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Obama Pledges $73 Million to Zimbabwe

By Michael A. Fletcher
President Obama announced today that the United States will provide $73 million in aid to Zimbabwe, saying the economically-wracked nation has made progress since Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai entered a power-sharing arrangement with longtime President Robert Mugabe four months ago.

"We've seen progress from the prime minister," Obama said, after meeting with Tsvangirai in the Oval Office.

The $73 million in assistance will not be going to the government but directly to services for citizens, Obama said, because "we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights and rule of law."

Obama renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe in March, in an effort to press Mugabe into making changes to improve human rights.

Tsvangirai's visit to the White House came as part of his weeks-long tour of capitals in Europe and the United States to raise money to help rebuild his tattered country.

Tsvangirai became prime minister in February as part of a power-sharing deal with Mugabe, who had ruled Zimbabwe for 29 years. The arrangement was a bitter compromise struck after Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe in presidential elections last year, but the president was unwilling to cede power.

Mugabe was once hailed as a freedom fighter responsible for ushering the formerly white-run nation into black rule. But through his years as president, Mugabe has been accused of crushing his political opposition and implementing land redistribution and other policies that have triggered hyperinflation and shattered the once potent Zimbabwean economy. In recent years, the country's health and education systems have all but crumbled.

"There was a time when Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of Africa. And it continues to have enormous potential," Obama said. "It has gone through a very dark and difficult period politically. The president, President Mugabe, I think I've made my views clear, has not acted, oftentimes, in the best interests of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds of democratic changes that need to take place."

Still, Obama said, Zimbabwe's people are in dire need of basic humanitarian assistance. "The people of Zimbabwe need very concrete things: schools that are reopened, a health-care-delivery system that can deal with issues like cholera or HIV/AIDS, an agricultural system that is able to feed its people," Obama said.

For his part, Tsvangirai said his country is making real, if unsteady, progress. "Zimbabwe is coming out of a political conflict and economic collapse or decay, and that the new political dispensation we have crafted is an attempt to arrest this decay, but also mindful of the fact that it is a journey," he said. "This is a transitional arrangement. We want to institute those reforms that will ensure that in 18 months time, people of Zimbabwe are given an opportunity to elect their own government."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 12, 2009; 6:06 PM ET
Categories:  Foggy Bottom  
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Comments

To our president;

I can understand the concerns for our economy and the hard times USA is having. But, I just returned from Zimbabwe, Africa where I had the previllige to spend three weeks and visited two schools where Aids Orphans spend their days sitting on concrete because they do not have chairs or even mats on the floor. Where 5 year old are walking without shoes and eating one meal a day. Where the sadness in their eyes make you realize that we-(USA) is the best country in the world and we all have so many opportunities even at this time of economic crisis. Zimbabwe children do not have that luck.

My girlfriend Paula and her family provide food for those orphans year round, and that’s the only meal they have daily. No toys, no warm clothing, no human touch – (love). So lets be more sensitive and humane and realize that, yes we need to take care of our country, but by giving a little the world will be a better place. I myself, is looking forward to dedicate time to helping those children in the very near future.


Dahli Alba

Posted by: dahlialba | June 19, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

To our president;

I can understand the concerns for our economy and the hard times USA is having. But, I just returned from Zimbabwe, Africa where I had the previllige to spend three weeks and visited two schools where Aids Orphans spend their days sitting on concrete because they do not have chairs or even mats on the floor. Where 5 year old are walking without shoes and eating one meal a day. Where the sadness in their eyes make you realize that we-(USA) is the best country in the world and we all have so many opportunities even at this time of economic crisis. Zimbabwe children do not have that luck.

My girlfriend Paula and her family provide food for those orphans year round, and that’s the only meal they have daily. No toys, no warm clothing, no human touch – (love). So lets be more sensitive and humane and realize that, yes we need to take care of our country, but by giving a little the world will be a better place. I myself, is looking forward to dedicate time to helping those children in the very near future.

Dahli Alba

Posted by: dahlialba | June 19, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Here goes another $73M into the black hole of Africa while main street America needs the help. I'm not against foreign aid but lets do it when our economy is in better shape. Also, lets do it smarter.

Posted by: gerrypooh | June 16, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

FUTURE HEADLINE -

"The United States, which used to be known as the bread basket of the world is now seeking foreign aid from China and India."

Congratulations America - this is what you get for taking political advice from Oprah.

Posted by: svisel | June 16, 2009 4:33 AM | Report abuse

The people of Zimbabwe have been fleeing from their own country for years. Last year, I was able to meet hundreds of Zimbabwean in 2 neighboring countries, who want to go home but are both afraid and unable to make a living if they did return home, including thousands of teachers and health care workers.

Funds pledged by the Obama administration can be productively utilized by NGOs to help empower Zimbabweans at the grass-roots levels to begin to become self-sufficient.

Zimbabwe is a wonderful country that needs to reform to allow a competitive private sector to florish. Lots needs to be done.

Posted by: pest07 | June 15, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

How about pledgeing something for America. 73 million would extend a lor of unemployment and we sure need it.

Posted by: SWAMPYPD | June 15, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr. President
I would seriously consider withholding the $73 million until Mugabe is tried , convicted & can no longer hold public office of any kind.
I would hate to see our dollars wasted ONCE MORE!!!!!
Toni Mueller
Waldport, OR

Posted by: Tonisongbird34 | June 15, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

What is $73million compared to the loot that America obtained from Africa? Please stop your whining about the lousy, if not insulting, $73million "handout". Let noone be fooled that America stands for human rights, democracy, etc....that's not at all why it's taking this harsh stance against Mugabe. Please Americans, study some more, so you can know and understand your government better.

Posted by: afriq_thinktank | June 15, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is to be applauded for pledging to assist the people of Zimbabwe. If there is any criticism that one could make, it would be that he pledges much, much too little, in comparison to what is given and has been given to Israel for decades!!!Are not the human lives in Zimbabwe equally as precious as those in Israel and the Balkans? Any one with half a brain and with even less knowledge of the history of the country would know that the present predicament of the people of that country stems from the fact that President Mugabe was willing to confront the racist elements of his country and the rest of the world in an effort to re-distribute lands stolen from the natives under the protection of British soldiers. To punish him (Obama spoke about 'AUDACITY") for doing the right thing, racists were willing then, and remain willing, today, to let women, children and old folks starve to death, rather than allow Mugabe to develop a successful government. If he succeeds, it would send the wrong (right) message to other formerly colonized countries of Africa. And, that would be just too much, wouldn't it?

Posted by: turnerwred1234 | June 15, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I will never understand how we can keep giving away money we do not have! The US is in debt up to it's Great Lakes, and we keep throwing money that should go to help our disabled Veterans and people like that, rather than all these countries that are basket cases of there on doing! Every country has problems and our hearts go out to them. We are heading for another Great Depression, this money give away is madness plus stupidity!

Posted by: wildkat1tamer | June 15, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

America is in enough trouble herself! She needs to worry about fixing her problems before sh fixes someone elses!
http://planotexaspolitics.wordpress.com/

Posted by: almek11 | June 15, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

FROM A ZIMBABWEAN RESIDENT.

This money shouldn`t be given to this horible government , as long as mugabe is there is does not work .The government need to prove that they have put human rights in order and work very very hard on corruption (which every gorvenment or politician) does somehow.Farmes are still being taken , journalists arrested for writing the truth.Yes the M.D.C lead by Morgan Tsvangirai have a direction and are trying to sort things out , but Mugabe and Co are pulling the other way , will it work, im not so sure .This money will only make Mugabe stay longer , like a vampire he will feed on this ($) and grow fat and cravy for some more $ , starve this Dog and it will die or move to another household in search of food ie MALAYSIA CHINA.

Posted by: ethan19781 | June 15, 2009 5:51 AM | Report abuse

A worthy initiative, though one suspects, whatever counters are put in place, Mugabe and co. will pocket a significant amount of the cash. Hopefully it'll provide some relief.

Posted by: SeanC1 | June 14, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Africa hasn't stolen many headlines lately, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of what's going on there.

http://www.valentinoachakdeng.org/

http://matthew25.org/about/

Posted by: rooster54 | June 14, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Just where does this money come from? We the people have been told time and time again to tighten our belts, just when does this OBAMA start practicing what he preaches!!

Posted by: Immanurse | June 13, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

xxx1 naively asks "What's wrong with humanitarian assistance?"

If Zimbabwe wanted to they could boot out the black squatters and put the white farmers back on the properties they had to abandon when they were threatened with murder. The people there are starving because there's no food. Duh - maybe some FARMERS might help - ya think?? Since the black squatters can't do squat with the land except defecate on it? There's your humanitarian assistance, and the U.S. doesn't have to hand them a penny, which technically we don't have to begin with.

How about a little concern over the massive debt Obama is piling up on the generations to come??

Posted by: realist2 | June 13, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

its amazing to watch americans being told they have to sacrifice while OUR MONEY is being sent to forein contrys will somebody in washington please give the american people the true balance of the foriegn aid account for the last 5 years and then the gov can sell that amount of fort knox gold and repay the american tax payer thats right it is ours not yours to give away with out a vote of the people;;;;;;;;;

Posted by: caveman1957 | June 13, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The president is very friendly to Zimbabwe and demonstrating that frienship by pledging them 78 Million for whatever they need or want. Maybe he should be just a litle more friendly by pledging a 1,56 milion to each of the fifty states for aything they need or want.

Posted by: a4853916 | June 13, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: roverfind | June 13, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

WE HAVE ALL WITNESSED HOW AFRICA HAS TURNED OUT.. NOW LETS WITNESS WHAT HAPPENS TO AMERICA!

Posted by: williamgriffen | June 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Bad call Mr. President. There's no good reason to send aid $$$ into a country where its institutions are corrupt to the core, which is incapable of fiscal responsibility, and which is of zero strategic importance to America. The U.N. is perfectly capable of mounting an aid campaign as an international coalition. Let Svengari go there. We've got enough on our plate. Svengari says 18 months to a democratically elected government in his country. On what planet???

Posted by: DevH | June 13, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Today, I listened to a talk by Ms. Montemayor, in which she admitted that she was the poster child of the affirmative action and that her scores were way below other applicants at Princeton when she was admitted.
I am sure that the same thing happened with Obama, as well as with his wife.
For such an inteligent man to be tricked by the dictador of Zimbabwe, who sent his so called Prime Minister TSVANGIRI, to swindle him of 73 million, which for sure will go to Mugabe's foreign banks accounts, while 13 and 14 year old girls are forced into prostitution to feed themselves and their families. If ever there was a champ, Obama has proved to be one, at least to me, that he is not all that bright. He has a gift with words, but so does Sharpton.
It is time for the press to take a more critical view of his actions, as the one of today.

Posted by: kyprios9281 | June 13, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Good Lord, when is this going to end? Where is this money coming from?? My poor elderly Mother had to go to a food bank today. First time in her 76 years on this earth. We can't take much more.

Posted by: sprayadhesive | June 12, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Well he will just tell all the kool aid drinkers he inheirted the money woes from Bush .He did some but has made a bigger debt in a shorter time than any other president.Notice who all it is he helps that tells a lot about him.......

Posted by: drs_bnsnyahoocom | June 12, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

As long as we avoid giving the government any money, this is exactly what we should be doing. If we give the Zimbabwean the help they need, Mugabe's rantings against us become worthless. Besides, when the house in on fire, you don't complain about the man who drunkenly set it on fire - you put out the fire.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | June 12, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Dangerous, and very much so. Look out for what Obama really has in his mind!

Posted by: aepelbaum | June 12, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

well lil boy hussein does not consider himself an American, he still thinks of himself as africian.
why wont he release his birth certificatee, his grades at school, or his indonesian records showing him to be islamic.
he acts islamic.
and why he is running America into bankruptcy he wants to make gifts to his africian brothers and tell the people of the country he is supposed to represent, to put up with his crazy socialist policies and give it all up to him.
he is not god, he is a darn fool.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | June 12, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

So now he wants to give away another $73 million bucks...And to Zimbabwe.
I hope all the American Black citizens who support him are watching. He's taking care of Palastinians, ILLEGAL ALIENS who invaded our country, kissed up to every Muslim nation in the world..So what has he done for AMERICANS except spend money we don't have for decades? Has he done anything to make your life better? Has he done anything thing for you that you can point out for the rest of us? Thought not!
As you slowly become aware that he's going to tax you out of your shorts with pass through taxes, taxes on your healthcare, which you by the way, paid for plus cap and trade which will double your electric bills and gas taxes are you going to do anything about it? Thought not.
Just hold your breath...Seems like a plan to me....

Posted by: TexRancher | June 12, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow, talking about a slap in the face to the American people! Main Street America is on its knees and he is still giving money away!

RT
www.real-anonymity.pro.tc

Posted by: clermontpc | June 12, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Yet the great Messiah doesn't want any taxpayer money to go to the school voucher program in Washington D.C., that would help inner city minorities get the type of education his daughters get. When will black america wake-up to what the democRAT party is truly all about?

Posted by: cschotta1 | June 12, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

You'll have to forgive anyone for being a bit skeptical of giving Zimbabwe money. Their hyper-inflated economy is certainly not a joke, with common commodities valued higher than the Zimbabwean Dollar. And Mr. Mugabe hasn't been an exemplary leader in a country that has fallen from greatness. Many people I know still remember the Lancaster House Agreement, but even that came with bloodshed.

I can understand why the President wants to give aid, but I question through what intermediaries he's planning to use.

Posted by: md_gop | June 12, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Morgan Tsvangirai is a brave man, indeed, but is sharing power with a tyrant that is using him to get money from the US taxpayer without any reciprocal reforms. This only props up the illegitimate government of Zimbabwe, and puts the people farther away from desperately needed reform. Zimbabwe used to be called the "bread basket of Africa," and now they are starving. Starving because it is better for Robert Mugabe's cronies to have the land than the farmers. At least Mugabe is honest about saying who he hates- American politicians stick to the politically correct lines for the most part, but are seething with hate on the inside.

Posted by: davideconnollyjr | June 12, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

realist2: Do you have to put your ignorance on display?

The people are suffering because of a dictator. Lest you forgot, the "white" farmers your referred too, took the land from the black owners, in the first place. Unfortunately, this idiot of a dictator, mislead his own people, instead of following the example of great leaders like Mandela, he did what whites did, now the people are paying the price a 2nd time.

What's wrong with humanitarian assistance?

Posted by: xxx1 | June 12, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Let me see if I've got this straight: We're bankrupt but somehow we're going to magically produce 73 million dollars to send to a country that kicked all it's white farmers out so that some rag-tag good-for-nothing black squatters could take over the properties and grow no crops because they're too lazy and ignorant. Yep, sounds like a plan.

Posted by: realist2 | June 12, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Naive.

Posted by: eddiemacs | June 12, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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