Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said seven years ago President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe were essentially the same and could not be separated.
According to a diplomatic cable just released by Wikileaks, Chissano told Brazilian government officials in August 2004 that Africans must stop blaming their colonial past for the continent’s present problems.
They must also use African solutions to resolve conflicts and not depend on the United Nations and others.
Chissano said every conflict had its own roots and unique characteristics which had to be addressed.
In the case of Zimbabwe, given the country’s history, Mugabe and Zimbabwe were essentially the same and could not be separated.
Constant dialogue among all parties was the only way to relieve the country’s internal pressures.
Chissano voluntarily stepped down as Mozambican president after 18 years in office but the Brazilians were not happy about this.
Mugabe had already been in power for 24 years at the time and is now going into his 32nd year.
Viewing cable 04BRASILIA2249, PRESIDENT CHISSANO VISITS BRAZIL
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 002249
ABIDJAN FOR USED/AFDB; PARIS FOR PARIS CLUB
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/03/2009
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT CHISSANO VISITS BRAZIL
REF: A. BRASILIA 796
¶B. BRASILIA 1975
Classified By: DepPolCouns Lawrence Cohen, reasons 1.4 (b & d)
¶1. () Summary: Mozambique President Chissano visited Brazil
on August 31 and was rewarded with over USD 315 million in
debt forgiveness for his country, the most relief Brazil has
given during President Lula’s administration. Chissano is
well regarded in Brazil, and his decision to step down has
generated some angst here. President Lula, meanwhile, is
showing that his Africa-oriented foreign policy is no fluke.
Worth the Trip to Brazil….
¶2. (U) During Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano’s August
31 visit to Brasilia, the Brazilian Government (GOB)
announced it would write off 95% of Mozambique’s official
debt (USD 315.1 million) with the balance (USD 16.6 million)
to be converted into investment or equity funds. The accord
was signed by Brazilian Finance Minister Antonio Palocci and
President Chissano. The GOB also confirmed it would finance
the installation in Mozambique of a pharmaceutical plant for
manufacture of anti-retrovirus medicine. In forgiving
Mozambique’s debt, President Lula stated that Brazil was
setting an example for other countries. Minister Palocci
emphasized that Brazil’s initiative followed guidelines set
by the Paris Club to assist Mozambique and would not have any
impact on Brazil’s own financial situation. (Note: The Chief
of the Foreign Ministry’s Africa II Division told poloff that
Mozambique has been current on its debt obligations to
Brazil. End Note)
¶3. (SBU) Debt relief for Mozambique follows closely President
Lula’s announcements regarding Bolivia (where during a July
visit he announced debt relief of USD 48.7 million of
Bolivia’s USD 52 million debt), Gabon (USD 36 million of debt
to be renegotiated), and Cape Verde (promised debt
forgiveness of USD 2.7 million). According to press reports,
the GOB is also analyzing possible debt relief for El
¶4. (SBU) In public remarks referring to visiting President
Chissano, who has ruled Mozambique for 18 years, Lula
expressed regret that Chissano had decided not to run for
reelection in December. The Brazilian President went on to
praise President Chissano: “You have learned to appreciate,
as few have, the symbolism and real value of the exercise of
democracy.” (Comment: Chissano is very popular in Brazil and
enjoys close friendships with senior Brazilian officials such
as former President Jose Sarney. End Comment)
¶5. (U) Chissano spoke to diplomats and new Brazilian foreign
service officers at the prestigious Rio Branco Institute (the
GOB equivalent of the Foreign Service Institute) about
conflict resolution in Africa. He elaborated on two key
themes: Africans must stop blaming their colonial past for
the continent’s present problems, and Africans must utilize
African solutions to resolve conflict and not depend on the
United Nations or others. Moreover, he said each conflict
had its own roots and unique characteristics which must be
addressed. His most pointed comments in response to a
question dealt with Zimbabwe. While not praising President
Mugabe, Chissano made clear that, given the history, Mugabe
and Zimbabwe were essentially the same and could not be
separated, and constant dialogue among all the parties was
the only way to relieve the country’s internal pressures.
¶6. (C) During the last few months, President Lula has been
putting some substance into what initially appeared a hollow
Africa policy. At the upcoming September heads of state
meeting at the UN to discuss the creation of a world fund to
combat poverty, Lula will likely refer
to his government’s efforts to help Africa, including some
on-going and planned initiatives with India and South Africa.
During Chissano’s visit, President Lula vowed that he would
go to Africa every year, and we sense he will meet this
promise. Foreign Ministry contacts tell us that west Africa,
probably Nigeria and Guinea Bissau and possibly Ghana and
Senegal, could expect Lula’s next African foray.
¶7. (C) However, when looking across the Atlantic, President
Lula ought to select his itinerary and message carefully.
His July visit to Gabon, his ride there in an open Rolls
Royce with Gabonese President Bongo, and a subsequent bad
joke by Lula that he’d visited Gabon to learn how to stay in
power 37 years earned the President some ridicule here (ref