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News ::
BTL:Bush Africa Tour a 'Photo-Op,' Not a Serious Policy Initiative (english)
18 Jul 2003
Interview with Bill Fletcher, president of TransAfrica Forum, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Bush Africa Tour a 'Photo-Op,' Not a Serious Policy Initiative

Interview with Bill Fletcher, president of TransAfrica Forum, conducted by Scott Harris

Before embarking on his recent trip to Africa, President Bush told reporters that his administration "cared deeply about the plight of the African citizen." While touring five nations on the world's poorest continent, the president condemned slavery and affirmed support for economic development and extolled his $15 billion pledge to fight AIDS and other diseases. But many Africa observers are skeptical that this new attention from the White House will make a profound difference in the lives of the African people.

It turns out that the president's original request for funds to combat the AIDS pandemic, and resources to finance development projects in Africa, have been dramatically scaled back. Congress, facing record deficits, will likely reduce these programs even further. Critics point out that Bush glaringly failed to address Africa's debt crisis, the single largest obstacle impeding progress on economic development, which is key to providing relief to a population devastated by grinding poverty. During his visit, the president focused on the U.S. war against terrorism, but said little about the five-year long conflict in the Congo, which has thus far killed more than 3 million people.

While the White House denies it, political analysts believe that the president's visit to Africa was, at least in part, an effort to repair damage with African American voters in advance of his 2004 re-election bid. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Bill Fletcher, president of TransAfrica Forum, who assesses the economic and political underpinnings of Bush's recent tour of Africa.

Call TransAfrica Forum at (202) 223-1960 or visit their Web site at:

Related links

Africa Action,
Health GAP (Global Access Project)

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
"Between The Lines" is distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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