Ethiopia: Senator Marco Rubio is With Us!



Special note and request: I am asking my readers in the United States, particularly Ethiopian Americans in the great State of Florida to join me in advocating against confirmation of Gayle Smith who has been nominated to head the USAID.

The United States Senate has independent and full authority to confirm or reject Gayle Smith’s nomination.

I specifically urge Ethiopian American constituents of Senator Marco Rubio in Florida to contact one of his district offices or Senate office in Washington, D.C. and register their strong opposition to Smith’s confirmation.

For a list of Senator Rubio’s district offices in Florida and Washington, D.C., CLICK HERE.

I also call upon all Ethiopian Americans who believe in freedom, democracy and human rights to phone, write, email and fax their Senators’ local or Washington offices and register their strong opposition to Ms. Smith confirmation.

To contact your United States Senators, CLICK HERE.

“The President…shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law….” United States Constitution, Article II, section 2, Clause 2.

As I have set forth below in my letter to Senator Marco Rubio (which I sent to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas),  Ms. Smith’s confirmation to head USAID will be a disaster for Africa and an unmitigated catastrophe for Ethiopia.

Let us use the U.S. Constitution and petition our Government to do the right thing:  REJECT THE NOMINATION OF GAYLE SMITH!

“You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable and transform even the biggest nation.”

― Marian Wright Edelman

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September 23, 2015

Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate
Suite SR-284
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Rubio:

First, let me thank you for Letter dated July 22, 2015 to President Barack Obama in which you eloquently “highlighted” your “concerns regarding ongoing human rights abuses by the Ethiopian government against its own people.“

In your Letter, you stated,

I am concerned that unless you make these issues a priority during your trip, your visit to Ethiopia could grant legitimacy to a government that violates democratic principles and basic human rights… Since Ethiopia’s 2010 election, opposition members have faced politically motivated arrests, imprisonment, and torture… I [am] very disappointed by the comments Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman made on April 16th before the election that, ‘Ethiopia is a democracy that is moving forward in an election that we expect to be free, fair and credible and open and inclusive in ways that Ethiopia has moved forward in strengthening its democracy…every time there is an election it gets better and better.’

… I ask that during your meeting with Ethiopian officials, as well as in any public remarks, that you strongly condemn the arrest of political prisoners and encourage the government to respect human rights and the freedom of assembly. It is important that the United States continues to promote democracy and freedom for everyone, including the people of Ethiopia.

Sir, Ethiopians have few friends in the United States Senate who have stood up and become the voice for the voiceless for them.

We are grateful for your letter. We all THANK YOU!

As you know, President Obama visited Ethiopia and said,

I don’t bite my tongue too much when it comes to these issues. We are opposed to any group that is promoting the violent overthrow of a government, including the government of Ethiopia, that has been democratically elected.

The ruling regime in Ethiopia claims to have “won” 100 percent of the seats in parliament in a country with some 90 political parties; and President Obama says, “the election is democratic”.

I believe it was the great American playwright Tennessee Williams who said, “The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite.”

We Ethiopian Americans and Ethiopians in general had great hopes of promoting core American values in Africa when Barack Obama was elected President.

Our hopes were dashed.

As arguably the most ardent and vocal Ethiopian American supporter of President Obama, I finally had to come clean on Barack Obama. It was hard! Very hard!

To read the rest of the letter, CLICK HERE.