Independence Day Celebration
June 29, 2017
Hilton Hotel – Malabo
It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you all to our celebration, to commemorate the 241st anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.
Allow me to take this opportunity to thank the entire Embassy staff who made this event possible. Many hours of hard work went into making tonight’s event a success, and I would like to express my personal appreciation for their efforts. And please allow me to offer a special thank you to my departing deputy Petra Zabriskie, for her strong leadership and hard work throughout her tour in Malabo. Petra, we wish (and expect) many more successes in Washington and beyond.
Last year we celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the founding of our National Park system and the possibilities the national parks provide for the future. This year we have special guests from the United States who are proud to share the importance of the honoring the environment and the wildlife of the world. It is for that reason that we have posted around the room pictures of the different birds each of our 50 states have selected to represent them, as well as our Bald Eagle. And Equatorial Guinea is the home to unique and exquisite birds and wildlife that must be protected. This is one of many topics of discussion between our two countries.
Since last year, when I first had the pleasure to host our Independence Day celebration here in Malabo, we’ve witnessed important developments in the United States, as Americans voted into office a new President, who ran on a platform of changing Washington.
Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight we are here to celebrate not only the actual independence of the United States, but also the spirit of independence and freedoms that Americans enjoy. These freedoms include selecting a new president, freedom of speech and assembly, as well as freedom of press and religion. These freedoms are basic human rights and universal aspirations. As the United States continues to grow and learn from its democracy, so should other countries’ people. This celebration reminds us that U.S. citizens continue in their solemn commitment to freedoms we have made as a country and which as a nation we seek to share with others.
Finally, let me thank our sponsors for this event today. Without the U.S. companies here in Equatorial Guinea, I am very aware that our diplomatic presence would be much different.