On May 13, 2015, Cameroon Radio and Television (CRTV) welcomed two U.S. Embassy officials to its “Morning Safari” early morning program. They were interviewed by program hostesses Olivia Tumanjong, Welisane Mokwe Nkeng, and Tabe Ebhanga Enonchong. Public Affairs Officer Roberto Quiroz II and Assistant Regional Security Officer Nick Castellano responded to questions from the radio hostesses and callers on U.S. foreign policy priorities and consular questions on how to best apply for a visa.
Mr. Castellano addressed consular issues, specifically warning the public not to fall prey to “visa peddlers who take advantage of nervous potential applicants who in fact may qualify for a visa, but become ineligible by their use of fraudulent documents.” He explained different visa application procedures for business, pleasure, study, and immigration. Explaining required documentation for visa interviews, Mr. Castellano highlighted reasons for visa refusals, and urged citizens to search for accurate information on the U.S. Embassy’s website https://cm.usembassy.gov/ and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/yaounde.usembassy. “Our Consular Officer hosts a monthly web chat on our Facebook page where she interacts directly with our followers and answers their questions. We urge the public to participate in these web chats, and to obtain accurate information directly from the U.S. Embassy, and not to fall prey to the false promises of visa peddlers who sell fraudulent documents, which not only cost applicants visa refusals, but may lead to their prosecution under Cameroonian law.”
Mr. Castellano also urged applicants to bring authentic documents to their visa interviews, and spoke about how U.S. visa requirements are open and transparent, including the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
Mr. Quiroz noted: “As Ambassador Michael S. Hoza has said, the United States considers itself a great friend of Cameroon. Since his arrival last August, we have strengthened even further our excellent bilateral relations with the Government of the Republic of Cameroon, as well as with the people of this nation. That is why we make it a priority – and a responsibility – to explain our priorities and activities as an embassy to the Cameroonian public. Our highest priorities have been to support Cameroon’s security efforts to combat Boko Haram and to support efforts to strengthen this nation’s health sector. That is why last week the Ambassador launched the $40 million dollar Global Security Contingency Fund, which will support the efforts of Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Chad to Counter-Boko Haram. This was followed last Monday by the Ambassador’s launching in Cameroon of President Obama’s initiative titled the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) during a program hosted at Prime Minister Philemon Yang’s office in Yaounde.”
In response to questions from callers, Mr. Quiroz also underscored the United States’ priority to promote the empowerment of youth, women, and girls through education, entrepreneurship, and private sector growth through: “Like alumni from the Africa Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) who are successful business women, there are many youth who can become entrepreneurs to train and employ others. Jobs provide opportunities and salaries that will reduce unemployment and greatly contribute to the development Cameroonian communities. The youth have tremendous potential to build a future of prosperity and development in line with ‘Vision 2035’ through greater opportunities to contribute their own talents and ideas. That is why, in essence, ‘Vision 2035’ begins today, with the youth.”
Mr. Quiroz also invited the Cameroonian public to visit the U.S. Embassy’s Information Resource Center (IRC) for educational advising and resources, from books, CD’s, and free internet use. One caller noted that the U.S. Embassy “resembles a fortress and is intimidating.” Quiroz replied that “it is a big building indeed but not a fortress. This simply underscores one message: the United States of America is here to stay and we are proud of our partnership with Cameroon.”
See Facebook album of interview: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155533600350716.1073742008.312546460715&type=3&uploaded=4.