Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The most inconsequential sanctions in the history of sanctions

'The sanctions include a ban on Mr Mugabe and other government officials from travelling to EU countries. ...The sanctions apply to all senior Zimbabwean officials "who commit human rights violations and restrict freedom of opinion, association and peaceful protest", according to an EU resolution. Last year, the ban was extended from 79 to 95 people.

Other sanctions include a ban on arms sales and the freezing of Zimbabwean assets in European banks.'

So, just to summarize, the sanctions against Zimbabwe are:

1. Ban on travelling to the EU (only applies to the EU) for 95 named individuals
2. Ban on arms sales to Zimbabwe
3. Freezing of Zimbabwean assets in European banks (only applies to European banks)

'"The situation is under control, there is no need to declare it [an emergency]," Zimbabwean Deputy Health Minister Edwin Muguti told AFP news agency on Wednesday.

"These are results of punitive illegal sanctions imposed on us by the West... I am sure they like what they are seeing from this outbreak."'

What I would like to ask Mr Muguti is, which sanctions actually caused the outbreak of cholera? By what mechanism or means? Many black people I've met in Britain are very bitter about these anti-Zimbabwe sanctions, and apparently the less they know about them, the bitterer they are.

I suspect that you, Mr Muguti, are encouraging ignorant people to believe that there are broadscale economic and trade sanctions against Zimbabwe. The only results of the current sanctions regime that I would personally find credible would be slightly annoyed Zanu PF officials who can't keep their stolen money in the EU any more, and who can't accompany their wives on shopping sprees in Paris and London. How millions of starving people dying of cholera could result from these piffling inconsequential 'targeted' sanctions is a question I would very much like Mr Muguti to expound on.

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