Building on 200 Years of Historic United States-Cabo Verde Ties

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U.S. Flag flying near the shoreline of the island of Sao Nicolau, Cabo Verde.
U.S. Flag flying near the shoreline of the island of Sao Nicolau, Cabo Verde.

Building on 200 Years of Historic United States-Cabo Verde Ties

Last year the U.S. Embassy in Praia and the Government of Cabo Verde embarked on a year-long campaign to commemorate 200 years of friendship. Our official relationship dates back to the 19th century when the first U.S. consulate in sub-Saharan Africa opened in Praia in December 1818.  

As the U.S. Ambassador to Cabo Verde, I had the distinct pleasure of arriving amid this historic celebration and witnessing first-hand the impact of our enduring ties on both sides of the Atlantic. From attending the Cabo Verde Trade Investment Forum in Boston, visiting local diaspora communities in Massachusetts, rededicating our American Corner in Mosteiros, or attending the inauguration of the Tarrafal Fishing Museum in São Nicolau – it is clear the links between our people are deep, diverse, and undeniable. I have cherished the opportunity in my first few months in country to meet U.S. and Cabo Verdean citizens across Santiago, Fogo, Sal, and Sao Nicolau, as well as the Cabo Verdean diaspora. I look forward to traveling more to experience the immense beauty and culture that all of Cabo Verde has to offer.

Ambassador Daigle and spouse Matthew Cuenca-Daigle at the inauguration of Museu da Pesca (fishing museum) in Tarrafal on island of Sao Nicolau, Cabo Verde. (U.S. Embassy Praia)

As we prepare to start the new year, I am again reminded how nothing links our countries more closely than the estimated half a million Americans of Cabo Verdean descent living in New England. As early as the 1740s, ships from the American colonies routinely anchored in Cabo Verdean ports. A tradition of immigration to the United States, which began before our nation’s founding, led to the countless contributions by citizens of Cabo Verdean and American heritage that continue to this day.  

American whaling ships docked in Port of Furna, Brava, Cabo Verde.

Together, we welcome the opportunity to reflect on our common identity as people of an entrepreneurial spirit who cherish freedom, democracy, and good governance.

Today, the United States remains a proud partner of Cabo Verde, a nation that since its independence has become one of Africa’s political and economic success stories. We congratulate Cabo Verde on its upcoming 45th anniversary of independence. As a model of democratic governance, the country enjoys impressive literacy rates, per capita income, and positive health indicators. Cabo Verde was the first country in the world to complete two Millennium Challenge Corporation compacts and achieved middle-income status in 2007. 

Ambassador Daigle (center) with Cabo Verde delegation, including Secretary for State for Finance Gilberto Barros (2nd from right), with an inaugural Boarding Pass for Cabo Verdean Airlines flight from Sal to Dulles.

We look forward to continuing to support Cabo Verde as a regional leader and as an ideal place for American businesses to grow and invest. Earlier this month, I was excited to travel on the inaugural Cabo Verdean Airlines flight between Sal and Dulles, Virginia, along with Secretary of State for Finance Gilberto Barros. This and other new routes are strengthening connections between African and U.S. markets and creating new opportunities for trade and investment.

The United States is pleased to have Cabo Verde as a partner in regional and maritime security and congratulates Cabo Verde on its success in countering the illicit narcotics trade, including two major cocaine busts in 2019. We look forward to supporting Cabo Verde’s continued success in combatting this and other illegal activities.

Sailors of the United States Coast Guard Ship Cutter Thetis give tours of the ship to Cabo Verdean students in Mindelo. The cutter specializes in maritime law reinforcement efforts including drug trafficking, contraband, and search and rescue operations. (U.S. Embassy Praia)

In the months and years ahead, I look forward to working with local communities, government officials, civil society, and the private sector to support the United States and Cabo Verde’s joint efforts to strengthen peace, security, and economic prosperity for our people. Even a brief look into our shared history demonstrates that the United States and Cabo Verde have always been and will always be two nations stronger together.

US Ambassador Jeff Daigle With President of Cabo Verde Jorge Carlos Fonseca at September 2019 Credentialing Ceremony. (U.S. Embassy Praia)

Here’s to 200 years of strategic partnership and counting.

About the Author: Jeff Daigle serves as U.S. Ambassador to Cabo Verde.

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