Thursday, October 02, 2003

America bashing, Mugabe style

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, claims that his country's economic situation is the fault of...guess who?

Zimbabwe has introduced its first ever 1,000-dollar bill - worth little more than one US dollar at the official exchange rate - to try and ease the country's chronic cash shortage.


But while the new bill could help ease the banknote shortage, it is widely seen as no more than a stopgap.

Although at the official rate Z$1,000 buys a little over one US dollar, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's coffers are almost devoid of foreign currency.

And, at the much more common parallel market rate, the new note will be worth no more than 25 US cents.

Critics blame the devastation of the official economy - unemployment is at 70% and there are now no official petrol imports because the government cannot afford to pay for them - on the policies of President Robert Mugabe.

They say his government's policy of throwing white farmers off their land has turned the country from the breadbasket of southern Africa into a land where millions are facing starvation.

Mr Mugabe, on the other hand, says external forces - particularly the UK and the US - are conspiring with domestic opponents to sabotage the economy in retaliation for the land redistribution.

Whoops, looks like this isn't the first time Mugabe has lashed out at America. In February 2003 he hilariously declared that the US should disarm itself. "Mad Man" Mugabe also stated:

"The United States, awakened to the implications of being the sole superpower, joined by Britain as a born-again colonialist, and other Western countries have turned themselves into fierce hunting bulldogs raring to go, as they sniff for more blood, Third World blood"

Mugabe out did himself, however, when he stated that British and American descendants living in Zimbabwe would be "the first to die" if the US or UK invaded Zimbabwe.

One more Mugabe quote, because I can't resist. Noting (in February 2003) that "is it not ironical that Mr Bush who was not really elected should deny my legitimacy, the legitimacy of President Mugabe, established by many observer groups from Africa and the Third World" Mugabe asked the rhetorical question "who, in these circumstances, should the world impose sanctions on? Robert Mugabe or George Bush?"

His answer? Well, read this excerpt from a March 2003 BBC article:

The United States has announced it is imposing economic sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and 76 other government officials in Zimbabwe.


The EU renewed its year-old sanctions - including travel restrictions on the country's leaders, an arms embargo and a freeze of assets - against Mr Mugabe and 71 of his associates in mid-February.


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