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Cablegate: Congo/B: Fy2005 Ambassador's Fund for Cultural

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 000399

SIPDIS

FOR ECA/P/C - GRACHEL KUBAITIS and AF/PDPA for Ehrnman
and Whitman

FROM BRAZZAVILLE EMBASSY OFFICE

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO ECIN SCUL CF OXEC UNESCO
SUBJECT: CONGO/B: FY2005 AMBASSADOR'S FUND FOR CULTURAL
PRESERVATION - PROJECT PROPOSAL

REF: STATE 007967

1. Brazzaville Embassy Office submits the following
FY2005 project application for the Ambassador's Fund
for Cultural Preservation.

A. HEADING WITH COUNTRY AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Embassy: Brazzaville Embassy Office
Country: Republic of Congo
POC: George W. Indyke Jr. (Deputy Chief of Mission)
Phone (mobile): [242] 526-3635
Phone (land): [242] 81-14-82
Fax (located in Kinshasa): [243] 884-1036
Email: indykegw@hotmail.com (NOTE: Brazzaville is not
connected to State Department OpenNet.)
Alternate: Margo Mulumba
Phone: [242] 526-3564
Email: margommulu@yahoo.com

B. PROPOSAL SUMMARY
Restoration and preservation of slave pillar memorial
constructed in memory of slaves transported from the
port of Loango to the Americas, from the 15th and to
early 19th century. The slave pillar memorial rest on
the site of departure of millions of slaves from both
Congos, Central Africa and Angola. The pillar is
located at end of the original "slave route" and is in
disrepair, crumbling, and has fallen over as a result
of lack of maintenance caused by the years of conflict
(1997-early 2002). Since then Congo has comeback from
years of instability and as a post conflict country is
seeking to restore one of its key historical symbols -
the slave memorial pillar.


C. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Historic Importance: Loango port is an important
historical site. It is the only location in the Congos,
which served as the point of departure for slaves from
Central Africa and Angola, from 15th to early 19th
century. More than 3 million slaves departed for the
Americas from this site. As one stands at the site it
overlooks the Loango bay where slave ships from
Portugal and other European nations were anchored in
preparation for receiving slaves as cargo. The site
where the pillar (or stle) was located is at the end
of the famous "slave route," and one can look up from
the pillar to see the original "route." It is the site
just before the point of embarkation to the slave
ships. The pillar was erected in 1829, after slavery
was officially abolished, to commemorate this tragic
period in African history.

Artistic/architectural/cultural importance: Restoration
of the pillar, which collapsed during the years of
civil war and instability in the Republic of Congo,
will have artistic, architectural, and cultural
importance. The restored pillar will be designed to
serve as an educational and historical site for the
Congo, and all of Central Africa. It will be a restored
obelisk and the Embassy along with other partners such
as UNESCO will rededicate the site with a plaque. (NB:
UNESCO is not providing any funding, but Embassy
included them on its project proposals selection
committee as well as an official from the Ministry of
Culture). Congolese school children are taken to the
site annually and taught about the slave trade as well
as the cultural importance of the site for all of
Central Africa. A local NGO, l'Association Femme Sida
Sant and Culture" located, in Point-Noire, 20
kilometers south of Loango, project proposal was deemed
the most capable to restore the pillar. The NGO is
experienced in this field and the Association has
partnered with 3 specialized civil engineers: one who
holds a doctorate in civil engineering and will direct
the project; one construction engineer, specializing in
renovation and public works; and, one technical
engineer. The rest of their team will consist of the
following: three labors, three masons, three mason
assistants, two plumbers and two carpenters. The
project time-line is four months to complete the
restoration of the pillar.

D. IMPORTANCE OF OBJECT:
The importance of this monument (obelisk/pillar) is to
educate the Congolese as well as others about this
historic site in the Central Africa Region. The slave
site here is not as well known as those in West Africa.
Increased visits to the site will also assist this post-
conflict country in promoting tourism to the site and
as a side benefit stimulate the local economy. This
obelisk/pillar symbolizes an important period in
history regarding the transatlantic slave trade.

E. URGENCY OF THE PROJECT
The Loango site needs this monument restored because it
supports the cultural history of the Republic of Congo
and Central Africa. At the same time, the restoration
of the pillar will encourage more people to visit this
historical site and it is also important not to allow
the obelisk to further deteriorate. Much of the
Republic of Congo's infrastructure, including its
cultural sites, artifacts and historic items, were
damaged, lost, stolen or destroyed in the recent years
of civil war. The pillar was knocked over and is
deteriorating. The preservation of the Loango "slave
pillar" will encourage local, as well as, international
visitors to further study the history and heritage of
the Republic of Congo.

F. IMPACT OF U.S. CONTRIBUTION
No other funding source has been identified. The U.S.
contribution would be the only one for the pillar, but
the Ministry of Cultural has plans to reestablish a
museum and better mark the original "slave route,"
making the entire area a slave memorial. The U.S.
contribution would enable the pillar to be restored as
the first step in revitalizing this historic area. It
also would be a way of recognizing, commemorating and
publicizing the historic ties between the U.S. and the
Republic of Congo as a result of the slave trade from
this site to the Americas.

G. ADVANCEMENT OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVE
Post's MPP goals include encouraging democracy,
transparency, human rights and promoting American
values. We believe that these two MPP goals would be
achieved with our contribution to restore the "slave
pillar." There are human rights, and democracy values
connected to the history of the slave trade, and the
cultural importance will be highlighted in the restored
pillar. Good-will and development through a better
understanding of past wrongs also is a major part of
transparency.

H. DETAILED BUDGET
The proposal's budget was presented in CFA francs (CFA)
at the exchange rate of CFA 510 to the dollar. The
exchange rate on March 1 was CFA 498 to the dollar. We
would add approximately USD$5,000 more to the submitted
budget to accommodate the exchange rate fluctuations
which have been significant over the last year since
the CFA is pegged to the EURO.

ITEM FCFA USD
Preliminary Work 500,000 980.3922
Foundation Work 2,600,700 5,099.412
Elevation of the Obelisk 5,074,610 9,950.216
Elevation of the walls 182,035 3,570.657
TOTAL 9,996.345 19,600.68

I. OTHER FUNDING SOURCES
No other funding source has been identified. In-kind
contributions of labor, expertise, consultations and
guidance will be provided by the staff of the Museum of
Loango (which falls under the Ministry of Culture). The
total Embassy request to support the proposal is
$25,000.

2. Brazzaville Embassy Office - Sanders
MEECE

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