U.S. Must Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions

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If President Obama can pardon CIA agents; offer an olive branch to Cuba; be willing to negotiate with Hugo Chavez; with Iran’s Ahmedinejad, and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il; there is no reason to exclude Zimbabwe from the opportunity for a new engagement.

[Black Star News Editorial]

Now that President Barack Obama has announced a new approach towards engaging Cuba due to the failure of the sanctions regime, the President must also disregard the lunatic position maintained towards Zimbabwe by Britain, and change U.S. policy on the Southern African country.

President Robert Mugabe, who had vowed never to accept the opposition MDC into government, is now in a unity government with Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC leader and winner of the first round of presidential elections last year.

For a proud leader of the liberation war against the U.K.-backed apartheid regime of Ian Smith, making the concession must have been a bitter pill for Mugabe, especially when the British and American Administrations made no secret that they were funding the MDC.

Yet, as with Cuba, the past must now be seen as the past; the British colonial past; the Ian Smith apartheid regime; and Mugabe’s Administration, especially the authoritarianism adopted after the West started financing the MDC, seeking regime change.

Zimbabwe’s economy has been destroyed and the sanctions must be lifted immediately, otherwise the unity government itself will unravel.

The sanctions were spearheaded by the vindictive British, who really have no regard for the pain caused on ordinary Zimbabweans, and primarily wanted to avenge the expropriation of land from their White kith and kin, who had stolen the land from Africans in the first place; yet, even that can be classified as the past, in order to adopt constructive policy towards Zimbabwe.

The United States, as leader of the industrial world, must take leadership of the outside world’s engagement with Zimbabwe, and not defer to an interested party like Britain, which itself is not blameless; aside from abetting and sustaining Ian Smith’s apartheid, the British never delivered the money promised at the Lancaster House talks that led to Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. The money was meant to purchase the rich farmlands from the White farmers whose forefathers had stolen.

Let bygones be bygones.

If President Obama can pardon CIA agents who committed torture, in contravention of U.S. laws; if President Obama can offer an olive branch to Cuba, lift travel and money remittance restrictions,  and say he is willing to go further if Cuba reciprocates; if president Obama can say he is willing to sit down and negotiate with Hugo Chavez –whom he exchanged a warm hand shake with in Trinidad—with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il; then there is no reason to exclude Zimbabwe from the opportunity for a new engagement.

Ironically, it turns out that while George W. Bush was attacking Mugabe for human rights abuses, his agents, with authorization from the Justice Department, were torturing suspects all over the world.

The United States cannot permit London to set its Africa policy; Britain’s aversion to Mugabe rings hollow, when it is the principal sponsor of Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, whose human rights excesses spilled out of Uganda and into Congo, where the ICC is investigating his army on alleged war crimes committed between 1998-2003.

Washington must set aside Britain’s myopic and rabidly hostile approach and adopt a path befitting a president who was elected on a promise of change, hope, and new beginnings.


Please post your comments online or submit them to milton@blackstarnews.com


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