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Imperialists try to block Zimbabwe’s diamond trade

Published Jul 8, 2010 9:45 PM

Western imperialist states are continuing their efforts to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty. The most egregious campaign recently has been the attempt to block the southern African nation from selling its diamonds on the international market.

Utilizing the so-called Kimberly Process (KP), the international diamond trade controllers claim that they are seeking to prevent rebel armies, criminal elements and “rogue states” from marketing gems. Yet ruling-class interests in Europe and the United States heavily influence the criteria used to approve those who can market diamonds.

Several Western governments are opposing Zimbabwe, while the corporate media are stoking the flames of suspicion about President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party’s intentions. Even though Mugabe and ZANU-PF — who fought for and won the national liberation of the country — have entered into a coalition with the Western-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), the destabilization campaign against the leadership of the national democratic revolution continues unabated.

A recent article in Newsweek magazine reported, “The Kimberley Process, a body that tries to ensure diamonds do not fund war or human rights abuses, is meeting in Israel this week to decide whether Zimbabwe’s diamonds should be allowed to trade on the world market.” (Newsweek, June 22)

The New York Times wrote on June 24, “Zimbabwe’s military has been accused of violently seizing control of the Marange fields in the eastern part of the country where the diamonds were mined and organizing smuggling operations there, prompting intense debate over giving it an international stamp of approval.”

These corporate media reports ignore the right of Zimbabwe to control the mineral wealth of its national territory. With a history of attacks on the independence of the Zimbabwean state over a decade or more, it is not surprising that the military is guarding the diamond mines, considering the vast deposits of gems found in the area.

The Zimbabwe Sunday Mail reported on June 27: “An astonishing revelation has emerged from Israel: Zimbabwe has the potential to become a producer of 25 percent of the global diamonds supply in terms of value within just a few years. In practical terms, this means one in every four diamonds under the sun will come from Zimbabwe.”

The debate over the control and distribution of the Zimbabwe diamonds has split largely along the lines of the international division of economic power. The African states, and China, Russia and India support the right of Zimbabwe to determine the utilization of its resources. The Western imperialist states maintain that outside bodies should control the supply.

Zimbabwe’s Sunday Mail pointed out on June 27 that “virtually all the members of the Kimberley Process — except Australia, Canada, the United States and the European Union — are agreed that Zimbabwe has a right to sell its diamonds.”

This article continues, “Owing to the discredited imperialist intentions harbored by these four spoilers, there was no consensus at the Tel Aviv meeting.

“‘Every time the African countries and others spoke in favor of letting Zimbabwe export, there was resounding applause,’ said one participant, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deliberations were confidential. ‘When the United States, Canada, Australia and the NGOs spoke, there was dead silence.’” (New York Times, June 24)

The Sunday Mail notes, “The people of Zimbabwe are outraged. How can this injustice continue? The same Western governments that have imposed racist sanctions on Zimbabwe are once again ganging up against our nation after discovering that the valuable stones of Marange are going to be Zimbabwe’s economic salvation.”

Zimbabwe is considering marketing its diamonds through other trading networks outside the KP, which has been thoroughly infiltrated by the imperialist states and their corporate backers. Several nongovernmental organizations with a long history of working to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty support the imperialists’ opposition.

These groups include Global Witness and Partnership Africa Canada along with Amnesty International of the U.K. and the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch. Zimbabwe has accused the West and its cheerleaders in the NGO circuit of working towards “regime change” despite the tremendous work it has done in building a unity government with the opposition.

The KP monitor to Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, has submitted a report that endorses the country’s right to market its diamonds internationally. The report was put to a vote and 69 delegates voted in favor of Zimbabwe while only Canada, Australia, the U.S. and the European Union voted against.

However, when the imperialists realized that they had been defeated in a majority vote, the rules were suddenly changed. The chair of the Kimberley Process, Boaz Hirsch, then declared that there had to be total consensus on the question of Zimbabwe.

The Sunday Mail argues that since the KP-appointed monitor gave Zimbabwe the OK, there is no basis to claim Zimbabwe has “blood diamonds.” It states that Zimbabwe can withdraw from the KP cartel and sell its diamonds.

U.S. pushes legislation to keep sanctions

Inside the halls of the U.S. Congress fresh efforts are underway to renew existing sanctions against Zimbabwe. The so-called Zimbabwe Renewal Act of 2010 sets out to amend the already operating Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which created the devastating sanctions regime against this sovereign African state.

In a press release during the week of June 21, the U.S. Information Center in Zimbabwe indicated that the new legislation advances what it calls “targeted sanctions.” The bill will provide ongoing financial assistance to the MDC-T politicians and continue efforts to force the party of President Mugabe, ZANU-PF, out of the government of national unity.

The bill states that “some members of ZANU-PF” are hampering the democratic process and at the same time singles out Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Finance Minister Tendai Biti of the MDC-T for special praise. The press release stated that the bill “reflects strenuous debate in both the Democratic and Republican parties, influenced by the Congressional Black Caucus.” (Zimbabwe Herald, June 22)

In response to the new round of threats against Zimbabwe in the arena of the international diamond industry and the most recent legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress, the military leadership of the country has encouraged the national army to safeguard the independence of the state.