Defiant Mugabe’s New Restrictions Push Zimbabwe Economy Further Toward Collapse

Defiant Mugabe’s New Restrictions Push Zimbabwe Economy Further Toward Collapse

LONDON -- Alighting from his vintage Rolls Royce limousine with a cursory nod to the mounted ceremonial guard that escorted him to the steps of Zimbabwe's parliament July 26, Robert Mugabe was every inch the defiant and bombastic African leader, telling the West to "go hang" after imposing another round of travel restrictions and sanctions on his penurious country.

Bearing with him a sheaf of economic bills to support the latest price-stabilization scheme for a country bare of virtually every necessity for daily life -- from food to fuel to foreign exchange -- the 83-year-old president railed against "Western detractors . . . [who] unashamedly [trample] upon the rights of weaker states while resorting to self-serving notions of democracy and human rights as a veneer of legitimacy for their ill conduct."

Such fiery rhetoric cannot feed the 11 million people of Zimbabwe, who are fleeing the sinking country at a rate of 4,000 per day for the greener pastures of southern neighbor South Africa. Nor can it obfuscate the dire state of a nation that just eight years ago was a breadbasket for southern Africa, its massive commercial farms so redolent with grain and produce that it was able to support a profitable export market as well as provide ample food for its people.

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