Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Other Black Spring (Part 4)

This crackdown has set in motion what some are describing as Zimbabwe's political and societal breakdown. Many place the blame on Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe, who has governed this nation since 1980, and considered one of the 10 worst dictators alive.

Consequently, there are many similarities with Cuba and Fidel Castro. Robert Mugabe, like Fidel Castro, is widely described as a tyrant and oppressor of human rights. Yet, the reports of Mugabe's tyranny is far more cruel and horrendous than what has been attributed to Castro. The economy of Zimbabwe, like Cuba's, is collapsed. Yet, the level of Zimbabwe's economic performance is far more bleak and desperate than Cuba's economy could ever be. Also, the health indicators in Zimbabwe are far more drastic and dire than Cuba's.

The recent crackdown in Zimbabwe also operates in similar fashion to Cuba's Black Spring. In this case, Mugabe has for many years systematically repressed a pro-democratic movement because he feels they were mercenaries and "shameless stooges of the West" threatening the nation's sovereignty. And, like Castro, Mugabe is fiercely anti-imperialist and accuses the West for many of his country's troubles.

It may appear obvious to some that these dictators are clearly paranoid and addicted to power. But, this conclusion ignores several facts. Its very convenient to blame the dictator for an entire country's woes, but history presents another picture. Just like Cuba's history with the US, Zimbabwe has a very violent history with South Africa (and its colonial rulers) under apartheid, and like many other African nations, a strong nationalism originating from its colonial past.

No comments: