President Sassou-Nguesso of Congo is an unlikely ally of the United States, given his record of brutality and history of Marxist politics. However, he's scheduled to meet with President Bush on Monday and is likely, once again, to ask the United States for debt forgiveness.
None of this might have come to public attention except for the publicity surrounding the diversion of more than $400 million in oil revenue as well as the exorbitant amounts of money Sassou-Nguesso spends on himself and his entourage when traveling abroad.
“Sassou-Nguesso lives very publicly like a king, while his people suffer in destitution,” said Dr. Samuel Gregg, Director of Research at the Acton Institute. “I hope President Bush takes the many ugly facts that surround this man into consideration during their meeting on Monday and asks him about his country's missing oil revenues.”
While the Congo's citizens continue to be mired in living standards that lead to disease and high death rates — conditions consigned to history in the West centuries ago — their leader reportedly spent $295,000 on an eight-night stay for himself and 50-strong entourage (including his wife's hairdresser) earlier this year in a New York luxury hotel. This is just one of a number of similar documented instances of extravagant spending by the president of a country where the average citizen lives on approximately $2 a day.
Unfortunately, while Congo President Denis Saddou-Nguesso exchanges pleasantries with President Bush at the White House, Congolese citizens will continue to live amid poverty and corruption back home.
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to “promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles.” For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.
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With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.
The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles." For more on the Acton Institute, please visit www.acton.org.
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