GM Advocacy Staff Writes Letter to President Obama about Mozambique
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to express my deep gratitude for the support that your administration has given Africa and to ask that you give attention to the concerns of the people of Mozambique. November 10-20, 2011 my colleague, Rev. Sandra Gourdet, and I traveled to Mozambique on behalf of Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ to meet with church leaders, visit church projects and to listen and learn about the social and religious reality of church partners in Mozambique. During our visit, we witnessed vibrate faith communities that are committed to ministries of justice, women empowerment, and community develop. These ministries are being challenged by the global economic crisis, food insecurity, HIV/AIDS and degradation of the environment. In the midst of these great challenges, the people remain resilient and continue to heal after the 20 year civil war.
A major concern among the church leaders we visited is acute or abject poverty. The country is flourishing with development in tourism and transportation yet the average citizen tries to survive on less than $500.oo a year and poverty has not reduced in the last seven years. Much of the country’s growth in the economy does not benefit Mozambique citizens, instead foreign investors who take their profits to Europe, Australia and Asia.
Mozambique brings into stark relief the vulnerabilities of sub-Saharan Africa to the impact of climate change. Its volatile climate already delivers a devastating cycle of flood and drought, hampering poverty reduction and development. Maputo, the capital, is always at risk of serious flooding. It has been noted in several publications that unless immediate action is taken, Mozambique will be overwhelmed by the impacts of cyclones, floods, droughts and disease outbreaks.
In addition to abject poverty and climate change, HIV/AIDS continues to be a major concern for citizens in Mozambique. Mozambique is facing a major HIV epidemic coupled with structural factors such as poverty, gender inequality, cultural conditions and high levels of labor mobility, all conducive to a rapid and continuing increase in HIV infections within the country. The country has the potential to achieve economically and socially and unless this is grasped, the epidemic may accelerate.
I urge your administration to give attention to the concerns I have raised in this letter, make the reduction of global poverty, food security, climate change and global HIV/AIDS a priority. I sincerely believe that Mozambique, if able to weather the storm of their challenges with assistance from the United States, will be a model of transformation and stability for the African continent and the world. I am reminded of a conversation that my colleague and I had with a local church pastor on our way the airport to catch our flight back to the United States, he said, “Please tell President Obama that when he is making cuts in the U. S. budget, not to cut Africa anymore. As you have witnessed, our people have suffered much with the current assistance and we will not be able to survive if given any less.” I know that this is a difficult economic time in the United States but I entreat you, Mr. President, not to reduce support for African nations and to seek ways to partner with other countries to strength the economy of countries in Africa that contribute to life and stability for African citizens.
I end this letter with a request from the church leaders we visited. Without fail, everywhere we traveled we were asked to “tell President Obama that we are praying for him, his family and for the United States of America.”
Rev. LaMarco A. Cable
Program Associate for Advocacy and Education
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ
CC: The Honorable Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State
CC: The Honorable Susan Rice, American Foreign Policy Advisor/ U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
CC: Rev. Joshua DuBois, Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership
CC: Ambassador Amelia Matos Sumbana, Ambassador of the Republic of Mozambique to the USA
CC: Ambassador Leslie V. Rowe, US Ambassador to Mozambique
CC: Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ
CC: Rev. Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ in the U.S. and Canada
CC: Rev. David Vargas, President of the Division of Overseas Ministries and Co-Executive of Global Ministries
CC: Rev. Cally Rogers-Witte, Executive Minister of Wider Church Ministries and Co-Executive of Global Ministries
CC: Rev. Sandra Gourdet, Global Ministries Africa Executive