NYTIMES/AP: "Hopes Wane as Zimbabwe Farm Mayhem Spreads"
Rainbow's End got its name from its bumper crops of grain, fruit and vegetables. But now the pot of gold is empty. Most of the land is derelict and cut off by a collapsed bridge.
Once one of the most productive farms in this troubled southern African nation, Rainbow's End will have very little to harvest next season, even as farmers' organizations forecast huge crop shortfalls and the U.N. says 2 million Zimbabweans -- nearly one-fourth of the population -- will need food aid in January.
President Robert Mugabe's campaign to run Zimbabwe's whites off their farms and redistribute them to the black majority continues despite the expectation that being forced into a coalition government with the opposition would at least partially restrain him, restore agriculture and protect human rights.
Since the coalition was formed in February, at least 100 more white farmers have been driven off their land. Of about 300 still farming, more than half have been served official eviction notices. Since August, Thomas Beattie, who farmed near Rainbow's End, has been under siege by militants and men he calls hired thugs, and was forced to leave his home in November at the height of the planting season.
''The attitude on the ground is still that white farmers need to go. That is the reality,'' said Deon Theron, head of the Commercial Farmers' Union, most of whose members are white. He said those in Mugabe's long-ruling ZANU-PF party who want change ''are powerless against the old guard who want to maintain what they have been doing.''
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe won independence from Britain in 1980, argues that the land was plundered by the country's European colonizers and needs to be redistributed. At his lavish 85th birthday party in February, Mugabe declared that the ''few remaining white farmers should quickly vacate their farms as they have no place there.''
Under the land seizure program he launched in 2000, more than 11 million hectares (25 million acres) of commercial farmland have been seized from thousands of whites.
But their new occupants often are chosen not for their farming skills but for being party loyalists, and they have failed to replicate the highly efficient, mechanized farming system that made Zimbabwe a breadbasket for Southern Africa.
According to satellite surveys, as much as 80 percent of former prime land lies uncultivated.
ZIMBABWE WAS ONCE A RICH FOOD-EXPORTING NATION; NOW - AS A RESULT OF SOCIALISM (AND NOT "FARM MAYHEM") - IT IS A STARVING ECONOMIC BASKETCASE.
THESE ARE THE FRUITS OF SOCIALISM. NOT "FARM MAYHEM".
YES: SOCIALISM, A WORD WHICH DOESN'T EVEN APPEAR IN THE NYT/AP ARTICLE. SHEESH.
- ALWAYS ARE THE FRUITS OF SOCIALISM...
- EVERY TIME.
- NEVERTHELESS, CHAVEZ AND OBAMA ARE DRAGGING THEIR NATIONS DOWN THIS ROAD - THE ROAD TO SERFDOM.