Wednesday, October 19, 2005 at 10:29 AM
As this previous article illustrates, I’m a big fan of the maverick President of Venezuela – Hugo Chavez. I fully support the poverty alleviation programmes he’s implemented to empower historically poor and disenfranchised Venezuelans.
But, as this previous article illustrates, I am no fan of the reprobate President of Zimbabwe – Robert Mugabe. I abhor his dictatorial rule and rank cronyism that have turned Zimbabwe from a net exporter of food into one where millions of its people face chronic starvation.
Indeed, it is noteworthy that Chavez redistributed land from rich aristocrats who sat on it as their private reserve, to poor farmers who are using it to grow bountiful harvests. By contrast, Mugabe redistributed land from white farmers who provided bountiful harvests annually, to his political cronies who are sitting on it as their private preserve – whilst their own people starve to death! (And, for good measure, Mugabe politically cleansed Zimbabweans he suspected of opposing this kleptocratic redistribution of wealth.)
Therefore, I was profoundly dismayed when I saw pictures of Chavez embracing Mugabe at the 60th Annual Summit of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome on Monday. And my dismay only deepened when I read reports about the effrontery of Mugabe lambasting Europe and America for starving his people by blaming their agricultural subsidies for “crippling the development of agriculture in [Zimbabwe]“. He then perfected his deflection of blame by offering this resonant rhetorical canard:
“Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed [an] unholy alliance, form an alliance to attack an innocent country?”
But, never mind my dismay, what does such an embrace convey to the oppressed blacks of Zimbabwe who look to latter-day Robin Hoods like Chavez and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to come to their aid? And, what are we to make of the credibility of purported humanitarians and international statesmen who applauded Mugabe’s patently hypocritical demagoguery? After all, there can be no more pathological example of “the pot calling the kettle black” than Mugabe comparing President George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler.
Note: To President Chavez – Not every enemy of your enemy is your friend….Robert Mugabe was not worthy of your embrace!
Endnote: For the record, the United States donates more food aid to poor countries than any other country by a considerable margin. And I have no doubt that every delegate attending that hunger summit is perfectly aware of this fact. Therefore, it demonstrates an acute and perverse strain of spite and ingratitude for these delegates to encourage Mugabe’s megalomania; especially since they are also acutely aware that he has politically cleansed Zimbabweans who dared to oppose his dictatorship, and deliberately consigned others to death by stubbornly refusing food aid from America.