Image: Today News Africa
President Joseph R. Biden
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Washington, D.C., November 27, 2023
RE: Ask President João Lourenço for immediate release of all political prisoners in Angola
Dear President Biden:
You have a historic opportunity to help several families by asking President Lourenço during your meeting this week to release all political prisoners in Angola, and to refrain from sign the repressive NGO draft law that threatens independent civil society.
We have learned that President João Lourenço will be welcomed to the White House on Thursday, November 30. We understand the need for the United Sates to deepen its bilateral cooperation on trade, investment, climate and energy, and to advance the administration’s “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) project in the Lobito Corridor, which will connect Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia to global markets through Angola’s Lobito port.”
For years, Friends of Angola and the African Diaspora in the U.S. have advocated for more robust and thoughtful U.S. investment in the African continent. Unlike China’s opaque investments in Angola, we believe the U.S. can better contribute to Angola’s prosperity and democratic culture through renewed bilateral efforts and approaches. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been expanding its economic and political influence in Angola through an opaque large infrastructure project, resource extraction deals.
This CCP engagement has contributed to corruption, environmental degradation, and a shrinking civic space as the government imposes restrictions on civil society. The CCP’s growing sway has coincided with the Angolan government passing restrictive NGO laws, limiting foreign funding, intimidating NGO workers, and shutting down critical organizations. Civil society plays a vital role in any democracy by empowering citizens, yet space for NGOs and activists in Angola is being severely constrained. This closing down of civic space, influenced by CCP authoritarian approaches, threatens Angola’s democratic development by limiting citizens’ ability to hold the government accountable on issues like corruption, human rights and environmental damage caused by China-tied projects.
On behalf of Angolans, the Angolan diaspora, and civil society in Angola, we respectfully urge President Biden to ask President Lourenço to immediately release all political prisoners in Angola and refrain from signing the repressive NGO draft law that threatens independent civil society in Angola.
Friends of Angola