Cannibal uncle in Papua: Prime Minister responds to Biden's astonishing statements

Cannibal uncle in Papua: Prime Minister responds to Biden's astonishing statements

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea downplayed Joe Biden's comments that his uncle had been eaten by cannibals in this country, considering it a “moment of confusion” for the US president, several media outlets reported on Monday.

• Read also: His uncle is devoured by cannibals: Biden raises eyebrows with a family story

James Marape said: “There are sometimes moments of confusion,” also stressing that relations between the two countries are stronger than a simple “moment of ambiguity.”

“I met him four times, and he always had warm feelings about Papua New Guinea,” Mr. Marape said, explaining that Mr. Biden “never spoke of Papua New Guinea to bring up cannibals.”

Last week, Joe Biden raised eyebrows after telling a family story: that of his uncle, Ambrose Finnegan, who was killed in New Guinea during World War II.

The president said his uncle's body was never found “because there were too many cannibals” in that area.

But official military documents indicate that Ambrose Finnegan died at the same time as two other soldiers when his plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean for unknown reasons. A fourth passenger was rescued, but the other three have not been found.

Cases of cannibalism have been documented historically among a small number of tribes in remote areas of Papua New Guinea. This means that the country has become the subject of clichés that are as outdated as they are stubborn, and which they have been trying to get rid of for decades.

Cole, Mitterrand, Macron…

Arguing that “there are much deeper values ​​in our relationship than a statement, a word or a headline,” Mr. Marape asked Mr. Biden to focus instead on removing unexploded ordnance, inherited from World War II, which still litters the archipelago.

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“I urge President Biden to ensure that the White House focuses on cleaning up these remains (…) so that the truth can be restored about missing service members like Ambrose Finnegan,” the prime minister wrote in a press release published on Sunday.

During a mine clearance operation carried out by Australian and American forces in 2014 on Bougainville Island, 16 tons of war munitions were destroyed.

These comments by Mr Biden about his family history come in the wake of a series of recent gaffes by the US President.

In February, during a campaign event, Biden spoke about a conversation he had in 2021 with former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died in 2017.

A few days before that, he had already mentioned an exchange, supposedly to take place in 2021, with former French President François Mitterrand, which he would have confused with Emmanuel Macron.

Biden's critics, led by Donald Trump, who is 77 years old, have repeatedly expressed doubts about the old age of the US president, who is 81 years old, and his ability to lead a second term.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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