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  BLACKLINES

Bush punishes Mugabe
by REX WOCKNER
2003-04-01

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George W. Bush slapped sanctions on virulently homophobic Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe March 7.

He froze Mugabe's U.S. assets and those of 76 other Zimbabwean officials, and forbade Americans from having business dealings with Zimbabwean leaders.

'Over the course of more than two years, the government of Zimbabwe has systematically undermined that nation's democratic institutions, employing violence, intimidation and repressive means including legislation to stifle opposition to its rule,' Bush said.

'To add to the desperation of the besieged Zimbabwean people, the current government has engaged in a violent assault on the rule of law that has thrown the economy into chaos, devastated the nation's agricultural economy and triggered a potentially catastrophic food crisis.'

The European Union has imposed similar sanctions.

Mugabe has said of gays: 'What an abomination, a rottenness of culture, real decadence of culture. [Homosexuals are] repugnant to my human conscience ... immoral and repulsive. ... Animals in the jungle are better than these people because at least they know that this is a man or a woman. ... I don't believe they have any rights at all.'

Activists say organized anti-gay violence is common.

'Victimization of the gay community is universal and constant in Zimbabwe,' said leading British gay activist Peter Tatchell, who has long campaigned against Mugabe.

'No one is safe.'

— Rex Wockner


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