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Venezuela Salutes Robert Mugabe’s Legacy as Liberation Fighter, Friend

By BO Staff Writer

This article was originally published on the Telesur website.

The Venezuelan government saluted the “brave Zimbabwean people” who didn’t shy away from participating in the Chimurenga war of independence.

Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry released a public statement in support of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a leader of the country’s independence movement, acknowledging his tireless and successful struggle against “the permanent aggression of the former colonial powers,” namely the U.K. and its ally, the United States.

The Venezuelan government “will continue to recognize Robert Mugabe as a friend and ally of the Bolivarian Revolution and the cause of all people who fight for their freedom and independence,” the statement said.

It saluted the “brave Zimbabwean people” who didn’t shy away from participating in the Chimurenga war of independence and, through the years, warding off repeated attacks by Western powers.

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela reaffirms its permanent commitment to solidarity with the brotherly people of Zimbabwe and wishes it the greatest success in the path of peace with social justice,” the document concluded.

After having been imprisoned for over a decade by colonial forces, as well as being prohibited from attending the funeral of his three-year-old son, Michael Nhamodzenyika, Mugabe helped lead the Chimurenga Bush War from Mozambique to oust former president Ian Smith and his white minority government.

After independence, the country began to address the poverty and backwardness imposed by colonialism, and as of 2015, UNESCO reported that Zimbabwe’s literacy rate is just under 90 percent.

Mugabe came under fire from Western countries for reclaiming land from white landowners to distribute more equitably among the majority Black population.

In an article published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, British Secretary of Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson decried former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s “betrayal” of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement, which, in recognizing Zimbabwe’s independence and plans to redistribute land, promised a white farmers compensation package to be paid by the U.K. The deal was also endorsed by the U.S. government.

By 2013, despite the British withholding of the white farmer’s compensation, Mugabe had lived up to his end of the bargain, expropriating or confirming for redistribution most of their land.

“If you are a successor to a legitimate government of Britain, you don’t only secede to assets, you also secede to liabilities,” Mugabe said of Blair’s adamant refusal to abide by the Lancaster House Agreement.

In 2001, the United States imposed a credit freeze on Zimbabwe. The European Union followed suit in 2002 by imposing sanctions in the form of an asset freeze and travel ban. The measures led to a major trade deficit and adversely affected the country’s healthcare system.

On Nov. 14, the Zimbabwe National Army took control of some areas of the capital city Harare. Military officials stressed that the move was not a coup d’état but aimed at neutralizing criminal elements within Mugabe’s sphere.

Mugabe handed his resignation letter to Zimbabwe’s speaker of the house on Nov. 21, according to Express. In it, he wrote that his decision to resign was made voluntarily, a move to help foster a smooth transfer of power, according to Reuters.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s former vice president who was fired by Mugabe over two weeks ago, will now assume the presidency. Nicknamed the “Crocodile,” Mnangagwa also assumed the presidency of ZANU-PF after Mugabe was expelled from the party.

Mugabe’s resignation came days after he gave a nationally televised speech in which he said that all Zimbabweans must “embrace a new ethos.” With military officials to his right and government officials to his left, he added, “We are a nation born out of a protracted struggle for national independence” and that the goals and ideals of the struggle against “those who occupied and oppressed us” continue to “guide” our “collective legacy across generations and times.”

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