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Remarks by Ambassador Cesar Cabrera in honor of 232nd Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America

Friday, July 4, 2008

Macarty House

The Right Honorable, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, President of the Republic of Mauritius;
Honorable, Dr. Navin Ramgoolam, Prime Minister;
Honorable Rama Sithanen, Deputy Prime Minister;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Distinguished guests;

Thank you for joining us this evening to celebrate the 232nd anniversary of the independence of the United States of America.  I am pleased to be here as the American Ambassador to Mauritius.  The Fourth of July is a special day for Americans, and this evening I welcome you and your families to Macarty House, the residence of the American people, for our celebration of independence.

July Fourth is the day Americans throughout the world celebrate the enduring principles from the Declaration of Independence: “that all men are created equal, and endowed with unalienable rights, such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

The upcoming presidential elections in the United States represent America’s progress toward these ideals.  Senator Hillary Clinton has paved the way for future generations of American women in politics.  Senator Barack Obama made history as the first African-American to win a party nomination for president; and Senator John McCain, born in the Panama Canal, makes history as the oldest first-term running candidate. 

The revolutionary idea of ordinary citizens becoming the founders of what would be a strong democracy lives on in many countries, including Mauritius.  In both our countries it was ordinary citizens who became founding fathers -- Mauritius has Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam and Sir Gaetan Duval, while the U.S. has George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. 

Alexander Hamilton, like Sir Ramgoolam and Sir Duval, was an islander -- born on the island of Saint Kitts-Nevis in the British West Indies. He was appointed as the first Secretary of Treasury by George Washington and was the architect of our national economic program and a major contributor to our federalist system of governance.  Another great American and fellow diplomat, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, is also of island descent.  Although he was born in New York, his parents immigrated to the United States from the island of Jamaica.

As many of you know, I too come from an island.  My home, the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, is very similar to Mauritius.  Both islands are rich in ethnic and cultural diversity, historical and religious traditions, and have struggled for justice and equality for its citizens.  Much like the Mauritian culture ties together so many influences, the Puerto Rican culture combines the native Taino culture with influences from European, African and American cultures. 

The relationship between Mauritius and the United States has grown since President Thomas Jefferson appointed William Macarty, the first U.S. Consul to Mauritius in 1794.  Diplomatic relations were formally established between our two countries in 1968 when the first U.S. Embassy was established in Port Louis. 

The bilateral relationship between the United States and Mauritius is one of the longest in U.S. history, and we are very proud to be part of this enduring friendship. 

Thank you –- to you, our friends -- for joining tonight us for America’s birthday celebration!