HUMAN RIGHT FOUNDATION CONDEMNS LIONEL MESSI’S SUPPORT FOR ALI BONGO! HUMAN RIGHT FOUNDATION CONDAMNE L’APPUI DE LIONEL MESSI À ALI BONGO!
English version HRF Condemns Lionel Messi’s Hypocritical Celebration of Gabon’s Dictator Libreville, GABON (July 31, 2015)—On July 17, Argentine football superstar and children's rights advocate Lionel Messi visited Gabon to endorse and celebrate Ali Bongo, a dictator who has ruled the African country after succeeding his father Omar Bongo in 2009. Messi has denied reports that he was paid 3.5 million euros by the Bongo family for the visit, but displayed enthusiastic support for the dictatorship during his trip. The Bongo family has exerted complete control over Gabonese politics, economics, and society since 1967. The Bongos have used Gabon as their feudal state for decades, systematically looting the country's vast natural resources, oil wealth, and rainforests. “In providing PR services to Gabon's Bongo family, Lionel Messi has seriously undermined the credibility of his own charitable foundation,” said Human Rights Foundation president Thor