Brazilian Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Andrè Santos, says Liberia together with its international friends has made significant progress in rebuilding the country following years of war and a health disaster. He said Liberians need to recognize the progress, and maintain it.
Ambassador Santos made the assertions on September 7 in Monrovia when Brazilian citizens joined by other diplomats and government officials celebrated the 195th anniversary of Brazil’s National Day. He acknowledged that in the days before multiparty democracy in Liberia, political views and free speech were monitored by the power of the gun, but today, people speak freely and make any statement against the government.
He also noted that new buildings are rising in many parts of Monrovia, which should convince anyone that the country is on the path of progress and recovery. “I don’t care what opinion other people may have; there is progress going on in this country. The fact that there are many foreign companies here and buildings are rising up in the capital, Monrovia, is a sign of progress,” Ambassador Santos emphasized.
Santos, who is soon to leave Liberia for a new assignment in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said that both Liberia and Brazil have made significant strides and exercised some degree of maturity in their democratic and social developments over the past year. He said Liberia is about to set a record of peaceful democratic transition in October; and it is about time that politicians, the National Elections Commission (NEC) and ordinary voters play their respective roles to ensure that the peace and progress seen in Liberia are maintained. He said Brazil experienced a shock to its democratic development last year, which resulted in the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff over corruption allegations. In recent days former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was convicted on corruption charges and sent to prison for ten years.
Brazil declared independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822, but its colonial master recognized the independence on August 29, 1825. As for relations with Liberia, Brazil recognized Liberia’s independence in 1852 and entered into a treaty of friendship and commerce, subsequently followed by the conclusion of the treaty on Judicial Settlement of Controversies in 1925.
Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs and Acting Minister Deweh E. Gray, who spoke on behalf of the Liberian government, recalled that in May 2009 relations between Brazil and Liberia took a “Momentous” turn when the basic framework agreement on technical cooperation was signed and subsequently ratified by the Liberian Legislature in 2012. She said the framework presents opportunities in the areas of agriculture and food security, education, health, sports, and capacity building. The cooperation agreement between Liberia and Brazil, according to Cllr. Gray, sets the stage for collaboration on the establishment of a Liberia-Brazil Joint Commission that calls for collaboration in political consultations and cooperation in sports, energy and mining.
Gray acknowledged Brazil’s role in the peacekeeping mission in Liberia and extended the government’s gratitude to the Government and people of Brazil.