Tag Archives: zimbabwe

Cable, not Corbyn, is right on Venezuela

The most famous example is in the 1960’s: the Cuba of Fidel Castro turned dictatorial after he let the Soviet Union take over training domestic policing and his secret service (in exchange for buying up his sugar an most of Cuban cigars; see Tad Szulcs biography of Fidel).

But also in the 1980’s the regime of Robert Mugabe over Zimbabwe appeared to start out in 1980 as a better alternative to South African Apartheid, but there the instant imposition and eternal prolongation of the State of Emergency, the role of the North Korean (guaranteed Stalinist) military training mission, their Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade pupils and their Gukurahundi 1983-7 offensive  suppressing Nkomo’s democratic opposition, disillusioned many supporters very fast. When in 1987 the presidency got real executive powers and Nkomo’s party was absorbed in Mugabe’s regime, things turned sour “for keeps”, resulting in misrule, murderous peasant evictions, clobbering opposition leaders to a pulp, and hyperinflation.

The 1979 Sandinista revolt in Nicaragua under Daniel Ortega kept on the democratic, progressive path during the 1980’s, but after losing the 1990’s election Ortega forced social democratic party veterans like Ernesto Cardenal and novelist Sergio Ramírez out, becoming  more autocratic. Ortega and his clique in 1990 kept the nationalized enterprises as their property, and after returning to government in 2006, Ortega was illegally re-elected president in 2011. Ortega, having fought the Roman Catholic hierarchy up to 1990, co-operated with the orthodox wing of that church (archbishop Obando) after returning to government in 2006, banning abortion in all circumstances (his main campaign issue and that of the “liberals”. Human Rights Watch since reported that bleeding pregnant women don’t get treated for fear of breaking that ban, and the Health Ministry ignores complaints about pre- and postnatal care.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 28 Comments

Opinion: Zimbabwe election

The ‘Grave concerns’ voiced by William Hague over Zimbabwe’s election make clear their displeasure at Robert Mugabe winning a seventh presidential term. But would the result be any different were it not for voter fraud? Britain has implied this but not even opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he really won.

The issue is not whether Mugabe stole the presidential election but whether he stole the all-important two-thirds majority in parliament which allows ZANU-PF to make constitutional changes. Tsvangirai lost because the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is a mess. There are two MDC’s, one run by Welshman Ncube, and many activists …

Posted in Op-eds | 12 Comments

Would you invite a man who says “let me be a Hitler tenfold” to a special event?

I’ve blogged several times this year about reasons for optimism as the international reach of justice extends to catch more and more people accused of horrific widespread human rights abuses in countries around the world.

But then there are events like this:

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe landed in Rome on Saturday to attend the beatification of late pope John Paul II at the Vatican …  obtained a special exemption from a European Union travel ban.

Nothing quite like marking the beatification of someone by making special arrangements to let a dictator responsible for widespread murders, torture of journalists who have …

Posted in News | Also tagged | 17 Comments

Happy new year!

Happy new year and best wishes to everyone fighting elections this year. Well, the Lib Dems amongst you at least 🙂

Spare a thought though for another group of people facing an election in 2010. Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (Zanu-PF) is talking of calling an election during the year. At the last election up to 200 opposition MDC supporters were murdered by Zanu-PF supporters.  The bravery of those in the MDC who are willing to contest another election is an example to us all.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 1 Comment
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