Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Speaks Before Angolan National Assembly

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 10, 2009
Luanda Cityscape at Night

Interactive Travel Map | Text the Secretary | Behind the Scenes PhotosYesterday, Secretary Clinton spoke to the Angolan National Assembly and met with Angolan parliamentarians and party leaders.

The Secretary said, “The role of your parliament is absolutely crucial in defining Angola’s future. The Angolan people have vested you with the responsibility of crafting a new constitution. This new constitution must be more than words on paper. It must be a living expression of the values and attitudes of your nation and the enshrinement of principles of good governance and human rights … In a democracy such as yours, the parliament must demand accountability and transparency, and stand against financial corruption and abuse of power … But democracy also requires strong institutions like an independent judiciary, an independent and free press, the protection of minority rights. And we believe that given the progress Angola has made since the end of your long war, this country is positioned to be a leader on the economic front, the social and political fronts, the security front, in every way. And we want to work with you to help you realize Angola’s full potential.”

Read Secretary Clinton’s full remarks to Angola's parliament leaders and her press conference with Angolan Foreign Minister Assuncao Afonso dos Anjos.



August 11, 2009

Rose P. writes:

Hilary Clinton sounds like a true Estateswoman thank god to my Program for a good government that in it has all that she has indicated for Angola!My Common Sense Government that Al Gore wrote a book from as well in my book titled "Pattern change Programing;Creating your own destiny; an evo-revolutionaray Psycho-Universal Sprituaity of Being Governmental Principals and transaprency to accountablity and financial organizaional reform and Abuse of Power and protection of miniority as it is infringed!

Maryland, USA
August 11, 2009

Jeanne in Maryland writes:

VERY proud of Mrs Clinton...............also her side remark about (whether mis-interpreted on the name in question or not)......not channeling her husband. She has proven herself over and over..........You go Mrs Clinton!

August 11, 2009

Clay writes:

I hope the translators did a better job than in the Congo. I would hate for the wife of President Clinton to embarrass us again.

United Kingdom
August 11, 2009

Lorna in the United Kingdom writes:

Error in translation or not, would the media be reacting in this way if, when President, Mr Clinton was asked "and what does the missus think of the Chinese loan...?" Sexism is alive and kicking wherever you are on this planet.

New Mexico, USA
August 11, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Having viewed the video clip, my gut tells me that the interpreter deliberately rephrased the student's question in a very insulting manner.

It's not simply the words, it's in the tone of the translator's delivery of the question that I draw this conclusion.

And an appropriate verbal nuking by our Sec. of State was the result.

That the Sec. of State took the time to resolve the matter afterwards with the student personally to their mutual satisfaction and understandng is a testiment to Ms. Clinton's patience with the human condition.

I suspect the translator is looking for a new job right about now.

New Mexico, USA
August 11, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Note the slight hesitation by the translator inbetween the words "Mr." and "Clinton".

No matter what language, proper names are not subject to translation.

"Clinton" is still pronounced the same, as is "Obama".

There could be no "mistake" in the translator's use of words, and the slight hesitation was her deliberate decision to substitute "Clinton" for "Obama".

The audience is already reacting to the way the question was asked, as Secretary Clinton responded.

New Mexico, USA
August 12, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:


"U.S. officials initially suggested that the man's question had been mistranslated from French into English, and that he was really asking for President Barack Obama?s views.

But Tuesday, State Department officials reversed course and suggested that the man was nervous, and thus misspoke, rather than being misunderstood.

"I don't think that we have a problem with the translation per se," State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters in Washington, D.C. "The report that the student said, I meant to say Obama. I have no reason to doubt that version of events."

Video footage of Clinton?s response has been circulated widely across the Internet, and has fed into the perception that the secretary of state is feeling marginalized inside the Obama administration.

Obama himself has taken the lead on a number of key foreign policy issues, such as Iran and Russia. And State Department special envoys engaged in Arab-Israeli peace talks and the Afghanistan war have taken over many of Washington?s other key foreign policy briefs.

The reemergence last week of Bill Clinton into the international limelight on a mission to free two American journalists detained in North Korea has also fed speculation that Secretary Clinton?s role is dwindling.

Crowley and other State Department officials Tuesday, however, debunked this view and chalked up Clinton?s reaction to her concern for women?s rights in Africa.

"It's important to understand the context here: that, you know, one of an abiding theme that she has in her trip to Africa is empowering women," Crowley said. "As the question was posed to her, it was posed in a way that said: I want to get the views of two men, but not you, the secretary of state."

---end excerpt---

MMmmm, methinks I spoke too soon, and my appolgies to the interpreter for doubting her integrity in public.

Perceptions being what they are, those assuming Sec. Clinton's being "marginalized" must have inferred that President Obama decided to "marginalize" his presidential campaign opponent by nominating her for Sec. of State?

Right. Earth to press corps-get a grip!

Now I know I was off target in my assesment, but at least I stayed on-planet with mine, and I have no idea what planet the "marginalization" conspiracy theory comes from.
If PJ has a clue I hope he lets us know...

But it gets my vote as the most inane, over-spun reporting of the week.

I noted in the full briefing that PJ said the video was still being looked at, and I suppose I could take it to a friend for forensic audio analysis independantly to isolate the young man's words in French from the interpreter's and background noise, but why bother?
It's not like the secretary had to duck a couple shoes after all, and I hope the young fellow suffers no more than his brief moment of embarrasment from local authorities after having offered correction of his question to the secretary, and apparently being forgiven for the "gaff" by her.

Words being the worst form of communication ever invented by humans, and this being a case in point...(chuckle).

Illinois, USA
August 12, 2009

Walter in Illinois writes:

After reading the transcript of part of the press conference that took place in Angola I have come to the conclusion that the Angolan TV (TPA) reporter hit the marks as far as I am concerned. Basically, what are our intentions as far as the Gulf of Guinea; Are we (U.S.) there for oil or really to help them back on their feet. Is the Gulf of Guinea going to be be the Persian Gulf of the 2050's? Interesting question.

I lived in Luanda for 2 years (Africa 6 1/2 yrs). The tech transfer question hits on some pivitol actions that can be taken by the U.S. to increase our assistance. Most Africans I have lived and/or worked with are tech "sponges"! They can't get enough of it but in order to make it universal (access for all) there needs to be universal access to education, vocational and otherwise.

In colonial times agriculture was a strong sector. After 27 years of civil war the people and the countryside were ravaged. I was heartened to hear that agriculture was on the agenda.

Personally, I really hope that we don't make Africa a field for competing with the Chinese... we cannot afford to make that mistake again.

New Mexico, USA
August 12, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Walter in Illinois,

Been a lot of talk about public/private partnerships, and here's an example:

Remarks at Witnessing of Signing of Chevron USAID Memorandum of Understanding


"And so, again, let me thank and congratulate CLUSA, Chevron, and USAID for their partnership on this issue. Let me especially thank Chevron for recognizing that it is important to give back to the countries where the natural resources come from."

-Sec. Clinton

6 million is pocket change for Chevron, considering the billions in annual profit, but you have to start somewhere.

Now if this becomes comany policy to invest in nations they do oil extraction from, call it "profit sharing" if you like, then I think notions of "evil corperate empire" will fade away.

African nations themselves will determine who gives them a better deal when it comes to who they wish to have economic ties with, and the more global corperations create a level playing field for fair economic competition for trade in the minds of Africans, then I think your concerns will also dissipate.

Ultimately, this I think wll serve to provde incentive to the Chinese to also reinvest profit in the nations they extract resourses from.

I do believe the Chinese are aware that how they do buisiness over the long haul will result in either a healthy relationship with African nations, or an unhealthy one, and they can't afford to see those relationships deteriorate for their own long-term economic well being.

I don't think the Chinese can any longer afford to turn a blind eye to the plight of African people in general in a self-serving manner, without suffering some very negative end results for their trade relations.

And if they do do right by the people, US interests won't be threatened by that at all. We'd applaud such efforts as partners in Africa's future.

It would be a "win-win" scenario for everyone.


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