Contact US Foreign Relations Chairman Senator John Kerry to re-evalulate the US stance on the Ivory Coast.
August 6, 2011

President Gbagbo’s Letter about Independence Day

President Gbagbo

English, translation
French, original

(Translation from original French)

Ivory Coast, Ivory Coast, people of Cote d’Ivoire, dear compatriots, dear people of Cote d’Ivoire.

I wish, on this solemn day marking the 51st anniversary of Independence of our country, to join all of you to give glory to God first, our Lord continues to show its loyalty to noble country, despite the tribulations of these moments.

Then, each anniversary is an opportunity both to review and identify opportunities, I would like to share with you some thoughts on the meaning of the day of Aug. 7.

This reflection is an exercise in exploration of ourselves that is imposed on every citizen of this country, but especially the leaders, and political and administrative leaders who have the responsibility to lead the destiny of our nation, especially in the current context major trauma on our people, who aspires to live its sovereignty as an actor and about humanity, not as a mere object or a spectator in the construction of its own history.

Independence is a strong concept, which refers to a movement break. The break point is defined here does isolation or withdrawal, ideal position of the weak, but it is rather a transformation of consciousness that puts one who invokes it, the easement full accountability in the construction process of humanity.

I continue to believe that the world derives its freedom and dynamism of the freedom of each component. This belief has remained the compass of my entire political action, it never left me.Therefore, in my role as Head of State and President of the Republic, I have tried the face of adversity, to give substance to the notion that seemed to be evasive and elusive for our people.

I measure the best of my position, great suffering, but also the great merit of all those men who, throughout history, fought for freedom and independence of their people. I think of Martin Luther King, whose political commitment to death has more than forty years later the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, to Gandhi, whose work continues to feed the soul of the great INDIA; General de Gaulle, who refused the inevitability of defeat to restore the lost greatness of France to Mao Zedong, who broke the bonds of slavery at the cost of enormous sacrifices to give China its glory today.

I praise the courage of Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba and all other worthy fighters in Africa, which are examples of self-sacrifice for freedom and pride of the African people. I welcome in particular the memory of our illustrious ancestors who fought for the outlines of what we call independence. Their merit is quite large in the context that was theirs.

But we must bear in mind that their struggle would be futile if we stopped to admire only their achievements. The symbols of the State and the Arms of the Republic remind us each day our duty and responsibility before our own destiny. Everyone is called to give them a real sense. It’s the constant struggle which should mobilize all the energies of the son and daughters of our country.

In my case, I continue to refuse the position of the frame in which you want to absolutely keep the African people. Indeed, I remain convinced that in the dialectical relationship of the rider and the horse, regardless of the quality and quantity of hay that the rider gives the horse’s position that one (the rider) is largely comfortable with relative to the position of it (the frame).

In a competitive world, it is unrealistic to believe that a people can provide the perfect happiness of another people, history shows no example of this type. Therefore, when I took office as Head of State, I put my political commitments, economic and social in the sense of our sovereignty, which in my view is a prerequisite for any development.

On the political level, respect for the Constitution, a symbol of the social contract that underpins our Nation, is an absolute requirement which can not accommodate possible compromise. I am convinced that if all of us, we gave our Constitution the sanctity that is his, the Ivorian crisis have had a better outcome in the shortest possible time. The Constitution is the guarantee of our national sovereignty. It deserves unflinching mobilization around it.

I want to level my words, pay tribute to our brave freedom fighters, some of whom lost their lives in defense of our Constitution. I think especially our brave soldiers of the Defence Forces and Security (SDS), all units combined.

Since 2002, they opposed a heroic, often under very difficult to subjugation of our people. Whenever they were close to winning, they were prevented by FRANCE. That was the case in November 2004 and March 2011, when at the cost of countless sacrifices, the SDS had taken over the enemy in the decisive battle of the city of Abidjan. They have not lost the war against the enemy officially declared. I reiterate my pride them and ask them not to grow so any complex of a defeated army.

I join all these tributes to these thousands of young women and men, young martyrs of our history which cost them their lives, were able to materialize our will to fulfill our common destiny as free people, as sovereign .

I praise the courage and bravery of the Prime Minister Professor Aké-Marie N’GBO Gilbert, Professor Emeritus of Economics, also President of the University of Abidjan-Cocody, and all the members of his Government that are either in prison or in exile, having chosen the side of freedom and dignity in Africa.

I associate these tributes also all those great civil servants who have lost everything and are living in absolute poverty to have fulfilled their duties. I keep a deep thought for all those anonymous exiled, imprisoned or living in fear because of their faith in the greatness of our country and Africa. History restore their glory.

I also thank the countless Africans living in Africa and elsewhere who wear every day that our fight is mostly their own, wherever the need arises. I reassure all my friends. Finally, all those other people who believe in the destiny of our continent and are committed to our side, I would express my deep gratitude.

I demand the release of all political prisoners, because it belongs to me, and me alone, to report to the sovereign people of Cote d’Ivoire the mandate he was kind enough to entrust me since October 2000.

Also on the political level, respect for our institutions seems to be another equally important aspect of the exercise of our sovereignty. That is why we negotiated with the French authorities break defense agreements that bound us to the former colonial power. The crisis in our country we have learned that in this world in open competition due to globalization, conflicts of interest may arise between nations, even the most friends. Under these conditions, it is better to give flexibility in the exercise of its right of defense.

However, these defense agreements, in their old writing, entrust the defense of our national sovereignty exclusively and entirely to a foreign power. They limit our freedom of action. In the same vein, the closure of the French military base of the 43rd BIMA is a requirement in line with the yearning of our people. The French military intervention in the violent electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire confirms my my choices. The massacre of our countrymen, mostly civilians, and especially young people, by the French army, leads us to ask ourselves about the meaning of independence of our people.

In the space of six years (2004-2011), the French army shot and killed Ivorian citizens who demanded nothing but their right to freedom. This is the biggest trauma of my life. At the same time, these two massacres strengthen my conviction that the struggle for sovereignty remains an existential question for our people. I will never tire of the lead. For this reason, no humiliation will be too much for me. I intend to fight this battle by making one with my people, with the support of all freedom fighters around the world in the land of our ancestors.

On the economic front, I put my action in the logic of our sovereignty. Indeed, from 2001 to 2011, the Ivory Coast lived on equity despite the division of the territory in two. We were able to provide all our obligations as a state within, and all our commitments abroad. In the same vein, despite the difficulties in the implementation of the reform of the cocoa-coffee sector, the transfer of its management to farmers also reflects our desire to free the fundamentals of our economy of alienation.

The concepts of budget and other secure, far from being mere diversions themes, reflect my profound thought that we must rely primarily on ourselves to ensure our development. IVORY COAST and has the means. I recall that for the single year 2010, despite a tumultuous season, the Internal Revenue Service, Customs and Treasury have mobilized more than 2200 billion francs now.

Allow me to welcome here, all officials and agents of the State of the larger jurisdictions that have successfully translated into practice for ten years our sovereignty. For 2011, these services were engaged in mobilizing some 2,500 billion CFA francs. Unfortunately, the burden of debt, including external, limit the scope of our performance. The social impact has not been up to this performance because of debt burden.

Therefore, when I took office, I raised this issue a national priority. The debt burden makes us slaves.Our independence also means our postage chains of debt. It is with good reason that despite the difficulties of all kinds, we continued to pay it back.

The decision point under the HIPC Initiative reached in 2009, despite the crisis, is recognition of our efforts by the international financial community. We must all bear in mind that no country can develop with the sole effort of the taxpayers of another country. Similarly, a country that fights in another country, fighting first and foremost to the economic interests of its people. It is both unrealistic and dangerous to believe and to argue otherwise. CÔTE D’IVOIRE can afford to live without excessive debt, provided it has the full and free administration of his wealth. I remain convinced that this is one of the reasons why we are victims of the attacks we are experiencing.

On the social level, our determination to preserve the sovereignty of our people, has led in all of our citizens the energy that mobilizes around the nation. Despite the anathemas thrown on our youth overused the great values of patriotism it embodies, we saw serious progress on the awareness of our common destiny. From this point of view, our country has become the bearer of a new hope for all of Africa fighting. All great nations feed their patriotism. CÔTE D’IVOIRE, which aims to become a great nation can not be ashamed of his own.

My dear compatriots, of my whereabouts, I continue to keep faith in our struggle. As in all battles, there are battles lost. But the main purpose is which is the goal of beginning. A losing battle, we do not turn away from our ultimate goal is affirmation of our existence as a community of free and sovereign destiny.

The independence we celebrate today required great sacrifices from us. The humus bodies of fallen fighters for freedom, always germinate the seeds of hope for future generations. It’s the chain of solidarity between generations that continues until the end of time. The generation that is shirking its duty of solidarity remains permanently indebted to those who follow it, if not of all humanity.

The great powers that we require today have gone through these tests. Their current generations enjoy the dividends of struggles their ancestors. It’s an old law of nature to which we must submit to acquire in the end, our full sovereignty. Always remain engaged and confident. For ever a people struggling to gain his freedom has been won. It is also a historical truth.

I never stopped believing that the Ivorian problem must be resolved between us, Ivory Coast, with the support of the African sage. I still wonder, therefore, the motives which have governed the action of the French authorities, in a conflict that was being processed at the African level. I note that the Ivorian crisis has greatly stuck every time the French government is involved it beyond reason.

Therefore I appeal to the inter-Ivorian political debate under the aegis of Africans. Africa has all the skills to manage its own contradictions. It must fully support themselves if they want to stop being the scene of the most unbelievable experience who despise their own values. Only at this price that no one will dare challenge his contribution, however, still evident in the construction of the history of our humanity.

God bless you, God bless the IVORY COAST.

Happy Independence Day to you all!
Laurent Gbagbo

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Côte D'ivorie Links

For daily news, both in english and french, please visit:

Official Gbagbo Campaign Site

Official Site of the President (site is down)

Ivory Coast Internet TV