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Senegalese leftists chastise French President Sarkozy

Published Aug 13, 2007 9:57 AM

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the rightist former interior minister, is known for his rhetoric and actions insulting the suburban poor and workers of North African and sub-Saharan African origin and for his willingness to ally French foreign policy with that of U.S. President George Bush. The following are excerpts from a statement by the Political Secretariat of the Union of African Workers—Senegal (RTA-S), which met on July 28 to examine, among other questions, the national political situation marked by the visit of Sarkozy to Senegal, including his patronizing speech directed toward all Africans given at the University of Dakar.

On the visit of Sarkozy

At the time of his official visit to Senegal, the president of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, lectured the people of Africa to give them a political and moral lesson encompassed by his vision of the history of slavery and colonization.

What Sarkozy is unaware of or acts as if he is unaware of is that the misery endured by Africans, whose countries abound in enormous riches, is caused mainly by the economic plundering that those rich African countries undergo by Western countries like France.

[The water, cement, lottery and railroad companies, which had been nationalized, have all been sold to French monopolies in the past eight years.]

The foreign commercial banks are for the most part subsidiaries of the major French Banks: SGBS, BICIS, Crédit Lyonnais, etc. These banks monopolize the savings of the Senegaleses: 2,500 billion Francs CFA per year, ($4.8 billion) according to certain estimates.

Our foreign trade is restricted by the agreements set in place since colonization and which also created the CFA Franc, a currency of the local countries guaranteed by the Bank of France, where the currencies of the African countries are deposited directly. In this type of agreement, France controls 65 percent of the assets of the African countries.

For example, in 2004, on a total 2,336 billion Francs CFA, that is, $4.7 billion, in Senegal’s current external account, France holds 1,538 billion CFA ($3.1 billion), leaving our country with only 798 billion CFA ($1.7 billion).

The civil wars and other instances of genocide (Rwanda) are often caused by the force of money that feeds and arms the rebellions that then take on their own life. The case of Chad is still very fresh. The case of Darfur.

That is how in an appalling way our economy is systematically plundered. That is how France grows rich on the backs of the African countries and plays a role in the manufacture of poverty on our soil in complicity with our governments, which also take part in the plunder by diverting public monies and transferring them to foreign bank accounts in France, Switzerland, the USA, etc.

To help the African countries to rise above underdevelopment would mean breaking with this system of revenue, with this plundering. It means ending the protection of the African governments guilty of corrupt practices and the diversion of the riches transferred to the Western banks.

Sarkozy is really far away from being in a position to give lessons on ethics and good governance; he is known for his years of waging a war on all fronts against what he called “the rabble” and “the Blacks” and those “undocumented” abused and “shipped home.”

Sarkozy is equally far from being able to give lessons of good knowledge about our history when France, under the various governments which followed one after the other, remained indifferent to the most legitimate and just claim, that of African veterans who are victims of discrimination beyond belief compared to French veterans, with the freezing of the pensions of the former.

Let us recall for memory’s sake that the infrastructures built by the colonizer had for their objective the systematically organized plundering of the resources of Africa for eternity, not for Africa’s development.

RTA-S denounces this speech of Sarkozy, which constitutes a true provocation of the people of Africa and their youth. RTA-S rejects its lessons of another era, the colonialist era, made with condescension and full of hypocrisy.

Translation from French by John Catalinotto, WW.