Thomas Sankara was a popular leader in Burkina Faso. He was one of the few Afrikan leaders prepared to act in resolving the debt crisis. His speech below, the first of , was made at the OAU Summit in 1986 shortly before his assassination in a coup.
Thomas Sankara, late President of Burkina Faso on the debt:
“The Debt problem needs to be analysed starting from its origins. Those who lent money to us are the same people who colonised us, are the same who so long managed our states and our economies; they indebted Afrika with “donations” of money. We were not involved in the creation of this Debt, so we should not pay it.
The Debt, moreover, is linked to the machinery of neo-colonialism: the colonisers became technical assistants; I would call them technical assassins; and they suggested, recommended to us the financiers; they told us about the financial advantages. That is why we indebted ourselves for decades and renounced the satisfaction of our people's needs. In today's shape, controlled and dominated by imperialism, the foreign Debt is a well-organised tool of colonial re-conquest: in order to make the Afrikan economy a slave of those who were so clever as to give us capital with the obligation of reimbursing them. We are asked to reimburse our Debt. But if we do not pay, the capital lenders will not die; if we pay, we will die. We cannot pay; and we don't want to pay.
We are not responsible for the Debt burden. We have already paid a lot of the Debt. We are asked to co-operate in researching balance mechanisms: balance in favour of those who own the financial institutions and use the power against the peoples. We cannot be accomplices. The Paris Club is there; let's create the Addis Ababa Club for cancelling our foreign Debt. Our Club should say: our Debt will not be paid. Don't think it is a proposal made only by young people like us. Mrs. Bruntland said Afrikan countries cannot pay, as did Mr. Mitterand and Fidel Castro. ... We should explain in other conferences that WE CANNOT PAY. We must be united, otherwise, individually, we will be murdered! Avoiding Debt repayment is a condicio sine qua non to allow us to free resources for our development.
But I cannot forget that when an Afrikan government buys arms, it acts against the Afrikan people; that, along with the refusal to pay the Debt, we should find a solution to the armament tragedy. I propose a call for Disarmament. By this way, we will be able to use our immense resources for development.”
-- THOMAS SANKARA.
[Late President of Burkina Faso, Heroic Martyr of the Cause of total Afrikan Redemption.]
Speaking at the Summit Conference of the Organization of Afrikan Unity (OAU), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1986.
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