Friday, February 20, 2015

President Obiang Did Not Attend Carnival In Rio De Janeiro, Equatorial Guinea Says

Brazilian companies sponsored samba. Government provided cultural materials and national ballet troupe.

The government of Equatorial Guinea has issued a statement refuting press reports that President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo had attended the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro and that the government had sponsored a samba. Several news organizations, including The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press, had carried that erroneous information.

The Ministry of Information, Press and Radio confirmed that President Obiang was in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, at a meeting of African leaders discussing ways to combat the threat of Boiko Haram in West Africa. It said that a group of Brazilian companies doing business in Equatorial Guinea had sponsored the samba, Beija Flor, which dedicated its performance to the government of Equatorial Guinea.

It said the government of Equatorial Guinea “supplied material for the show, as well as information on our country, its art and culture.” It said the National Ballet of Equatorial Guinea, Ceiba, participated with Beija Flor.

“Despite what was published by numerous international media, the initiative of paying this homage to Equatorial Guinea did not come from the Government of Equatorial Guinea, or from the Presidency of the Republic,” the government statement said. “It deals with an initiative that emerged from the Brazilian companies that operate in Equatorial Guinea, along with the school Beija Flor. An initiative that we supported.”

The statement asserted that The Wall Street Journal had erroneously identified President Obiang in a photo taken at the Carnival celebrations. “The person that is seen in the photo is Jose Mba Obama, Vice Minister of the Government,” the statement said.

“H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been carrying out his agenda in African and national matters,” the statement said. “He has been in Yaounde (Cameroon) participating in the Extraordinary Meeting on Security of the ECCAS, in order to seek solutions to confront the danger of Boko Haram. A truly important and transcendental meeting for the security of Africa.”

The Carnival of Rio de Janerio offered a special homage to the African continent and Equatorial Guinea, through the presentation of the Beija Flor Samba School, with the slogan: “Africa: happy, strong and full of color.”

See the full text of the government statement here.