Lionel Messi is a popular figure in the world of Argentine professional football, but he is currently being criticized for his trip to visit Gabon back on July 17th. The Human Rights Foundation feels that his trip to this area was in poor taste due to the reports that have surfaced about the country’s leader, Ali Bongo.
Ali Bongo is known as running a dictatorship in the Central African country, as stated by the Human Rights Foundation. He has controlled various aspects of the political system since 1967, and his worst offense is that he is accused of murdering children and harvesting their organs. The harvested organs are then used for human consumption, particularly the rich and wealthy. Rituals are held in which the organs are removed from the body and eaten under the belief that the consumers influence would increase as a result.
Lionel Messi’s foundation works to support children’s rights, and visiting a figure such as Ali Bongo is a big discredit to the goals of his organization. Lionel Messi serves as a UNICEF ambassador and is a big help in the growth of youth educational systems. The same cannot be said for the country of Gabon, which offers very little rights to children and is accused of mysterious disappearances and murder of their youth.
During the trip, Lionel Messi was treated as the guest of honor and was there to lay down the first stone for the Port Gentil stadium that was about to undergo construction. The purpose of the stadium is to hold the African Cup of Nations tournament that will be used in international football sporting events coming up in 2017. It’s rumored that he was heavily paid for his time in Gabon, being offered a big sum of €3.5million. However, this claim has been denied by Gabon and has stated that there wasn’t an exchange of money but the trip was instead a promise being fulfilled by Lionel Messi.
Ali Bongo claimed that he had met Lionel Messi a couple years ago during his trip to Barcelona a couple of years ago, during which Lionel Messi had made a promise that he would come visit him. That is the reason that Lionel Messi agreed to the trip and came down to set the first stone of the stadium. He is a man of honor just trying to fulfill his word.
The Human Rights Foundation isn’t buying into any of it and believe that Lionel Messi took the trip in order to make a quick buck, despite it going against his foundation’s interest. It has gained a lot of attention but Lionel Messi has given very little outspoken opinion towards the mounting criticism he is facing.