If you are looking for one of the best in the world of soccer, you really can’t go wrong with Lionel Messi. As a star forward for Barcelona, he shows the ultimate in skill on the soccer field. Like other well-known celebrities, however, Lionel Messi is no stranger to some controverial actions. There are dictators throughout the world, and sometimes a professional athlete will visit their country for motives known only to them. Lionel Messi recently visited the country of Gabon, and normally there would not be a problem with an athlete visiting another country. However, the country of Gabon is led by a dictator named Ali Bongo, and there have been some extremely intense human rights violations alleged at him.
Gabon has been ruled almost 50 years by the Bongo family, and there have been some recent accusations that are very disturbing. The local media in Gabon have uncovered a scandal in which children mysteriously disappear and are killed and their organs are harvested for human food. Recently French police actually raided the villa of the Gabonese leader to find evidence of these human rights violations.
On July 17 of this year, Lionel Messi visited the country of Gabon. Messi has his own charitable organization that lobbies for the rights of children. He also serves as a UNICEF advisor for the purpose of promoting youth education. Consider these facts, it would give most individuals some serious pause to visit a country where human rights violations are allegedly occurring that on par with Nazi Germany.
Lionel Messi’s decision to visit this country did have a purpose: he was meant to be the guest of honor and lay the first stone for the African Cup of Nations tournament to be held in the country in 2017. However, the fact that the Bongo administration refuses to investigate these terrible child human rights violations would mean to the casual observer that Messi’s decision was a poor one. Other issues have come up, including the fact that accusations have been made that Messi was paid 3.5 million pounds for the trip. Of course, the Argentinian and Gabon embassy both categorically deny that this is the case. According to them, Messi accepted no payment at all.
Because of Messi’s visit, he has become at odds with the Human Rights Foundation, which champions the cause of mistreated people worldwide. After reading this story, I have to say that I am appalled that Messi would visit a country with a record of such horrendous humans rights violations without thinking it through first.