As one of the highest paid football players in the history of the sport, Lionel Messi has recently been condemned by the Human Rights Foundation. It was during a recent trip to Barcelona that he received much flack. On July 17th, 2015, Messi was in the town of Gabon to endorse Ali Bongo. He arrived for the preparations of the hosting event of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He was seen all around town with Bongo and at many events. It appeared the two were on a social level, and he even went to the inauguration at a restaurant, which was owned by the dictator’s family. He received much flack for being in such a close relationship with this known dictator and wicked ruler.
The Human Rights Foundation, based in New York is meant to promote and protect human rights for the world. They put a statement on their website that said that Messi is supposed to be supporting children and their rights. He also serves as an ambassador for UNICEF. By traveling to this third world country and endorsing a regime that has absolutely refused to do any investigation into the children of Gabon and their ritual murders, it shows that his charitable is laughable.
The Bongo family has had complete control over the Gabonese people and their economics since 1967. Bongo took over from his father in 2009, but he spent 40 years in power before that. The trip was supposed to be a PR campaign to promote the Africa Cup of Nations. Gabon will host this enormous event. Many people are outraged that the Bongo family and their track record for embezzlement from the country leaves many of the population in this area less than two dollars a day to live on.
Surprisingly, the Bongos treat the national treasury as their own private bank. They have been known to take as much as twenty-five percent of the nation’s funds for their own personal use. They have long been known as one of the most corrupt regimes in the world. Messi put his career on the line by teaming up with a dictator that has complete control over his people in the evilest ways.
Messi put his future in the hands of a man who is a human rights abuser, yet he has made a stand for human rights by being involved in UNICEF. Many see this as a bold move for a double-minded man. Partying with oppressors does not release the statement of solidarity and the fact that innocent children are being murdered, and no one is doing anything about it is horrifying. This was a move that may have cost him his entire career. People certainly won’t see or trust him in the same manner that they did before.