Brazilian Ambassador to Liberia Andrè Azevedo Dos Santos said despite Brazil’s political and economic challenges after 194 years of independence, Brazilians still have reasons to celebrate.
In his keynote address on September 7 at a resort in Monrovia, Ambassador Dos Santos said “After 194 years, we are still building our country. However, instead of feeling despair, Brazilians have many reasons to celebrate the Day.”
He said Brazilians have learnt to live in a society that embraces many opinions, ideologies and creeds.
Brazilians have been fully engaged in their country’s social progress, as evidenced by the opening of the Paralympics Games in Rio de Janeiro on the same day the country celebrates its Independence Day to create awareness on the social inclusion of people with disabilities, Ambassador Dos Santos explained.
He added that besides attracting a large number of athletes from around the world to Rio, Brazilians recognize the potential of the physically challenged and appreciate them for their abilities.
He said the games will teach people not to treat physically challenged people as second class citizens, but to consider them as people who have the right to work and contribute to the building of the nation.
Ambassador Dos Santos stressed that working with people from different backgrounds in society creates greater opportunities for Brazilians to build a better nation.
Brazil is currently undergoing a political struggle where the democratically elected President, Dilma Rousseff, was recently impeached by the Senate for corruption. President Rousseff has meanwhile challenged the Senate’s decision in the Supreme Court. Ambassador Dos Santos said despite the unfolding events, Brazil is still setting a democratic record by enforcing the rule of law.
For his part, Liberia’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Elias Shoniyin highlighted the bilateral relations between Liberia and Brazil from as far back as 1852.
Minister Shoniyin said the relationship between the two countries was consolidated following President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s visit to Brazil in 2010, during which arrangements were made for scholarships and training opportunities for Liberians to strengthen the capacity of public service administration and for assistance in agriculture.
The bilateral ties with Brazil, according to Minister Shoniyin, have also allowed the exchange of technical visits by ranking officials from both countries. He mentioned Liberia’s participation in the High Level Conference on Open Government Partnership as an example.
Shoniyin commended Brazil for its human and financial contributions to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).