Tendai Moyo Correspondent
The recent visit by US President Barack Obama to Cuba appears to have literally opened up the South American country to global scrutiny, with pedestrian analysts on social media networks mocking Cuba for supposedly becoming an automobile museum, where the 1960s vehicle models are dominating the streets.
The same derision also ricocheted in Zimbabwe where some armchair cyber critics poked fun at Cuba, repeating the automobile-museum cliché and also saying the country was so backward.
One Dumisani Muleya disdainfully ridiculed the Cuban state, mentioning on his Twitter handle, @DumisaniMuleya, that: “International isolation or being a pariah state can be devastating: look at Cuba and Zim, outposts of tyranny; they are like museums.”
In a related post on Twitter, another cyber citizen, Brezhnev Malaba, ridiculed Zimbabwe’s sanctions-destroyed health sector, arguing that: “Diarrhoea has killed 8 in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, cases of typhoid are increasing. These are primitive diseases.”
Obviously these two Twitter critics and journalists are in self-induced denial mode, making them blind to the palpable causes of such developmental stagnation in Zimbabwe and Cuba.
Although Muleya did well to draw an analogy between Cuba and Zimbabwe, he, however, cheaply sought to ascribe the causes of development inertia in both countries to what he termed “international isolation” or “tyranny”, which is untrue.
One can tell that the actual common denominator between the two countries is their unyielding zeal to preserve their sovereignty, which attracted the wrath of an unrestrained US that is pursuing an illegal interventionist agenda aimed at expanding its global hegemony. The stagnation in Cuba and Zimbabwe has nothing to do with the suggested “tyranny” or maladministration but more to do with the debilitating effects of the illegal embargoes imposed on the two countries.
On his part, Malaba ignores the plain fact that the outbreak of the so-called primitive diseases in Zimbabwe is linked to the country’s poor and obsolete sewage and water reticulation systems that were last rehabilitated in the 1990s before illegal economic sanctions were imposed on the country.
The sanctions are making it difficult for the country to access lines of credit to rehabilitate the water systems or attract development partners to modernise its sewer and potable water systems. Like Cuba, Zimbabwe is now host to a museum of obsolete reticulation systems countrywide as a result of the illegal sanctions. In the comfort of their homes, these cyber trawlers can laugh all they want at the plight of the Zimbabweans or Cubans but they should never forget to connect the dots between the economic misery in the respective countries and the illegal embargoes imposed against them. Let them not forget that it is ordinary Zimbabweans that are affected by the “primitive” diseases and ordinary Cubans who are driving or yearning to drive the antiquated automobiles.
Actually, the “primitive” diseases and ancient vehicles are mere tips of the iceberg.
The illegal economic embargoes have totally paralysed the health and educational systems and other basic infrastructure in both countries.
Instead of caricaturing Zimbabweans and Cubans, these pseudo-analysts should be highlighting the folly of using sanctions as a tool to enforce regime change in other countries.
This tool has been proven, time and again, to be futile and only causing stagnation in the targeted countries.
In Iraq, the economic embargo led to severe shortages of vaccinations and other basic medical supplies, resulting in deaths of thousands of innocent children. It was noticed that despite causing the unwarranted sufferings among ordinary people, the embargo failed to influence regime change in Iraq.
Without shame, the imperial Western powers had to employ diplomatic deception and brutal military firepower to murder Saddam Hussein and millions of other Iraqis in order to bring about regime change and trigger the unending violent instability currently blighting that Asian country.
In Iran, it took intensive diplomatic negotiations to put an end to a nuclear tiff with the West after sanctions that were long-imposed on the country failed to end the nuclear showdown.
Similarly, in Cuba, the unrivalled 50-year illegal embargoes failed to bring about regime change as intended. A change of heart from the US only came after President Obama realised that the embargo on Cuba was pointless and causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Cubans.
This led Obama to urge his country’s Congress in December 2015 to lift the country’s embargo on Cuba, saying: “Congress can support a better life for the Cuban people by lifting an embargo that is a legacy of a failed policy.”