The Other Independence Days
Yesterday our nation celebrated the 239th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence.
Foreign friends and not-so-friends — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — sent messages of congratulations to Americans and the United States.
But ours is not the only Independence Day celebrated around the world.
Today, July 5, the people of Cabo Verde celebrate the 40th anniversary of their independence and the people of Venezuela celebrate 204 years of independence.
On Tuesday, July 7, the people of Solomon Islands will celebrate theirs.
Just in the days preceding our Independence Day, a dozen other countries, large and small (some very small), old and young (some very young), have celebrated their Independence Day, National Day or Statehood Day.
On July 1, the people of Rwanda celebrated the 53rd anniversary of their independence, the people of Somali the 55th anniversary and our neighbors to the North, Canada, the 148th anniversary of the birth of their nation.
On June 30, the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrated 55 years of independence.
On June 29, the people of Seychelles celebrated 22 years of independence.
On June 27, the people of Djibouti celebrated their National Day.
On June 26 the people of Madagascar celebrated their Independence Day.
On June 25, the people of Croatia celebrated the anniversary of their declaration of independence and the people of Slovenia their Statehood Day.
Heads of State and other leaders traditionally send each other congratulatory messages on such occasions.
Depending on the relations between the two respective nations, those messages can be warm and personal or cold and formal.
Putin’s message, an example of the latter, formally “noted that, despite the differences between the two countries, Russian-American relations remain the most important factor of international stability and security…”
John Kerry’s congratulatory message to the people of Venezuela focused on “the strong ties of friendship, family, culture, sport, and commerce” that bind the two countries together and only hinted at the dismal democratic conditions in Venezuela and the poor diplomatic relationships between our two countries:
As you look toward legislative elections, political dialogue will be important in ensuring peaceful resolution of disputes and the integrity of your democratic process.
I look forward to further cooperation between our people and governments as we seek ways to improve a historically strong relationship that has endured for nearly two centuries.
In contrast, Kerry’s message to the people of Mozambique is unusually personal and warm:
Your country is truly special to me, as it is the birthplace of my wife, Teresa. Our house resonates with the sound of Portuguese, as well as Teresa’s fond recollections of heading into the bush with her father, a doctor, to tag along as he cared for patients. A map of Mozambique hangs in our home.
This year represents a milestone in the history of U.S.–Mozambique relations. For the past 40 years, our relationship has grown to reflect our shared commitment to achieving lasting peace, progress, and shared prosperity for all people.
On this day of celebration, Teresa joins me in wishing her fellow Mozambican people peace, joy, and prosperity in the year ahead.
Please go to the State Department web site to read many more of these interesting messages.
Lead image: Mozambique Independence Day, by shutterstock.com