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Equatorial Guinea’s Ambassador Objects – posted by

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An Iron Grip in Africa, With Ties to the U.S.” (Malabo Journal, May 31) presents an unrealistic and outdated image of Equatorial Guinea, a country that is struggling vigorously to become more free, to modernize itself and to provide a better standard of living for its citizens.

In fact, developing our human capital, creating economic opportunities and improving living conditions are among our greatest challenges and our highest priorities as part of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s ambitious Horizon 2020 program.

We also face the challenge of making our system of government and our security forces more open, accountable and corruption-free. Our president has pushed for reform of the legal system, and the International Committee of the Red Cross has opened an office in the country to monitor our progress.

Your article cited an incident of torture that occurred in 1992 to reflect the reality of Equatorial Guinea today. It also repeats the canard that 77 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Unfortunately, one of the current problems of Equatorial Guinea is that we still lack updated statistics in some fields, and there are no updated statistics on income distribution for any entity to cite. Many groups insist on repeating this false statistic, but none of them have cited a genuine source.

We have set a course to develop our human capital and our infrastructure. The pace of change may not be as fast as anyone wants, including us, but I challenge the world to watch as this country develops into a place where people enjoy the fruits of our petroleum riches without being robbed of their incentive to produce and to control their destinies.

Ambassador to the United Nations
for Equatorial Guinea
Washington, June 9, 2011

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