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Mugabe: Corn to Blame for Zimbabwe Famine
ap on Yahoo ^ | 9/17/05 | Michelle Faul - ap

Posted on 09/17/2005 5:35:30 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

UNITED NATIONS - The African leader some call a hero and others a destructive despot suggests people in his country aren't hungry, they just can't eat their favorite food.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, said in an interview with The Associated Press that his people are "very, very happy" though aid agencies report 4 million of 11.6 million face famine.

"You describe it as if we have a whole cemetery," Mugabe said of a reporter's description of the southern African nation's dire straits, blaming "continuous years of drought."

The problem is reliance on corn, he said during Friday's interview, "but it doesn't mean we haven't other things to eat: We have heaps of potatoes but people are not potato eaters ... they have rice but they're not as attracted (to that)."

But the cost of potatoes is beyond the pocket of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Internationally, Mugabe has become a pariah and looked set for further isolation at the weekend, when the U.S. government said it was preparing travel sanctions against him, his government and family members, prohibiting them from traveling to the United States.

That would be punishment for alleged gross human rights abuses, including torture of opponents, and theft of elections, most recently in March.

Zimbabwe became one of Africa's most vibrant economies under Mugabe, who was elected in landslide 1979 elections after a seven-year guerrilla war forced an end to white minority rule in Rhodesia, once a British colony.

He assured nervous white farmers, then fleeing the country that "there is a place for you in the sun."

Zimbabwe became the regional bread basket, with some 5,000 white commercial farmers growing enough to feed the nation and export. Buyers from all over the world came to Zimbabwe's annual tobacco auction, tourists flocked to the Victoria Falls and wildlife reserves, while its Sandawana emeralds and renowned Shona stone sculpture were widely popular.

That changed in the 1990s. Mugabe's rule became increasingly repressive against a growingly vociferous opposition and corruption grew rampant. Mugabe then seized on an issue that long has preoccupied Africans — land ownership.

Pointing to a distribution that had a few thousand whites owning tens of thousands of acres of rich lands, the government began appropriating white farms in a violent campaign in which some white farmers were killed.

Tens of thousands of farmworkers lost their jobs and most land was distributed to the family and friends of politically connected Zimbabweans, though some ordinary people got small plots.

Last week, the Commercial Farmers' Union said fewer than 1,000 white commercial farmers remain, working a fraction of land they once sowed. A parliamentary committee said there would be no farming season this year, even if the drought breaks, because there are no seeds, no agricultural chemicals because there's no foreign currency, and no fuel to transport products or work tractors.

Everyday in Zimbabwe queues more than a mile long form for basics like bread and gasoline.

Zimbabweans also are reeling from what Mugabe calls a "cleanup" campaign, in which hundreds of thousands of poor and working-class urban people lost their homes to bulldozers.

Mugabe insisted though that "We pride ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder ... We feel that we have actually been advancing rather than going backwards."

Yet on Sept. 8, setting out Zimbabwe's aims for the U.N. millennium goals before heading to the World Summit, he said the number of Zimbabweans who cannot afford one daily balanced meal has risen from 20 percent in 1995 to 48 percent in 2003, and that 63 percent now cannot afford more comprehensive basic needs including things like school fees.

In Africa, his seizure of lands that whites took from natives when they colonized in the 1800s is applauded, and he is seen as a towering hero.

Now, he said, his government will take a stake in private mining enterprises to ensure Zimbabweans benefit from their natural resources. He said he expects companies mining there, including the multinational Anglo American, to understand that desire.

"What we intend to do is for the state to have a stake in the production of some of our minerals — gold, platinum, diamonds," he said. "We just want to be partners. We are not doing anything unusual, and this is the practice in many countries." Zimbabwe also mines coal, chromium ore, asbestos, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium and tin.

Mugabe, 81, said he has fulfilled all his ambitions except retirement. He plans to stop being president in 2008, and write and farm, but said he'll remain in politics until he dies.

" I can't retire from that unless the Almighty says 'enough is enough'."

___

Editor's Note: Michelle Faul is AP's new Chief of Africa News. AP reporter Michael Hartnack contributed to this report from Harare, Zimbabwe.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: africa; blame; corn; famine; faul; michellefaul; mugabe; zimbabwe

1 posted on 09/17/2005 5:35:30 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, talks during an interview at the United Nations Friday, Sept. 16, 2005. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)


2 posted on 09/17/2005 5:36:20 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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To: NormsRevenge

I thought I heard that Halibuton, under direct orders of Karl Rove, was developing a corn crop virus. I guess this confirms it.


3 posted on 09/17/2005 5:38:35 PM PDT by chet_in_ny
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To: NormsRevenge
Now, he said, his government will take a stake in private mining enterprises to ensure Zimbabweans benefit from their natural resources. He said he expects companies mining there, including the multinational Anglo American, to understand that desire.

"What we intend to do is for the state to have a stake in the production of some of our minerals — gold, platinum, diamonds," he said. "We just want to be partners. We are not doing anything unusual, and this is the practice in many countries." Zimbabwe also mines coal, chromium ore, asbestos, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium and tin.

4 posted on 09/17/2005 5:38:38 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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Now, do I look like a thug and a despot to you?

Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, talks during an interview at the United Nations Friday, Sept. 16, 2005. (AP Photo/Ed Betz)


5 posted on 09/17/2005 5:41:21 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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To: NormsRevenge

Chavez, Castro and Mugabe...all heroes to the lefties (although none would ever choose to live in any of their countries).


6 posted on 09/17/2005 5:44:35 PM PDT by Sometimes A River ("The leaves have broken on Lake Ponktran" - WKAT 1360 AM Miami Newsreader)
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To: NormsRevenge

Leave me out of this!


7 posted on 09/17/2005 5:48:09 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: NormsRevenge

Mugabe, oh oh
Mugabe, oh oh oh oh
Nel blu, dipinto di blu,
felice di stare lassu...


8 posted on 09/17/2005 5:53:13 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: billorites

Cornholio.


9 posted on 09/17/2005 5:54:53 PM PDT by satchmodog9 (Murder and weather are our only news)
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To: NormsRevenge

That bit about the mineral resources is unbelievable. It is like a will to destruction.

And yet, I saw an article in The Guardian a few years back, by an African writer praising the land seizures and predicting a bright future. Some people never learn.


10 posted on 09/17/2005 5:58:23 PM PDT by BlackVeil
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To: NormsRevenge

So, the people must be forbidden from growing or possessing corn to break their dangerous dependency. You can't be too careful.


11 posted on 09/17/2005 6:06:00 PM PDT by claudiustg (Vote for one Democrat, vote for them all...)
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To: NormsRevenge

I thought it was Bush's fault !


12 posted on 09/17/2005 6:21:45 PM PDT by copwife
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To: NormsRevenge
UNITED NATIONS - The African leader some call a hero and others a destructive despot suggests people in his country aren't hungry, they just can't eat their favorite food.

This garbage is from the AP? "The African leader some call a hero and others a destructive despot"???? Who is calling Mugabe a hero, how many of them are they, and who cares? The writer is simply trying to bury the fact that Mugabe is a monster, by pretending this is mitigated somehow because "some" people, unnamed, consider him a "hero" for reasons unspecified.

Let's try this kind of mealy-mouthed obfuscation on a similar, but bigger, historical example: "Stalin, the Soviet leader some call a hero and others a destructive despot suggests people in his country aren't hungry, they just can't eat their favorite food. 'Let the Ukrainians and Kulaks eat grass or tree bark' opined the Soviet leader, hero of the Russian Revolution and Civil War."

13 posted on 09/17/2005 6:26:49 PM PDT by Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy
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To: NormsRevenge

Mr. Mugabe changed his name to corn? When did he do that?


14 posted on 09/17/2005 6:33:19 PM PDT by mrexitement
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To: NormsRevenge

81! Why won't these despots die?!?! Are they just too mean to die or what? Maybe the Devil doesn't even want them.


15 posted on 09/17/2005 6:42:21 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Vast Buffalo Wing Conspiracy

Wasn't Stalin the one who tried to grow corn in the Ukraine, instead of wheat like usual, and the crop failed for some reason and millions of people died in the resulting famine?


16 posted on 09/17/2005 6:44:58 PM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Now there's a forehead just begging to have a hole in it.

L

17 posted on 09/17/2005 6:46:26 PM PDT by Lurker (Reality cannot be changed by wishful thinking, good intentions, or legislation.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Enough it more than enough. He is a senile demented idiot in deep denial.
18 posted on 09/17/2005 6:52:43 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: NormsRevenge

Sounds like Marie Antoinette just before the guillotine fell. "Let them eat cake."


19 posted on 09/17/2005 6:53:25 PM PDT by Rocky (Air America: Robbing the poor to feed the Left)
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To: NormsRevenge
It raises the question, why can't politicians ever just get over themselves and leave things alone? 20 years ago Zimbabwe was doing fine. 10 years ago Venezuela was doing fine. 30 years ago Iran was doing fine. But no, they must always shovel people around like concrete and wreck everything they touch. The more they wreck, the more they sling their slanders around to avoiding facing the fact, pitting people against each other and wrecking still more. All to save their precious self-importance. They are all worm food in the end anyway, it is not like it ever does anything for them.
20 posted on 09/17/2005 6:57:22 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: NormsRevenge

Did the white settlers "take the land" in the 1800's, or did they just start to cultivate land where there were only nomadic tribes?


21 posted on 09/17/2005 6:57:55 PM PDT by lady lawyer
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To: NormsRevenge

You wouldn't want to be sitting in Mugabe's dining room with him holding a sharp knife and a fork, his chef standing behind him whispering in his ear, nothing on the table except a large empty platter, and you overhearing the words 'medium rare' and 'a little flavoring'


22 posted on 09/17/2005 6:58:30 PM PDT by snarks_when_bored
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To: Acts 2:38

I'm sorry, but I don't understand why any of these M F'ers are still walking around breathing. I'm serious.


23 posted on 09/17/2005 6:59:51 PM PDT by demkicker ((Life has many choices. Eternity has only two. Which one have you chosen?))
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To: Clive; cyborg

Give the people cake, since they don't eat bread.....


24 posted on 09/17/2005 7:01:44 PM PDT by Ironfocus (Love, faith, honor, integrity, duty......)
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To: NormsRevenge

Can't someone furnish a quotation for a 500 lb JDAM dropped on this guy's keister from a suitable altitude?


25 posted on 09/17/2005 7:03:07 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (You get more with a gun and a smile than just a smile itself!)
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To: NormsRevenge
The problem is reliance on corn, he said during Friday's interview, "but it doesn't mean we haven't other things to eat: We have heaps of potatoes but people are not potato eaters ... they have rice but they're not as attracted (to that)."

Mugabe continued,"There is much to eat for those who are not finicky. People refuse to eat rats, grubs, dust, gravel, bark, or feces although these too are plenty. Even the flesh of dead neighbors is shunned by these ingrates.

26 posted on 09/17/2005 7:05:10 PM PDT by Once-Ler ("Our only hope is that Congress will continue to do what is does best... nothing." John Roberts)
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To: Ironfocus

This is amazing.


27 posted on 09/17/2005 7:11:34 PM PDT by cyborg (Thank you dear Lord for my new job and the breath in my lungs.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Hey MSM? The heck with Barbara Bush, THIS is the "Let them eat cake" remark you've been looking for.


28 posted on 09/17/2005 7:31:47 PM PDT by John Jorsett (scam never sleeps)
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To: NormsRevenge

Robert Mugabe, a hero to "progressives" everywhere. And a first-rate asshat.


29 posted on 09/17/2005 7:50:59 PM PDT by popdonnelly
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To: billorites

LOL!!


30 posted on 09/17/2005 7:51:25 PM PDT by eyespysomething ("The Constitution is the court's taskmaster and it's Congress' taskmaster as well" John G. Roberts)
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To: NormsRevenge
...but said he'll remain in politics until he dies.

Even if it is tomorrow, Zim has been nearly ruined at this devil's hand. [spit]

31 posted on 09/17/2005 7:55:13 PM PDT by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: billorites

He's Korn. But no, no one can digest Korn.


32 posted on 09/17/2005 7:56:01 PM PDT by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: NormsRevenge

The 'Corn' (con) which is to blame for the famine is dictator Robert Commie Mugabe.


33 posted on 09/17/2005 8:01:31 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is never free)
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To: NormsRevenge

Some call him a hero? How could even the most deluded leftist call this mass murderer a hero? Surely not even david cornhole would call mugabe a "hero".


34 posted on 09/17/2005 8:07:17 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: NormsRevenge; blam; Cincinatus' Wife; sarcasm; happygrl; Byron_the_Aussie; robnoel; GeronL; ...

-


35 posted on 09/18/2005 2:45:24 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Acts 2:38

Your tag line is hilarious. Hope that newsreader is no longer working there.


36 posted on 09/18/2005 5:46:35 AM PDT by somedaysoon
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To: ozzymandus

This whole article is wrong,the down hill slide started as soon as the un installed that idiot in power.When the wites ruled everyone had it good including the blacks.I know,my wife is from there.


37 posted on 09/18/2005 5:58:53 AM PDT by JOHANNES801
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To: lady lawyer

A large fraction of the land used by large commercial farms is unsuited to subsistence agriculture. It requires irrigation, fertilization, and pesticide control.


38 posted on 09/18/2005 6:06:07 AM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: NormsRevenge; cyborg; Squantos

Dear Bob,
Enough is enough.
God


39 posted on 09/18/2005 8:00:01 PM PDT by TEXASPROUD
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To: TEXASPROUD

Yeah no kidding :(


40 posted on 09/18/2005 8:01:40 PM PDT by cyborg (Thank you dear Lord for my new job and the breath in my lungs.)
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To: TEXASPROUD

Time to play the Pat Robertson option IMO........:o)


41 posted on 09/18/2005 8:37:36 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: NormsRevenge

The interesting thing about corn as a food crop is illustrated easily by feeding non-ruminants nothing but dried ears of corn, especially if you lay out the corn in a staight line curving only slightly inward and then, leaving every thing to nature, go back the next year and marvel at your brand-new spiral-shaped corn patch.


42 posted on 09/18/2005 10:08:21 PM PDT by Old Professer (Fix the problem, not the blame!)
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