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Congressional Statement on Cabo Verde's 40th Anniversary of Independence


Mr. REED. Mr. President, the 40th anniversary of Cabo Verde’s independence,on July 5th, comes just one day after our country’s own Independence Day. As we near Cabo Verde’s 40th anniversary, this small country of 500,000 merits our recognition for its longstanding ties to the United States and for serving as a beacon for democracy in Africa.

While the existence of Cabo Verde’s islands was first acknowledged by the Romans, it was not until 1456 that the uninhabited islands were rediscovered and settled by Portuguese explorers. Over the next several hundred years, as a colony of the Portuguese Empire, Cabo Verde was a lucrative trading post between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Towards the end of the 18th century, many Cabo Verdeans came to New England, particularly Rhode Island and Massachusetts, where some found success working in the whaling industry. This immigration strengthened the ties between the United States and Cabo Verde and, in 1818, Cabo Verde became the site of the first U.S. consulate in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result of the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal, and after centuries of colonial rule, Cabo Verde was able to formally gain independence on July 5, 1975, and soon established diplomatic ties with the United States.

Since that time, Cabo Verde has worked for a democratic government. It has made great strides in this regard and, today, Cabo Verde is a leader in good governance, receiving top marks from the Freedom House for political rights and civil liberties. Cabo Verde has also made significant economic and social progress in the past several years. Additionally, given Cabo Verde’s strong ties to the United States and our shared commitment to democracy and economic freedom, Cabo Verde was awarded and successfully undertook a Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC, compact for private sector, agricultural, and transportation reforms, and is currently implementing a second MCC compact in the areas of water, sanitation, and land management. Moving forward, Cabo Verde can build on these successes to continue to grow its economy as well as strengthen ties to the United States and other allies.

Rhode Island is fortunate to have one of the two largest Cabo Verdean-American populations in the country, and continues to be enriched by the heritage and contributions of Cabo Verde. I am very pleased that earlier this month, T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island began welcoming direct flights from Cabo Verde, which will lead to greater exchange and new opportunities between Rhode Island and Cabo Verde.

As we near July 5th, I send my best wishes to all those of Cabo Verdean descent in Rhode Island and throughout the country on the 40th anniversary of Cabo Verde’s independence.

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