Today's Parade Magazine names "The World's 10 Worst Dictators."
Topping the list is Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe:
Inflation in Zimbabwe is so bad that in January the
government released a $50 billion note — enough to buy two loaves of
bread. The unemployment rate has risen to more than 85%. In 2008,
Mugabe agreed to hold an election, but it became clear that he would
accept the result only if he won. His supporters launched attacks on
the opposition, killing 163 and torturing or beating 5000. He
ultimately signed a power-sharing agreement with opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, but since then Mugabe has broken its terms and
installed his own people at the head of every ministry. Meanwhile,
health conditions have reached crisis levels. More than 3800
Zimbabweans have died from cholera since August.
U.S. link: Although U.S. leaders have called for Mugabe’s
resignation, imports from Zimbabwe (primarily nickel and ferrochromium,
both used in stainless steel) rose in 2008.
There's actually much more of a U.S. link than that. Unmentioned is
the role played by former president Jimmy Carter and other liberals.
The Boston Globe reported in December, 1979 that "Carter Administration
officials feel they have scored a major foreign policy success in
Rhodesia." (Zimbabwe was formerly known as Rhodesia). The purported
success was a settlement that set the stage for Mugabe's rise to
power. This was months after the Washington Post described him as a
"scholarly, avowed Marxist."
In August, 1980, Carter's former UN ambassador Andrew Young wrote in the Washington Post of "Mugabe's Endorsement:"
The president's best investment of the past four years
has just begun to pay off. The visit of Zimbabwe's Prime Minister
Robert Mugabe sparked an enthusiasm in black America that may well
rekindle the fires that Jimmy Carter so desperately needs for
Here is a president, being questioned by the liberal wing of his
own party for supposedly abandoning his commitment to human rights at
home and abroad, suddenly receiving accolades from Robert Mugabe --
Africa's "black diamond" -- for making a truly non-racial democracy
possible in southern Africa.
Young went on to relate how enthusiastically the "black diamond" was
received in Harlem, at Howard University, and by New York's Foreign
Policy Association. He continued:
Zimbabwe may have given the American people the vote of
confidence needed to get out of the present paralyzing cynicism and to
begin building at home and abroad the dream of free men and women, of a
world of peace and prosperity.
Support for Mugabe was echoed by the mainstream media. The New York Times claimed
that ""Mr. Mugabe has quickly established himself as an African
statesman of the first rank." An April, 1981 piece in the Washington
Many whites admit that before last year's election they
expected to flee in the event of a Mugabe victory. Most were stunned
by his landslide win after listening to years of propaganda proclaiming
he was "a godless Marxist." Now, many are pleasantly surprised at how
well things have gone in the first year of rule by the country's black
majority of 7 million.
Weeks later the Boston Globe editorialized:
There is a temptation to be over optimistic about the
future of Zimbabwe, the year-old black-ruled nation that was once
Rhodesia, because so much of the future of southern Africa pivots on
its success. Two recent events made some optimism seem justified.
Mugabe's Marxist, dictatorial tendencies were apparent from the
beginning. Jimmy Carter, who visited the White House just last week,
and other liberals chose to ignore them then. Parade would have
performed its readers a service by briefly recapping the details of how
Mugabe was given the chance to assume the title of world's worst