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Has Messi Endorsed A Government That Eats Children?

Lionel Messi has been raked over the coals by the Human Rights Foundation, a non-for-profit organization.

At the time of writing this article, the first thing one sees when visiting the foundation’s front page is an article headlined “HRF Condemns Lionel Messi’s Hypocritical Celebration of Gabon’s Dictator.” That headline does little justice to put into perspective just how lowly the foundation regards Messi’s recent trip to Gabon. 

The man widely accepted as the world’s best football player, and an ambassador for UNICEF to promote youth education, recently visited Gabon as a guest of Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba in order to help lay the foundation for a new stadium.

According the HRF, Messi’s act was a “shocking” endorsement of a “dictator” and “serial human rights abuser” whose family has “exerted complete control over Gabonese politics, economics, and society since 1967… and used Gabon as their feudal state for decades, systematically looting the country's vast natural resources, oil wealth, and rainforests.”

It gets worse. It gets so much worse.

The president of HRF, Thor Halvorssen, said that Messi has “endorsed a kleptocratic [run by thieves] regime that refuses to investigate the ritual murder of children in Gabon” by partaking in the visit. 

Surely, you are thinking right now, surely “ritual murder of children” is as bad as it gets, and never have I wanted naiveté to be right as much as I do right now, because it is not. Each year, the article says, the Gabonese government allegedly murders children and harvests their organs for human consumption, and its politicians “eat the eyes, lips, and sexual parts of child victims to increase their power.” 

I mean, by the time the HRF’s article gets to accusing President Bongo’s family — yes, the Bongos — skims 25% of Gabon’s Gross Domestic Product for their own personal use, robbing a country blind seems downright saintly. Never mind that 20% of Gabon’s population operates on $2 a day.

Let’s not forget that before all of the accusations of child murdering, organ harvesting, and sadistic embezzlement, Messi was alleged to have been paid 3.5 million euros by the Gabonese government in order in the first place (which the government denied). 

It’s no surprise that foundation says that Messi “has seriously undermined the credibility of his own charitable foundation.”

Yeah, an ambassador for youth education does seem out of place amid such rabble. 

The article ends with a call to action for Mr. Messi: 

“If Messi wants to do good in Gabon, HRF recommends that rather than partying with oppressors, he release a statement in solidarity with the country’s persecuted dissidents and environmentalists, and press the regime to investigate the ritual murders of children.”

You need new PR people, Lionel. 

Follow me on Twitter: @yetly

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