U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Peter H. Vrooman Remarks
247 Anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America
June 21, 2023
Sua Excelência Ivete Maibaze, Minister of Land and Environment,
Representatives of the Government of Mozambique,
Fellow members of the diplomatic corps,
Partners in the private sector and civil society,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. Thank you all for joining us tonight, to celebrate the independence of the United States, the relationship between Mozambique and the United States, and to celebrate our hard-fought freedom. I would like to thank my team for their work.
This week, Americans around the world celebrated Juneteenth, or Freedom Day: on the occasion of the emancipation of the last enslaved person in the United States. While we are a nation founded on the ideal of freedom, we have not always lived up to that value.
In 1776, Americans fought for independence and for freedom, but – as we know – that freedom was incomplete. As Fredrick Douglas said, “What, to the American slave is your Fourth of July?” In America’s Civil War – our deadliest – Union soldiers fought against slavery. Throughout the Civil Rights Movement, young activists fought against systematic discrimination, violence, and oppression. And today, the Black Lives Matter movement is the continuation of every-day Americans’ fight for equality, equity, and inclusion.
As you arrived here tonight, you were greeted by the word “Freedom.” The late U.S. Congressman John Lewis said, “Freedom is not a state, it is an act…It is the continuous action we must all take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society.”
What drives this Embassy’s work in Mozambique is our dedication to collective efforts to act. We act to leave no one behind and to leave a better world than the one we inherited.
With you, we act to afford young girls the freedom to realize their dreams; to keep people alive with HIV treatment; and we act to support the most vulnerable – including those displaced by violence, or natural disasters.
In any democracy, the ability for all people to live freely must be fought for and preserved. Freedom and equality are at the essence of humanity and is what we fight for. Mozambique knows this fight well. It fought colonialism, survived its own deadly Civil War, and it placed “freedom, unity, justice, and progress” in the preamble of its constitution. Our two nations are comprised of citizens who believe in these values, and in the fight to “pedra a pedra construir um novo dia.”
Congratulations on the steps Mozambique has taken to realize a lasting peace.
As the poet Amanda Gorman recited during President Biden’s inauguration two years ago:
“…we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man. And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.”
Finally, let’s celebrate the freedoms that unite us.
Now, I ask that you raise your glass and join me and Her Excellency Minister Maibaze in a toast:
- To the independence of the United States and the freedom of all Americans,
- To the Mozambican people,
- To President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and President Joseph Biden,
- And to the friendship between the Republic of Mozambique and the United States of America.
Now, I invite Her Excellency Minister Maibaze to share a few words.