      > > > bounds
      > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is why I
      > > > think
      > > > > > that
      > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa at this
      >
      > > > time.
      > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together with the
      > > > > > influence
      > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded the
      > quality
      > > > of
      > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We are
      > seeing
      > > > that
      > > > > > it
      > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important when it
      > comes
      > > > to
      > > > > > >political leadership.
      > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of African
      > states
      > > > if
      > > > > > it
      > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful nation to
      > gain
      > > > > > economic
      > > > > > >or political control?
      > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his agenda
      > reaches
      > > > the
      > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly care about
      >
      > the
      > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after the
      > debaucle
      > > > in
      > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here in the
      >
      > > > states
      > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what economic
      > > > development
      > > > > > in
      > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >Ciao,
      > > > > > >dupont
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
      > <bobutne@a...>
      > > > > > writes:
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably,
      > abdicate)
      > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French (5,000
      > > > troops
      > > > > > in
      > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison surrounding/protecting the
      > > > > > Presidential
      > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is kept in
      > power.
      > > > The
      > > > > > 500
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and Britain
      >
      > > > world
      > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President Omar
      > Bongo
      > > > is
      > > > > > doing
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the US and
      >
      > > > world.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the West and is
      >
      > > > being
      > > > > > left
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to gain
      > economic
      > > > and
      > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for many,
      > many
      > > > pages
      > > > > > on
      > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
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    • C Yombi
      Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a difference and the Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track record. If you think
      Message 2 of 24 , Aug 21, 2003
        Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a difference and the
        Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track record. If you
        think elections were fair and square then you do not agree with independent
        election observers form around the world. In the end, it is not what I want
        for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves - my husband included
        who is from Gabon.


        >From: dupont3@...
        >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
        >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
        >
        >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have been to poorly
        >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you consider to be the
        >obvious hypocrisy.
        >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor people is no
        >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor people here in the
        >US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend money lavishly
        >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless people abound on
        >the streets and our political system although 2 party, disenfranchises
        >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there done that" when
        >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a nations
        >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist system like in
        >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
        >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to jump start
        >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong with a healthy
        >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic values are the
        >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is getting people to
        >believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
        >Now to say that a majority of people do not support President Bongo is
        >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all that's worth
        >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The man is a
        >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
        >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then you are not
        >being realistic about facing the challenges of such underdeveloped
        >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard issues and
        >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap opera.
        >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world poverty. Step
        >back and look at this picture and you will see that the difference points
        >to the policies of the so-called first world nations and not that of a
        >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are still poor in
        >comparison.
        >
        >Ciao,
        >dupont
        >
        >
        >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
        >writes:
        > > With all due respect,
        > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the people's level?
        > > Have you
        > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only his"friends"?
        > > Have you
        > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of the obvious
        > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the national
        > > train
        > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to Franceville
        > > for his
        > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation to the
        > > capital
        > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to distribute
        > > condoms
        > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft drinks has a
        > > problem and
        > > it starts with the government.
        > >
        > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support the
        > > president and
        > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great democracy?
        > > Another
        > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was freedom of
        > > choice. Have
        > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
        > >
        > > How can individuals work toward supporting their governments and
        > > country if
        > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and spending it on
        > > lavish
        > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics where women
        > > struggle
        > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary school students
        > > who have
        > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic approach to
        > > the
        > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a better
        > > approach.
        > >
        > > Carol
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > >From: dupont3@...
        > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
        > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
        > > >
        > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating on Bongo's
        > > bank
        > > >account will get you nowhere.
        > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve some of the
        > > >nations problems?
        > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and this is the
        > > >wealthiest country in the world!
        > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying schools in inner
        > > cities
        > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing together. We are
        > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time when our
        > > schools
        > > >need books.
        > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having President Bongo step
        > > down
        > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for the better?
        > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is dependent on
        > > the
        > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave would it make
        > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make anything better
        > > and
        > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably destabilize the
        > > country and
        > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like going back in
        > > time.
        > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to think more
        > > about
        > > >fighting for power than the issues important for developing their
        > > >country.
        > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a solution. In
        > > Gabon
        > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the state. Only
        > > then
        > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major issues.The
        > > founding
        > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand Divided We
        > > Fall"
        > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must first find a
        > > common
        > > >ground to stand on.
        > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and sure, there are
        > > many
        > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also many who do
        > > not
        > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo. Many who do
        > > not
        > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not only
        > > Africans,
        > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop their
        > > economies in
        > > >this new world order.
        > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can help the
        > > President
        > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
        > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's inauguration
        > > speech
        > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what
        > > you can
        > > >do for your country."
        > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood correctly, can
        > > >inspire man to great heights.
        > > >
        > > >ciao,
        > > >dupont
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
        > > >writes:
        > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a "Bongo
        > > house"
        > > > > while my
        > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children to school
        > > and
        > > > > riding on
        > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were going to end up
        > > in
        > > > > the water
        > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are just that -
        > > > > words. Don't
        > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French government in
        > > order to
        > > > > have
        > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at Bongo's bank
        > > > > accounts and
        > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in LBV. If Bongo
        > > is
        > > > > such a
        > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on his promise
        > > to
        > > > > step down
        > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule forever? Ask many
        > > > > Gabonese and
        > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
        > > > >
        > > > >
        > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@...>
        > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
        > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
        > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
        > > > > >
        > > > > >Hello:
        > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa depends more
        > > on
        > > > > just
        > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course all leaders
        > > of
        > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does that
        > > "keep"
        > > > > them
        > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to say about
        > > the
        > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think that it is
        > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and aid for
        > > African
        > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how the marketing
        > > of
        > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not controlled
        > > by
        > > > > the
        > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
        > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the infrastructure
        > > where
        > > > > oil
        > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that is
        > > produced.
        > > > > Or
        > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of resources like
        > > > > timber,
        > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by Africans native
        > > to
        > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things are more
        > > > > important
        > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in political
        > > > > control
        > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away. I think
        > > > > arguably
        > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of state deserves
        > > to
        > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill Gates for
        > > that
        > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in the stock
        > > > > market
        > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a resource rich
        > > African
        > > > > >country!
        > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his country than Bush
        > > or
        > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be leaps and
        > > bounds
        > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is why I
        > > think
        > > > > that
        > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa at this
        > > time.
        > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together with the
        > > > > influence
        > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded the quality
        > > of
        > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We are seeing
        > > that
        > > > > it
        > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important when it comes
        > > to
        > > > > >political leadership.
        > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of African states
        > > if
        > > > > it
        > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful nation to gain
        > > > > economic
        > > > > >or political control?
        > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his agenda reaches
        > > the
        > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly care about the
        > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after the debaucle
        > > in
        > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here in the
        > > states
        > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what economic
        > > development
        > > > > in
        > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >Ciao,
        > > > > >dupont
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >
        > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne" <bobutne@...>
        > > > > writes:
        > > > > >
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably, abdicate)
        > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French (5,000
        > > troops
        > > > > in
        > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison surrounding/protecting the
        > > > > Presidential
        > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is kept in power.
        > > The
        > > > > 500
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and Britain
        > > world
        > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President Omar Bongo
        > > is
        > > > > doing
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the US and
        > > world.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the West and is
        > > being
        > > > > left
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to gain economic
        > > and
        > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for many, many
        > > pages
        > > > > on
        > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > >
        > > > > > >
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      • dupont3@juno.com
        Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than independence must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how it was like to reorganize
        Message 3 of 24 , Aug 21, 2003
          Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than independence
          must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how it was like
          to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial power. Also,
          what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an independent
          and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
          To go on criticizing the government without coming up with any
          convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories and rumour is
          with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive poppycock.

          Ciao,
          dupont




          On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
          writes:
          > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a difference and
          > the
          > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track record.
          > If you
          > think elections were fair and square then you do not agree with
          > independent
          > election observers form around the world. In the end, it is not what
          > I want
          > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves - my husband
          > included
          > who is from Gabon.
          >
          >
          > >From: dupont3@...
          > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
          > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
          > >
          > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have been to
          > poorly
          > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you consider to be
          > the
          > >obvious hypocrisy.
          > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor people
          > is no
          > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor people here
          > in the
          > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend money
          > lavishly
          > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless people abound
          > on
          > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
          > disenfranchises
          > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there done
          > that" when
          > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a
          > nations
          > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist system like
          > in
          > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
          > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to jump
          > start
          > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong with a
          > healthy
          > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic values are
          > the
          > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is getting people
          > to
          > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
          > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support President Bongo
          > is
          > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all that's
          > worth
          > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The man is
          > a
          > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
          > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then you are
          > not
          > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such underdeveloped
          > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard issues
          > and
          > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap opera.
          > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world poverty.
          > Step
          > >back and look at this picture and you will see that the difference
          > points
          > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations and not that
          > of a
          > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are still poor
          > in
          > >comparison.
          > >
          > >Ciao,
          > >dupont
          > >
          > >
          > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
          > >writes:
          > > > With all due respect,
          > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the people's
          > level?
          > > > Have you
          > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
          > his"friends"?
          > > > Have you
          > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of the
          > obvious
          > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the national
          > > > train
          > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to
          > Franceville
          > > > for his
          > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation to the
          > > > capital
          > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to
          > distribute
          > > > condoms
          > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft drinks has a
          > > > problem and
          > > > it starts with the government.
          > > >
          > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support the
          > > > president and
          > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great
          > democracy?
          > > > Another
          > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was freedom of
          > > > choice. Have
          > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
          > > >
          > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their governments
          > and
          > > > country if
          > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and spending
          > it on
          > > > lavish
          > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics where
          > women
          > > > struggle
          > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary school
          > students
          > > > who have
          > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic
          > approach to
          > > > the
          > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a better
          > > > approach.
          > > >
          > > > Carol
          > > >
          > > >
          > > >
          > > > >From: dupont3@...
          > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
          > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
          > > > >
          > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating on
          > Bongo's
          > > > bank
          > > > >account will get you nowhere.
          > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve some of
          > the
          > > > >nations problems?
          > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and this is
          > the
          > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
          > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying schools in
          > inner
          > > > cities
          > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing together. We
          > are
          > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time when our
          > > > schools
          > > > >need books.
          > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having President Bongo
          > step
          > > > down
          > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for the
          > better?
          > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is dependent
          > on
          > > > the
          > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave would it
          > make
          > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make anything
          > better
          > > > and
          > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably destabilize the
          > > > country and
          > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like going
          > back in
          > > > time.
          > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to think
          > more
          > > > about
          > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for developing
          > their
          > > > >country.
          > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a solution.
          > In
          > > > Gabon
          > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the state.
          > Only
          > > > then
          > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major issues.The
          > > > founding
          > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand Divided We
          > > > Fall"
          > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must first find
          > a
          > > > common
          > > > >ground to stand on.
          > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and sure, there
          > are
          > > > many
          > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also many who
          > do
          > > > not
          > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo. Many
          > who do
          > > > not
          > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not only
          > > > Africans,
          > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop their
          > > > economies in
          > > > >this new world order.
          > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can help the
          > > > President
          > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
          > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's
          > inauguration
          > > > speech
          > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but
          > what
          > > > you can
          > > > >do for your country."
          > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood correctly,
          > can
          > > > >inspire man to great heights.
          > > > >
          > > > >ciao,
          > > > >dupont
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >
          > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
          > <c_yombi@...>
          > > > >writes:
          > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a "Bongo
          > > > house"
          > > > > > while my
          > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children to
          > school
          > > > and
          > > > > > riding on
          > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were going to end
          > up
          > > > in
          > > > > > the water
          > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are just
          > that -
          > > > > > words. Don't
          > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French government in
          > > > order to
          > > > > > have
          > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at Bongo's
          > bank
          > > > > > accounts and
          > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in LBV. If
          > Bongo
          > > > is
          > > > > > such a
          > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on his
          > promise
          > > > to
          > > > > > step down
          > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule forever? Ask
          > many
          > > > > > Gabonese and
          > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
          > > > > >
          > > > > >
          > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@...>
          > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
          > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
          > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >Hello:
          > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa depends
          > more
          > > > on
          > > > > > just
          > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course all
          > leaders
          > > > of
          > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does that
          > > > "keep"
          > > > > > them
          > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to say
          > about
          > > > the
          > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think that it
          > is
          > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and aid for
          > > > African
          > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how the
          > marketing
          > > > of
          > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not
          > controlled
          > > > by
          > > > > > the
          > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
          > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the infrastructure
          > > > where
          > > > > > oil
          > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that is
          > > > produced.
          > > > > > Or
          > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of resources
          > like
          > > > > > timber,
          > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by Africans
          > native
          > > > to
          > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things are more
          > > > > > important
          > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in
          > political
          > > > > > control
          > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away. I
          > think
          > > > > > arguably
          > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of state
          > deserves
          > > > to
          > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill Gates
          > for
          > > > that
          > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in the
          > stock
          > > > > > market
          > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a resource rich
          > > > African
          > > > > > >country!
          > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his country than
          > Bush
          > > > or
          > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be leaps and
          > > > bounds
          > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is why I
          > > > think
          > > > > > that
          > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa at this
          > > > time.
          > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together with the
          > > > > > influence
          > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded the
          > quality
          > > > of
          > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We are
          > seeing
          > > > that
          > > > > > it
          > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important when it
          > comes
          > > > to
          > > > > > >political leadership.
          > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of African
          > states
          > > > if
          > > > > > it
          > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful nation to
          > gain
          > > > > > economic
          > > > > > >or political control?
          > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his agenda
          > reaches
          > > > the
          > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly care about
          > the
          > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after the
          > debaucle
          > > > in
          > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here in the
          > > > states
          > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what economic
          > > > development
          > > > > > in
          > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >Ciao,
          > > > > > >dupont
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
          > <bobutne@...>
          > > > > > writes:
          > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably,
          > abdicate)
          > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French (5,000
          > > > troops
          > > > > > in
          > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison surrounding/protecting the
          > > > > > Presidential
          > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is kept in
          > power.
          > > > The
          > > > > > 500
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and Britain
          > > > world
          > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President Omar
          > Bongo
          > > > is
          > > > > > doing
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the US and
          > > > world.
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the West and
          > is
          > > > being
          > > > > > left
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to gain
          > economic
          > > > and
          > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for many,
          > many
          > > > pages
          > > > > > on
          > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
          > > > > > > >
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • C Yombi
          May be it s just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people like the UN are just making it all up..... Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002 Hear those drums For
          Message 4 of 24 , Aug 22, 2003
            May be it's just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people like the UN are
            just making it all up.....


            Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002

            Hear those drums

            For want of opposition, President Bongo can plan to rule until 2012
            After three decades at the head of one of Africa's worst managed and most
            corrupt oil economies, President Omar Bongo might well expect some political
            trouble. Quite the opposite. His ruling Parti D�mocratique Gabonais (PDG)
            will sweep the board in the local elections on 29 December and Bongo (health
            permitting) could win yet another seven-year presidential term in the
            election due in 2005. The oppositionists of the early 1990s have been
            exiled, crushed or coopted.

            Gabonese have lost interest in the perennially rigged elections. Turnout at
            the legislative polls last December was under 20 per cent and may be lower
            still in the local polls. Electoral registers have been doctored down to
            523,000: there were 775,000 names on the lists for the 2001 elections. Many
            nominal political opponents are in Bongo's pay, the rest are divided and
            lack national support. For wealthy Gabonese, elections are a patronage
            competition which shares out jobs and resources from 250,000 barrels of oil
            a day, plus smaller timber and manganese exports.



            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Vol 42 Number 16 - 10 August 2001

            Hey big spender

            The fuss over how President El Hadj Omar Bongo came to deposit over US$180
            million in three private Citibank accounts in New York won't go away. First
            raised in United States Senate hearings in November 1999, it is now the
            subject of an embarrassing law suit against Bongo in the US Federal Court,
            Washington. Bongo's lawyers are trying to establish diplomatic immunity for
            him as a serving head of a state recognised by the US government. And with
            another US legal suit from a scrap metal company pending, Bongo's
            big-spending habits Stateside � he bought four Boeing passenger jets in June
            � won't win him any respite from his legal adversaries there.


            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            Vol 40 Number 22 - 05 November 1999

            Digging deeper holes

            A massive hole in Gabon's public finances - some say of more than US$350
            million - is at the heart of its growing financial and political crisis. By
            the end of last year, arrears to foreign creditors were estimated at 160
            billion CFA francs ($256.4 mn.) - and have probably doubled this year.
            President Omar Bongo's government also has arrears of CFA 100 bn. to local
            banks. With an oil-fired GNP per head of $4,000, Gabon is one of Africa's
            wealthiest states. Yet most people live in poverty and a damning new report
            from the United Nations Development Programme says social services are
            collapsing. Tracing the missing $350 mn. preoccupies both foreign creditors
            and Gabonese who worry about government corruption and mismanagement. And
            President Bongo is no longer able to rely on Paris nor Washington to block
            exposure of murky areas in his government. He tried everything, including a
            personal call to French President Jacques Chirac, to stifle the inquiry by
            magistrate Eva Joly into Elf-Aquitaine's unorthodox financing operations.

            This focussed on Bongo's relationship with Andr� Tarallo, Elf-Gabon's
            disgraced and ousted Pr�sident-Directeur G�n�ral. Late last month, Joly's
            inquiries moved on when a Swiss magistrate, Paul Parraudin, produced bank
            records showing that over 600 mn. French francs ($97 mn.) had been
            channelled through Tarallo's Swiss account from the Gabonese presidency.
            Back home, after a year of strikes, demonstrations and the payments crisis,
            Bongo's government needs a new deal with the International Monetary Fund.
            Last year, the Fund suspended its Extended Financing Facility for several
            reasons, including 'lack of transparency in public finance' (Fundspeak for
            corruption). Libreville's negotiating team is led by respected Finance
            Minister Emile Doumba, who has been trying, with limited success, to
            persuade his ministerial colleagues and the presidency to implement an
            IMF-inspired austerity programme.

            ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Freedom
            in the World 1998-99: Gabon
            Freedom House Survey 1999
            Economy: Capitalist (highly corrupt)
            Population: 1,200,000
            PPP: $3,766
            Life Expectancy: 54
            Ethnic Groups: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke, other Bantu, other Africans,
            Europeans
            Polity: Dominant party
            Capital: Libreville
            Political Rights: 5
            Civil Liberties: 4
            Status: Partly Free



            Overview
            In December, President Omar Bongo was returned to office for a seven-year
            term. The polling, which was partially boycotted by the opposition, was
            marked by serious irregularities. The nominally independent National
            Election Commission, which was created under the new constitution approved
            by referendum in 1995, proved neither autonomous nor competent. Behind a
            facade of democratic institutions, Bongo used patronage, manipulation, and
            intimidation to retain power. In Libreville in May, student riots prompted
            by deteriorating economic conditions were quickly suppressed. At least ten
            students were seriously hurt. Three decades of autocratic rule have made
            Bongo among the world's richest men and left the vast majority of oil-rich
            Gabon's 1.4 million people mired in poverty. Bongo is strongly backed by the
            army and by France. The highly profitable French ELF oil company plays a
            dominant role in the country's economic and political life.

            Straddling the equator on central Africa's west coast, Gabon gained
            independence from France in 1960. Bongo, whom France raised from soldier to
            president in 1967, completed his predecessor's consolidation of power by
            officially outlawing the opposition. France, which maintains 600 marines in
            Gabon, has intervened twice to preserve Bongo's regime. In 1990, protests
            prompted by economic duress forced Bongo to accept a conference that
            opposition leaders hoped would promote a peaceful democratic transition.
            Bongo retained power, however, in rigged 1993 elections that sparked violent
            protests and repression led by his Presidential Guard. The 1994 Paris
            Accords claimed to institute true democratic reforms. Municipal elections in
            1996 saw major opposition gains, including the election of Paul Mba
            Abbesole, the leader of the largest opposition party, as mayor of
            Libreville. Legislative polls delayed by decree until December 1996 were
            again beset by fraud as Bongo's Gabon Democratic Party won an overwhelming,
            but unconvincing victory.

            Political Rights and Civil Liberties
            Despite a gradual political opening since 1990, Gabon's citizens have never
            been able to exercise their constitutional right to change their government
            democratically. Bongo's 1998 electoral victory with 61 percent of the vote
            followed a campaign that made profligate use of state resources and state
            media to promote his incumbency. Legislative elections have also been
            seriously flawed.

            State institutions are influenced or controlled by Bongo and a small elite
            around him. The judiciary suffers from political interference. Rights to
            legal counsel and public criminal trials are generally respected, but the
            law presumes guilt. Judges may deliver summary verdicts, and torture remains
            a standard route to produce confessions. Prison conditions are marked by
            beatings and insufficient food, water, and medical care. The government
            often detains refugees without charge, and there are reports of forced labor
            by detainees. Rights of assembly and association are constitutionally
            guaranteed, but permits required for public gatherings are sometimes
            refused. Freedom to form and join political parties is generally respected,
            but civil servants may face harassment based on their associations.
            Nongovernmental organizations operate openly, although the Gabonese League
            of Human Rights has reported threats and harassment.

            A government daily and approximately one dozen private weeklies, which are
            primarily controlled by opposition parties, are published. The government
            overwhelmingly dominates the broadcast media, which reach a far larger
            audience. Only a few private broadcasters have been licensed, and their
            viability is tenuous. A 1998 crackdown on private media has raised serious
            concerns for free expression. In February, Radio Soleil, which was
            associated with the main Bucherons opposition party, was closed. In January,
            a cartoonist was sentenced to six months imprisonment for lampooning Bongo.
            Publication of his newspaper was suspended for one month. The president of
            the journalists' union was jailed for eight months. In August, the
            opposition newspaper La Griffe was closed, and three of its staff received
            eight-month suspended sentences after publishing allegations of ivory
            smuggling by the national airline. Soldiers raided La Griffe offices and
            seized equipment. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and broadcasts are usually
            widely available, but editions criticizing Bongo have been seized.

            Most of the small formal sector work force is unionized, although unions
            must register with the government in order to be officially recognized.
            Despite legal protections, the government has taken action against numerous
            strikers and unions and used force to suppress illegal demonstrations. While
            no legal restrictions on travel exist, harassment on political and ethnic
            bases has been reported. Religious freedom is constitutionally guaranteed
            and respected. An official ban on Jehovah's Witnesses is not enforced.

            Legal protections for women include equal access laws for education,
            business, and investment. In addition to owning property and businesses,
            women constitute more than 50 percent of the salaried workforce in the
            health and trade sectors. At the same time, there are only six women in the
            120-member National Assembly and one woman in the cabinet. Women continue to
            face legal and cultural discrimination, particularly in rural areas, and are
            reportedly subject to widespread domestic violence.

            Little wealth from Gabon's oil revenues reaches the broad populace, most of
            which is engaged in subsistence farming. Corruption is endemic.




            >From: dupont3@...
            >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
            >Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:18:18 -0700
            >
            >Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than independence
            >must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how it was like
            >to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial power. Also,
            >what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an independent
            >and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
            >To go on criticizing the government without coming up with any
            >convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories and rumour is
            >with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive poppycock.
            >
            >Ciao,
            >dupont
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
            >writes:
            > > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a difference and
            > > the
            > > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track record.
            > > If you
            > > think elections were fair and square then you do not agree with
            > > independent
            > > election observers form around the world. In the end, it is not what
            > > I want
            > > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves - my husband
            > > included
            > > who is from Gabon.
            > >
            > >
            > > >From: dupont3@...
            > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
            > > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
            > > >
            > > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have been to
            > > poorly
            > > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you consider to be
            > > the
            > > >obvious hypocrisy.
            > > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor people
            > > is no
            > > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor people here
            > > in the
            > > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend money
            > > lavishly
            > > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless people abound
            > > on
            > > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
            > > disenfranchises
            > > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there done
            > > that" when
            > > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a
            > > nations
            > > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist system like
            > > in
            > > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
            > > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to jump
            > > start
            > > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong with a
            > > healthy
            > > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic values are
            > > the
            > > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is getting people
            > > to
            > > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
            > > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support President Bongo
            > > is
            > > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all that's
            > > worth
            > > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The man is
            > > a
            > > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
            > > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then you are
            > > not
            > > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such underdeveloped
            > > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard issues
            > > and
            > > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap opera.
            > > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world poverty.
            > > Step
            > > >back and look at this picture and you will see that the difference
            > > points
            > > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations and not that
            > > of a
            > > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are still poor
            > > in
            > > >comparison.
            > > >
            > > >Ciao,
            > > >dupont
            > > >
            > > >
            > > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
            > > >writes:
            > > > > With all due respect,
            > > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the people's
            > > level?
            > > > > Have you
            > > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
            > > his"friends"?
            > > > > Have you
            > > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of the
            > > obvious
            > > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the national
            > > > > train
            > > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to
            > > Franceville
            > > > > for his
            > > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation to the
            > > > > capital
            > > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to
            > > distribute
            > > > > condoms
            > > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft drinks has a
            > > > > problem and
            > > > > it starts with the government.
            > > > >
            > > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support the
            > > > > president and
            > > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great
            > > democracy?
            > > > > Another
            > > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was freedom of
            > > > > choice. Have
            > > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
            > > > >
            > > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their governments
            > > and
            > > > > country if
            > > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and spending
            > > it on
            > > > > lavish
            > > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics where
            > > women
            > > > > struggle
            > > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary school
            > > students
            > > > > who have
            > > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic
            > > approach to
            > > > > the
            > > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a better
            > > > > approach.
            > > > >
            > > > > Carol
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > >From: dupont3@...
            > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
            > > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
            > > > > >
            > > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating on
            > > Bongo's
            > > > > bank
            > > > > >account will get you nowhere.
            > > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve some of
            > > the
            > > > > >nations problems?
            > > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and this is
            > > the
            > > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
            > > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying schools in
            > > inner
            > > > > cities
            > > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing together. We
            > > are
            > > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time when our
            > > > > schools
            > > > > >need books.
            > > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having President Bongo
            > > step
            > > > > down
            > > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for the
            > > better?
            > > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is dependent
            > > on
            > > > > the
            > > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave would it
            > > make
            > > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make anything
            > > better
            > > > > and
            > > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably destabilize the
            > > > > country and
            > > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like going
            > > back in
            > > > > time.
            > > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to think
            > > more
            > > > > about
            > > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for developing
            > > their
            > > > > >country.
            > > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a solution.
            > > In
            > > > > Gabon
            > > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the state.
            > > Only
            > > > > then
            > > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major issues.The
            > > > > founding
            > > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand Divided We
            > > > > Fall"
            > > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must first find
            > > a
            > > > > common
            > > > > >ground to stand on.
            > > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and sure, there
            > > are
            > > > > many
            > > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also many who
            > > do
            > > > > not
            > > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo. Many
            > > who do
            > > > > not
            > > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not only
            > > > > Africans,
            > > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop their
            > > > > economies in
            > > > > >this new world order.
            > > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can help the
            > > > > President
            > > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
            > > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's
            > > inauguration
            > > > > speech
            > > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you, but
            > > what
            > > > > you can
            > > > > >do for your country."
            > > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood correctly,
            > > can
            > > > > >inspire man to great heights.
            > > > > >
            > > > > >ciao,
            > > > > >dupont
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >
            > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
            > > <c_yombi@...>
            > > > > >writes:
            > > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a "Bongo
            > > > > house"
            > > > > > > while my
            > > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children to
            > > school
            > > > > and
            > > > > > > riding on
            > > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were going to end
            > > up
            > > > > in
            > > > > > > the water
            > > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are just
            > > that -
            > > > > > > words. Don't
            > > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French government in
            > > > > order to
            > > > > > > have
            > > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at Bongo's
            > > bank
            > > > > > > accounts and
            > > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in LBV. If
            > > Bongo
            > > > > is
            > > > > > > such a
            > > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on his
            > > promise
            > > > > to
            > > > > > > step down
            > > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule forever? Ask
            > > many
            > > > > > > Gabonese and
            > > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
            > > > > > >
            > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@...>
            > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
            > > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
            > > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >Hello:
            > > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa depends
            > > more
            > > > > on
            > > > > > > just
            > > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course all
            > > leaders
            > > > > of
            > > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does that
            > > > > "keep"
            > > > > > > them
            > > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to say
            > > about
            > > > > the
            > > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think that it
            > > is
            > > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and aid for
            > > > > African
            > > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how the
            > > marketing
            > > > > of
            > > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not
            > > controlled
            > > > > by
            > > > > > > the
            > > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
            > > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the infrastructure
            > > > > where
            > > > > > > oil
            > > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that is
            > > > > produced.
            > > > > > > Or
            > > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of resources
            > > like
            > > > > > > timber,
            > > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by Africans
            > > native
            > > > > to
            > > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things are more
            > > > > > > important
            > > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in
            > > political
            > > > > > > control
            > > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away. I
            > > think
            > > > > > > arguably
            > > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of state
            > > deserves
            > > > > to
            > > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill Gates
            > > for
            > > > > that
            > > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in the
            > > stock
            > > > > > > market
            > > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a resource rich
            > > > > African
            > > > > > > >country!
            > > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his country than
            > > Bush
            > > > > or
            > > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be leaps and
            > > > > bounds
            > > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is why I
            > > > > think
            > > > > > > that
            > > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa at this
            > > > > time.
            > > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together with the
            > > > > > > influence
            > > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded the
            > > quality
            > > > > of
            > > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We are
            > > seeing
            > > > > that
            > > > > > > it
            > > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important when it
            > > comes
            > > > > to
            > > > > > > >political leadership.
            > > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of African
            > > states
            > > > > if
            > > > > > > it
            > > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful nation to
            > > gain
            > > > > > > economic
            > > > > > > >or political control?
            > > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his agenda
            > > reaches
            > > > > the
            > > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly care about
            > > the
            > > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after the
            > > debaucle
            > > > > in
            > > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here in the
            > > > > states
            > > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what economic
            > > > > development
            > > > > > > in
            > > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >Ciao,
            > > > > > > >dupont
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
            > > <bobutne@...>
            > > > > > > writes:
            > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably,
            > > abdicate)
            > > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French (5,000
            > > > > troops
            > > > > > > in
            > > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison surrounding/protecting the
            > > > > > > Presidential
            > > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is kept in
            > > power.
            > > > > The
            > > > > > > 500
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and Britain
            > > > > world
            > > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President Omar
            > > Bongo
            > > > > is
            > > > > > > doing
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the US and
            > > > > world.
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the West and
            > > is
            > > > > being
            > > > > > > left
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to gain
            > > economic
            > > > > and
            > > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for many,
            > > many
            > > > > pages
            > > > > > > on
            > > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > >
            > > > > > > > >
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          • bobutne
            Bakouma - Gabon is turning a former industrial facility - a gigantic 76km cableway that once carried manganese ore to Atlantic ports for export to world
            Message 5 of 24 , Aug 23, 2003
              Bakouma - Gabon is turning a former industrial facility - a gigantic
              76km cableway that once carried manganese ore to Atlantic ports for
              export to world markets - into Africa's most unusual nature reserve.

              The Lekedi park, close to Gabon's southern border with the Republic
              of Congo, is a larger-than-life experiment in preserving the
              environment while providing a living to local inhabitants through
              agricultural production and tourism.

              From the 1960s to the early 1990s, about 1 800 people worked here
              maintaining the cableway, which carried the ore from mines at Moanda
              to the Congolese town of M'Binda. From there, the ore was taken by
              rail to the Congolese port of Pointe-Noire.

              But the opening of the 800km trans-Gabon railroad made the cableway
              redundant. Since 1986, the manganese ore, which is used in the
              production of steel, batteries and ceramics, has been taken straight
              to port in the capital, Libreville.

              This left the mining company, Comilog, with the problem of what to do
              with the old cableway and the rain forest it traverses.

              "After a lot of thought, Comilog came up with a project to preserve
              the environment, allied with development of agricultural production
              and tourism," said Olivier Dosimont, the operations director.

              "It was a long and difficult process. We started by fencing off the
              entire 14 000ha of the park. Our idea was to encourage the extensive
              breeding of big game and protect it from poachers."

              This policy has met with varying degrees of success.

              Imported animals such as impalas and antelopes have not flourished,
              but local species are doing well, including buffalo, wildebeest and
              harnessed bushbucks.

              The park has also become a home for the world's largest and most
              colourful monkeys, the mandrills with their faces of brilliant red
              and white.

              Mandrills, which are increasingly endangered with the human invasion
              of the rain forest, are found in the wild only in Gabon, the Congo
              and Cameroon. Gorillas have also established a foothold in the Lekedi
              park.

              Comilog also sought to find other jobs for about 100 employees of the
              old cableway who have remained on the site. A former engineer is in
              charge of fish-farming, and another raises mushrooms.

              The fish farm provides about 45% of the income of Sodepal, the
              subsidiary company set up to run the park.

              The company also has experimented with the breeding of large rodents
              called aulacodes, which are related to the porcupine and are
              considered a tasty dish in West Africa, and is encouraging the
              development of traditional crafts such as pottery and raffia weaving.

              "We are trying to teach people the advantages of rearing animals over
              hunting them," Dosimont said. "But nature is generous and the idea is
              slow in catching on."

              Despite all these activities, the park still makes a loss. Dosimont
              says that if air fares were lower, more tourists - which is what the
              park really needs - would be encouraged to come to Gabon.

              http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Features/0,,2-11-
              37_1405587,00.html
            • bobutne
              Dosimont believes that high airfares are the primary reason why Gabon has so few tourists. I disagree. My travel agency can send tourists from the US to
              Message 6 of 24 , Aug 23, 2003
                Dosimont believes that high airfares are the primary reason why
                Gabon has so few tourists. I disagree. My travel agency can send
                tourists from the US to Libreville at less than $1500 airfare, the
                same-pricing ballpark as the rest of African wildlife destinations.
                Other factors that are limiting tourism to Gabon:

                1. High-cost and difficulty to obtain tourist visas. The Gabon
                consular fee is $100 versus no visa requirement for South Africa for
                US citizens and $50 fee to visit Kenya or Tanzania. Besides, once
                you apply for a Gabon visa, it takes a lot of time for the visa to
                be issued. It took me four weeks when I applied last year to obtain
                my Gabon visa.

                2. Few English-speaking personnel in the tourism industry. Unless
                you speak French, it is very difficult to travel within Gabon.

                3. In the 12 National Parks of Gabon, only one has adequate tourist
                facilities, Lope Reserve. Loango is building facilities while all
                the rest have virtually none. On the other hand, in Lambarene where
                Schweitzer's hospital is located, the Ogooue Palace is a fine hotel
                with rooms facing the Ogooue River and in Libreville the Okume
                Palace InterContinental is an excellent hotel with a highly-trained
                and responsive staff.

                4. High crime rate in Libreville as in most African large urban
                areas. Little for the tourist to do in Libreville other than to take
                a boat to Pointe Denis for a day or two.

                5. Unlike South and East Africa, the wildlife in Gabon is
                unhabituated. The only humans most Gabon wildlife have seen are
                hunters. Thus, humans to most Gabon wildlife mean death. For
                example, when I cam across two gorillas in Lope last year, their
                piercing screams of fear (the female) and outrage (the male) haunt
                me to this day. If the Gabonese decide that their wildlife is a
                valuable heritage and resource that should be shared with the world,
                they will protect it. If not, the whole planet loses.





                --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, "bobutne" <bobutne@a...>
                wrote:
                > Bakouma - Gabon is turning a former industrial facility - a
                gigantic
                > 76km cableway that once carried manganese ore to Atlantic ports
                for
                > export to world markets - into Africa's most unusual nature
                reserve.
                >
                > The Lekedi park, close to Gabon's southern border with the
                Republic
                > of Congo, is a larger-than-life experiment in preserving the
                > environment while providing a living to local inhabitants through
                > agricultural production and tourism.
                >
                > From the 1960s to the early 1990s, about 1 800 people worked here
                > maintaining the cableway, which carried the ore from mines at
                Moanda
                > to the Congolese town of M'Binda. From there, the ore was taken by
                > rail to the Congolese port of Pointe-Noire.
                >
                > But the opening of the 800km trans-Gabon railroad made the
                cableway
                > redundant. Since 1986, the manganese ore, which is used in the
                > production of steel, batteries and ceramics, has been taken
                straight
                > to port in the capital, Libreville.
                >
                > This left the mining company, Comilog, with the problem of what to
                do
                > with the old cableway and the rain forest it traverses.
                >
                > "After a lot of thought, Comilog came up with a project to
                preserve
                > the environment, allied with development of agricultural
                production
                > and tourism," said Olivier Dosimont, the operations director.
                >
                > "It was a long and difficult process. We started by fencing off
                the
                > entire 14 000ha of the park. Our idea was to encourage the
                extensive
                > breeding of big game and protect it from poachers."
                >
                > This policy has met with varying degrees of success.
                >
                > Imported animals such as impalas and antelopes have not
                flourished,
                > but local species are doing well, including buffalo, wildebeest
                and
                > harnessed bushbucks.
                >
                > The park has also become a home for the world's largest and most
                > colourful monkeys, the mandrills with their faces of brilliant red
                > and white.
                >
                > Mandrills, which are increasingly endangered with the human
                invasion
                > of the rain forest, are found in the wild only in Gabon, the Congo
                > and Cameroon. Gorillas have also established a foothold in the
                Lekedi
                > park.
                >
                > Comilog also sought to find other jobs for about 100 employees of
                the
                > old cableway who have remained on the site. A former engineer is
                in
                > charge of fish-farming, and another raises mushrooms.
                >
                > The fish farm provides about 45% of the income of Sodepal, the
                > subsidiary company set up to run the park.
                >
                > The company also has experimented with the breeding of large
                rodents
                > called aulacodes, which are related to the porcupine and are
                > considered a tasty dish in West Africa, and is encouraging the
                > development of traditional crafts such as pottery and raffia
                weaving.
                >
                > "We are trying to teach people the advantages of rearing animals
                over
                > hunting them," Dosimont said. "But nature is generous and the idea
                is
                > slow in catching on."
                >
                > Despite all these activities, the park still makes a loss.
                Dosimont
                > says that if air fares were lower, more tourists - which is what
                the
                > park really needs - would be encouraged to come to Gabon.
                >
                > http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/Features/0,,2-11-
                > 37_1405587,00.html
              • bobutne
                http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0309/photo_index.html Need to buy the September issue to read the entire story.
                Message 7 of 24 , Aug 23, 2003
                  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0309/photo_index.html

                  Need to buy the September issue to read the entire story.
                • dupont3@juno.com
                  Why are you so focused on this? Like I said before, we have the similar stuff going on here in the US. Maybe you forgot how Bush became President. Yet, maybe
                  Message 8 of 24 , Aug 25, 2003
                    Why are you so focused on this? Like I said before, we have the similar
                    stuff going on here in the US. Maybe you forgot how Bush became
                    President. Yet, maybe you even voted for Bush or support him still. In
                    Bongo's case it is good for Africa that he is still in power. Meanwhile
                    the Bush administration has been a disaster for the democratic process.
                    You seem to make a lot of fuss about Bongo's accounts but I will wager
                    that you do not blink an eye at the accounts of the many billionares in
                    America who are involved in shady business deals or the politicians who
                    are on the payroll of them. What hypocrisy! to point a finger at Bongo
                    and then indirectly benefit from all the shady crap going on in the US.
                    Speaking of the UN, we all know how much they are in the pocket of the US
                    and the trouble that is causing them around the world. The last time
                    that I checked, the US owed them billions of dollars in back dues. Also,
                    how many young kids were killed in Iraq because of UN sanctions? Did you
                    make any noise about that? Bongo needs as much money as he can get to
                    just put a word in for Gabon at the table of the corrupt Western leaders.
                    You seem brainwashed because you blindly follow those big crooks who have
                    you chasing down the wrong road, when you should be driving down the road
                    that leads to their house.


                    Ciao,
                    dupont


                    On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 01:57:20 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
                    writes:
                    > May be it's just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people like the
                    > UN are
                    > just making it all up.....
                    >
                    >
                    > Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002
                    >
                    > Hear those drums
                    >
                    > For want of opposition, President Bongo can plan to rule until 2012
                    > After three decades at the head of one of Africa's worst managed and
                    > most
                    > corrupt oil economies, President Omar Bongo might well expect some
                    > political
                    > trouble. Quite the opposite. His ruling Parti Démocratique Gabonais
                    > (PDG)
                    > will sweep the board in the local elections on 29 December and Bongo
                    > (health
                    > permitting) could win yet another seven-year presidential term in
                    > the
                    > election due in 2005. The oppositionists of the early 1990s have
                    > been
                    > exiled, crushed or coopted.
                    >
                    > Gabonese have lost interest in the perennially rigged elections.
                    > Turnout at
                    > the legislative polls last December was under 20 per cent and may be
                    > lower
                    > still in the local polls. Electoral registers have been doctored
                    > down to
                    > 523,000: there were 775,000 names on the lists for the 2001
                    > elections. Many
                    > nominal political opponents are in Bongo's pay, the rest are divided
                    > and
                    > lack national support. For wealthy Gabonese, elections are a
                    > patronage
                    > competition which shares out jobs and resources from 250,000 barrels
                    > of oil
                    > a day, plus smaller timber and manganese exports.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    -------
                    >
                    > Vol 42 Number 16 - 10 August 2001
                    >
                    > Hey big spender
                    >
                    > The fuss over how President El Hadj Omar Bongo came to deposit over
                    > US$180
                    > million in three private Citibank accounts in New York won't go
                    > away. First
                    > raised in United States Senate hearings in November 1999, it is now
                    > the
                    > subject of an embarrassing law suit against Bongo in the US Federal
                    > Court,
                    > Washington. Bongo's lawyers are trying to establish diplomatic
                    > immunity for
                    > him as a serving head of a state recognised by the US government.
                    > And with
                    > another US legal suit from a scrap metal company pending, Bongo's
                    > big-spending habits Stateside ­ he bought four Boeing passenger jets
                    > in June
                    > ­ won't win him any respite from his legal adversaries there.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    -------
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    -------
                    >
                    > Vol 40 Number 22 - 05 November 1999
                    >
                    > Digging deeper holes
                    >
                    > A massive hole in Gabon's public finances - some say of more than
                    > US$350
                    > million - is at the heart of its growing financial and political
                    > crisis. By
                    > the end of last year, arrears to foreign creditors were estimated at
                    > 160
                    > billion CFA francs ($256.4 mn.) - and have probably doubled this
                    > year.
                    > President Omar Bongo's government also has arrears of CFA 100 bn. to
                    > local
                    > banks. With an oil-fired GNP per head of $4,000, Gabon is one of
                    > Africa's
                    > wealthiest states. Yet most people live in poverty and a damning new
                    > report
                    > from the United Nations Development Programme says social services
                    > are
                    > collapsing. Tracing the missing $350 mn. preoccupies both foreign
                    > creditors
                    > and Gabonese who worry about government corruption and
                    > mismanagement. And
                    > President Bongo is no longer able to rely on Paris nor Washington to
                    > block
                    > exposure of murky areas in his government. He tried everything,
                    > including a
                    > personal call to French President Jacques Chirac, to stifle the
                    > inquiry by
                    > magistrate Eva Joly into Elf-Aquitaine's unorthodox financing
                    > operations.
                    >
                    > This focussed on Bongo's relationship with André Tarallo,
                    > Elf-Gabon's
                    > disgraced and ousted Président-Directeur Général. Late last month,
                    > Joly's
                    > inquiries moved on when a Swiss magistrate, Paul Parraudin, produced
                    > bank
                    > records showing that over 600 mn. French francs ($97 mn.) had been
                    > channelled through Tarallo's Swiss account from the Gabonese
                    > presidency.
                    > Back home, after a year of strikes, demonstrations and the payments
                    > crisis,
                    > Bongo's government needs a new deal with the International Monetary
                    > Fund.
                    > Last year, the Fund suspended its Extended Financing Facility for
                    > several
                    > reasons, including 'lack of transparency in public finance'
                    > (Fundspeak for
                    > corruption). Libreville's negotiating team is led by respected
                    > Finance
                    > Minister Emile Doumba, who has been trying, with limited success, to
                    >
                    > persuade his ministerial colleagues and the presidency to implement
                    > an
                    > IMF-inspired austerity programme.
                    >
                    >
                    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    -----------------------------------------------------------------------Fr
                    eedom
                    >
                    > in the World 1998-99: Gabon
                    > Freedom House Survey 1999
                    > Economy: Capitalist (highly corrupt)
                    > Population: 1,200,000
                    > PPP: $3,766
                    > Life Expectancy: 54
                    > Ethnic Groups: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke, other Bantu, other
                    > Africans,
                    > Europeans
                    > Polity: Dominant party
                    > Capital: Libreville
                    > Political Rights: 5
                    > Civil Liberties: 4
                    > Status: Partly Free
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Overview
                    > In December, President Omar Bongo was returned to office for a
                    > seven-year
                    > term. The polling, which was partially boycotted by the opposition,
                    > was
                    > marked by serious irregularities. The nominally independent National
                    >
                    > Election Commission, which was created under the new constitution
                    > approved
                    > by referendum in 1995, proved neither autonomous nor competent.
                    > Behind a
                    > facade of democratic institutions, Bongo used patronage,
                    > manipulation, and
                    > intimidation to retain power. In Libreville in May, student riots
                    > prompted
                    > by deteriorating economic conditions were quickly suppressed. At
                    > least ten
                    > students were seriously hurt. Three decades of autocratic rule have
                    > made
                    > Bongo among the world's richest men and left the vast majority of
                    > oil-rich
                    > Gabon's 1.4 million people mired in poverty. Bongo is strongly
                    > backed by the
                    > army and by France. The highly profitable French ELF oil company
                    > plays a
                    > dominant role in the country's economic and political life.
                    >
                    > Straddling the equator on central Africa's west coast, Gabon gained
                    > independence from France in 1960. Bongo, whom France raised from
                    > soldier to
                    > president in 1967, completed his predecessor's consolidation of
                    > power by
                    > officially outlawing the opposition. France, which maintains 600
                    > marines in
                    > Gabon, has intervened twice to preserve Bongo's regime. In 1990,
                    > protests
                    > prompted by economic duress forced Bongo to accept a conference that
                    >
                    > opposition leaders hoped would promote a peaceful democratic
                    > transition.
                    > Bongo retained power, however, in rigged 1993 elections that sparked
                    > violent
                    > protests and repression led by his Presidential Guard. The 1994
                    > Paris
                    > Accords claimed to institute true democratic reforms. Municipal
                    > elections in
                    > 1996 saw major opposition gains, including the election of Paul Mba
                    > Abbesole, the leader of the largest opposition party, as mayor of
                    > Libreville. Legislative polls delayed by decree until December 1996
                    > were
                    > again beset by fraud as Bongo's Gabon Democratic Party won an
                    > overwhelming,
                    > but unconvincing victory.
                    >
                    > Political Rights and Civil Liberties
                    > Despite a gradual political opening since 1990, Gabon's citizens
                    > have never
                    > been able to exercise their constitutional right to change their
                    > government
                    > democratically. Bongo's 1998 electoral victory with 61 percent of
                    > the vote
                    > followed a campaign that made profligate use of state resources and
                    > state
                    > media to promote his incumbency. Legislative elections have also
                    > been
                    > seriously flawed.
                    >
                    > State institutions are influenced or controlled by Bongo and a small
                    > elite
                    > around him. The judiciary suffers from political interference.
                    > Rights to
                    > legal counsel and public criminal trials are generally respected,
                    > but the
                    > law presumes guilt. Judges may deliver summary verdicts, and torture
                    > remains
                    > a standard route to produce confessions. Prison conditions are
                    > marked by
                    > beatings and insufficient food, water, and medical care. The
                    > government
                    > often detains refugees without charge, and there are reports of
                    > forced labor
                    > by detainees. Rights of assembly and association are
                    > constitutionally
                    > guaranteed, but permits required for public gatherings are sometimes
                    >
                    > refused. Freedom to form and join political parties is generally
                    > respected,
                    > but civil servants may face harassment based on their associations.
                    > Nongovernmental organizations operate openly, although the Gabonese
                    > League
                    > of Human Rights has reported threats and harassment.
                    >
                    > A government daily and approximately one dozen private weeklies,
                    > which are
                    > primarily controlled by opposition parties, are published. The
                    > government
                    > overwhelmingly dominates the broadcast media, which reach a far
                    > larger
                    > audience. Only a few private broadcasters have been licensed, and
                    > their
                    > viability is tenuous. A 1998 crackdown on private media has raised
                    > serious
                    > concerns for free expression. In February, Radio Soleil, which was
                    > associated with the main Bucherons opposition party, was closed. In
                    > January,
                    > a cartoonist was sentenced to six months imprisonment for lampooning
                    > Bongo.
                    > Publication of his newspaper was suspended for one month. The
                    > president of
                    > the journalists' union was jailed for eight months. In August, the
                    > opposition newspaper La Griffe was closed, and three of its staff
                    > received
                    > eight-month suspended sentences after publishing allegations of
                    > ivory
                    > smuggling by the national airline. Soldiers raided La Griffe offices
                    > and
                    > seized equipment. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and broadcasts are
                    > usually
                    > widely available, but editions criticizing Bongo have been seized.
                    >
                    > Most of the small formal sector work force is unionized, although
                    > unions
                    > must register with the government in order to be officially
                    > recognized.
                    > Despite legal protections, the government has taken action against
                    > numerous
                    > strikers and unions and used force to suppress illegal
                    > demonstrations. While
                    > no legal restrictions on travel exist, harassment on political and
                    > ethnic
                    > bases has been reported. Religious freedom is constitutionally
                    > guaranteed
                    > and respected. An official ban on Jehovah's Witnesses is not
                    > enforced.
                    >
                    > Legal protections for women include equal access laws for education,
                    >
                    > business, and investment. In addition to owning property and
                    > businesses,
                    > women constitute more than 50 percent of the salaried workforce in
                    > the
                    > health and trade sectors. At the same time, there are only six women
                    > in the
                    > 120-member National Assembly and one woman in the cabinet. Women
                    > continue to
                    > face legal and cultural discrimination, particularly in rural areas,
                    > and are
                    > reportedly subject to widespread domestic violence.
                    >
                    > Little wealth from Gabon's oil revenues reaches the broad populace,
                    > most of
                    > which is engaged in subsistence farming. Corruption is endemic.
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > >From: dupont3@...
                    > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                    > >Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:18:18 -0700
                    > >
                    > >Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than
                    > independence
                    > >must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how it was
                    > like
                    > >to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial power.
                    > Also,
                    > >what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an
                    > independent
                    > >and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
                    > >To go on criticizing the government without coming up with any
                    > >convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories and
                    > rumour is
                    > >with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive poppycock.
                    > >
                    > >Ciao,
                    > >dupont
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
                    > >writes:
                    > > > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a difference
                    > and
                    > > > the
                    > > > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track
                    > record.
                    > > > If you
                    > > > think elections were fair and square then you do not agree with
                    > > > independent
                    > > > election observers form around the world. In the end, it is not
                    > what
                    > > > I want
                    > > > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves - my
                    > husband
                    > > > included
                    > > > who is from Gabon.
                    > > >
                    > > >
                    > > > >From: dupont3@...
                    > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                    > > > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
                    > > > >
                    > > > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have been
                    > to
                    > > > poorly
                    > > > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you consider
                    > to be
                    > > > the
                    > > > >obvious hypocrisy.
                    > > > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor
                    > people
                    > > > is no
                    > > > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor people
                    > here
                    > > > in the
                    > > > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend money
                    > > > lavishly
                    > > > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless people
                    > abound
                    > > > on
                    > > > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
                    > > > disenfranchises
                    > > > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there done
                    > > > that" when
                    > > > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a
                    > > > nations
                    > > > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist system
                    > like
                    > > > in
                    > > > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
                    > > > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to
                    > jump
                    > > > start
                    > > > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong with
                    > a
                    > > > healthy
                    > > > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic values
                    > are
                    > > > the
                    > > > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is getting
                    > people
                    > > > to
                    > > > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
                    > > > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support President
                    > Bongo
                    > > > is
                    > > > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all
                    > that's
                    > > > worth
                    > > > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The man
                    > is
                    > > > a
                    > > > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
                    > > > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then you
                    > are
                    > > > not
                    > > > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such
                    > underdeveloped
                    > > > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard
                    > issues
                    > > > and
                    > > > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap
                    > opera.
                    > > > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world
                    > poverty.
                    > > > Step
                    > > > >back and look at this picture and you will see that the
                    > difference
                    > > > points
                    > > > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations and not
                    > that
                    > > > of a
                    > > > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are still
                    > poor
                    > > > in
                    > > > >comparison.
                    > > > >
                    > > > >Ciao,
                    > > > >dupont
                    > > > >
                    > > > >
                    > > > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi"
                    > <c_yombi@...>
                    > > > >writes:
                    > > > > > With all due respect,
                    > > > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the people's
                    > > > level?
                    > > > > > Have you
                    > > > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
                    > > > his"friends"?
                    > > > > > Have you
                    > > > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of the
                    > > > obvious
                    > > > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the
                    > national
                    > > > > > train
                    > > > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to
                    > > > Franceville
                    > > > > > for his
                    > > > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation to
                    > the
                    > > > > > capital
                    > > > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to
                    > > > distribute
                    > > > > > condoms
                    > > > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft drinks
                    > has a
                    > > > > > problem and
                    > > > > > it starts with the government.
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support the
                    > > > > > president and
                    > > > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great
                    > > > democracy?
                    > > > > > Another
                    > > > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was freedom
                    > of
                    > > > > > choice. Have
                    > > > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their governments
                    > > > and
                    > > > > > country if
                    > > > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and
                    > spending
                    > > > it on
                    > > > > > lavish
                    > > > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics where
                    > > > women
                    > > > > > struggle
                    > > > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary school
                    > > > students
                    > > > > > who have
                    > > > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic
                    > > > approach to
                    > > > > > the
                    > > > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a better
                    > > > > > approach.
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > Carol
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > >
                    > > > > > >From: dupont3@...
                    > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                    > > > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating on
                    > > > Bongo's
                    > > > > > bank
                    > > > > > >account will get you nowhere.
                    > > > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve some
                    > of
                    > > > the
                    > > > > > >nations problems?
                    > > > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and this
                    > is
                    > > > the
                    > > > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
                    > > > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying schools
                    > in
                    > > > inner
                    > > > > > cities
                    > > > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing together.
                    > We
                    > > > are
                    > > > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time when
                    > our
                    > > > > > schools
                    > > > > > >need books.
                    > > > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having President
                    > Bongo
                    > > > step
                    > > > > > down
                    > > > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for the
                    > > > better?
                    > > > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is
                    > dependent
                    > > > on
                    > > > > > the
                    > > > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave would
                    > it
                    > > > make
                    > > > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make anything
                    > > > better
                    > > > > > and
                    > > > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably destabilize
                    > the
                    > > > > > country and
                    > > > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like going
                    > > > back in
                    > > > > > time.
                    > > > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to think
                    > > > more
                    > > > > > about
                    > > > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for developing
                    > > > their
                    > > > > > >country.
                    > > > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a
                    > solution.
                    > > > In
                    > > > > > Gabon
                    > > > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the
                    > state.
                    > > > Only
                    > > > > > then
                    > > > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major
                    > issues.The
                    > > > > > founding
                    > > > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand Divided
                    > We
                    > > > > > Fall"
                    > > > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must first
                    > find
                    > > > a
                    > > > > > common
                    > > > > > >ground to stand on.
                    > > > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and sure,
                    > there
                    > > > are
                    > > > > > many
                    > > > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also many
                    > who
                    > > > do
                    > > > > > not
                    > > > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo.
                    > Many
                    > > > who do
                    > > > > > not
                    > > > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not
                    > only
                    > > > > > Africans,
                    > > > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop
                    > their
                    > > > > > economies in
                    > > > > > >this new world order.
                    > > > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can help
                    > the
                    > > > > > President
                    > > > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
                    > > > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's
                    > > > inauguration
                    > > > > > speech
                    > > > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you,
                    > but
                    > > > what
                    > > > > > you can
                    > > > > > >do for your country."
                    > > > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood
                    > correctly,
                    > > > can
                    > > > > > >inspire man to great heights.
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >ciao,
                    > > > > > >dupont
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >
                    > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
                    > > > <c_yombi@...>
                    > > > > > >writes:
                    > > > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a
                    > "Bongo
                    > > > > > house"
                    > > > > > > > while my
                    > > > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children to
                    > > > school
                    > > > > > and
                    > > > > > > > riding on
                    > > > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were going to
                    > end
                    > > > up
                    > > > > > in
                    > > > > > > > the water
                    > > > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are just
                    > > > that -
                    > > > > > > > words. Don't
                    > > > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French government
                    > in
                    > > > > > order to
                    > > > > > > > have
                    > > > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at
                    > Bongo's
                    > > > bank
                    > > > > > > > accounts and
                    > > > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in LBV.
                    > If
                    > > > Bongo
                    > > > > > is
                    > > > > > > > such a
                    > > > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on his
                    > > > promise
                    > > > > > to
                    > > > > > > > step down
                    > > > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule forever?
                    > Ask
                    > > > many
                    > > > > > > > Gabonese and
                    > > > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
                    > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@...>
                    > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                    > > > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                    > > > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >Hello:
                    > > > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa depends
                    > > > more
                    > > > > > on
                    > > > > > > > just
                    > > > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course all
                    > > > leaders
                    > > > > > of
                    > > > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does
                    > that
                    > > > > > "keep"
                    > > > > > > > them
                    > > > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to say
                    > > > about
                    > > > > > the
                    > > > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think
                    > that it
                    > > > is
                    > > > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and aid
                    > for
                    > > > > > African
                    > > > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how the
                    > > > marketing
                    > > > > > of
                    > > > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not
                    > > > controlled
                    > > > > > by
                    > > > > > > > the
                    > > > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
                    > > > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the
                    > infrastructure
                    > > > > > where
                    > > > > > > > oil
                    > > > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that is
                    > > > > > produced.
                    > > > > > > > Or
                    > > > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of resources
                    > > > like
                    > > > > > > > timber,
                    > > > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by
                    > Africans
                    > > > native
                    > > > > > to
                    > > > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things are
                    > more
                    > > > > > > > important
                    > > > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in
                    > > > political
                    > > > > > > > control
                    > > > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away. I
                    > > > think
                    > > > > > > > arguably
                    > > > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of state
                    > > > deserves
                    > > > > > to
                    > > > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill
                    > Gates
                    > > > for
                    > > > > > that
                    > > > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in the
                    > > > stock
                    > > > > > > > market
                    > > > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a resource
                    > rich
                    > > > > > African
                    > > > > > > > >country!
                    > > > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his country
                    > than
                    > > > Bush
                    > > > > > or
                    > > > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be leaps
                    > and
                    > > > > > bounds
                    > > > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is why
                    > I
                    > > > > > think
                    > > > > > > > that
                    > > > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa at
                    > this
                    > > > > > time.
                    > > > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together with
                    > the
                    > > > > > > > influence
                    > > > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded the
                    > > > quality
                    > > > > > of
                    > > > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We are
                    > > > seeing
                    > > > > > that
                    > > > > > > > it
                    > > > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important when it
                    > > > comes
                    > > > > > to
                    > > > > > > > >political leadership.
                    > > > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of African
                    > > > states
                    > > > > > if
                    > > > > > > > it
                    > > > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful nation to
                    > > > gain
                    > > > > > > > economic
                    > > > > > > > >or political control?
                    > > > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his agenda
                    > > > reaches
                    > > > > > the
                    > > > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly care
                    > about
                    > > > the
                    > > > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after the
                    > > > debaucle
                    > > > > > in
                    > > > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here in
                    > the
                    > > > > > states
                    > > > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what economic
                    > > > > > development
                    > > > > > > > in
                    > > > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >Ciao,
                    > > > > > > > >dupont
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
                    > > > <bobutne@...>
                    > > > > > > > writes:
                    > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably,
                    > > > abdicate)
                    > > > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French
                    > (5,000
                    > > > > > troops
                    > > > > > > > in
                    > > > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison surrounding/protecting
                    > the
                    > > > > > > > Presidential
                    > > > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is kept in
                    > > > power.
                    > > > > > The
                    > > > > > > > 500
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and
                    > Britain
                    > > > > > world
                    > > > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President Omar
                    > > > Bongo
                    > > > > > is
                    > > > > > > > doing
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the US
                    > and
                    > > > > > world.
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the West
                    > and
                    > > > is
                    > > > > > being
                    > > > > > > > left
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to gain
                    > > > economic
                    > > > > > and
                    > > > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for many,
                    > > > many
                    > > > > > pages
                    > > > > > > > on
                    > > > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
                    > > > > > > > > >
                    > > > > > > > > >
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                  • C Yombi
                    The point is that you assume you know what everybody else is doing and thinking. Before getting on your soap box, may be you should find out about the people
                    Message 9 of 24 , Aug 26, 2003
                      The point is that you assume you know what everybody else is doing and
                      thinking. Before getting on your soap box, may be you should find out about
                      the people you are accusing of collusion. You don't know me or have any
                      information about my personal beliefs. You have no idea how I voted in the
                      last elections or even if I am a registered voter. You know nothing about my
                      background or my lifestyle.

                      You bash the UN but seem to glaze over reality of life in Gabon for the
                      majority of the population. How many children die each day in Iraq because
                      of malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare? How many NGOs deal with
                      the everyday care of the world's population? The reality of life is not the
                      ideal. Often, we must choose between the lesser of two evils.

                      No one has disputed your points about the Bush administration. You bring up
                      billionaires like Bill Gates. He has made his money in the private sector,
                      and he has given BILLIONS away to help with research and development of
                      needed vaccines and HIV medications in Africa and elsewhere. The Queen of
                      England has no political power in Great Britain and the people choose to
                      support the royal family monetarily. Bongo on the other hand is directly
                      responsible, just like Bush, for the policies and corruption in his country.

                      You assume your point is the best and leave no room for the off chance that
                      you could be wrong. In the end everyone is entitled to their own opinions,
                      but this should be a discussion forum and not a crusade to convert those to
                      your view of the world. There is no single correct point of view on any
                      issue. Our own cultural biases and upbringings play a part in our
                      understanding and interactions with those that are different than us. This
                      is very apparent with you.

                      (And by the way, I used to live down the road from the crook's house - I
                      know how he lives the one day a year he chooses to reside there.)


                      >From: dupont3@...
                      >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                      >Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 15:51:03 -0700
                      >
                      >Why are you so focused on this? Like I said before, we have the similar
                      >stuff going on here in the US. Maybe you forgot how Bush became
                      >President. Yet, maybe you even voted for Bush or support him still. In
                      >Bongo's case it is good for Africa that he is still in power. Meanwhile
                      >the Bush administration has been a disaster for the democratic process.
                      >You seem to make a lot of fuss about Bongo's accounts but I will wager
                      >that you do not blink an eye at the accounts of the many billionares in
                      >America who are involved in shady business deals or the politicians who
                      >are on the payroll of them. What hypocrisy! to point a finger at Bongo
                      >and then indirectly benefit from all the shady crap going on in the US.
                      >Speaking of the UN, we all know how much they are in the pocket of the US
                      >and the trouble that is causing them around the world. The last time
                      >that I checked, the US owed them billions of dollars in back dues. Also,
                      >how many young kids were killed in Iraq because of UN sanctions? Did you
                      >make any noise about that? Bongo needs as much money as he can get to
                      >just put a word in for Gabon at the table of the corrupt Western leaders.
                      >You seem brainwashed because you blindly follow those big crooks who have
                      >you chasing down the wrong road, when you should be driving down the road
                      >that leads to their house.
                      >
                      >
                      >Ciao,
                      >dupont
                      >
                      >
                      >On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 01:57:20 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
                      >writes:
                      > > May be it's just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people like the
                      > > UN are
                      > > just making it all up.....
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002
                      > >
                      > > Hear those drums
                      > >
                      > > For want of opposition, President Bongo can plan to rule until 2012
                      > > After three decades at the head of one of Africa's worst managed and
                      > > most
                      > > corrupt oil economies, President Omar Bongo might well expect some
                      > > political
                      > > trouble. Quite the opposite. His ruling Parti D�mocratique Gabonais
                      > > (PDG)
                      > > will sweep the board in the local elections on 29 December and Bongo
                      > > (health
                      > > permitting) could win yet another seven-year presidential term in
                      > > the
                      > > election due in 2005. The oppositionists of the early 1990s have
                      > > been
                      > > exiled, crushed or coopted.
                      > >
                      > > Gabonese have lost interest in the perennially rigged elections.
                      > > Turnout at
                      > > the legislative polls last December was under 20 per cent and may be
                      > > lower
                      > > still in the local polls. Electoral registers have been doctored
                      > > down to
                      > > 523,000: there were 775,000 names on the lists for the 2001
                      > > elections. Many
                      > > nominal political opponents are in Bongo's pay, the rest are divided
                      > > and
                      > > lack national support. For wealthy Gabonese, elections are a
                      > > patronage
                      > > competition which shares out jobs and resources from 250,000 barrels
                      > > of oil
                      > > a day, plus smaller timber and manganese exports.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      >-------
                      > >
                      > > Vol 42 Number 16 - 10 August 2001
                      > >
                      > > Hey big spender
                      > >
                      > > The fuss over how President El Hadj Omar Bongo came to deposit over
                      > > US$180
                      > > million in three private Citibank accounts in New York won't go
                      > > away. First
                      > > raised in United States Senate hearings in November 1999, it is now
                      > > the
                      > > subject of an embarrassing law suit against Bongo in the US Federal
                      > > Court,
                      > > Washington. Bongo's lawyers are trying to establish diplomatic
                      > > immunity for
                      > > him as a serving head of a state recognised by the US government.
                      > > And with
                      > > another US legal suit from a scrap metal company pending, Bongo's
                      > > big-spending habits Stateside � he bought four Boeing passenger jets
                      > > in June
                      > > � won't win him any respite from his legal adversaries there.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      >-------
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      >-------
                      > >
                      > > Vol 40 Number 22 - 05 November 1999
                      > >
                      > > Digging deeper holes
                      > >
                      > > A massive hole in Gabon's public finances - some say of more than
                      > > US$350
                      > > million - is at the heart of its growing financial and political
                      > > crisis. By
                      > > the end of last year, arrears to foreign creditors were estimated at
                      > > 160
                      > > billion CFA francs ($256.4 mn.) - and have probably doubled this
                      > > year.
                      > > President Omar Bongo's government also has arrears of CFA 100 bn. to
                      > > local
                      > > banks. With an oil-fired GNP per head of $4,000, Gabon is one of
                      > > Africa's
                      > > wealthiest states. Yet most people live in poverty and a damning new
                      > > report
                      > > from the United Nations Development Programme says social services
                      > > are
                      > > collapsing. Tracing the missing $350 mn. preoccupies both foreign
                      > > creditors
                      > > and Gabonese who worry about government corruption and
                      > > mismanagement. And
                      > > President Bongo is no longer able to rely on Paris nor Washington to
                      > > block
                      > > exposure of murky areas in his government. He tried everything,
                      > > including a
                      > > personal call to French President Jacques Chirac, to stifle the
                      > > inquiry by
                      > > magistrate Eva Joly into Elf-Aquitaine's unorthodox financing
                      > > operations.
                      > >
                      > > This focussed on Bongo's relationship with Andr� Tarallo,
                      > > Elf-Gabon's
                      > > disgraced and ousted Pr�sident-Directeur G�n�ral. Late last month,
                      > > Joly's
                      > > inquiries moved on when a Swiss magistrate, Paul Parraudin, produced
                      > > bank
                      > > records showing that over 600 mn. French francs ($97 mn.) had been
                      > > channelled through Tarallo's Swiss account from the Gabonese
                      > > presidency.
                      > > Back home, after a year of strikes, demonstrations and the payments
                      > > crisis,
                      > > Bongo's government needs a new deal with the International Monetary
                      > > Fund.
                      > > Last year, the Fund suspended its Extended Financing Facility for
                      > > several
                      > > reasons, including 'lack of transparency in public finance'
                      > > (Fundspeak for
                      > > corruption). Libreville's negotiating team is led by respected
                      > > Finance
                      > > Minister Emile Doumba, who has been trying, with limited success, to
                      > >
                      > > persuade his ministerial colleagues and the presidency to implement
                      > > an
                      > > IMF-inspired austerity programme.
                      > >
                      > >
                      >-------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      >-----------------------------------------------------------------------Fr
                      >eedom
                      > >
                      > > in the World 1998-99: Gabon
                      > > Freedom House Survey 1999
                      > > Economy: Capitalist (highly corrupt)
                      > > Population: 1,200,000
                      > > PPP: $3,766
                      > > Life Expectancy: 54
                      > > Ethnic Groups: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke, other Bantu, other
                      > > Africans,
                      > > Europeans
                      > > Polity: Dominant party
                      > > Capital: Libreville
                      > > Political Rights: 5
                      > > Civil Liberties: 4
                      > > Status: Partly Free
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Overview
                      > > In December, President Omar Bongo was returned to office for a
                      > > seven-year
                      > > term. The polling, which was partially boycotted by the opposition,
                      > > was
                      > > marked by serious irregularities. The nominally independent National
                      > >
                      > > Election Commission, which was created under the new constitution
                      > > approved
                      > > by referendum in 1995, proved neither autonomous nor competent.
                      > > Behind a
                      > > facade of democratic institutions, Bongo used patronage,
                      > > manipulation, and
                      > > intimidation to retain power. In Libreville in May, student riots
                      > > prompted
                      > > by deteriorating economic conditions were quickly suppressed. At
                      > > least ten
                      > > students were seriously hurt. Three decades of autocratic rule have
                      > > made
                      > > Bongo among the world's richest men and left the vast majority of
                      > > oil-rich
                      > > Gabon's 1.4 million people mired in poverty. Bongo is strongly
                      > > backed by the
                      > > army and by France. The highly profitable French ELF oil company
                      > > plays a
                      > > dominant role in the country's economic and political life.
                      > >
                      > > Straddling the equator on central Africa's west coast, Gabon gained
                      > > independence from France in 1960. Bongo, whom France raised from
                      > > soldier to
                      > > president in 1967, completed his predecessor's consolidation of
                      > > power by
                      > > officially outlawing the opposition. France, which maintains 600
                      > > marines in
                      > > Gabon, has intervened twice to preserve Bongo's regime. In 1990,
                      > > protests
                      > > prompted by economic duress forced Bongo to accept a conference that
                      > >
                      > > opposition leaders hoped would promote a peaceful democratic
                      > > transition.
                      > > Bongo retained power, however, in rigged 1993 elections that sparked
                      > > violent
                      > > protests and repression led by his Presidential Guard. The 1994
                      > > Paris
                      > > Accords claimed to institute true democratic reforms. Municipal
                      > > elections in
                      > > 1996 saw major opposition gains, including the election of Paul Mba
                      > > Abbesole, the leader of the largest opposition party, as mayor of
                      > > Libreville. Legislative polls delayed by decree until December 1996
                      > > were
                      > > again beset by fraud as Bongo's Gabon Democratic Party won an
                      > > overwhelming,
                      > > but unconvincing victory.
                      > >
                      > > Political Rights and Civil Liberties
                      > > Despite a gradual political opening since 1990, Gabon's citizens
                      > > have never
                      > > been able to exercise their constitutional right to change their
                      > > government
                      > > democratically. Bongo's 1998 electoral victory with 61 percent of
                      > > the vote
                      > > followed a campaign that made profligate use of state resources and
                      > > state
                      > > media to promote his incumbency. Legislative elections have also
                      > > been
                      > > seriously flawed.
                      > >
                      > > State institutions are influenced or controlled by Bongo and a small
                      > > elite
                      > > around him. The judiciary suffers from political interference.
                      > > Rights to
                      > > legal counsel and public criminal trials are generally respected,
                      > > but the
                      > > law presumes guilt. Judges may deliver summary verdicts, and torture
                      > > remains
                      > > a standard route to produce confessions. Prison conditions are
                      > > marked by
                      > > beatings and insufficient food, water, and medical care. The
                      > > government
                      > > often detains refugees without charge, and there are reports of
                      > > forced labor
                      > > by detainees. Rights of assembly and association are
                      > > constitutionally
                      > > guaranteed, but permits required for public gatherings are sometimes
                      > >
                      > > refused. Freedom to form and join political parties is generally
                      > > respected,
                      > > but civil servants may face harassment based on their associations.
                      > > Nongovernmental organizations operate openly, although the Gabonese
                      > > League
                      > > of Human Rights has reported threats and harassment.
                      > >
                      > > A government daily and approximately one dozen private weeklies,
                      > > which are
                      > > primarily controlled by opposition parties, are published. The
                      > > government
                      > > overwhelmingly dominates the broadcast media, which reach a far
                      > > larger
                      > > audience. Only a few private broadcasters have been licensed, and
                      > > their
                      > > viability is tenuous. A 1998 crackdown on private media has raised
                      > > serious
                      > > concerns for free expression. In February, Radio Soleil, which was
                      > > associated with the main Bucherons opposition party, was closed. In
                      > > January,
                      > > a cartoonist was sentenced to six months imprisonment for lampooning
                      > > Bongo.
                      > > Publication of his newspaper was suspended for one month. The
                      > > president of
                      > > the journalists' union was jailed for eight months. In August, the
                      > > opposition newspaper La Griffe was closed, and three of its staff
                      > > received
                      > > eight-month suspended sentences after publishing allegations of
                      > > ivory
                      > > smuggling by the national airline. Soldiers raided La Griffe offices
                      > > and
                      > > seized equipment. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and broadcasts are
                      > > usually
                      > > widely available, but editions criticizing Bongo have been seized.
                      > >
                      > > Most of the small formal sector work force is unionized, although
                      > > unions
                      > > must register with the government in order to be officially
                      > > recognized.
                      > > Despite legal protections, the government has taken action against
                      > > numerous
                      > > strikers and unions and used force to suppress illegal
                      > > demonstrations. While
                      > > no legal restrictions on travel exist, harassment on political and
                      > > ethnic
                      > > bases has been reported. Religious freedom is constitutionally
                      > > guaranteed
                      > > and respected. An official ban on Jehovah's Witnesses is not
                      > > enforced.
                      > >
                      > > Legal protections for women include equal access laws for education,
                      > >
                      > > business, and investment. In addition to owning property and
                      > > businesses,
                      > > women constitute more than 50 percent of the salaried workforce in
                      > > the
                      > > health and trade sectors. At the same time, there are only six women
                      > > in the
                      > > 120-member National Assembly and one woman in the cabinet. Women
                      > > continue to
                      > > face legal and cultural discrimination, particularly in rural areas,
                      > > and are
                      > > reportedly subject to widespread domestic violence.
                      > >
                      > > Little wealth from Gabon's oil revenues reaches the broad populace,
                      > > most of
                      > > which is engaged in subsistence farming. Corruption is endemic.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > >From: dupont3@...
                      > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                      > > >Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:18:18 -0700
                      > > >
                      > > >Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than
                      > > independence
                      > > >must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how it was
                      > > like
                      > > >to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial power.
                      > > Also,
                      > > >what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an
                      > > independent
                      > > >and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
                      > > >To go on criticizing the government without coming up with any
                      > > >convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories and
                      > > rumour is
                      > > >with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive poppycock.
                      > > >
                      > > >Ciao,
                      > > >dupont
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
                      > > >writes:
                      > > > > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a difference
                      > > and
                      > > > > the
                      > > > > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track
                      > > record.
                      > > > > If you
                      > > > > think elections were fair and square then you do not agree with
                      > > > > independent
                      > > > > election observers form around the world. In the end, it is not
                      > > what
                      > > > > I want
                      > > > > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves - my
                      > > husband
                      > > > > included
                      > > > > who is from Gabon.
                      > > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > > >From: dupont3@...
                      > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                      > > > > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have been
                      > > to
                      > > > > poorly
                      > > > > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you consider
                      > > to be
                      > > > > the
                      > > > > >obvious hypocrisy.
                      > > > > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor
                      > > people
                      > > > > is no
                      > > > > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor people
                      > > here
                      > > > > in the
                      > > > > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend money
                      > > > > lavishly
                      > > > > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless people
                      > > abound
                      > > > > on
                      > > > > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
                      > > > > disenfranchises
                      > > > > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there done
                      > > > > that" when
                      > > > > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a
                      > > > > nations
                      > > > > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist system
                      > > like
                      > > > > in
                      > > > > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
                      > > > > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to
                      > > jump
                      > > > > start
                      > > > > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong with
                      > > a
                      > > > > healthy
                      > > > > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic values
                      > > are
                      > > > > the
                      > > > > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is getting
                      > > people
                      > > > > to
                      > > > > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
                      > > > > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support President
                      > > Bongo
                      > > > > is
                      > > > > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all
                      > > that's
                      > > > > worth
                      > > > > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The man
                      > > is
                      > > > > a
                      > > > > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
                      > > > > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then you
                      > > are
                      > > > > not
                      > > > > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such
                      > > underdeveloped
                      > > > > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard
                      > > issues
                      > > > > and
                      > > > > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap
                      > > opera.
                      > > > > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world
                      > > poverty.
                      > > > > Step
                      > > > > >back and look at this picture and you will see that the
                      > > difference
                      > > > > points
                      > > > > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations and not
                      > > that
                      > > > > of a
                      > > > > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are still
                      > > poor
                      > > > > in
                      > > > > >comparison.
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > >Ciao,
                      > > > > >dupont
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > >
                      > > > > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi"
                      > > <c_yombi@...>
                      > > > > >writes:
                      > > > > > > With all due respect,
                      > > > > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the people's
                      > > > > level?
                      > > > > > > Have you
                      > > > > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
                      > > > > his"friends"?
                      > > > > > > Have you
                      > > > > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of the
                      > > > > obvious
                      > > > > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the
                      > > national
                      > > > > > > train
                      > > > > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to
                      > > > > Franceville
                      > > > > > > for his
                      > > > > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation to
                      > > the
                      > > > > > > capital
                      > > > > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to
                      > > > > distribute
                      > > > > > > condoms
                      > > > > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft drinks
                      > > has a
                      > > > > > > problem and
                      > > > > > > it starts with the government.
                      > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support the
                      > > > > > > president and
                      > > > > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great
                      > > > > democracy?
                      > > > > > > Another
                      > > > > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was freedom
                      > > of
                      > > > > > > choice. Have
                      > > > > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
                      > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their governments
                      > > > > and
                      > > > > > > country if
                      > > > > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and
                      > > spending
                      > > > > it on
                      > > > > > > lavish
                      > > > > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics where
                      > > > > women
                      > > > > > > struggle
                      > > > > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary school
                      > > > > students
                      > > > > > > who have
                      > > > > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic
                      > > > > approach to
                      > > > > > > the
                      > > > > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a better
                      > > > > > > approach.
                      > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > Carol
                      > > > > > >
                      > > > > > >
                      > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >From: dupont3@...
                      > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                      > > > > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating on
                      > > > > Bongo's
                      > > > > > > bank
                      > > > > > > >account will get you nowhere.
                      > > > > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve some
                      > > of
                      > > > > the
                      > > > > > > >nations problems?
                      > > > > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and this
                      > > is
                      > > > > the
                      > > > > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
                      > > > > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying schools
                      > > in
                      > > > > inner
                      > > > > > > cities
                      > > > > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing together.
                      > > We
                      > > > > are
                      > > > > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time when
                      > > our
                      > > > > > > schools
                      > > > > > > >need books.
                      > > > > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having President
                      > > Bongo
                      > > > > step
                      > > > > > > down
                      > > > > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for the
                      > > > > better?
                      > > > > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is
                      > > dependent
                      > > > > on
                      > > > > > > the
                      > > > > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave would
                      > > it
                      > > > > make
                      > > > > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make anything
                      > > > > better
                      > > > > > > and
                      > > > > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably destabilize
                      > > the
                      > > > > > > country and
                      > > > > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like going
                      > > > > back in
                      > > > > > > time.
                      > > > > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to think
                      > > > > more
                      > > > > > > about
                      > > > > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for developing
                      > > > > their
                      > > > > > > >country.
                      > > > > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a
                      > > solution.
                      > > > > In
                      > > > > > > Gabon
                      > > > > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the
                      > > state.
                      > > > > Only
                      > > > > > > then
                      > > > > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major
                      > > issues.The
                      > > > > > > founding
                      > > > > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand Divided
                      > > We
                      > > > > > > Fall"
                      > > > > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must first
                      > > find
                      > > > > a
                      > > > > > > common
                      > > > > > > >ground to stand on.
                      > > > > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and sure,
                      > > there
                      > > > > are
                      > > > > > > many
                      > > > > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also many
                      > > who
                      > > > > do
                      > > > > > > not
                      > > > > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo.
                      > > Many
                      > > > > who do
                      > > > > > > not
                      > > > > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not
                      > > only
                      > > > > > > Africans,
                      > > > > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop
                      > > their
                      > > > > > > economies in
                      > > > > > > >this new world order.
                      > > > > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can help
                      > > the
                      > > > > > > President
                      > > > > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
                      > > > > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's
                      > > > > inauguration
                      > > > > > > speech
                      > > > > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for you,
                      > > but
                      > > > > what
                      > > > > > > you can
                      > > > > > > >do for your country."
                      > > > > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood
                      > > correctly,
                      > > > > can
                      > > > > > > >inspire man to great heights.
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >ciao,
                      > > > > > > >dupont
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
                      > > > > <c_yombi@...>
                      > > > > > > >writes:
                      > > > > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a
                      > > "Bongo
                      > > > > > > house"
                      > > > > > > > > while my
                      > > > > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children to
                      > > > > school
                      > > > > > > and
                      > > > > > > > > riding on
                      > > > > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were going to
                      > > end
                      > > > > up
                      > > > > > > in
                      > > > > > > > > the water
                      > > > > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are just
                      > > > > that -
                      > > > > > > > > words. Don't
                      > > > > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French government
                      > > in
                      > > > > > > order to
                      > > > > > > > > have
                      > > > > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at
                      > > Bongo's
                      > > > > bank
                      > > > > > > > > accounts and
                      > > > > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in LBV.
                      > > If
                      > > > > Bongo
                      > > > > > > is
                      > > > > > > > > such a
                      > > > > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on his
                      > > > > promise
                      > > > > > > to
                      > > > > > > > > step down
                      > > > > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule forever?
                      > > Ask
                      > > > > many
                      > > > > > > > > Gabonese and
                      > > > > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
                      > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@...>
                      > > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                      > > > > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                      > > > > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >Hello:
                      > > > > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa depends
                      > > > > more
                      > > > > > > on
                      > > > > > > > > just
                      > > > > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course all
                      > > > > leaders
                      > > > > > > of
                      > > > > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does
                      > > that
                      > > > > > > "keep"
                      > > > > > > > > them
                      > > > > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to say
                      > > > > about
                      > > > > > > the
                      > > > > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think
                      > > that it
                      > > > > is
                      > > > > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and aid
                      > > for
                      > > > > > > African
                      > > > > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how the
                      > > > > marketing
                      > > > > > > of
                      > > > > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not
                      > > > > controlled
                      > > > > > > by
                      > > > > > > > > the
                      > > > > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
                      > > > > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the
                      > > infrastructure
                      > > > > > > where
                      > > > > > > > > oil
                      > > > > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that is
                      > > > > > > produced.
                      > > > > > > > > Or
                      > > > > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of resources
                      > > > > like
                      > > > > > > > > timber,
                      > > > > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by
                      > > Africans
                      > > > > native
                      > > > > > > to
                      > > > > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things are
                      > > more
                      > > > > > > > > important
                      > > > > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in
                      > > > > political
                      > > > > > > > > control
                      > > > > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away. I
                      > > > > think
                      > > > > > > > > arguably
                      > > > > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of state
                      > > > > deserves
                      > > > > > > to
                      > > > > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill
                      > > Gates
                      > > > > for
                      > > > > > > that
                      > > > > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in the
                      > > > > stock
                      > > > > > > > > market
                      > > > > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a resource
                      > > rich
                      > > > > > > African
                      > > > > > > > > >country!
                      > > > > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his country
                      > > than
                      > > > > Bush
                      > > > > > > or
                      > > > > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be leaps
                      > > and
                      > > > > > > bounds
                      > > > > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is why
                      > > I
                      > > > > > > think
                      > > > > > > > > that
                      > > > > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa at
                      > > this
                      > > > > > > time.
                      > > > > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together with
                      > > the
                      > > > > > > > > influence
                      > > > > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded the
                      > > > > quality
                      > > > > > > of
                      > > > > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We are
                      > > > > seeing
                      > > > > > > that
                      > > > > > > > > it
                      > > > > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important when it
                      > > > > comes
                      > > > > > > to
                      > > > > > > > > >political leadership.
                      > > > > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of African
                      > > > > states
                      > > > > > > if
                      > > > > > > > > it
                      > > > > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful nation to
                      > > > > gain
                      > > > > > > > > economic
                      > > > > > > > > >or political control?
                      > > > > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his agenda
                      > > > > reaches
                      > > > > > > the
                      > > > > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly care
                      > > about
                      > > > > the
                      > > > > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after the
                      > > > > debaucle
                      > > > > > > in
                      > > > > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here in
                      > > the
                      > > > > > > states
                      > > > > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what economic
                      > > > > > > development
                      > > > > > > > > in
                      > > > > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >Ciao,
                      > > > > > > > > >dupont
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
                      > > > > <bobutne@...>
                      > > > > > > > > writes:
                      > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably,
                      > > > > abdicate)
                      > > > > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French
                      > > (5,000
                      > > > > > > troops
                      > > > > > > > > in
                      > > > > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison surrounding/protecting
                      > > the
                      > > > > > > > > Presidential
                      > > > > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is kept in
                      > > > > power.
                      > > > > > > The
                      > > > > > > > > 500
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and
                      > > Britain
                      > > > > > > world
                      > > > > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President Omar
                      > > > > Bongo
                      > > > > > > is
                      > > > > > > > > doing
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the US
                      > > and
                      > > > > > > world.
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the West
                      > > and
                      > > > > is
                      > > > > > > being
                      > > > > > > > > left
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to gain
                      > > > > economic
                      > > > > > > and
                      > > > > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for many,
                      > > > > many
                      > > > > > > pages
                      > > > > > > > > on
                      > > > > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > >
                      > > > > > > > > > >
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                    • dupont3@juno.com
                      Ok, so you can now attack me, but it seems like you do not even think about addressing the real issues at hand, other than to say that, the reality of life
                      Message 10 of 24 , Aug 26, 2003
                        Ok, so you can now attack me, but it seems like you do not even think
                        about addressing the real issues at hand, other than to say that, "the
                        reality of life is not ideal." I am not attacking you personally but
                        exposing what I perceive to be your lack of knowledge about what is
                        really going on and throwing that back in your face everytime you spread
                        naive innuendo about Bongo as if getting rid of him will change the lives
                        of Gabonese for the better.
                        If you get off of your Bongo inquisition then maybe you will see the
                        light and actually make some attempts to address the real challenges that
                        the Gabonese people face.
                        Now on to your response which was equally naive:
                        1. Iraq before the UN sanctions had no problem with lack of access to
                        healthcare or malnutrition of its people. Iraqis are a very intelligent
                        people
                        with some of the most capable medical professionals in the region. As an
                        oil rich trading nation they had no problem importing enough food for
                        their needs. That is until the UN choose to destroy their livelyhood for
                        the sake of what?
                        2. Yes, Bill Gates made his money in the private sector, but he has also
                        paid off many a politician to the point where he was able to elude
                        federal anti-trust prosecution. Microsoft is still under prosecution by
                        the European Union and they have already stated that he will not get away
                        with them. Any Billions that he may have donated to charitable causes is
                        most surely covered by tax breaks and in no way cover up for the aspiring
                        companies and promising technologies that he has squashed on the way to
                        world domination.
                        3.The Queen of England has no political power in England? Political power
                        lies in the support of the people and the Queen and the Monarchy enjoys
                        overwhelming support among the populace of the United Kingdom.The Queen
                        wields enormous power behind the scenes should she desire to use it.

                        Sure I am assuming that my point is the best because I strongly believe
                        in what I am talking about. I strongly believe that President Bongo is a
                        great leader who succumbs to probably what every great leader in the
                        history of the world has succumbed to.The amassing of power and wealth.
                        I will take a great and capable leader who is amassing power and wealth
                        anytime over an intellectual lightweight playing with war toys like Bush
                        or a business tyrant like Bill Gates. I also respect you differences of
                        opinion and whatever cultural bias play a part in that. But lets get real
                        about the people causing the most damage to the the fabric of democracy
                        in this world and lets not turn our backs when "the chickens come home to
                        roost."

                        Ciao,
                        dupont


                        On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 17:18:00 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
                        writes:
                        > The point is that you assume you know what everybody else is doing
                        > and
                        > thinking. Before getting on your soap box, may be you should find
                        > out about
                        > the people you are accusing of collusion. You don't know me or have
                        > any
                        > information about my personal beliefs. You have no idea how I voted
                        > in the
                        > last elections or even if I am a registered voter. You know nothing
                        > about my
                        > background or my lifestyle.
                        >
                        > You bash the UN but seem to glaze over reality of life in Gabon for
                        > the
                        > majority of the population. How many children die each day in Iraq
                        > because
                        > of malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare? How many NGOs deal
                        > with
                        > the everyday care of the world's population? The reality of life is
                        > not the
                        > ideal. Often, we must choose between the lesser of two evils.
                        >
                        > No one has disputed your points about the Bush administration. You
                        > bring up
                        > billionaires like Bill Gates. He has made his money in the private
                        > sector,
                        > and he has given BILLIONS away to help with research and development
                        > of
                        > needed vaccines and HIV medications in Africa and elsewhere. The
                        > Queen of
                        > England has no political power in Great Britain and the people
                        > choose to
                        > support the royal family monetarily. Bongo on the other hand is
                        > directly
                        > responsible, just like Bush, for the policies and corruption in his
                        > country.
                        >
                        > You assume your point is the best and leave no room for the off
                        > chance that
                        > you could be wrong. In the end everyone is entitled to their own
                        > opinions,
                        > but this should be a discussion forum and not a crusade to convert
                        > those to
                        > your view of the world. There is no single correct point of view on
                        > any
                        > issue. Our own cultural biases and upbringings play a part in our
                        > understanding and interactions with those that are different than
                        > us. This
                        > is very apparent with you.
                        >
                        > (And by the way, I used to live down the road from the crook's house
                        > - I
                        > know how he lives the one day a year he chooses to reside there.)
                        >
                        >
                        > >From: dupont3@...
                        > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                        > >Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 15:51:03 -0700
                        > >
                        > >Why are you so focused on this? Like I said before, we have the
                        > similar
                        > >stuff going on here in the US. Maybe you forgot how Bush became
                        > >President. Yet, maybe you even voted for Bush or support him still.
                        > In
                        > >Bongo's case it is good for Africa that he is still in power.
                        > Meanwhile
                        > >the Bush administration has been a disaster for the democratic
                        > process.
                        > >You seem to make a lot of fuss about Bongo's accounts but I will
                        > wager
                        > >that you do not blink an eye at the accounts of the many
                        > billionares in
                        > >America who are involved in shady business deals or the politicians
                        > who
                        > >are on the payroll of them. What hypocrisy! to point a finger at
                        > Bongo
                        > >and then indirectly benefit from all the shady crap going on in the
                        > US.
                        > >Speaking of the UN, we all know how much they are in the pocket of
                        > the US
                        > >and the trouble that is causing them around the world. The last
                        > time
                        > >that I checked, the US owed them billions of dollars in back dues.
                        > Also,
                        > >how many young kids were killed in Iraq because of UN sanctions?
                        > Did you
                        > >make any noise about that? Bongo needs as much money as he can get
                        > to
                        > >just put a word in for Gabon at the table of the corrupt Western
                        > leaders.
                        > >You seem brainwashed because you blindly follow those big crooks
                        > who have
                        > >you chasing down the wrong road, when you should be driving down
                        > the road
                        > >that leads to their house.
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >Ciao,
                        > >dupont
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 01:57:20 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@...>
                        > >writes:
                        > > > May be it's just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people like
                        > the
                        > > > UN are
                        > > > just making it all up.....
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002
                        > > >
                        > > > Hear those drums
                        > > >
                        > > > For want of opposition, President Bongo can plan to rule until
                        > 2012
                        > > > After three decades at the head of one of Africa's worst managed
                        > and
                        > > > most
                        > > > corrupt oil economies, President Omar Bongo might well expect
                        > some
                        > > > political
                        > > > trouble. Quite the opposite. His ruling Parti Démocratique
                        > Gabonais
                        > > > (PDG)
                        > > > will sweep the board in the local elections on 29 December and
                        > Bongo
                        > > > (health
                        > > > permitting) could win yet another seven-year presidential term
                        > in
                        > > > the
                        > > > election due in 2005. The oppositionists of the early 1990s have
                        > > > been
                        > > > exiled, crushed or coopted.
                        > > >
                        > > > Gabonese have lost interest in the perennially rigged elections.
                        > > > Turnout at
                        > > > the legislative polls last December was under 20 per cent and
                        > may be
                        > > > lower
                        > > > still in the local polls. Electoral registers have been doctored
                        > > > down to
                        > > > 523,000: there were 775,000 names on the lists for the 2001
                        > > > elections. Many
                        > > > nominal political opponents are in Bongo's pay, the rest are
                        > divided
                        > > > and
                        > > > lack national support. For wealthy Gabonese, elections are a
                        > > > patronage
                        > > > competition which shares out jobs and resources from 250,000
                        > barrels
                        > > > of oil
                        > > > a day, plus smaller timber and manganese exports.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        >
                        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        -
                        > >-------
                        > > >
                        > > > Vol 42 Number 16 - 10 August 2001
                        > > >
                        > > > Hey big spender
                        > > >
                        > > > The fuss over how President El Hadj Omar Bongo came to deposit
                        > over
                        > > > US$180
                        > > > million in three private Citibank accounts in New York won't go
                        > > > away. First
                        > > > raised in United States Senate hearings in November 1999, it is
                        > now
                        > > > the
                        > > > subject of an embarrassing law suit against Bongo in the US
                        > Federal
                        > > > Court,
                        > > > Washington. Bongo's lawyers are trying to establish diplomatic
                        > > > immunity for
                        > > > him as a serving head of a state recognised by the US
                        > government.
                        > > > And with
                        > > > another US legal suit from a scrap metal company pending,
                        > Bongo's
                        > > > big-spending habits Stateside ­ he bought four Boeing passenger
                        > jets
                        > > > in June
                        > > > ­ won't win him any respite from his legal adversaries there.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        >
                        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        -
                        > >-------
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        >
                        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        -
                        > >-------
                        > > >
                        > > > Vol 40 Number 22 - 05 November 1999
                        > > >
                        > > > Digging deeper holes
                        > > >
                        > > > A massive hole in Gabon's public finances - some say of more
                        > than
                        > > > US$350
                        > > > million - is at the heart of its growing financial and political
                        > > > crisis. By
                        > > > the end of last year, arrears to foreign creditors were
                        > estimated at
                        > > > 160
                        > > > billion CFA francs ($256.4 mn.) - and have probably doubled this
                        > > > year.
                        > > > President Omar Bongo's government also has arrears of CFA 100
                        > bn. to
                        > > > local
                        > > > banks. With an oil-fired GNP per head of $4,000, Gabon is one of
                        > > > Africa's
                        > > > wealthiest states. Yet most people live in poverty and a damning
                        > new
                        > > > report
                        > > > from the United Nations Development Programme says social
                        > services
                        > > > are
                        > > > collapsing. Tracing the missing $350 mn. preoccupies both
                        > foreign
                        > > > creditors
                        > > > and Gabonese who worry about government corruption and
                        > > > mismanagement. And
                        > > > President Bongo is no longer able to rely on Paris nor
                        > Washington to
                        > > > block
                        > > > exposure of murky areas in his government. He tried everything,
                        > > > including a
                        > > > personal call to French President Jacques Chirac, to stifle the
                        > > > inquiry by
                        > > > magistrate Eva Joly into Elf-Aquitaine's unorthodox financing
                        > > > operations.
                        > > >
                        > > > This focussed on Bongo's relationship with André Tarallo,
                        > > > Elf-Gabon's
                        > > > disgraced and ousted Président-Directeur Général. Late last
                        > month,
                        > > > Joly's
                        > > > inquiries moved on when a Swiss magistrate, Paul Parraudin,
                        > produced
                        > > > bank
                        > > > records showing that over 600 mn. French francs ($97 mn.) had
                        > been
                        > > > channelled through Tarallo's Swiss account from the Gabonese
                        > > > presidency.
                        > > > Back home, after a year of strikes, demonstrations and the
                        > payments
                        > > > crisis,
                        > > > Bongo's government needs a new deal with the International
                        > Monetary
                        > > > Fund.
                        > > > Last year, the Fund suspended its Extended Financing Facility
                        > for
                        > > > several
                        > > > reasons, including 'lack of transparency in public finance'
                        > > > (Fundspeak for
                        > > > corruption). Libreville's negotiating team is led by respected
                        > > > Finance
                        > > > Minister Emile Doumba, who has been trying, with limited
                        > success, to
                        > > >
                        > > > persuade his ministerial colleagues and the presidency to
                        > implement
                        > > > an
                        > > > IMF-inspired austerity programme.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        >
                        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        -
                        >
                        >-----------------------------------------------------------------------F
                        r
                        > >eedom
                        > > >
                        > > > in the World 1998-99: Gabon
                        > > > Freedom House Survey 1999
                        > > > Economy: Capitalist (highly corrupt)
                        > > > Population: 1,200,000
                        > > > PPP: $3,766
                        > > > Life Expectancy: 54
                        > > > Ethnic Groups: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke, other Bantu,
                        > other
                        > > > Africans,
                        > > > Europeans
                        > > > Polity: Dominant party
                        > > > Capital: Libreville
                        > > > Political Rights: 5
                        > > > Civil Liberties: 4
                        > > > Status: Partly Free
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Overview
                        > > > In December, President Omar Bongo was returned to office for a
                        > > > seven-year
                        > > > term. The polling, which was partially boycotted by the
                        > opposition,
                        > > > was
                        > > > marked by serious irregularities. The nominally independent
                        > National
                        > > >
                        > > > Election Commission, which was created under the new
                        > constitution
                        > > > approved
                        > > > by referendum in 1995, proved neither autonomous nor competent.
                        > > > Behind a
                        > > > facade of democratic institutions, Bongo used patronage,
                        > > > manipulation, and
                        > > > intimidation to retain power. In Libreville in May, student
                        > riots
                        > > > prompted
                        > > > by deteriorating economic conditions were quickly suppressed. At
                        > > > least ten
                        > > > students were seriously hurt. Three decades of autocratic rule
                        > have
                        > > > made
                        > > > Bongo among the world's richest men and left the vast majority
                        > of
                        > > > oil-rich
                        > > > Gabon's 1.4 million people mired in poverty. Bongo is strongly
                        > > > backed by the
                        > > > army and by France. The highly profitable French ELF oil company
                        > > > plays a
                        > > > dominant role in the country's economic and political life.
                        > > >
                        > > > Straddling the equator on central Africa's west coast, Gabon
                        > gained
                        > > > independence from France in 1960. Bongo, whom France raised from
                        > > > soldier to
                        > > > president in 1967, completed his predecessor's consolidation of
                        > > > power by
                        > > > officially outlawing the opposition. France, which maintains 600
                        > > > marines in
                        > > > Gabon, has intervened twice to preserve Bongo's regime. In 1990,
                        > > > protests
                        > > > prompted by economic duress forced Bongo to accept a conference
                        > that
                        > > >
                        > > > opposition leaders hoped would promote a peaceful democratic
                        > > > transition.
                        > > > Bongo retained power, however, in rigged 1993 elections that
                        > sparked
                        > > > violent
                        > > > protests and repression led by his Presidential Guard. The 1994
                        > > > Paris
                        > > > Accords claimed to institute true democratic reforms. Municipal
                        > > > elections in
                        > > > 1996 saw major opposition gains, including the election of Paul
                        > Mba
                        > > > Abbesole, the leader of the largest opposition party, as mayor
                        > of
                        > > > Libreville. Legislative polls delayed by decree until December
                        > 1996
                        > > > were
                        > > > again beset by fraud as Bongo's Gabon Democratic Party won an
                        > > > overwhelming,
                        > > > but unconvincing victory.
                        > > >
                        > > > Political Rights and Civil Liberties
                        > > > Despite a gradual political opening since 1990, Gabon's citizens
                        > > > have never
                        > > > been able to exercise their constitutional right to change their
                        > > > government
                        > > > democratically. Bongo's 1998 electoral victory with 61 percent
                        > of
                        > > > the vote
                        > > > followed a campaign that made profligate use of state resources
                        > and
                        > > > state
                        > > > media to promote his incumbency. Legislative elections have also
                        > > > been
                        > > > seriously flawed.
                        > > >
                        > > > State institutions are influenced or controlled by Bongo and a
                        > small
                        > > > elite
                        > > > around him. The judiciary suffers from political interference.
                        > > > Rights to
                        > > > legal counsel and public criminal trials are generally
                        > respected,
                        > > > but the
                        > > > law presumes guilt. Judges may deliver summary verdicts, and
                        > torture
                        > > > remains
                        > > > a standard route to produce confessions. Prison conditions are
                        > > > marked by
                        > > > beatings and insufficient food, water, and medical care. The
                        > > > government
                        > > > often detains refugees without charge, and there are reports of
                        > > > forced labor
                        > > > by detainees. Rights of assembly and association are
                        > > > constitutionally
                        > > > guaranteed, but permits required for public gatherings are
                        > sometimes
                        > > >
                        > > > refused. Freedom to form and join political parties is generally
                        > > > respected,
                        > > > but civil servants may face harassment based on their
                        > associations.
                        > > > Nongovernmental organizations operate openly, although the
                        > Gabonese
                        > > > League
                        > > > of Human Rights has reported threats and harassment.
                        > > >
                        > > > A government daily and approximately one dozen private weeklies,
                        > > > which are
                        > > > primarily controlled by opposition parties, are published. The
                        > > > government
                        > > > overwhelmingly dominates the broadcast media, which reach a far
                        > > > larger
                        > > > audience. Only a few private broadcasters have been licensed,
                        > and
                        > > > their
                        > > > viability is tenuous. A 1998 crackdown on private media has
                        > raised
                        > > > serious
                        > > > concerns for free expression. In February, Radio Soleil, which
                        > was
                        > > > associated with the main Bucherons opposition party, was closed.
                        > In
                        > > > January,
                        > > > a cartoonist was sentenced to six months imprisonment for
                        > lampooning
                        > > > Bongo.
                        > > > Publication of his newspaper was suspended for one month. The
                        > > > president of
                        > > > the journalists' union was jailed for eight months. In August,
                        > the
                        > > > opposition newspaper La Griffe was closed, and three of its
                        > staff
                        > > > received
                        > > > eight-month suspended sentences after publishing allegations of
                        > > > ivory
                        > > > smuggling by the national airline. Soldiers raided La Griffe
                        > offices
                        > > > and
                        > > > seized equipment. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and broadcasts
                        > are
                        > > > usually
                        > > > widely available, but editions criticizing Bongo have been
                        > seized.
                        > > >
                        > > > Most of the small formal sector work force is unionized,
                        > although
                        > > > unions
                        > > > must register with the government in order to be officially
                        > > > recognized.
                        > > > Despite legal protections, the government has taken action
                        > against
                        > > > numerous
                        > > > strikers and unions and used force to suppress illegal
                        > > > demonstrations. While
                        > > > no legal restrictions on travel exist, harassment on political
                        > and
                        > > > ethnic
                        > > > bases has been reported. Religious freedom is constitutionally
                        > > > guaranteed
                        > > > and respected. An official ban on Jehovah's Witnesses is not
                        > > > enforced.
                        > > >
                        > > > Legal protections for women include equal access laws for
                        > education,
                        > > >
                        > > > business, and investment. In addition to owning property and
                        > > > businesses,
                        > > > women constitute more than 50 percent of the salaried workforce
                        > in
                        > > > the
                        > > > health and trade sectors. At the same time, there are only six
                        > women
                        > > > in the
                        > > > 120-member National Assembly and one woman in the cabinet. Women
                        > > > continue to
                        > > > face legal and cultural discrimination, particularly in rural
                        > areas,
                        > > > and are
                        > > > reportedly subject to widespread domestic violence.
                        > > >
                        > > > Little wealth from Gabon's oil revenues reaches the broad
                        > populace,
                        > > > most of
                        > > > which is engaged in subsistence farming. Corruption is endemic.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > >From: dupont3@...
                        > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                        > > > >Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:18:18 -0700
                        > > > >
                        > > > >Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than
                        > > > independence
                        > > > >must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how it
                        > was
                        > > > like
                        > > > >to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial
                        > power.
                        > > > Also,
                        > > > >what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an
                        > > > independent
                        > > > >and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
                        > > > >To go on criticizing the government without coming up with any
                        > > > >convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories and
                        > > > rumour is
                        > > > >with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive poppycock.
                        > > > >
                        > > > >Ciao,
                        > > > >dupont
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi"
                        > <c_yombi@...>
                        > > > >writes:
                        > > > > > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a
                        > difference
                        > > > and
                        > > > > > the
                        > > > > > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad track
                        > > > record.
                        > > > > > If you
                        > > > > > think elections were fair and square then you do not agree
                        > with
                        > > > > > independent
                        > > > > > election observers form around the world. In the end, it is >
                        not
                        > > > what
                        > > > > > I want
                        > > > > > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves - my
                        > > > husband
                        > > > > > included
                        > > > > > who is from Gabon.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > >From: dupont3@...
                        > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                        > > > > > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I have
                        > been
                        > > > to
                        > > > > > poorly
                        > > > > > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you
                        > consider
                        > > > to be
                        > > > > > the
                        > > > > > >obvious hypocrisy.
                        > > > > > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many poor
                        > > > people
                        > > > > > is no
                        > > > > > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor
                        > people
                        > > > here
                        > > > > > in the
                        > > > > > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people spend
                        > money
                        > > > > > lavishly
                        > > > > > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless
                        > people
                        > > > abound
                        > > > > > on
                        > > > > > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
                        > > > > > disenfranchises
                        > > > > > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been there
                        > done
                        > > > > > that" when
                        > > > > > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking about a
                        > > > > > nations
                        > > > > > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist
                        > system
                        > > > like
                        > > > > > in
                        > > > > > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
                        > > > > > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it takes to
                        > > > jump
                        > > > > > start
                        > > > > > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing wrong
                        > with
                        > > > a
                        > > > > > healthy
                        > > > > > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that idealistic
                        > values
                        > > > are
                        > > > > > the
                        > > > > > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is
                        > getting
                        > > > people
                        > > > > > to
                        > > > > > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of capitalism.
                        > > > > > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support
                        > President
                        > > > Bongo
                        > > > > > is
                        > > > > > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for all
                        > > > that's
                        > > > > > worth
                        > > > > > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job. The
                        > man
                        > > > is
                        > > > > > a
                        > > > > > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
                        > > > > > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo then
                        > you
                        > > > are
                        > > > > > not
                        > > > > > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such
                        > > > underdeveloped
                        > > > > > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the hard
                        > > > issues
                        > > > > > and
                        > > > > > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good soap
                        > > > opera.
                        > > > > > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to world
                        > > > poverty.
                        > > > > > Step
                        > > > > > >back and look at this picture and you will see that the
                        > > > difference
                        > > > > > points
                        > > > > > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations and
                        > not
                        > > > that
                        > > > > > of a
                        > > > > > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are
                        > still
                        > > > poor
                        > > > > > in
                        > > > > > >comparison.
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > > >Ciao,
                        > > > > > >dupont
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > > >
                        > > > > > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi"
                        > > > <c_yombi@...>
                        > > > > > >writes:
                        > > > > > > > With all due respect,
                        > > > > > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the
                        > people's
                        > > > > > level?
                        > > > > > > > Have you
                        > > > > > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
                        > > > > > his"friends"?
                        > > > > > > > Have you
                        > > > > > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all of
                        > the
                        > > > > > obvious
                        > > > > > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired the
                        > > > national
                        > > > > > > > train
                        > > > > > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars to
                        > > > > > Franceville
                        > > > > > > > for his
                        > > > > > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a vacation
                        > to
                        > > > the
                        > > > > > > > capital
                        > > > > > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps to
                        > > > > > distribute
                        > > > > > > > condoms
                        > > > > > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft
                        > drinks
                        > > > has a
                        > > > > > > > problem and
                        > > > > > > > it starts with the government.
                        > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not support
                        > the
                        > > > > > > > president and
                        > > > > > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a great
                        > > > > > democracy?
                        > > > > > > > Another
                        > > > > > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was
                        > freedom
                        > > > of
                        > > > > > > > choice. Have
                        > > > > > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
                        > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their
                        > governments
                        > > > > > and
                        > > > > > > > country if
                        > > > > > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and
                        > > > spending
                        > > > > > it on
                        > > > > > > > lavish
                        > > > > > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health clinics
                        > where
                        > > > > > women
                        > > > > > > > struggle
                        > > > > > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary
                        > school
                        > > > > > students
                        > > > > > > > who have
                        > > > > > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more realistic
                        > > > > > approach to
                        > > > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be a
                        > better
                        > > > > > > > approach.
                        > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > Carol
                        > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >From: dupont3@...
                        > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                        > Terrorism"
                        > > > > > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that concentrating
                        > on
                        > > > > > Bongo's
                        > > > > > > > bank
                        > > > > > > > >account will get you nowhere.
                        > > > > > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to solve
                        > some
                        > > > of
                        > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > >nations problems?
                        > > > > > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems and
                        > this
                        > > > is
                        > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
                        > > > > > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying
                        > schools
                        > > > in
                        > > > > > inner
                        > > > > > > > cities
                        > > > > > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing
                        > together.
                        > > > We
                        > > > > > are
                        > > > > > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a time
                        > when
                        > > > our
                        > > > > > > > schools
                        > > > > > > > >need books.
                        > > > > > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having
                        > President
                        > > > Bongo
                        > > > > > step
                        > > > > > > > down
                        > > > > > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation for
                        > the
                        > > > > > better?
                        > > > > > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country is
                        > > > dependent
                        > > > > > on
                        > > > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave
                        > would
                        > > > it
                        > > > > > make
                        > > > > > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make
                        > anything
                        > > > > > better
                        > > > > > > > and
                        > > > > > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably
                        > destabilize
                        > > > the
                        > > > > > > > country and
                        > > > > > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be like
                        > going
                        > > > > > back in
                        > > > > > > > time.
                        > > > > > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem to
                        > think
                        > > > > > more
                        > > > > > > > about
                        > > > > > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for
                        > developing
                        > > > > > their
                        > > > > > > > >country.
                        > > > > > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a
                        > > > solution.
                        > > > > > In
                        > > > > > > > Gabon
                        > > > > > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support the
                        > > > state.
                        > > > > > Only
                        > > > > > > > then
                        > > > > > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major
                        > > > issues.The
                        > > > > > > > founding
                        > > > > > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand
                        > Divided
                        > > > We
                        > > > > > > > Fall"
                        > > > > > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must
                        > first
                        > > > find
                        > > > > > a
                        > > > > > > > common
                        > > > > > > > >ground to stand on.
                        > > > > > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and
                        > sure,
                        > > > there
                        > > > > > are
                        > > > > > > > many
                        > > > > > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also
                        > many
                        > > > who
                        > > > > > do
                        > > > > > > > not
                        > > > > > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in Bongo.
                        > > > Many
                        > > > > > who do
                        > > > > > > > not
                        > > > > > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that not
                        > > > only
                        > > > > > > > Africans,
                        > > > > > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to develop
                        > > > their
                        > > > > > > > economies in
                        > > > > > > > >this new world order.
                        > > > > > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that can
                        > help
                        > > > the
                        > > > > > > > President
                        > > > > > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
                        > > > > > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F Kennedy's
                        > > > > > inauguration
                        > > > > > > > speech
                        > > > > > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for
                        > you,
                        > > > but
                        > > > > > what
                        > > > > > > > you can
                        > > > > > > > >do for your country."
                        > > > > > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood
                        > > > correctly,
                        > > > > > can
                        > > > > > > > >inspire man to great heights.
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >ciao,
                        > > > > > > > >dupont
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
                        > > > > > <c_yombi@...>
                        > > > > > > > >writes:
                        > > > > > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi - with a
                        > > > "Bongo
                        > > > > > > > house"
                        > > > > > > > > > while my
                        > > > > > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their children
                        > to
                        > > > > > school
                        > > > > > > > and
                        > > > > > > > > > riding on
                        > > > > > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were
                        > going to
                        > > > end
                        > > > > > up
                        > > > > > > > in
                        > > > > > > > > > the water
                        > > > > > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words are
                        > just
                        > > > > > that -
                        > > > > > > > > > words. Don't
                        > > > > > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French
                        > government
                        > > > in
                        > > > > > > > order to
                        > > > > > > > > > have
                        > > > > > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look at
                        > > > Bongo's
                        > > > > > bank
                        > > > > > > > > > accounts and
                        > > > > > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University in
                        > LBV.
                        > > > If
                        > > > > > Bongo
                        > > > > > > > is
                        > > > > > > > > > such a
                        > > > > > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig on
                        > his
                        > > > > > promise
                        > > > > > > > to
                        > > > > > > > > > step down
                        > > > > > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule
                        > forever?
                        > > > Ask
                        > > > > > many
                        > > > > > > > > > Gabonese and
                        > > > > > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
                        > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@...>
                        > > > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                        > > > > > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                        > Terrorism"
                        > > > > > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >Hello:
                        > > > > > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa
                        > depends
                        > > > > > more
                        > > > > > > > on
                        > > > > > > > > > just
                        > > > > > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of course
                        > all
                        > > > > > leaders
                        > > > > > > > of
                        > > > > > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but does
                        > > > that
                        > > > > > > > "keep"
                        > > > > > > > > > them
                        > > > > > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo has to
                        > say
                        > > > > > about
                        > > > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I think
                        > > > that it
                        > > > > > is
                        > > > > > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development and
                        > aid
                        > > > for
                        > > > > > > > African
                        > > > > > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about how
                        > the
                        > > > > > marketing
                        > > > > > > > of
                        > > > > > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are not
                        > > > > > controlled
                        > > > > > > > by
                        > > > > > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
                        > > > > > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the
                        > > > infrastructure
                        > > > > > > > where
                        > > > > > > > > > oil
                        > > > > > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil that
                        > is
                        > > > > > > > produced.
                        > > > > > > > > > Or
                        > > > > > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of
                        > resources
                        > > > > > like
                        > > > > > > > > > timber,
                        > > > > > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by
                        > > > Africans
                        > > > > > native
                        > > > > > > > to
                        > > > > > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These things
                        > are
                        > > > more
                        > > > > > > > > > important
                        > > > > > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is in
                        > > > > > political
                        > > > > > > > > > control
                        > > > > > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed away.
                        > I
                        > > > > > think
                        > > > > > > > > > arguably
                        > > > > > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of
                        > state
                        > > > > > deserves
                        > > > > > > > to
                        > > > > > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or Bill
                        > > > Gates
                        > > > > > for
                        > > > > > > > that
                        > > > > > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals speculating in
                        > the
                        > > > > > stock
                        > > > > > > > > > market
                        > > > > > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a
                        > resource
                        > > > rich
                        > > > > > > > African
                        > > > > > > > > > >country!
                        > > > > > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his
                        > country
                        > > > than
                        > > > > > Bush
                        > > > > > > > or
                        > > > > > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be
                        > leaps
                        > > > and
                        > > > > > > > bounds
                        > > > > > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance. That is
                        > why
                        > > > I
                        > > > > > > > think
                        > > > > > > > > > that
                        > > > > > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for Africa
                        > at
                        > > > this
                        > > > > > > > time.
                        > > > > > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits together
                        > with
                        > > > the
                        > > > > > > > > > influence
                        > > > > > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has eroded
                        > the
                        > > > > > quality
                        > > > > > > > of
                        > > > > > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power. We
                        > are
                        > > > > > seeing
                        > > > > > > > that
                        > > > > > > > > > it
                        > > > > > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important
                        > when it
                        > > > > > comes
                        > > > > > > > to
                        > > > > > > > > > >political leadership.
                        > > > > > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of
                        > African
                        > > > > > states
                        > > > > > > > if
                        > > > > > > > > > it
                        > > > > > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful
                        > nation to
                        > > > > > gain
                        > > > > > > > > > economic
                        > > > > > > > > > >or political control?
                        > > > > > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his
                        > agenda
                        > > > > > reaches
                        > > > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly
                        > care
                        > > > about
                        > > > > > the
                        > > > > > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe after
                        > the
                        > > > > > debaucle
                        > > > > > > > in
                        > > > > > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders) here
                        > in
                        > > > the
                        > > > > > > > states
                        > > > > > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what
                        > economic
                        > > > > > > > development
                        > > > > > > > > > in
                        > > > > > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >Ciao,
                        > > > > > > > > > >dupont
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
                        > > > > > <bobutne@...>
                        > > > > > > > > > writes:
                        > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and, probably,
                        > > > > > abdicate)
                        > > > > > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the French
                        > > > (5,000
                        > > > > > > > troops
                        > > > > > > > > > in
                        > > > > > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison
                        > surrounding/protecting
                        > > > the
                        > > > > > > > > > Presidential
                        > > > > > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is
                        > kept in
                        > > > > > power.
                        > > > > > > > The
                        > > > > > > > > > 500
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US and
                        > > > Britain
                        > > > > > > > world
                        > > > > > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions. President
                        > Omar
                        > > > > > Bongo
                        > > > > > > > is
                        > > > > > > > > > doing
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for the
                        > US
                        > > > and
                        > > > > > > > world.
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the
                        > West
                        > > > and
                        > > > > > is
                        > > > > > > > being
                        > > > > > > > > > left
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in to
                        > gain
                        > > > > > economic
                        > > > > > > > and
                        > > > > > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this for
                        > many,
                        > > > > > many
                        > > > > > > > pages
                        > > > > > > > > > on
                        > > > > > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
                        > > > > > > > > > > >
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                      • bobutne
                        I strongly believe that President Bongo is a great leader.. Please explain why you strongly believe President Omar Bongo is a great leader. ... think ...
                        Message 11 of 24 , Aug 26, 2003
                          "I strongly believe that President Bongo is a great leader.."

                          Please explain why you strongly believe President Omar Bongo is a
                          great leader.





                          --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, dupont3@j... wrote:
                          > Ok, so you can now attack me, but it seems like you do not even
                          think
                          > about addressing the real issues at hand, other than to say
                          that, "the
                          > reality of life is not ideal." I am not attacking you personally
                          but
                          > exposing what I perceive to be your lack of knowledge about what is
                          > really going on and throwing that back in your face everytime you
                          spread
                          > naive innuendo about Bongo as if getting rid of him will change
                          the lives
                          > of Gabonese for the better.
                          > If you get off of your Bongo inquisition then maybe you will see
                          the
                          > light and actually make some attempts to address the real
                          challenges that
                          > the Gabonese people face.
                          > Now on to your response which was equally naive:
                          > 1. Iraq before the UN sanctions had no problem with lack of access
                          to
                          > healthcare or malnutrition of its people. Iraqis are a very
                          intelligent
                          > people
                          > with some of the most capable medical professionals in the region.
                          As an
                          > oil rich trading nation they had no problem importing enough food
                          for
                          > their needs. That is until the UN choose to destroy their
                          livelyhood for
                          > the sake of what?
                          > 2. Yes, Bill Gates made his money in the private sector, but he
                          has also
                          > paid off many a politician to the point where he was able to elude
                          > federal anti-trust prosecution. Microsoft is still under
                          prosecution by
                          > the European Union and they have already stated that he will not
                          get away
                          > with them. Any Billions that he may have donated to charitable
                          causes is
                          > most surely covered by tax breaks and in no way cover up for the
                          aspiring
                          > companies and promising technologies that he has squashed on the
                          way to
                          > world domination.
                          > 3.The Queen of England has no political power in England?
                          Political power
                          > lies in the support of the people and the Queen and the Monarchy
                          enjoys
                          > overwhelming support among the populace of the United Kingdom.The
                          Queen
                          > wields enormous power behind the scenes should she desire to use
                          it.
                          >
                          > Sure I am assuming that my point is the best because I strongly
                          believe
                          > in what I am talking about. I strongly believe that President
                          Bongo is a
                          > great leader who succumbs to probably what every great leader in
                          the
                          > history of the world has succumbed to.The amassing of power and
                          wealth.
                          > I will take a great and capable leader who is amassing power and
                          wealth
                          > anytime over an intellectual lightweight playing with war toys
                          like Bush
                          > or a business tyrant like Bill Gates. I also respect you
                          differences of
                          > opinion and whatever cultural bias play a part in that. But lets
                          get real
                          > about the people causing the most damage to the the fabric of
                          democracy
                          > in this world and lets not turn our backs when "the chickens come
                          home to
                          > roost."
                          >
                          > Ciao,
                          > dupont
                          >
                          >
                          > On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 17:18:00 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
                          > writes:
                          > > The point is that you assume you know what everybody else is
                          doing
                          > > and
                          > > thinking. Before getting on your soap box, may be you should
                          find
                          > > out about
                          > > the people you are accusing of collusion. You don't know me or
                          have
                          > > any
                          > > information about my personal beliefs. You have no idea how I
                          voted
                          > > in the
                          > > last elections or even if I am a registered voter. You know
                          nothing
                          > > about my
                          > > background or my lifestyle.
                          > >
                          > > You bash the UN but seem to glaze over reality of life in Gabon
                          for
                          > > the
                          > > majority of the population. How many children die each day in
                          Iraq
                          > > because
                          > > of malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare? How many NGOs
                          deal
                          > > with
                          > > the everyday care of the world's population? The reality of life
                          is
                          > > not the
                          > > ideal. Often, we must choose between the lesser of two evils.
                          > >
                          > > No one has disputed your points about the Bush administration.
                          You
                          > > bring up
                          > > billionaires like Bill Gates. He has made his money in the
                          private
                          > > sector,
                          > > and he has given BILLIONS away to help with research and
                          development
                          > > of
                          > > needed vaccines and HIV medications in Africa and elsewhere. The
                          > > Queen of
                          > > England has no political power in Great Britain and the people
                          > > choose to
                          > > support the royal family monetarily. Bongo on the other hand is
                          > > directly
                          > > responsible, just like Bush, for the policies and corruption in
                          his
                          > > country.
                          > >
                          > > You assume your point is the best and leave no room for the off
                          > > chance that
                          > > you could be wrong. In the end everyone is entitled to their own
                          > > opinions,
                          > > but this should be a discussion forum and not a crusade to
                          convert
                          > > those to
                          > > your view of the world. There is no single correct point of view
                          on
                          > > any
                          > > issue. Our own cultural biases and upbringings play a part in
                          our
                          > > understanding and interactions with those that are different
                          than
                          > > us. This
                          > > is very apparent with you.
                          > >
                          > > (And by the way, I used to live down the road from the crook's
                          house
                          > > - I
                          > > know how he lives the one day a year he chooses to reside there.)
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > >From: dupont3@j...
                          > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                          > > >Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 15:51:03 -0700
                          > > >
                          > > >Why are you so focused on this? Like I said before, we have the
                          > > similar
                          > > >stuff going on here in the US. Maybe you forgot how Bush became
                          > > >President. Yet, maybe you even voted for Bush or support him
                          still.
                          > > In
                          > > >Bongo's case it is good for Africa that he is still in power.
                          > > Meanwhile
                          > > >the Bush administration has been a disaster for the democratic
                          > > process.
                          > > >You seem to make a lot of fuss about Bongo's accounts but I
                          will
                          > > wager
                          > > >that you do not blink an eye at the accounts of the many
                          > > billionares in
                          > > >America who are involved in shady business deals or the
                          politicians
                          > > who
                          > > >are on the payroll of them. What hypocrisy! to point a finger
                          at
                          > > Bongo
                          > > >and then indirectly benefit from all the shady crap going on in
                          the
                          > > US.
                          > > >Speaking of the UN, we all know how much they are in the pocket
                          of
                          > > the US
                          > > >and the trouble that is causing them around the world. The
                          last
                          > > time
                          > > >that I checked, the US owed them billions of dollars in back
                          dues.
                          > > Also,
                          > > >how many young kids were killed in Iraq because of UN
                          sanctions?
                          > > Did you
                          > > >make any noise about that? Bongo needs as much money as he can
                          get
                          > > to
                          > > >just put a word in for Gabon at the table of the corrupt
                          Western
                          > > leaders.
                          > > >You seem brainwashed because you blindly follow those big
                          crooks
                          > > who have
                          > > >you chasing down the wrong road, when you should be driving
                          down
                          > > the road
                          > > >that leads to their house.
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >Ciao,
                          > > >dupont
                          > > >
                          > > >
                          > > >On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 01:57:20 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
                          > > >writes:
                          > > > > May be it's just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people
                          like
                          > > the
                          > > > > UN are
                          > > > > just making it all up.....
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Hear those drums
                          > > > >
                          > > > > For want of opposition, President Bongo can plan to rule
                          until
                          > > 2012
                          > > > > After three decades at the head of one of Africa's worst
                          managed
                          > > and
                          > > > > most
                          > > > > corrupt oil economies, President Omar Bongo might well
                          expect
                          > > some
                          > > > > political
                          > > > > trouble. Quite the opposite. His ruling Parti Démocratique
                          > > Gabonais
                          > > > > (PDG)
                          > > > > will sweep the board in the local elections on 29 December
                          and
                          > > Bongo
                          > > > > (health
                          > > > > permitting) could win yet another seven-year presidential
                          term
                          > > in
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > election due in 2005. The oppositionists of the early 1990s
                          have
                          > > > > been
                          > > > > exiled, crushed or coopted.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Gabonese have lost interest in the perennially rigged
                          elections.
                          > > > > Turnout at
                          > > > > the legislative polls last December was under 20 per cent
                          and
                          > > may be
                          > > > > lower
                          > > > > still in the local polls. Electoral registers have been
                          doctored
                          > > > > down to
                          > > > > 523,000: there were 775,000 names on the lists for the 2001
                          > > > > elections. Many
                          > > > > nominal political opponents are in Bongo's pay, the rest are
                          > > divided
                          > > > > and
                          > > > > lack national support. For wealthy Gabonese, elections are a
                          > > > > patronage
                          > > > > competition which shares out jobs and resources from 250,000
                          > > barrels
                          > > > > of oil
                          > > > > a day, plus smaller timber and manganese exports.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > >
                          > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                          ------
                          > -
                          > > >-------
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Vol 42 Number 16 - 10 August 2001
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Hey big spender
                          > > > >
                          > > > > The fuss over how President El Hadj Omar Bongo came to
                          deposit
                          > > over
                          > > > > US$180
                          > > > > million in three private Citibank accounts in New York won't
                          go
                          > > > > away. First
                          > > > > raised in United States Senate hearings in November 1999, it
                          is
                          > > now
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > subject of an embarrassing law suit against Bongo in the US
                          > > Federal
                          > > > > Court,
                          > > > > Washington. Bongo's lawyers are trying to establish
                          diplomatic
                          > > > > immunity for
                          > > > > him as a serving head of a state recognised by the US
                          > > government.
                          > > > > And with
                          > > > > another US legal suit from a scrap metal company pending,
                          > > Bongo's
                          > > > > big-spending habits Stateside ­ he bought four Boeing
                          passenger
                          > > jets
                          > > > > in June
                          > > > > ­ won't win him any respite from his legal adversaries there.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > >
                          > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                          ------
                          > -
                          > > >-------
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > >
                          > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                          ------
                          > -
                          > > >-------
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Vol 40 Number 22 - 05 November 1999
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Digging deeper holes
                          > > > >
                          > > > > A massive hole in Gabon's public finances - some say of more
                          > > than
                          > > > > US$350
                          > > > > million - is at the heart of its growing financial and
                          political
                          > > > > crisis. By
                          > > > > the end of last year, arrears to foreign creditors were
                          > > estimated at
                          > > > > 160
                          > > > > billion CFA francs ($256.4 mn.) - and have probably doubled
                          this
                          > > > > year.
                          > > > > President Omar Bongo's government also has arrears of CFA
                          100
                          > > bn. to
                          > > > > local
                          > > > > banks. With an oil-fired GNP per head of $4,000, Gabon is
                          one of
                          > > > > Africa's
                          > > > > wealthiest states. Yet most people live in poverty and a
                          damning
                          > > new
                          > > > > report
                          > > > > from the United Nations Development Programme says social
                          > > services
                          > > > > are
                          > > > > collapsing. Tracing the missing $350 mn. preoccupies both
                          > > foreign
                          > > > > creditors
                          > > > > and Gabonese who worry about government corruption and
                          > > > > mismanagement. And
                          > > > > President Bongo is no longer able to rely on Paris nor
                          > > Washington to
                          > > > > block
                          > > > > exposure of murky areas in his government. He tried
                          everything,
                          > > > > including a
                          > > > > personal call to French President Jacques Chirac, to stifle
                          the
                          > > > > inquiry by
                          > > > > magistrate Eva Joly into Elf-Aquitaine's unorthodox financing
                          > > > > operations.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > This focussed on Bongo's relationship with André Tarallo,
                          > > > > Elf-Gabon's
                          > > > > disgraced and ousted Président-Directeur Général. Late last
                          > > month,
                          > > > > Joly's
                          > > > > inquiries moved on when a Swiss magistrate, Paul Parraudin,
                          > > produced
                          > > > > bank
                          > > > > records showing that over 600 mn. French francs ($97 mn.)
                          had
                          > > been
                          > > > > channelled through Tarallo's Swiss account from the Gabonese
                          > > > > presidency.
                          > > > > Back home, after a year of strikes, demonstrations and the
                          > > payments
                          > > > > crisis,
                          > > > > Bongo's government needs a new deal with the International
                          > > Monetary
                          > > > > Fund.
                          > > > > Last year, the Fund suspended its Extended Financing
                          Facility
                          > > for
                          > > > > several
                          > > > > reasons, including 'lack of transparency in public finance'
                          > > > > (Fundspeak for
                          > > > > corruption). Libreville's negotiating team is led by
                          respected
                          > > > > Finance
                          > > > > Minister Emile Doumba, who has been trying, with limited
                          > > success, to
                          > > > >
                          > > > > persuade his ministerial colleagues and the presidency to
                          > > implement
                          > > > > an
                          > > > > IMF-inspired austerity programme.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > >
                          > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                          ------
                          > -
                          > >
                          > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                          -----F
                          > r
                          > > >eedom
                          > > > >
                          > > > > in the World 1998-99: Gabon
                          > > > > Freedom House Survey 1999
                          > > > > Economy: Capitalist (highly corrupt)
                          > > > > Population: 1,200,000
                          > > > > PPP: $3,766
                          > > > > Life Expectancy: 54
                          > > > > Ethnic Groups: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke, other Bantu,
                          > > other
                          > > > > Africans,
                          > > > > Europeans
                          > > > > Polity: Dominant party
                          > > > > Capital: Libreville
                          > > > > Political Rights: 5
                          > > > > Civil Liberties: 4
                          > > > > Status: Partly Free
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Overview
                          > > > > In December, President Omar Bongo was returned to office for
                          a
                          > > > > seven-year
                          > > > > term. The polling, which was partially boycotted by the
                          > > opposition,
                          > > > > was
                          > > > > marked by serious irregularities. The nominally independent
                          > > National
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Election Commission, which was created under the new
                          > > constitution
                          > > > > approved
                          > > > > by referendum in 1995, proved neither autonomous nor
                          competent.
                          > > > > Behind a
                          > > > > facade of democratic institutions, Bongo used patronage,
                          > > > > manipulation, and
                          > > > > intimidation to retain power. In Libreville in May, student
                          > > riots
                          > > > > prompted
                          > > > > by deteriorating economic conditions were quickly
                          suppressed. At
                          > > > > least ten
                          > > > > students were seriously hurt. Three decades of autocratic
                          rule
                          > > have
                          > > > > made
                          > > > > Bongo among the world's richest men and left the vast
                          majority
                          > > of
                          > > > > oil-rich
                          > > > > Gabon's 1.4 million people mired in poverty. Bongo is
                          strongly
                          > > > > backed by the
                          > > > > army and by France. The highly profitable French ELF oil
                          company
                          > > > > plays a
                          > > > > dominant role in the country's economic and political life.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Straddling the equator on central Africa's west coast, Gabon
                          > > gained
                          > > > > independence from France in 1960. Bongo, whom France raised
                          from
                          > > > > soldier to
                          > > > > president in 1967, completed his predecessor's consolidation
                          of
                          > > > > power by
                          > > > > officially outlawing the opposition. France, which maintains
                          600
                          > > > > marines in
                          > > > > Gabon, has intervened twice to preserve Bongo's regime. In
                          1990,
                          > > > > protests
                          > > > > prompted by economic duress forced Bongo to accept a
                          conference
                          > > that
                          > > > >
                          > > > > opposition leaders hoped would promote a peaceful democratic
                          > > > > transition.
                          > > > > Bongo retained power, however, in rigged 1993 elections that
                          > > sparked
                          > > > > violent
                          > > > > protests and repression led by his Presidential Guard. The
                          1994
                          > > > > Paris
                          > > > > Accords claimed to institute true democratic reforms.
                          Municipal
                          > > > > elections in
                          > > > > 1996 saw major opposition gains, including the election of
                          Paul
                          > > Mba
                          > > > > Abbesole, the leader of the largest opposition party, as
                          mayor
                          > > of
                          > > > > Libreville. Legislative polls delayed by decree until
                          December
                          > > 1996
                          > > > > were
                          > > > > again beset by fraud as Bongo's Gabon Democratic Party won an
                          > > > > overwhelming,
                          > > > > but unconvincing victory.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Political Rights and Civil Liberties
                          > > > > Despite a gradual political opening since 1990, Gabon's
                          citizens
                          > > > > have never
                          > > > > been able to exercise their constitutional right to change
                          their
                          > > > > government
                          > > > > democratically. Bongo's 1998 electoral victory with 61
                          percent
                          > > of
                          > > > > the vote
                          > > > > followed a campaign that made profligate use of state
                          resources
                          > > and
                          > > > > state
                          > > > > media to promote his incumbency. Legislative elections have
                          also
                          > > > > been
                          > > > > seriously flawed.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > State institutions are influenced or controlled by Bongo and
                          a
                          > > small
                          > > > > elite
                          > > > > around him. The judiciary suffers from political
                          interference.
                          > > > > Rights to
                          > > > > legal counsel and public criminal trials are generally
                          > > respected,
                          > > > > but the
                          > > > > law presumes guilt. Judges may deliver summary verdicts, and
                          > > torture
                          > > > > remains
                          > > > > a standard route to produce confessions. Prison conditions
                          are
                          > > > > marked by
                          > > > > beatings and insufficient food, water, and medical care. The
                          > > > > government
                          > > > > often detains refugees without charge, and there are reports
                          of
                          > > > > forced labor
                          > > > > by detainees. Rights of assembly and association are
                          > > > > constitutionally
                          > > > > guaranteed, but permits required for public gatherings are
                          > > sometimes
                          > > > >
                          > > > > refused. Freedom to form and join political parties is
                          generally
                          > > > > respected,
                          > > > > but civil servants may face harassment based on their
                          > > associations.
                          > > > > Nongovernmental organizations operate openly, although the
                          > > Gabonese
                          > > > > League
                          > > > > of Human Rights has reported threats and harassment.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > A government daily and approximately one dozen private
                          weeklies,
                          > > > > which are
                          > > > > primarily controlled by opposition parties, are published.
                          The
                          > > > > government
                          > > > > overwhelmingly dominates the broadcast media, which reach a
                          far
                          > > > > larger
                          > > > > audience. Only a few private broadcasters have been
                          licensed,
                          > > and
                          > > > > their
                          > > > > viability is tenuous. A 1998 crackdown on private media has
                          > > raised
                          > > > > serious
                          > > > > concerns for free expression. In February, Radio Soleil,
                          which
                          > > was
                          > > > > associated with the main Bucherons opposition party, was
                          closed.
                          > > In
                          > > > > January,
                          > > > > a cartoonist was sentenced to six months imprisonment for
                          > > lampooning
                          > > > > Bongo.
                          > > > > Publication of his newspaper was suspended for one month. The
                          > > > > president of
                          > > > > the journalists' union was jailed for eight months. In
                          August,
                          > > the
                          > > > > opposition newspaper La Griffe was closed, and three of its
                          > > staff
                          > > > > received
                          > > > > eight-month suspended sentences after publishing allegations
                          of
                          > > > > ivory
                          > > > > smuggling by the national airline. Soldiers raided La Griffe
                          > > offices
                          > > > > and
                          > > > > seized equipment. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and
                          broadcasts
                          > > are
                          > > > > usually
                          > > > > widely available, but editions criticizing Bongo have been
                          > > seized.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Most of the small formal sector work force is unionized,
                          > > although
                          > > > > unions
                          > > > > must register with the government in order to be officially
                          > > > > recognized.
                          > > > > Despite legal protections, the government has taken action
                          > > against
                          > > > > numerous
                          > > > > strikers and unions and used force to suppress illegal
                          > > > > demonstrations. While
                          > > > > no legal restrictions on travel exist, harassment on
                          political
                          > > and
                          > > > > ethnic
                          > > > > bases has been reported. Religious freedom is
                          constitutionally
                          > > > > guaranteed
                          > > > > and respected. An official ban on Jehovah's Witnesses is not
                          > > > > enforced.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Legal protections for women include equal access laws for
                          > > education,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > business, and investment. In addition to owning property and
                          > > > > businesses,
                          > > > > women constitute more than 50 percent of the salaried
                          workforce
                          > > in
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > health and trade sectors. At the same time, there are only
                          six
                          > > women
                          > > > > in the
                          > > > > 120-member National Assembly and one woman in the cabinet.
                          Women
                          > > > > continue to
                          > > > > face legal and cultural discrimination, particularly in
                          rural
                          > > areas,
                          > > > > and are
                          > > > > reportedly subject to widespread domestic violence.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Little wealth from Gabon's oil revenues reaches the broad
                          > > populace,
                          > > > > most of
                          > > > > which is engaged in subsistence farming. Corruption is
                          endemic.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                          > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                          > > > > >Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:18:18 -0700
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than
                          > > > > independence
                          > > > > >must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how
                          it
                          > > was
                          > > > > like
                          > > > > >to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial
                          > > power.
                          > > > > Also,
                          > > > > >what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an
                          > > > > independent
                          > > > > >and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
                          > > > > >To go on criticizing the government without coming up with
                          any
                          > > > > >convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories
                          and
                          > > > > rumour is
                          > > > > >with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive
                          poppycock.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >Ciao,
                          > > > > >dupont
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi"
                          > > <c_yombi@h...>
                          > > > > >writes:
                          > > > > > > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a
                          > > difference
                          > > > > and
                          > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad
                          track
                          > > > > record.
                          > > > > > > If you
                          > > > > > > think elections were fair and square then you do not
                          agree
                          > > with
                          > > > > > > independent
                          > > > > > > election observers form around the world. In the end, it
                          is >
                          > not
                          > > > > what
                          > > > > > > I want
                          > > > > > > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves -
                          my
                          > > > > husband
                          > > > > > > included
                          > > > > > > who is from Gabon.
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                          > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                          > > > > > > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
                          > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I
                          have
                          > > been
                          > > > > to
                          > > > > > > poorly
                          > > > > > > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you
                          > > consider
                          > > > > to be
                          > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > >obvious hypocrisy.
                          > > > > > > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many
                          poor
                          > > > > people
                          > > > > > > is no
                          > > > > > > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor
                          > > people
                          > > > > here
                          > > > > > > in the
                          > > > > > > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people
                          spend
                          > > money
                          > > > > > > lavishly
                          > > > > > > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless
                          > > people
                          > > > > abound
                          > > > > > > on
                          > > > > > > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
                          > > > > > > disenfranchises
                          > > > > > > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been
                          there
                          > > done
                          > > > > > > that" when
                          > > > > > > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking
                          about a
                          > > > > > > nations
                          > > > > > > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist
                          > > system
                          > > > > like
                          > > > > > > in
                          > > > > > > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
                          > > > > > > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it
                          takes to
                          > > > > jump
                          > > > > > > start
                          > > > > > > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing
                          wrong
                          > > with
                          > > > > a
                          > > > > > > healthy
                          > > > > > > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that
                          idealistic
                          > > values
                          > > > > are
                          > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is
                          > > getting
                          > > > > people
                          > > > > > > to
                          > > > > > > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of
                          capitalism.
                          > > > > > > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support
                          > > President
                          > > > > Bongo
                          > > > > > > is
                          > > > > > > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for
                          all
                          > > > > that's
                          > > > > > > worth
                          > > > > > > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job.
                          The
                          > > man
                          > > > > is
                          > > > > > > a
                          > > > > > > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
                          > > > > > > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo
                          then
                          > > you
                          > > > > are
                          > > > > > > not
                          > > > > > > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such
                          > > > > underdeveloped
                          > > > > > > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the
                          hard
                          > > > > issues
                          > > > > > > and
                          > > > > > > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good
                          soap
                          > > > > opera.
                          > > > > > > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to
                          world
                          > > > > poverty.
                          > > > > > > Step
                          > > > > > > >back and look at this picture and you will see that the
                          > > > > difference
                          > > > > > > points
                          > > > > > > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations
                          and
                          > > not
                          > > > > that
                          > > > > > > of a
                          > > > > > > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are
                          > > still
                          > > > > poor
                          > > > > > > in
                          > > > > > > >comparison.
                          > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > >Ciao,
                          > > > > > > >dupont
                          > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi"
                          > > > > <c_yombi@h...>
                          > > > > > > >writes:
                          > > > > > > > > With all due respect,
                          > > > > > > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the
                          > > people's
                          > > > > > > level?
                          > > > > > > > > Have you
                          > > > > > > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to only
                          > > > > > > his"friends"?
                          > > > > > > > > Have you
                          > > > > > > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all
                          of
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > obvious
                          > > > > > > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired
                          the
                          > > > > national
                          > > > > > > > > train
                          > > > > > > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars
                          to
                          > > > > > > Franceville
                          > > > > > > > > for his
                          > > > > > > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a
                          vacation
                          > > to
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > capital
                          > > > > > > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps
                          to
                          > > > > > > distribute
                          > > > > > > > > condoms
                          > > > > > > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft
                          > > drinks
                          > > > > has a
                          > > > > > > > > problem and
                          > > > > > > > > it starts with the government.
                          > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not
                          support
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > > > president and
                          > > > > > > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a
                          great
                          > > > > > > democracy?
                          > > > > > > > > Another
                          > > > > > > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was
                          > > freedom
                          > > > > of
                          > > > > > > > > choice. Have
                          > > > > > > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
                          > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their
                          > > governments
                          > > > > > > and
                          > > > > > > > > country if
                          > > > > > > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths and
                          > > > > spending
                          > > > > > > it on
                          > > > > > > > > lavish
                          > > > > > > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health
                          clinics
                          > > where
                          > > > > > > women
                          > > > > > > > > struggle
                          > > > > > > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary
                          > > school
                          > > > > > > students
                          > > > > > > > > who have
                          > > > > > > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more
                          realistic
                          > > > > > > approach to
                          > > > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be
                          a
                          > > better
                          > > > > > > > > approach.
                          > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > Carol
                          > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                          > > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                          > > Terrorism"
                          > > > > > > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that
                          concentrating
                          > > on
                          > > > > > > Bongo's
                          > > > > > > > > bank
                          > > > > > > > > >account will get you nowhere.
                          > > > > > > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to
                          solve
                          > > some
                          > > > > of
                          > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > >nations problems?
                          > > > > > > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems
                          and
                          > > this
                          > > > > is
                          > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
                          > > > > > > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying
                          > > schools
                          > > > > in
                          > > > > > > inner
                          > > > > > > > > cities
                          > > > > > > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing
                          > > together.
                          > > > > We
                          > > > > > > are
                          > > > > > > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a
                          time
                          > > when
                          > > > > our
                          > > > > > > > > schools
                          > > > > > > > > >need books.
                          > > > > > > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having
                          > > President
                          > > > > Bongo
                          > > > > > > step
                          > > > > > > > > down
                          > > > > > > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation
                          for
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > better?
                          > > > > > > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country
                          is
                          > > > > dependent
                          > > > > > > on
                          > > > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave
                          > > would
                          > > > > it
                          > > > > > > make
                          > > > > > > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make
                          > > anything
                          > > > > > > better
                          > > > > > > > > and
                          > > > > > > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably
                          > > destabilize
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > country and
                          > > > > > > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be
                          like
                          > > going
                          > > > > > > back in
                          > > > > > > > > time.
                          > > > > > > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem
                          to
                          > > think
                          > > > > > > more
                          > > > > > > > > about
                          > > > > > > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for
                          > > developing
                          > > > > > > their
                          > > > > > > > > >country.
                          > > > > > > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as a
                          > > > > solution.
                          > > > > > > In
                          > > > > > > > > Gabon
                          > > > > > > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support
                          the
                          > > > > state.
                          > > > > > > Only
                          > > > > > > > > then
                          > > > > > > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major
                          > > > > issues.The
                          > > > > > > > > founding
                          > > > > > > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand
                          > > Divided
                          > > > > We
                          > > > > > > > > Fall"
                          > > > > > > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must
                          > > first
                          > > > > find
                          > > > > > > a
                          > > > > > > > > common
                          > > > > > > > > >ground to stand on.
                          > > > > > > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and
                          > > sure,
                          > > > > there
                          > > > > > > are
                          > > > > > > > > many
                          > > > > > > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also
                          > > many
                          > > > > who
                          > > > > > > do
                          > > > > > > > > not
                          > > > > > > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in
                          Bongo.
                          > > > > Many
                          > > > > > > who do
                          > > > > > > > > not
                          > > > > > > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that
                          not
                          > > > > only
                          > > > > > > > > Africans,
                          > > > > > > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to
                          develop
                          > > > > their
                          > > > > > > > > economies in
                          > > > > > > > > >this new world order.
                          > > > > > > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that
                          can
                          > > help
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > President
                          > > > > > > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
                          > > > > > > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F
                          Kennedy's
                          > > > > > > inauguration
                          > > > > > > > > speech
                          > > > > > > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for
                          > > you,
                          > > > > but
                          > > > > > > what
                          > > > > > > > > you can
                          > > > > > > > > >do for your country."
                          > > > > > > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if understood
                          > > > > correctly,
                          > > > > > > can
                          > > > > > > > > >inspire man to great heights.
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >ciao,
                          > > > > > > > > >dupont
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
                          > > > > > > <c_yombi@h...>
                          > > > > > > > > >writes:
                          > > > > > > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi -
                          with a
                          > > > > "Bongo
                          > > > > > > > > house"
                          > > > > > > > > > > while my
                          > > > > > > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their
                          children
                          > > to
                          > > > > > > school
                          > > > > > > > > and
                          > > > > > > > > > > riding on
                          > > > > > > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were
                          > > going to
                          > > > > end
                          > > > > > > up
                          > > > > > > > > in
                          > > > > > > > > > > the water
                          > > > > > > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words
                          are
                          > > just
                          > > > > > > that -
                          > > > > > > > > > > words. Don't
                          > > > > > > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French
                          > > government
                          > > > > in
                          > > > > > > > > order to
                          > > > > > > > > > > have
                          > > > > > > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look
                          at
                          > > > > Bongo's
                          > > > > > > bank
                          > > > > > > > > > > accounts and
                          > > > > > > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University
                          in
                          > > LBV.
                          > > > > If
                          > > > > > > Bongo
                          > > > > > > > > is
                          > > > > > > > > > > such a
                          > > > > > > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig
                          on
                          > > his
                          > > > > > > promise
                          > > > > > > > > to
                          > > > > > > > > > > step down
                          > > > > > > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule
                          > > forever?
                          > > > > Ask
                          > > > > > > many
                          > > > > > > > > > > Gabonese and
                          > > > > > > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
                          > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@j...>
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                          > > Terrorism"
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Hello:
                          > > > > > > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa
                          > > depends
                          > > > > > > more
                          > > > > > > > > on
                          > > > > > > > > > > just
                          > > > > > > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of
                          course
                          > > all
                          > > > > > > leaders
                          > > > > > > > > of
                          > > > > > > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but
                          does
                          > > > > that
                          > > > > > > > > "keep"
                          > > > > > > > > > > them
                          > > > > > > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo
                          has to
                          > > say
                          > > > > > > about
                          > > > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I
                          think
                          > > > > that it
                          > > > > > > is
                          > > > > > > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development
                          and
                          > > aid
                          > > > > for
                          > > > > > > > > African
                          > > > > > > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about
                          how
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > marketing
                          > > > > > > > > of
                          > > > > > > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are
                          not
                          > > > > > > controlled
                          > > > > > > > > by
                          > > > > > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
                          > > > > > > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the
                          > > > > infrastructure
                          > > > > > > > > where
                          > > > > > > > > > > oil
                          > > > > > > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil
                          that
                          > > is
                          > > > > > > > > produced.
                          > > > > > > > > > > Or
                          > > > > > > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of
                          > > resources
                          > > > > > > like
                          > > > > > > > > > > timber,
                          > > > > > > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run by
                          > > > > Africans
                          > > > > > > native
                          > > > > > > > > to
                          > > > > > > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These
                          things
                          > > are
                          > > > > more
                          > > > > > > > > > > important
                          > > > > > > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is
                          in
                          > > > > > > political
                          > > > > > > > > > > control
                          > > > > > > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed
                          away.
                          > > I
                          > > > > > > think
                          > > > > > > > > > > arguably
                          > > > > > > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of
                          > > state
                          > > > > > > deserves
                          > > > > > > > > to
                          > > > > > > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or
                          Bill
                          > > > > Gates
                          > > > > > > for
                          > > > > > > > > that
                          > > > > > > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals
                          speculating in
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > stock
                          > > > > > > > > > > market
                          > > > > > > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a
                          > > resource
                          > > > > rich
                          > > > > > > > > African
                          > > > > > > > > > > >country!
                          > > > > > > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his
                          > > country
                          > > > > than
                          > > > > > > Bush
                          > > > > > > > > or
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be
                          > > leaps
                          > > > > and
                          > > > > > > > > bounds
                          > > > > > > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance.
                          That is
                          > > why
                          > > > > I
                          > > > > > > > > think
                          > > > > > > > > > > that
                          > > > > > > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for
                          Africa
                          > > at
                          > > > > this
                          > > > > > > > > time.
                          > > > > > > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits
                          together
                          > > with
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > > > influence
                          > > > > > > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has
                          eroded
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > quality
                          > > > > > > > > of
                          > > > > > > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power.
                          We
                          > > are
                          > > > > > > seeing
                          > > > > > > > > that
                          > > > > > > > > > > it
                          > > > > > > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important
                          > > when it
                          > > > > > > comes
                          > > > > > > > > to
                          > > > > > > > > > > >political leadership.
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of
                          > > African
                          > > > > > > states
                          > > > > > > > > if
                          > > > > > > > > > > it
                          > > > > > > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful
                          > > nation to
                          > > > > > > gain
                          > > > > > > > > > > economic
                          > > > > > > > > > > >or political control?
                          > > > > > > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his
                          > > agenda
                          > > > > > > reaches
                          > > > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly
                          > > care
                          > > > > about
                          > > > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe
                          after
                          > > the
                          > > > > > > debaucle
                          > > > > > > > > in
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders)
                          here
                          > > in
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > states
                          > > > > > > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what
                          > > economic
                          > > > > > > > > development
                          > > > > > > > > > > in
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >Ciao,
                          > > > > > > > > > > >dupont
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
                          > > > > > > <bobutne@a...>
                          > > > > > > > > > > writes:
                          > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and,
                          probably,
                          > > > > > > abdicate)
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the
                          French
                          > > > > (5,000
                          > > > > > > > > troops
                          > > > > > > > > > > in
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison
                          > > surrounding/protecting
                          > > > > the
                          > > > > > > > > > > Presidential
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is
                          > > kept in
                          > > > > > > power.
                          > > > > > > > > The
                          > > > > > > > > > > 500
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US
                          and
                          > > > > Britain
                          > > > > > > > > world
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions.
                          President
                          > > Omar
                          > > > > > > Bongo
                          > > > > > > > > is
                          > > > > > > > > > > doing
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for
                          the
                          > > US
                          > > > > and
                          > > > > > > > > world.
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the
                          > > West
                          > > > > and
                          > > > > > > is
                          > > > > > > > > being
                          > > > > > > > > > > left
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in
                          to
                          > > gain
                          > > > > > > economic
                          > > > > > > > > and
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this
                          for
                          > > many,
                          > > > > > > many
                          > > > > > > > > pages
                          > > > > > > > > > > on
                          > > > > > > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > > > > > > >
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                        • dupont3@juno.com
                          I think that I explained why in my first post to this group. Again I will say that Bongo is a great leader for Gabon because: 1. The country has been a stable
                          Message 12 of 24 , Aug 26, 2003
                            I think that I explained why in my first post to this group. Again I will
                            say that Bongo is a great leader for Gabon because:
                            1. The country has been a stable country with no wars or political strife
                            for 40 years since independence. Central Africa has seen much violence
                            throughout the years and yet Gabon is stable.This can be attributed to
                            the leadership of President Bongo. During the Cold War when East and West
                            powers were fighting for influence in the political affairs of many
                            African states, Gabon was able to avoid being used has a pawn in the
                            political conflict. If you take for example what happened in the Ivory
                            Coast after the death of President Houphouet-Boigny(another great
                            african leader,) you can get an idea how important it is to have
                            stability. I believe that stability is a testament to a great leader and
                            Bongo deserves credit for that.
                            2. His ability to deal with the former colonial power France while still
                            retaining a strong sense of sovereignty and independence. Many African
                            countries after independence have not been able to retain ties to the
                            former colonial power necessary for a smooth transition to incourage
                            foreign investment while preserving the integrity of the currency. During
                            Bongo's rule Gabon has been able to take advantage of French
                            intellectual resource while the CFA has remained strong.
                            3. The environment is healthy, Throughout the years when many
                            environmentalist have expressed concern about the shrinking rain forrest.
                            Gabon is one of the few countries with relatively untainted natural
                            resources.It has been widely reported that much wildlife in Gabon is not
                            accustomed to interaction with humans and there are even some unexplored
                            regions. Gabon is a bright spot on the map of many who are concerned
                            about the ecology of the planet. President Bongo deserves much credit for
                            his leadership during a time of the greatest commercial exploitation of
                            African resources.
                            4.His astute knowledge of geopolitics, especially concerning the African
                            continent. President Omar Bongo is considered one of the smartest leaders
                            on the planet. His leadership and diplomatic skills have been called on
                            to mediate many conflicts among nations in Africa. He is one of the few
                            African leaders to consistently speak about the challenges of economic
                            development in Africa. I think that because of the French language native
                            to Gabon, many of his points of view have gone unnoticed by those in the
                            English speaking world. Yet, make no mistake about it, Bongo's leadership
                            is a source of pride in Africa. I have been fortunate to stay informed on
                            the policy of President Bongo and I have been impressed with his ability
                            to digest the intense geopolitical situation while staying focused on the
                            needs of the state.


                            Ciao,
                            dupont




                            On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 22:27:14 -0000 "bobutne" <bobutne@...> writes:
                            > "I strongly believe that President Bongo is a great leader.."
                            >
                            > Please explain why you strongly believe President Omar Bongo is a
                            > great leader.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com, dupont3@j... wrote:
                            > > Ok, so you can now attack me, but it seems like you do not even
                            > think
                            > > about addressing the real issues at hand, other than to say
                            > that, "the
                            > > reality of life is not ideal." I am not attacking you personally
                            > but
                            > > exposing what I perceive to be your lack of knowledge about what
                            > is
                            > > really going on and throwing that back in your face everytime you
                            >
                            > spread
                            > > naive innuendo about Bongo as if getting rid of him will change
                            > the lives
                            > > of Gabonese for the better.
                            > > If you get off of your Bongo inquisition then maybe you will see
                            > the
                            > > light and actually make some attempts to address the real
                            > challenges that
                            > > the Gabonese people face.
                            > > Now on to your response which was equally naive:
                            > > 1. Iraq before the UN sanctions had no problem with lack of access
                            >
                            > to
                            > > healthcare or malnutrition of its people. Iraqis are a very
                            > intelligent
                            > > people
                            > > with some of the most capable medical professionals in the region.
                            >
                            > As an
                            > > oil rich trading nation they had no problem importing enough food
                            >
                            > for
                            > > their needs. That is until the UN choose to destroy their
                            > livelyhood for
                            > > the sake of what?
                            > > 2. Yes, Bill Gates made his money in the private sector, but he
                            > has also
                            > > paid off many a politician to the point where he was able to
                            > elude
                            > > federal anti-trust prosecution. Microsoft is still under
                            > prosecution by
                            > > the European Union and they have already stated that he will not
                            > get away
                            > > with them. Any Billions that he may have donated to charitable
                            > causes is
                            > > most surely covered by tax breaks and in no way cover up for the
                            > aspiring
                            > > companies and promising technologies that he has squashed on the
                            > way to
                            > > world domination.
                            > > 3.The Queen of England has no political power in England?
                            > Political power
                            > > lies in the support of the people and the Queen and the Monarchy
                            > enjoys
                            > > overwhelming support among the populace of the United Kingdom.The
                            >
                            > Queen
                            > > wields enormous power behind the scenes should she desire to use
                            > it.
                            > >
                            > > Sure I am assuming that my point is the best because I strongly
                            > believe
                            > > in what I am talking about. I strongly believe that President
                            > Bongo is a
                            > > great leader who succumbs to probably what every great leader in
                            > the
                            > > history of the world has succumbed to.The amassing of power and
                            > wealth.
                            > > I will take a great and capable leader who is amassing power and
                            >
                            > wealth
                            > > anytime over an intellectual lightweight playing with war toys
                            > like Bush
                            > > or a business tyrant like Bill Gates. I also respect you
                            > differences of
                            > > opinion and whatever cultural bias play a part in that. But lets
                            > get real
                            > > about the people causing the most damage to the the fabric of
                            > democracy
                            > > in this world and lets not turn our backs when "the chickens come
                            >
                            > home to
                            > > roost."
                            > >
                            > > Ciao,
                            > > dupont
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > On Tue, 26 Aug 2003 17:18:00 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
                            > > writes:
                            > > > The point is that you assume you know what everybody else is
                            > doing
                            > > > and
                            > > > thinking. Before getting on your soap box, may be you should
                            > find
                            > > > out about
                            > > > the people you are accusing of collusion. You don't know me or
                            > have
                            > > > any
                            > > > information about my personal beliefs. You have no idea how I
                            > voted
                            > > > in the
                            > > > last elections or even if I am a registered voter. You know
                            > nothing
                            > > > about my
                            > > > background or my lifestyle.
                            > > >
                            > > > You bash the UN but seem to glaze over reality of life in Gabon
                            >
                            > for
                            > > > the
                            > > > majority of the population. How many children die each day in
                            > Iraq
                            > > > because
                            > > > of malnutrition and lack of access to healthcare? How many NGOs
                            >
                            > deal
                            > > > with
                            > > > the everyday care of the world's population? The reality of life
                            >
                            > is
                            > > > not the
                            > > > ideal. Often, we must choose between the lesser of two evils.
                            > > >
                            > > > No one has disputed your points about the Bush administration.
                            > You
                            > > > bring up
                            > > > billionaires like Bill Gates. He has made his money in the
                            > private
                            > > > sector,
                            > > > and he has given BILLIONS away to help with research and
                            > development
                            > > > of
                            > > > needed vaccines and HIV medications in Africa and elsewhere. The
                            >
                            > > > Queen of
                            > > > England has no political power in Great Britain and the people
                            > > > choose to
                            > > > support the royal family monetarily. Bongo on the other hand is
                            >
                            > > > directly
                            > > > responsible, just like Bush, for the policies and corruption in
                            >
                            > his
                            > > > country.
                            > > >
                            > > > You assume your point is the best and leave no room for the off
                            >
                            > > > chance that
                            > > > you could be wrong. In the end everyone is entitled to their own
                            >
                            > > > opinions,
                            > > > but this should be a discussion forum and not a crusade to
                            > convert
                            > > > those to
                            > > > your view of the world. There is no single correct point of view
                            >
                            > on
                            > > > any
                            > > > issue. Our own cultural biases and upbringings play a part in
                            > our
                            > > > understanding and interactions with those that are different
                            > than
                            > > > us. This
                            > > > is very apparent with you.
                            > > >
                            > > > (And by the way, I used to live down the road from the crook's
                            > house
                            > > > - I
                            > > > know how he lives the one day a year he chooses to reside
                            > there.)
                            > > >
                            > > >
                            > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                            > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                            > > > >Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 15:51:03 -0700
                            > > > >
                            > > > >Why are you so focused on this? Like I said before, we have the
                            >
                            > > > similar
                            > > > >stuff going on here in the US. Maybe you forgot how Bush
                            > became
                            > > > >President. Yet, maybe you even voted for Bush or support him
                            > still.
                            > > > In
                            > > > >Bongo's case it is good for Africa that he is still in power.
                            > > > Meanwhile
                            > > > >the Bush administration has been a disaster for the democratic
                            >
                            > > > process.
                            > > > >You seem to make a lot of fuss about Bongo's accounts but I
                            > will
                            > > > wager
                            > > > >that you do not blink an eye at the accounts of the many
                            > > > billionares in
                            > > > >America who are involved in shady business deals or the
                            > politicians
                            > > > who
                            > > > >are on the payroll of them. What hypocrisy! to point a finger
                            > at
                            > > > Bongo
                            > > > >and then indirectly benefit from all the shady crap going on in
                            >
                            > the
                            > > > US.
                            > > > >Speaking of the UN, we all know how much they are in the pocket
                            >
                            > of
                            > > > the US
                            > > > >and the trouble that is causing them around the world. The
                            > last
                            > > > time
                            > > > >that I checked, the US owed them billions of dollars in back
                            > dues.
                            > > > Also,
                            > > > >how many young kids were killed in Iraq because of UN
                            > sanctions?
                            > > > Did you
                            > > > >make any noise about that? Bongo needs as much money as he can
                            >
                            > get
                            > > > to
                            > > > >just put a word in for Gabon at the table of the corrupt
                            > Western
                            > > > leaders.
                            > > > >You seem brainwashed because you blindly follow those big
                            > crooks
                            > > > who have
                            > > > >you chasing down the wrong road, when you should be driving
                            > down
                            > > > the road
                            > > > >that leads to their house.
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >Ciao,
                            > > > >dupont
                            > > > >
                            > > > >
                            > > > >On Sat, 23 Aug 2003 01:57:20 +0000 "C Yombi" <c_yombi@h...>
                            > > > >writes:
                            > > > > > May be it's just you who is brainwashed... Or may be people
                            >
                            > like
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > UN are
                            > > > > > just making it all up.....
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Vol 43 Number 25 - 20 December 2002
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Hear those drums
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > For want of opposition, President Bongo can plan to rule
                            > until
                            > > > 2012
                            > > > > > After three decades at the head of one of Africa's worst
                            > managed
                            > > > and
                            > > > > > most
                            > > > > > corrupt oil economies, President Omar Bongo might well
                            > expect
                            > > > some
                            > > > > > political
                            > > > > > trouble. Quite the opposite. His ruling Parti Démocratique
                            > > > Gabonais
                            > > > > > (PDG)
                            > > > > > will sweep the board in the local elections on 29 December
                            > and
                            > > > Bongo
                            > > > > > (health
                            > > > > > permitting) could win yet another seven-year presidential
                            > term
                            > > > in
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > election due in 2005. The oppositionists of the early 1990s
                            >
                            > have
                            > > > > > been
                            > > > > > exiled, crushed or coopted.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Gabonese have lost interest in the perennially rigged
                            > elections.
                            > > > > > Turnout at
                            > > > > > the legislative polls last December was under 20 per cent
                            > and
                            > > > may be
                            > > > > > lower
                            > > > > > still in the local polls. Electoral registers have been
                            > doctored
                            > > > > > down to
                            > > > > > 523,000: there were 775,000 names on the lists for the 2001
                            > > > > > elections. Many
                            > > > > > nominal political opponents are in Bongo's pay, the rest are
                            >
                            > > > divided
                            > > > > > and
                            > > > > > lack national support. For wealthy Gabonese, elections are
                            > a
                            > > > > > patronage
                            > > > > > competition which shares out jobs and resources from 250,000
                            >
                            > > > barrels
                            > > > > > of oil
                            > > > > > a day, plus smaller timber and manganese exports.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > ------
                            > > -
                            > > > >-------
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Vol 42 Number 16 - 10 August 2001
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Hey big spender
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > The fuss over how President El Hadj Omar Bongo came to
                            > deposit
                            > > > over
                            > > > > > US$180
                            > > > > > million in three private Citibank accounts in New York won't
                            >
                            > go
                            > > > > > away. First
                            > > > > > raised in United States Senate hearings in November 1999, it
                            >
                            > is
                            > > > now
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > subject of an embarrassing law suit against Bongo in the US
                            >
                            > > > Federal
                            > > > > > Court,
                            > > > > > Washington. Bongo's lawyers are trying to establish
                            > diplomatic
                            > > > > > immunity for
                            > > > > > him as a serving head of a state recognised by the US
                            > > > government.
                            > > > > > And with
                            > > > > > another US legal suit from a scrap metal company pending,
                            > > > Bongo's
                            > > > > > big-spending habits Stateside ­ he bought four Boeing
                            > passenger
                            > > > jets
                            > > > > > in June
                            > > > > > ­ won't win him any respite from his legal adversaries
                            > there.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > ------
                            > > -
                            > > > >-------
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > ------
                            > > -
                            > > > >-------
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Vol 40 Number 22 - 05 November 1999
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Digging deeper holes
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > A massive hole in Gabon's public finances - some say of more
                            >
                            > > > than
                            > > > > > US$350
                            > > > > > million - is at the heart of its growing financial and
                            > political
                            > > > > > crisis. By
                            > > > > > the end of last year, arrears to foreign creditors were
                            > > > estimated at
                            > > > > > 160
                            > > > > > billion CFA francs ($256.4 mn.) - and have probably doubled
                            >
                            > this
                            > > > > > year.
                            > > > > > President Omar Bongo's government also has arrears of CFA
                            > 100
                            > > > bn. to
                            > > > > > local
                            > > > > > banks. With an oil-fired GNP per head of $4,000, Gabon is
                            > one of
                            > > > > > Africa's
                            > > > > > wealthiest states. Yet most people live in poverty and a
                            > damning
                            > > > new
                            > > > > > report
                            > > > > > from the United Nations Development Programme says social
                            > > > services
                            > > > > > are
                            > > > > > collapsing. Tracing the missing $350 mn. preoccupies both
                            > > > foreign
                            > > > > > creditors
                            > > > > > and Gabonese who worry about government corruption and
                            > > > > > mismanagement. And
                            > > > > > President Bongo is no longer able to rely on Paris nor
                            > > > Washington to
                            > > > > > block
                            > > > > > exposure of murky areas in his government. He tried
                            > everything,
                            > > > > > including a
                            > > > > > personal call to French President Jacques Chirac, to stifle
                            >
                            > the
                            > > > > > inquiry by
                            > > > > > magistrate Eva Joly into Elf-Aquitaine's unorthodox
                            > financing
                            > > > > > operations.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > This focussed on Bongo's relationship with André Tarallo,
                            > > > > > Elf-Gabon's
                            > > > > > disgraced and ousted Président-Directeur Général. Late last
                            >
                            > > > month,
                            > > > > > Joly's
                            > > > > > inquiries moved on when a Swiss magistrate, Paul Parraudin,
                            >
                            > > > produced
                            > > > > > bank
                            > > > > > records showing that over 600 mn. French francs ($97 mn.)
                            > had
                            > > > been
                            > > > > > channelled through Tarallo's Swiss account from the
                            > Gabonese
                            > > > > > presidency.
                            > > > > > Back home, after a year of strikes, demonstrations and the
                            > > > payments
                            > > > > > crisis,
                            > > > > > Bongo's government needs a new deal with the International
                            > > > Monetary
                            > > > > > Fund.
                            > > > > > Last year, the Fund suspended its Extended Financing
                            > Facility
                            > > > for
                            > > > > > several
                            > > > > > reasons, including 'lack of transparency in public finance'
                            > > > > > (Fundspeak for
                            > > > > > corruption). Libreville's negotiating team is led by
                            > respected
                            > > > > > Finance
                            > > > > > Minister Emile Doumba, who has been trying, with limited
                            > > > success, to
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > persuade his ministerial colleagues and the presidency to
                            > > > implement
                            > > > > > an
                            > > > > > IMF-inspired austerity programme.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > ------
                            > > -
                            > > >
                            > >
                            > >------------------------------------------------------------------
                            > -----F
                            > > r
                            > > > >eedom
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > in the World 1998-99: Gabon
                            > > > > > Freedom House Survey 1999
                            > > > > > Economy: Capitalist (highly corrupt)
                            > > > > > Population: 1,200,000
                            > > > > > PPP: $3,766
                            > > > > > Life Expectancy: 54
                            > > > > > Ethnic Groups: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke, other Bantu,
                            >
                            > > > other
                            > > > > > Africans,
                            > > > > > Europeans
                            > > > > > Polity: Dominant party
                            > > > > > Capital: Libreville
                            > > > > > Political Rights: 5
                            > > > > > Civil Liberties: 4
                            > > > > > Status: Partly Free
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Overview
                            > > > > > In December, President Omar Bongo was returned to office for
                            >
                            > a
                            > > > > > seven-year
                            > > > > > term. The polling, which was partially boycotted by the
                            > > > opposition,
                            > > > > > was
                            > > > > > marked by serious irregularities. The nominally independent
                            >
                            > > > National
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Election Commission, which was created under the new
                            > > > constitution
                            > > > > > approved
                            > > > > > by referendum in 1995, proved neither autonomous nor
                            > competent.
                            > > > > > Behind a
                            > > > > > facade of democratic institutions, Bongo used patronage,
                            > > > > > manipulation, and
                            > > > > > intimidation to retain power. In Libreville in May, student
                            >
                            > > > riots
                            > > > > > prompted
                            > > > > > by deteriorating economic conditions were quickly
                            > suppressed. At
                            > > > > > least ten
                            > > > > > students were seriously hurt. Three decades of autocratic
                            > rule
                            > > > have
                            > > > > > made
                            > > > > > Bongo among the world's richest men and left the vast
                            > majority
                            > > > of
                            > > > > > oil-rich
                            > > > > > Gabon's 1.4 million people mired in poverty. Bongo is
                            > strongly
                            > > > > > backed by the
                            > > > > > army and by France. The highly profitable French ELF oil
                            > company
                            > > > > > plays a
                            > > > > > dominant role in the country's economic and political life.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Straddling the equator on central Africa's west coast, Gabon
                            >
                            > > > gained
                            > > > > > independence from France in 1960. Bongo, whom France raised
                            >
                            > from
                            > > > > > soldier to
                            > > > > > president in 1967, completed his predecessor's consolidation
                            >
                            > of
                            > > > > > power by
                            > > > > > officially outlawing the opposition. France, which maintains
                            >
                            > 600
                            > > > > > marines in
                            > > > > > Gabon, has intervened twice to preserve Bongo's regime. In
                            > 1990,
                            > > > > > protests
                            > > > > > prompted by economic duress forced Bongo to accept a
                            > conference
                            > > > that
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > opposition leaders hoped would promote a peaceful
                            > democratic
                            > > > > > transition.
                            > > > > > Bongo retained power, however, in rigged 1993 elections that
                            >
                            > > > sparked
                            > > > > > violent
                            > > > > > protests and repression led by his Presidential Guard. The
                            > 1994
                            > > > > > Paris
                            > > > > > Accords claimed to institute true democratic reforms.
                            > Municipal
                            > > > > > elections in
                            > > > > > 1996 saw major opposition gains, including the election of
                            > Paul
                            > > > Mba
                            > > > > > Abbesole, the leader of the largest opposition party, as
                            > mayor
                            > > > of
                            > > > > > Libreville. Legislative polls delayed by decree until
                            > December
                            > > > 1996
                            > > > > > were
                            > > > > > again beset by fraud as Bongo's Gabon Democratic Party won
                            > an
                            > > > > > overwhelming,
                            > > > > > but unconvincing victory.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Political Rights and Civil Liberties
                            > > > > > Despite a gradual political opening since 1990, Gabon's
                            > citizens
                            > > > > > have never
                            > > > > > been able to exercise their constitutional right to change
                            > their
                            > > > > > government
                            > > > > > democratically. Bongo's 1998 electoral victory with 61
                            > percent
                            > > > of
                            > > > > > the vote
                            > > > > > followed a campaign that made profligate use of state
                            > resources
                            > > > and
                            > > > > > state
                            > > > > > media to promote his incumbency. Legislative elections have
                            >
                            > also
                            > > > > > been
                            > > > > > seriously flawed.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > State institutions are influenced or controlled by Bongo and
                            >
                            > a
                            > > > small
                            > > > > > elite
                            > > > > > around him. The judiciary suffers from political
                            > interference.
                            > > > > > Rights to
                            > > > > > legal counsel and public criminal trials are generally
                            > > > respected,
                            > > > > > but the
                            > > > > > law presumes guilt. Judges may deliver summary verdicts, and
                            >
                            > > > torture
                            > > > > > remains
                            > > > > > a standard route to produce confessions. Prison conditions
                            > are
                            > > > > > marked by
                            > > > > > beatings and insufficient food, water, and medical care.
                            > The
                            > > > > > government
                            > > > > > often detains refugees without charge, and there are reports
                            >
                            > of
                            > > > > > forced labor
                            > > > > > by detainees. Rights of assembly and association are
                            > > > > > constitutionally
                            > > > > > guaranteed, but permits required for public gatherings are
                            > > > sometimes
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > refused. Freedom to form and join political parties is
                            > generally
                            > > > > > respected,
                            > > > > > but civil servants may face harassment based on their
                            > > > associations.
                            > > > > > Nongovernmental organizations operate openly, although the
                            > > > Gabonese
                            > > > > > League
                            > > > > > of Human Rights has reported threats and harassment.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > A government daily and approximately one dozen private
                            > weeklies,
                            > > > > > which are
                            > > > > > primarily controlled by opposition parties, are published.
                            > The
                            > > > > > government
                            > > > > > overwhelmingly dominates the broadcast media, which reach a
                            >
                            > far
                            > > > > > larger
                            > > > > > audience. Only a few private broadcasters have been
                            > licensed,
                            > > > and
                            > > > > > their
                            > > > > > viability is tenuous. A 1998 crackdown on private media has
                            >
                            > > > raised
                            > > > > > serious
                            > > > > > concerns for free expression. In February, Radio Soleil,
                            > which
                            > > > was
                            > > > > > associated with the main Bucherons opposition party, was
                            > closed.
                            > > > In
                            > > > > > January,
                            > > > > > a cartoonist was sentenced to six months imprisonment for
                            > > > lampooning
                            > > > > > Bongo.
                            > > > > > Publication of his newspaper was suspended for one month.
                            > The
                            > > > > > president of
                            > > > > > the journalists' union was jailed for eight months. In
                            > August,
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > opposition newspaper La Griffe was closed, and three of its
                            >
                            > > > staff
                            > > > > > received
                            > > > > > eight-month suspended sentences after publishing allegations
                            >
                            > of
                            > > > > > ivory
                            > > > > > smuggling by the national airline. Soldiers raided La Griffe
                            >
                            > > > offices
                            > > > > > and
                            > > > > > seized equipment. Foreign newspapers, magazines, and
                            > broadcasts
                            > > > are
                            > > > > > usually
                            > > > > > widely available, but editions criticizing Bongo have been
                            > > > seized.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Most of the small formal sector work force is unionized,
                            > > > although
                            > > > > > unions
                            > > > > > must register with the government in order to be officially
                            > > > > > recognized.
                            > > > > > Despite legal protections, the government has taken action
                            > > > against
                            > > > > > numerous
                            > > > > > strikers and unions and used force to suppress illegal
                            > > > > > demonstrations. While
                            > > > > > no legal restrictions on travel exist, harassment on
                            > political
                            > > > and
                            > > > > > ethnic
                            > > > > > bases has been reported. Religious freedom is
                            > constitutionally
                            > > > > > guaranteed
                            > > > > > and respected. An official ban on Jehovah's Witnesses is
                            > not
                            > > > > > enforced.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Legal protections for women include equal access laws for
                            > > > education,
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > business, and investment. In addition to owning property
                            > and
                            > > > > > businesses,
                            > > > > > women constitute more than 50 percent of the salaried
                            > workforce
                            > > > in
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > health and trade sectors. At the same time, there are only
                            > six
                            > > > women
                            > > > > > in the
                            > > > > > 120-member National Assembly and one woman in the cabinet.
                            > Women
                            > > > > > continue to
                            > > > > > face legal and cultural discrimination, particularly in
                            > rural
                            > > > areas,
                            > > > > > and are
                            > > > > > reportedly subject to widespread domestic violence.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > Little wealth from Gabon's oil revenues reaches the broad
                            > > > populace,
                            > > > > > most of
                            > > > > > which is engaged in subsistence farming. Corruption is
                            > endemic.
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > >
                            > > > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                            > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on Terrorism"
                            > > > > > >Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:18:18 -0700
                            > > > > > >
                            > > > > > >Whoever would say that the Gabonese are worse off now than
                            > > > > > independence
                            > > > > > >must be brainwashed or does not know a damm thing about how
                            >
                            > it
                            > > > was
                            > > > > > like
                            > > > > > >to reorganize institutions after a being under a colonial
                            > > > power.
                            > > > > > Also,
                            > > > > > >what a disrespect to all the people who worked hard for an
                            > > > > > independent
                            > > > > > >and for 40 yrs. stable Gabon.
                            > > > > > >To go on criticizing the government without coming up with
                            >
                            > any
                            > > > > > >convincing alternative ideas other than conspiracy theories
                            >
                            > and
                            > > > > > rumour is
                            > > > > > >with all due respect, disingenuous and insensitive
                            > poppycock.
                            > > > > > >
                            > > > > > >Ciao,
                            > > > > > >dupont
                            > > > > > >
                            > > > > > >
                            > > > > > >
                            > > > > > >
                            > > > > > >On Thu, 21 Aug 2003 20:31:32 +0000 "C Yombi"
                            > > > <c_yombi@h...>
                            > > > > > >writes:
                            > > > > > > > Obvious point - Bongo has had almost 40 yrs to make a
                            > > > difference
                            > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > Gabonese are worse off now than at independence - bad
                            > track
                            > > > > > record.
                            > > > > > > > If you
                            > > > > > > > think elections were fair and square then you do not
                            > agree
                            > > > with
                            > > > > > > > independent
                            > > > > > > > election observers form around the world. In the end, it
                            >
                            > is >
                            > > not
                            > > > > > what
                            > > > > > > > I want
                            > > > > > > > for Gabon - but what the GABONESE want for themselves -
                            >
                            > my
                            > > > > > husband
                            > > > > > > > included
                            > > > > > > > who is from Gabon.
                            > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                            > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                            > Terrorism"
                            > > > > > > > >Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2003 12:59:19 -0700
                            > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > >Yes, I have seen how the some Gabonese people live. I
                            > have
                            > > > been
                            > > > > > to
                            > > > > > > > poorly
                            > > > > > > > >supplied hospitals and schools. I have seen what you
                            > > > consider
                            > > > > > to be
                            > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > >obvious hypocrisy.
                            > > > > > > > >But I know that here in America the lifestyle of many
                            > poor
                            > > > > > people
                            > > > > > > > is no
                            > > > > > > > >different. It is just on a different scale. Most poor
                            > > > people
                            > > > > > here
                            > > > > > > > in the
                            > > > > > > > >US do not have health insurance. While rich people
                            > spend
                            > > > money
                            > > > > > > > lavishly
                            > > > > > > > >in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. Homeless
                            > > > people
                            > > > > > abound
                            > > > > > > > on
                            > > > > > > > >the streets and our political system although 2 party,
                            > > > > > > > disenfranchises
                            > > > > > > > >many potentially great opponents. It is like. "been
                            > there
                            > > > done
                            > > > > > > > that" when
                            > > > > > > > >you try to focus on that type of stuff when talking
                            > about a
                            > > > > > > > nations
                            > > > > > > > >development in a capitalist system. Maybe a socialist
                            >
                            > > > system
                            > > > > > like
                            > > > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > >Cuba would better achieve what you want in Gabon.
                            > > > > > > > >I think that a healthy dose of idealism is what it
                            > takes to
                            > > > > > jump
                            > > > > > > > start
                            > > > > > > > >any successful capitalist economy. There is nothing
                            > wrong
                            > > > with
                            > > > > > a
                            > > > > > > > healthy
                            > > > > > > > >dose of idealism, in fact, one can argue that
                            > idealistic
                            > > > values
                            > > > > > are
                            > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > >foundations of a healthy democracy. The hard part is
                            > > > getting
                            > > > > > people
                            > > > > > > > to
                            > > > > > > > >believe in the face of the harsh realities of
                            > capitalism.
                            > > > > > > > >Now to say that a majority of people do not support
                            > > > President
                            > > > > > Bongo
                            > > > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > >not true. He has won elections fair and square, for
                            >
                            > all
                            > > > > > that's
                            > > > > > > > worth
                            > > > > > > > >and beyond that is the most capable person for the job.
                            >
                            > The
                            > > > man
                            > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > a
                            > > > > > > > >national treasure! Why would you want him out?
                            > > > > > > > >If you can not work with leaders like President Bongo
                            > then
                            > > > you
                            > > > > > are
                            > > > > > > > not
                            > > > > > > > >being realistic about facing the challenges of such
                            > > > > > underdeveloped
                            > > > > > > > >nations in Africa.You might be afraid to deal with the
                            >
                            > hard
                            > > > > > issues
                            > > > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > >instead choose to focus on the stuff that makes good
                            > soap
                            > > > > > opera.
                            > > > > > > > >I say lets look at the big picture when it comes to
                            > world
                            > > > > > poverty.
                            > > > > > > > Step
                            > > > > > > > >back and look at this picture and you will see that
                            > the
                            > > > > > difference
                            > > > > > > > points
                            > > > > > > > >to the policies of the so-called first world nations
                            > and
                            > > > not
                            > > > > > that
                            > > > > > > > of a
                            > > > > > > > >few seemingly wealthy(and well meaning) leaders who are
                            >
                            > > > still
                            > > > > > poor
                            > > > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > >comparison.
                            > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > >Ciao,
                            > > > > > > > >dupont
                            > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > >On Tue, 19 Aug 2003 19:36:16 +0000 "C Yombi"
                            > > > > > <c_yombi@h...>
                            > > > > > > > >writes:
                            > > > > > > > > > With all due respect,
                            > > > > > > > > > You have visited Gabon but have you lived on the
                            > > > people's
                            > > > > > > > level?
                            > > > > > > > > > Have you
                            > > > > > > > > > seen all of the largess that Bongo has spread to
                            > only
                            > > > > > > > his"friends"?
                            > > > > > > > > > Have you
                            > > > > > > > > > seen the prisons and the schools? Have you seen all
                            >
                            > of
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > obvious
                            > > > > > > > > > hypocrisy? Do you realize that Bongo only repaired
                            > the
                            > > > > > national
                            > > > > > > > > > train
                            > > > > > > > > > service so he could send his fleet of expensive cars
                            >
                            > to
                            > > > > > > > Franceville
                            > > > > > > > > > for his
                            > > > > > > > > > annual vacation? How many Gabonese can take a
                            > vacation
                            > > > to
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > capital
                            > > > > > > > > > annually? Any nation that has to rely on Peace Corps
                            >
                            > to
                            > > > > > > > distribute
                            > > > > > > > > > condoms
                            > > > > > > > > > while trucks get to every corner distributing soft
                            > > > drinks
                            > > > > > has a
                            > > > > > > > > > problem and
                            > > > > > > > > > it starts with the government.
                            > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > Also, when a majority of the population does not
                            > support
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > president and
                            > > > > > > > > > had little or no voice to change this, is this a
                            > great
                            > > > > > > > democracy?
                            > > > > > > > > > Another
                            > > > > > > > > > principle of the United State's founding fathers was
                            >
                            > > > freedom
                            > > > > > of
                            > > > > > > > > > choice. Have
                            > > > > > > > > > you ever heard of Neo-colonialism?
                            > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > How can individuals work toward supporting their
                            > > > governments
                            > > > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > > > country if
                            > > > > > > > > > the government is taking food out of their mouths
                            > and
                            > > > > > spending
                            > > > > > > > it on
                            > > > > > > > > > lavish
                            > > > > > > > > > trips to Paris? Have you been to rural health
                            > clinics
                            > > > where
                            > > > > > > > women
                            > > > > > > > > > struggle
                            > > > > > > > > > to keep their children healthy or talked to primary
                            >
                            > > > school
                            > > > > > > > students
                            > > > > > > > > > who have
                            > > > > > > > > > no teachers? May be a less idealistic and more
                            > realistic
                            > > > > > > > approach to
                            > > > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > reality of one party governments in Africa would be
                            >
                            > a
                            > > > better
                            > > > > > > > > > approach.
                            > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > Carol
                            > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >From: dupont3@j...
                            > > > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > > > > > >Subject: Re: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                            > > > Terrorism"
                            > > > > > > > > > >Date: Tue, 19 Aug 2003 10:05:13 -0700
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >Well , with all due respect, I think that
                            > concentrating
                            > > > on
                            > > > > > > > Bongo's
                            > > > > > > > > > bank
                            > > > > > > > > > >account will get you nowhere.
                            > > > > > > > > > >Ever thought about working with the President to
                            > solve
                            > > > some
                            > > > > > of
                            > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > >nations problems?
                            > > > > > > > > > >Here in America we have many of the same problems
                            > and
                            > > > this
                            > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > >wealthiest country in the world!
                            > > > > > > > > > >We have an epidemic of homeless people, decaying
                            > > > schools
                            > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > inner
                            > > > > > > > > > cities
                            > > > > > > > > > >and a railroad(Amtrak) that cannot get its thing
                            > > > together.
                            > > > > > We
                            > > > > > > > are
                            > > > > > > > > > >spending 4 Billion dollars a month in Iraq at a
                            > time
                            > > > when
                            > > > > > our
                            > > > > > > > > > schools
                            > > > > > > > > > >need books.
                            > > > > > > > > > >I would also like to ask how is it that having
                            > > > President
                            > > > > > Bongo
                            > > > > > > > step
                            > > > > > > > > > down
                            > > > > > > > > > >be good for Gabon or change the current situation
                            > for
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > better?
                            > > > > > > > > > >I have been to Gabon and it seems like the country
                            >
                            > is
                            > > > > > dependent
                            > > > > > > > on
                            > > > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > >French for many things. If the French were to leave
                            >
                            > > > would
                            > > > > > it
                            > > > > > > > make
                            > > > > > > > > > >anything better? I think not, it would not make
                            > > > anything
                            > > > > > > > better
                            > > > > > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > > > >getting rid of President Bongo would probably
                            > > > destabilize
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > country and
                            > > > > > > > > > >the region has the resulting power grab would be
                            > like
                            > > > going
                            > > > > > > > back in
                            > > > > > > > > > time.
                            > > > > > > > > > >I think that it is a shame that many Africans seem
                            >
                            > to
                            > > > think
                            > > > > > > > more
                            > > > > > > > > > about
                            > > > > > > > > > >fighting for power than the issues important for
                            > > > developing
                            > > > > > > > their
                            > > > > > > > > > >country.
                            > > > > > > > > > >It is time to look beyond forced power sharing as
                            > a
                            > > > > > solution.
                            > > > > > > > In
                            > > > > > > > > > Gabon
                            > > > > > > > > > >each citizen must first make an effort to support
                            > the
                            > > > > > state.
                            > > > > > > > Only
                            > > > > > > > > > then
                            > > > > > > > > > >will you find the necessary energy to tackle major
                            > > > > > issues.The
                            > > > > > > > > > founding
                            > > > > > > > > > >fathers of the US went by a decree "United We Stand
                            >
                            > > > Divided
                            > > > > > We
                            > > > > > > > > > Fall"
                            > > > > > > > > > >Every nation that aspires to economic success must
                            >
                            > > > first
                            > > > > > find
                            > > > > > > > a
                            > > > > > > > > > common
                            > > > > > > > > > >ground to stand on.
                            > > > > > > > > > >The Gabonese are a beautiful and special people and
                            >
                            > > > sure,
                            > > > > > there
                            > > > > > > > are
                            > > > > > > > > > many
                            > > > > > > > > > >who disagree with the President. But there are also
                            >
                            > > > many
                            > > > > > who
                            > > > > > > > do
                            > > > > > > > > > not
                            > > > > > > > > > >understand what a great leader that they have in
                            > Bongo.
                            > > > > > Many
                            > > > > > > > who do
                            > > > > > > > > > not
                            > > > > > > > > > >understand the complete geopolitical challenge that
                            >
                            > not
                            > > > > > only
                            > > > > > > > > > Africans,
                            > > > > > > > > > >but most 3rd world nations face when trying to
                            > develop
                            > > > > > their
                            > > > > > > > > > economies in
                            > > > > > > > > > >this new world order.
                            > > > > > > > > > >Lets discuss bold new ideas and initiatives that
                            > can
                            > > > help
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > President
                            > > > > > > > > > >lead Gabon into the 21st century.
                            > > > > > > > > > >I love the famous quote in President John F
                            > Kennedy's
                            > > > > > > > inauguration
                            > > > > > > > > > speech
                            > > > > > > > > > >when he said, "ask not what your country can do for
                            >
                            > > > you,
                            > > > > > but
                            > > > > > > > what
                            > > > > > > > > > you can
                            > > > > > > > > > >do for your country."
                            > > > > > > > > > >Yes, those are just words, but words, if
                            > understood
                            > > > > > correctly,
                            > > > > > > > can
                            > > > > > > > > > >inspire man to great heights.
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >ciao,
                            > > > > > > > > > >dupont
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 20:46:21 +0000 "C Yombi"
                            > > > > > > > <c_yombi@h...>
                            > > > > > > > > > >writes:
                            > > > > > > > > > > > After having lived in a small town - Leconi -
                            > with a
                            > > > > > "Bongo
                            > > > > > > > > > house"
                            > > > > > > > > > > > while my
                            > > > > > > > > > > > neighbors could hardly afford to send their
                            > children
                            > > > to
                            > > > > > > > school
                            > > > > > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > > > > > riding on
                            > > > > > > > > > > > the trans-gabonese railway wondering if we were
                            >
                            > > > going to
                            > > > > > end
                            > > > > > > > up
                            > > > > > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > > > > > the water
                            > > > > > > > > > > > because of track neglect, I tend to think words
                            >
                            > are
                            > > > just
                            > > > > > > > that -
                            > > > > > > > > > > > words. Don't
                            > > > > > > > > > > > forget that Bongo is bankrolled by the French
                            > > > government
                            > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > > > order to
                            > > > > > > > > > > > have
                            > > > > > > > > > > > control over Gabon's dwendling oil wealth. Look
                            >
                            > at
                            > > > > > Bongo's
                            > > > > > > > bank
                            > > > > > > > > > > > accounts and
                            > > > > > > > > > > > then at the decaying state of Bongo University
                            > in
                            > > > LBV.
                            > > > > > If
                            > > > > > > > Bongo
                            > > > > > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > > > > > such a
                            > > > > > > > > > > > good leader, why did he feel the need to renig
                            > on
                            > > > his
                            > > > > > > > promise
                            > > > > > > > > > to
                            > > > > > > > > > > > step down
                            > > > > > > > > > > > in 2005 by ammending the constitution to rule
                            > > > forever?
                            > > > > > Ask
                            > > > > > > > many
                            > > > > > > > > > > > Gabonese and
                            > > > > > > > > > > > they would vhemently disagree with you.
                            > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >From: "dupont6" <dupont3@j...>
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Reply-To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >To: gabondiscussion@yahoogroups.com
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Subject: [Gabon Discussion] re: "Bongo on
                            > > > Terrorism"
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 17:51:43 -0000
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Hello:
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >I think that stability in any country in Africa
                            >
                            > > > depends
                            > > > > > > > more
                            > > > > > > > > > on
                            > > > > > > > > > > > just
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >military troops and Presidential guards. Of
                            > course
                            > > > all
                            > > > > > > > leaders
                            > > > > > > > > > of
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >states have serious amounts of protection, but
                            >
                            > does
                            > > > > > that
                            > > > > > > > > > "keep"
                            > > > > > > > > > > > them
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >in power? I am more interested in what Bongo
                            > has to
                            > > > say
                            > > > > > > > about
                            > > > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >political challenges Africans have to face. I
                            > think
                            > > > > > that it
                            > > > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >important to focus now on economic development
                            >
                            > and
                            > > > aid
                            > > > > > for
                            > > > > > > > > > African
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >countries. I like what Bongo has to say about
                            > how
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > marketing
                            > > > > > > > > > of
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >resources coming out of most African states are
                            >
                            > not
                            > > > > > > > controlled
                            > > > > > > > > > by
                            > > > > > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >states themselves but by external entities.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >For example, it is important to develop the
                            > > > > > infrastructure
                            > > > > > > > > > where
                            > > > > > > > > > > > oil
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >producing states are actually refining the oil
                            >
                            > that
                            > > > is
                            > > > > > > > > > produced.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > Or
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >where companies marketing the by-products of
                            > > > resources
                            > > > > > > > like
                            > > > > > > > > > > > timber,
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >gold and diamonds are actually based and run
                            > by
                            > > > > > Africans
                            > > > > > > > native
                            > > > > > > > > > to
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >the region where they are produced. These
                            > things
                            > > > are
                            > > > > > more
                            > > > > > > > > > > > important
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >to the development of peoples lives than who is
                            >
                            > in
                            > > > > > > > political
                            > > > > > > > > > > > control
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >or what politician has the most money stashed
                            > away.
                            > > > I
                            > > > > > > > think
                            > > > > > > > > > > > arguably
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >that an intelligent and capable African head of
                            >
                            > > > state
                            > > > > > > > deserves
                            > > > > > > > > > to
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >have as much money as the Queen of England or
                            > Bill
                            > > > > > Gates
                            > > > > > > > for
                            > > > > > > > > > that
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >matter. Here in America, individuals
                            > speculating in
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > stock
                            > > > > > > > > > > > market
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >can amass wealth and power beyond that of a
                            > > > resource
                            > > > > > rich
                            > > > > > > > > > African
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >country!
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >I agree that Bongo is a better leader to his
                            > > > country
                            > > > > > than
                            > > > > > > > Bush
                            > > > > > > > > > or
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Blair. His political intelligence seems to be
                            >
                            > > > leaps
                            > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > > > bounds
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >beyond what Bush has to offer for instance.
                            > That is
                            > > > why
                            > > > > > I
                            > > > > > > > > > think
                            > > > > > > > > > > > that
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >he is extremely important for Gabon and for
                            > Africa
                            > > > at
                            > > > > > this
                            > > > > > > > > > time.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >We have seen in America how term limits
                            > together
                            > > > with
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > > > influence
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >of special interest in campaign politics has
                            > eroded
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > quality
                            > > > > > > > > > of
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >leaders that are put in the positions of power.
                            >
                            > We
                            > > > are
                            > > > > > > > seeing
                            > > > > > > > > > that
                            > > > > > > > > > > > it
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >is the "quality" not quantity that is important
                            >
                            > > > when it
                            > > > > > > > comes
                            > > > > > > > > > to
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >political leadership.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Also, what does it say about the leadership of
                            >
                            > > > African
                            > > > > > > > states
                            > > > > > > > > > if
                            > > > > > > > > > > > it
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >is so easy for Chinese or any other powerful
                            > > > nation to
                            > > > > > > > gain
                            > > > > > > > > > > > economic
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >or political control?
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >So I support President Bongo and hope that his
                            >
                            > > > agenda
                            > > > > > > > reaches
                            > > > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >ears of those world leaders in power who truly
                            >
                            > > > care
                            > > > > > about
                            > > > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >development of the African continent. Maybe
                            > after
                            > > > the
                            > > > > > > > debaucle
                            > > > > > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Liberia, politicians(especially black leaders)
                            >
                            > here
                            > > > in
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > states
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >will put more effort into understanding what
                            > > > economic
                            > > > > > > > > > development
                            > > > > > > > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Africa means to world stability.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >Ciao,
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >dupont
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 02:16:49 -0000 "bobutne"
                            > > > > > > > <bobutne@a...>
                            > > > > > > > > > > > writes:
                            > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > M'bolo dupont.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > President Omar Bongo must share (and,
                            > probably,
                            > > > > > > > abdicate)
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > the "stability to Gabon" mantle with the
                            > French
                            > > > > > (5,000
                            > > > > > > > > > troops
                            > > > > > > > > > > > in
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > Gabon and a large garrison
                            > > > surrounding/protecting
                            > > > > > the
                            > > > > > > > > > > > Presidential
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > palace) who have worked to assure that he is
                            >
                            > > > kept in
                            > > > > > > > power.
                            > > > > > > > > > The
                            > > > > > > > > > > > 500
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > Moroccan Presidential Guard helps, too.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > Bush and Blair are actually debasing the US
                            >
                            > and
                            > > > > > Britain
                            > > > > > > > > > world
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > hegemony by their unilateral actions.
                            > President
                            > > > Omar
                            > > > > > > > Bongo
                            > > > > > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > > > > > doing
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > a better job for Gabon than GWB is doing for
                            >
                            > the
                            > > > US
                            > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > > > world.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > The door to Africa is becoming closed to the
                            >
                            > > > West
                            > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > is
                            > > > > > > > > > being
                            > > > > > > > > > > > left
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > wide open for the Chinese to walk right in
                            > to
                            > > > gain
                            > > > > > > > economic
                            > > > > > > > > > and
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > political control. I could expound on this
                            > for
                            > > > many,
                            > > > > > > > many
                            > > > > > > > > > pages
                            > > > > > > > > > > > on
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > > here but will desist for now.
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
                            > > > > > > > > > > > > >
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                          • bobutne
                            Mr. Dupont has unique criteria for measuring the leadership abilities of a head-of-state. Mine are quite different. In my book, a great state leader does not
                            Message 13 of 24 , Aug 27, 2003
                              Mr. Dupont has unique criteria for measuring the leadership abilities
                              of a head-of-state. Mine are quite different. In my book, a great
                              state leader does not steal the wealth of his nation for his own self-
                              serving greed/ego but works to increase the well-being of his people.
                              My suggested criteria for evaluating President Omar Bongo are
                              measured upon his leadership abilities in the following areas that
                              affect every life in Gabon:

                              1. Quality of health.

                              2. Personal freedom including freedom of the press and free
                              elections.

                              3. National infrastructure.

                              4. Public safety.

                              5. Standard of living

                              6. Quality of the urban and rural environments.

                              If you want to debate these six points Mr. Dupont, I'd be glad to
                              oblige.
                            • dupont3@juno.com
                              It seems like you have a very narrow view of a great leader. You seem like you know more about what the people of Gabon need than President Bongo. You see, I
                              Message 14 of 24 , Aug 27, 2003
                                It seems like you have a very narrow view of a great leader. You seem
                                like you know more about what the people of Gabon need than President
                                Bongo. You see, I believe that President Bongo knows whats best for the
                                Gabonese people. He has a great character and intellect. He is a
                                benovoloent character. The Gabonese are a benovolent people.
                                I look at Gabon has an American and dont pretend to know what is best
                                from a Gabonese perspective.
                                I do know that it would be a great idea for the IMF and World Bank to
                                give Gabon an aid package that will invest in the infrastructure of the
                                country. This would address a lot of your concerns and points. It would
                                have to be well thought out so as not to harm the precious environment.
                                The money to do these things is available. Rather than waste billions on
                                war society like ours should invest in stable countries that are ready
                                for development as an alternative to destabilizing war.

                                Ciao,
                                dupont


                                On Thu, 28 Aug 2003 00:54:59 -0000 "bobutne" <bobutne@...> writes:
                                > Mr. Dupont has unique criteria for measuring the leadership abilities
                                >
                                > of a head-of-state. Mine are quite different. In my book, a great
                                > state leader does not steal the wealth of his nation for his own
                                > self-
                                > serving greed/ego but works to increase the well-being of his
                                > people.
                                > My suggested criteria for evaluating President Omar Bongo are
                                > measured upon his leadership abilities in the following areas that
                                > affect every life in Gabon:
                                >
                                > 1. Quality of health.
                                >
                                > 2. Personal freedom including freedom of the press and free
                                > elections.
                                >
                                > 3. National infrastructure.
                                >
                                > 4. Public safety.
                                >
                                > 5. Standard of living
                                >
                                > 6. Quality of the urban and rural environments.
                                >
                                > If you want to debate these six points Mr. Dupont, I'd be glad to
                                > oblige.
                                >
                                >
                                >
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                              • bobutne
                                I do know that it would be a great idea for the IMF and World Bank to give Gabon an aid package that will invest in the infrastructure of the country. Mr.
                                Message 15 of 24 , Aug 27, 2003
                                  "I do know that it would be a great idea for the IMF and World Bank
                                  to give Gabon an aid package that will invest in the infrastructure
                                  of the country."

                                  Mr. Dupont appears to be a Bongo shill who refuses to address the
                                  critical issues confronting all Gabonese and to "beg" for more aid
                                  to benefit his and President Omar Bongo's pockets.

                                  As you know, Mr. Dupont, President Omar Bongo has expatriated
                                  hundreds of million dollars of Gabonese funds to his personal bank
                                  accounts, French real estate, auto dealerships, etc. at the
                                  expense of all Gabonese.

                                  So be it. President Omar Bongo has sufficient time to establish a
                                  very positive legacy that will benefit all Gabonese. May he make the
                                  right choices....
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