A Call for Solidarity, a Call for Unity

Peter H. Vrooman, U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique

Since I arrived in Mozambique one month ago, I have spoken with many about this country’s short but rich history as an independent, sovereign nation.  I have heard about the freedom fighters and challenges they faced and fought for while seeking independence.

I am reminded of what the first President Samora Machel said at Maputo’s Central Hospital in 1976: “International solidarity is not an act of charity: It is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objective…Solidarity has no race and no color, and its country has no frontiers.”  This idea of solidarity is just as important now, as it was then.

Here in Mozambique, solidarity between the American and Mozambican people have allowed us to reduce by nearly half the number of deaths from HIV/AIDS.  We are funding humanitarian assistance for displaced persons in Cabo Delgado.  Three years ago, we responded in solidarity with the people of Manica, Sofala, and other provinces with aid, food, and water for the victims of Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.   We are the largest donor of COVID-19 vaccines through the international community’s COVAX facility. Our solidarity continues because it is what binds our two peoples.

Now look north, where international solidarity is also needed.  After years of living in peace, Ukrainians face an unprovoked invasion of their sovereign nation.  Since 1991, the people of Ukraine have freely chosen their own path.  Ukraine’s president and parliamentary representatives were elected through free and fair elections.  No matter your political leanings or opinions, the principles of humanity, of sovereignty, and the right to life and self-determination supersede all others. We must stand with Ukraine.

Putin plunged Europe into war in the hopes of reviving an empire at the expense of civilian lives.  Russian tanks have rolled across the border of Ukraine, destroying schools, homes, hospitals, government buildings, and historic landmarks.  This Russian invasion has caused the death of thousands of people and has displaced millions.  Putin lies to his own people, to his own soldiers, and to the world to try and excuse the war that he started. By launching a brutal and unjustified attack on the people of Ukraine, Putin also committed a brutal assault on the principles that uphold global solidarity.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people have responded with determination, unity, and defiance at the violation of their country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and right to peace in their country.

Again, in the words of your first president, “Solidarity is an assertion that no people [are] alone, no people [are] isolated in the struggle for progress…This struggle may be in Asia, in Europe, or in America, or the struggle may be in Africa, but it is the same struggle.”

Dear friends, Ukrainians need solidarity and support from us all. Estamos juntos com a Ucrania.