The history of UO’s bizarre foray into foreign affairs and Gabonese politics has yet to be written, but it started with a UO alum and US ambassador to Gabon Eric Benjaminson seeing a chance for a retirement gig at UO, the State Department’s sophomoric remix of Kissinger’s real-politic, Richard Lariviere’s desperate effort to get some money for something other than Duck sports, and a lot of oil money stolen from some very poor Africans. Like so many corrupt Oregon deals, some otherwise smart people gave it a pass because it was sold as “green” and “sustainable”. Oregon and Gabon: Twin Edens.
Vice President of Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh,Vice Provost for International Affairs Dennis Galvan, Jay Namyet of the UO Foundation and John Manotti of UO Development went to Gabon to get the money, but in the end Bongo reneged on the $15M endowment promise. Check the Gabon tag below for more info, including links to two RG editorials raising questions about the deal.
And now The Daily News has the latest from Gabon here:
A Paris court on Thursday fined French journalist and writer Pierre Pean 1,000 euros ($1,170) and ordered him to pay a symbolic one euro in damages in a libel case brought by Gabonese President Ali Bongo.
In a 2014 book called “Nouvelles affaires africaines” (“New African Affairs”), Pean insinuated that Bongo was behind two attempts to assassinate Jean-Pierre Lemboumba, who was once a close aide to his father, former president Omar Bongo.
The accusations were “very serious” but had “insufficient” facts to support them, the court ruled.
However Bongo lost his complaint against other parts of the book in which Pean accused him of ordering the poisoning of Georges Rawiri, the president of Gabon’s Senate, and of having fomented an “electoral coup d’etat” in 2009.
The court ruled that Pean had produced “solid, varied, abundant and concurring” documents to justify the statements were made in good faith.
For the record, I have no information suggesting Bongo tried to poison anyone from UO.