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U.N. strikes again: Robert Mugabe asked to be international envoy for tourism

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By Doug Powers  •  May 29, 2012 04:40 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

We should have expected nothing less from the “humanitarian organization” that elected Iran to the Commission on Women’s Rights.

From the Guardian:

With a line-up that includes Drew Barrymore, David Beckham, Orlando Bloom, and Ricky Martin, the UN’s choice of ambassadors has been known to cause raised eyebrows or the odd smirk.

Seldom, however, has there been such anger, or questioning of the organisation’s credibility, as that greeting the appointment of a new international envoy for tourism: Robert Mugabe.

Improbable as it seems, the Zimbabwean president, who is widely accused of ethnic cleansing, rigging elections, terrorising opposition, controlling media and presiding over a collapsed economy, has been endorsed as a champion of efforts to boost global holidaymaking.

Despite that fact Mugabe, 88, is under a travel ban, he has been honoured as a “leader for tourism” by the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, along with his political ally, Zambian president Michael Sata, 75. The pair signed an agreement with UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai at their shared border at Victoria Falls on Tuesday.

Michael Ross at National Post has a snapshot of the country that’s been run by your new worldwide vacay director:

Much attention has been paid to the plight of Zimbabwe’s terrorized mostly Anglo farmers whose fields were seized under President Mugabe’s ill-conceived and disastrous land appropriation program. But the abject ruination the Mugabe regime has wrought on the small landlocked country has affected all of its citizens regardless of race or tribal affiliation. Mugabe’s fight to convert white-minority-ruled Rhodesia into the modern African state of Zimbabwe was once considered a noble cause but under his despotic rule, Zimbabwe’s decline has been absolute and has effectively turned this relatively wealthy functioning model of black-white co-existence into an impoverished country that now has one of the lowest life expectancy rates and one of the worst HIV/AIDS infection rates in the world.

Some 3,500 people die per week in Zimbabwe due to HIV/AIDS alone. Tag on the random muggings, violence, and property crime in a country with an unemployment rate hovering at around 80 per cent, and what remains of Zimbabwe’s populace is very beleaguered. One of the best measurements for determining that a country has in fact hit rock bottom is the appearance of cholera. When a state can no longer separate its potable water from raw sewage, then any sense of concern for the general welfare of the citizenry by the government is non-existent. Over several visits I made to Zimbabwe some years ago, I watched the economy and quality of life deteriorate before my very eyes. The country once touted as the bread-basket of Africa and a showcase of interracial harmony and prosperity has become a living hell on earth.

Yeah, I know — it’s hard to believe the U.N. didn’t instead offer Mugabe a gig running the World Health Organization or heading up their Department of Economic and Social Affairs. What were they thinking?

**Written by Doug Powers

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