Chronique du jour

President Bush, the first U.S. leader ever to visit Benin, adjusts the sash of

Benin's President Yayi after receiving the Grand Cross of the Order of Benin.



Fraternite, Benin

'God Bless America':

George W. Bush Will

'Walk on Benin's Soil'


"To state it plainly, the boss of the White House will share his American virtues with us. God Bless America. Hopefully the divine blessing enjoyed by the heirs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will descend on a nation singing of a New Dawn."


Sulpice O. Gbaguidi


Translated By Kate Davis


February 15, 2008


Benin - Fraternite - Original Article (French)

Bush's African Itinerary

The main event of mid-February is, undoubtedly, the visit to Benin by American President George W. Bush. The leader of the global superpower should be walking on our nation's soil tomorrow, Saturday. Or, to state it plainly, the boss of the White House will share his American virtues with us. God Bless America. Hopefully the divine blessing enjoyed by the heirs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will descend on a nation singing of a New Dawn.


According to the Foreign Ministry statement, the visit is part of an African tour the American president will make lead to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia. History tells us that the last tour of Africa by George W. Bush was in July 2003. And at that time, he went to Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria. It's clearly a privilege and an honor to welcome an American president. Not since we achieved independence in 1960 has an American president landed at the Cotonou Airport; from John Kennedy (who was in power in 1960) to Clinton, and including Lyndon Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush's father. Benin's list of honors is short and meager. The arrival of Bush Junior means therefore that he has an appointment with history.


Even though the visit by the head of the White House will be nothing more than a three hour stop at Cotonou Airport, he will breathe the fresh air of change. On the road to development, Benin is willing to expose itself to the contagion of economic development. Boni Yayi [President of Benin ] should drink in the advice of the most powerful man in the world. The president can boast of having removed a cruel weight of history by attracting the leader of the greatest army on the planet to Benin.


Bush Junior couldn't resist our efforts to consolidate democracy and social development in our country. This visit, which is a diplomatic victory for Yayi's team, looks like a bonus brought about by democracy and a barometer of change for the regime. This personal success for Boni Yayi completely eclipses the social rebellion and cures a system that confronted a massive revolt.


The transformative diplomacy that Bush invented to encourage democracy has already been illustrated by the creation in 2004 of the Millennium Challenge account, which is managed by the Millennium Society, a U.S. federal agency . Under the reign of Krkou [a Marxist dictator who ruled for 22 years ], Benin had already signed the Millennium Challenge agreement. Innovative methods for the granting of American aid and because of its struggle for good governance under Boni Yayi have made Benin a privileged partner of the United States. The crusade against corruption is likely to reassure the U.S. and encourage investors. Bush's visit to Benin will surely serve to prompt bilateral cooperation between Washington and Cotonou [Benin's capitol]. WORLDMEETS.US


But, it is not inconceivable that the leader of the military superpower will talk with Boni Yayi about Africom, the American military command center proposed for the African continent. The creation of the United States Africa Command demonstrates the increasing importance of Africa in the geopolitics of the United States. His journey to Benin, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia could be an opportunity for Bush to expand Africom. Since Truman, America has increasingly shown its desire to lead the Free World and protect the values of democracy and freedom. WORLDMEETS.US


This visit by the occupant of the Oval Office to Benin could help sell the image of the country. The 1,000 billion taken from the African mechanism [a possible reference to the Millennium Challenge funding]for evaluation by its peers were therefore not stolen. Democracy will continue to pay its dividends. Bush is clearly opening Cotonou's door to the most powerful men in the world.
































[WORLDMEETS.US Posted February 15, 4:30pm]



The West African Nation of Benin: The onset of President Bush's visit, the first by a U.S. head of state, has sparked tremendous excitement in the country.

Population: 8.4 million

43,483 square miles

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: President Bush becomes first U.S. President to visit Benin, 00:01:30, Feb. 15WindowsVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWSWIRE PHOTOS: President Bush's Africa Tour].

President Bush clowns with some children during an arrival ceremony at the Cotonou Airport in Benin.

President and Laura Bush are welcomed by a group of women and children at the Cotonou Airport in Benin. The signs say, 'We witness your official visit as tokens of sympathy for our country - Benenese people will cherish and remember forever'.

President Bush's visit is seen as a major coup for Benin's President Boni Yayi.