"I am organizing a visit to Portugal. And, possibly, when I visit Portugal, I will pay a visit to Fátima. It is being handled through the diplomatic channel, "Obiang told Lusa news agency in Malabo.
The President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, said that his diplomatic services are organizing his trip to Portugal, which will include a visit to the Sanctuary of Fatima.
Equatorial Guinea is a Catholic majority country in a sub-region with a strong Muslim presence and has joined the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) in 2014. In Portugal, political forces and civil society organizations have criticized Equatorial Guinea's accession to the organization, accusing Malabo government of several human rights violations and blocking political opponents.
The adhesion to the CPLP was justified by Obiang with the connection of Equatorial Guinea with the Portuguese-speaking African countries.
Portuguese colony until 1777, date on which it was delivered to the Spanish crown by exchange in the normalization of the borders of Brazil, Equatorial Guinea is the only African country that has Spanish as its main language and the historical and geographical links with São Tomé and Príncipe, in particular, are evident.
Obiang's second first lady is from Sao Tome and the two islands which compose São Tomé and Príncipe are bordered to the north and south by the equato-Guinean islands of Bioko and Ano Bom.
"The CPLP is a cultural movement and I have Portuguese speaking neighbors: I have Sao Tome so close, I have affinities with Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. There are many people here who came from Cape Verde. I have ties with Angola and Mozambique. These are cultural ties with these countries that have made us enter the dynamics of the CPLP", summed up Teodoro Obiang.
As for Portugal, the Equato-Guinean President recalled that the Portuguese inheritance was affected by the Spanish colonization.
"Portugal had significant economic resources in Equatorial Guinea. It had large plantations, large farms but Spanish colonization did not make it easier for them to continue investing in Equatorial Guinea, "he said.
That is why it is now necessary to "recover the Portuguese heritage," he said, recalling that "it was Portugal that discovered the island of Fernão Pó and gave it its name."
"We have origins in Portuguese civilization and our desire is to return to the old culture that we had in the past", seeking to "join and enter the Portuguese dynamics and culture", he said, thus justifying the entry into the CPLP.
Among the efforts of the Equato-Guinean government, Obiang stressed that "Portuguese is being learned" in the country, without clarifying the number of students.
On the other hand, "radio and television are broadcasting news in Portuguese".
"Little by little we are learning the Portuguese culture", he summarized.
Teodoro Obiang gave interviews to Lusa Agency and the French newspaper L'Opinion after the opening ceremony of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE in power) as an observer at the Democratic International of Central Africa (IDC, which represents center-right parties).