Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Medical Collaboration With Cuba; DPRK Delegation Told Investments Are Safe; Beware of Naked Capitalism!

Cuban Collaboration in Zimbabawe

"The Cuban internationalist medical brigade in Zimbabwe is our best diplomatic representation in the African country," stated Cuban
Ambassador to Harare, Cosme Torres Espinosa

2009-05-11 | 15:59:31 EST

Harare, May 11 (Prensa Latina) "The Cuban internationalist medical
brigade in Zimbabwe is our best diplomatic representation in the African country," stated Cuban Ambassador to Harare, Cosme Torres Espinosa.

"Many times, Cuban doctors are working here under difficult conditions, sharpened by the sanctions against Zimbabwe and the drought that in recent years has affected the Zimbabwean agriculture," Ambassador Torres said.

"The present cooperation in public health has taken a new impulse
starting from 1999 with the arrival of more doctors to Zimbabwe, under the Integral Public Health Program, and the Cuban doctors have given their best service to this country, they are really the best Cuban ambassadors," he added

The cooperation between Cuba and Zimbabwe started in period of
1980-1981, at the moment of the Zimbabwean declaration of independence, with a program to train Zimbabwean professionals in Cuba.

Thanks to such an initiative, more than 3,000 young people from Zimbabwe graduated in different areas of specialization.

This medical collaboration has saved more than 300,000 lives in 10
years, a period in which 700 public health professionals have taken care of more than 8 million patients.

Currently there are 118 public health professionals in the 11 Zimbabwean provinces.

‘Zim safe for investment’

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE is endowed with a vast array of mineral resources requiring technological investment to extract, President Mugabe has told the visiting delegation from the Republic of Korea, which in turn described Zimbabwe as one of the safest investment destinations in the world.

"May I begin by welcoming you to the country and to also thank you for visiting us at a time we are still going through hardships imposed on us by some people outside through sanctions,’’ President Mugabe said.

"Our country is endowed with natural resources. These range from coal, chrome, iron ore, copper, platinum, gold and diamonds. A lot of gold has been dug but there are still lots of claims yet to be exploited."

President Mugabe said modern equipment is required to extract the minerals.

"There is a lot of value underground but we must bring it up. On the surface we also have natural resources."

The Republic of Korea delegation, which arrived in Zimbabwe on Tuesday, comprises of heads of companies and Members of Parliament led by Floor Leader of the governing Grand National Party Mr Hong Joon Pyo.

The delegation met President Mugabe at Zimbabwe House in Harare yesterday and endorsed Zimbabwe as one of the safest investment destinations in the world.

The delegation expressed interest in the Kunzvi Dam project that will augment Harare’s water supplies and irrigation in surrounding areas.

They also registered interest in thermal power generation, saying they intended to construct a thermal power station on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis.

"Your Excellency, it may please you to note that following a visit by your minister Dr (Ignatius) Chombo from April 19-26 most Korean companies expressed a lot of interest to visit Zimbabwe. They have realised that Zimbabwe is one of the safest destinations for investment.

"This delegation is on a mission to explore business opportunities existing in Zimbabwe with special interest in the following areas: the Kunzvi Dam project, the thermal power project, housing, mining, agriculture, rural development and infrastructure development," said head of the business delegation, Mr Tiger Kwon.

Last month Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Dr Chombo was in the Republic of Korea to establish economic co-operation linkages.

Mr Tiger said Dr Chombo’s visit had enlightened South Koreans on the real situation prevailing in Zimbabwe and dispelled the misconceptions presented by the Western media.

He added that their delegation’s visit marked the "entry" of Korean companies into Zimbabwe and they were now awaiting the nod from the authorities here to invest in the country.

The business delegation comprises Hyundai Construction vice president (power and energy) Mr Myoung Reul Huh, the chief representative of South Africa-Korea Development Bank Mr Yong Kang Kim and the chief representative of the South Africa-Korea Electric Power Corporation Mr Chang-Mok Lee.

It also includes the managing director of Trapeace Zimbabwe Mr Jae Hyung Roh, chief executive officer of Trapeace Korea Mr Se Hwan Shon, chief planner of Town House SeoKwang Construction Mr Bu Young Jung, the chief civil engineer of Korea Rural Corporation Mr Si Yong Woo.

Also in the delegation were president of GCM Water and Sewerage Engineering Company Mr Man Hee Park, president of Shinyong Infrastructure Company Mr Yong Bum Park, chief representative of South Africa-Korea Yonhap News Agency Mr Jung Sang Kwon and Colonel Gap-sik Shin from Korea National Defence.

The delegation has since visited Victoria Falls.

Meanwhile, the World Taekwondo Federation yesterday bestowed President Mugabe with an honorary 6th dan black belt in taekwondo.

Mr Tiger presented the belt and a full taekwondo kit to President Mugabe.

Beware of naked capitalism!

By Obert Gutu

GLOBALLY, the inevitable demise of capitalism has been witnessed.

It is not an accident that capitalism collapsed. Capitalism had fatal and life-threatening defects right from its birth as a refined version of feudalism.

Its collapse, therefore, was a matter of when and not whether it would come tumbling down.

Any mode of production that slavishly advocates the maximisation of profit at whatever cost is inherently primitive, immoral and not sustainable in the long run. Put differently, the fanatical pursuit of profit as an end in itself became the greatest Achilles’ heel of naked capitalism.

Thus, for relatively new and emerging nation states such as Zimbabwe there are a number of valuable lessons to be learnt from the recent collapse of capitalism.

Capitalism was essentially put in place in order to benefit very few people at the perpetual expense of the majority.

This is the main reason why naked capitalism will invariably create a few super-rich billionaires amidst millions of toiling and struggling working class people.

Even in those countries where naked capitalism held sway; such as in North America and large parts of Europe, the majority of the people are destined to remain as workers whose whole lives revolve around the incurring of debts and the payment of bills.

Though apparently comfortable from the outside, the lives of these people are in reality a misery because they are eternally burdened to serving both long-term and short-term financial obligations such as house mortgages, utility bills and credit card debts.

No doubt, millions of the inhabitants of the so-called First World are virtual slaves to the system called naked capitalism.

They are mercilessly caught up in a system whereby only very few of them can liberate themselves from the agony of debt during the greater part of their productive lives.

This is the main fallacy of capitalism.

It will exude a semblance of affluence and prosperity from the outside but if one cares to look more closely, you will realise that this is fake because naked capitalism actually produces very few genuinely wealthy people and millions of patently poor people who are misled into believing that they are affluent because capitalism gives them access to loans, and in the process enslaves them for life.

Zimbabwe abounds with both natural and human resources.

I am reliably informed that we have, around the Bikita area, the world's second largest reserves of lithium; a very strategic natural resource especially taken into account the need for the world to look for renewable and more sustainable energy resources.

We have platinum that is currently worth more than gold in terms of value.

We have gold, diamonds and several other very strategic minerals. We have excellent soils suitable for agriculture combined with a beautiful tropical climate.

If we efficiently harness all our resources, ensure good governance and respect for private property rights, Zimbabwe will no doubt scale dizzy heights in the next decade or two.

But then we have to learn some very tough lessons from the demise of capitalism.

We should not structure our economic policies in a manner that will give rise to the emergence of a few billionaires in a sea of indigent peasants and workers.

In other words, Zimbabwe should not seek to re-invent capitalism in the sense that we knew it prior to its global collapse.

It is not in dispute that the United States of America epitomised capitalism in its most robust form.

For all its rabid demonisation of communism and socialism, America has not yet publicly acknowledged that capitalism has also collapsed.

We have also not been given a concise and honest explanation as to what exactly caused the collapse of naked capitalism.

The symptoms of the collapse of capitalism in the United States are chilling.

So far this year alone, more than 500 000 workers have lost their jobs.

Thousands of laid-off workers have failed to service their mortgages and as a result, many mortgages have been foreclosed rendering thousands of people homeless.

Long-awaited results of the US government’s stress test of 19 major banks show that nearly all of them are not in very good financial health.

In fact, some of these banks are on the verge of collapse.

Most of these banks will require additional capital in order for them to remain afloat.

And we are talking of big banks here.

Although Bank of America and Wells Fargo do not need more money, they will be required to strengthen their reserves by converting tens of billions of dollars of other forms of capital to common equity.

Bank of America will need to increase these capital holdings by about US$34 billion and Wells Fargo by US$15 billion.

Citigroup is the weakest of America’s banking giants and it requires US$5 billion in new capital.

The only financially healthy bank so far in the United States is JP Morgan Chase; who will not require additional capital, thus paving the way for the bank to repay the government’s investment.

This clearly proves that even in America, the world’s largest economy worth about US$15 trillion dollars, naked capitalism has been fatally wounded.

It is worth noting that the world’s second largest economy, Japan, with a net worth of about $5 trillion, has also not been spared by the collapse of capitalism.

The American economy is in severe recession.

On Wednesday May 6, 2009, the American Senate approved a Housing Bill aimed at addressing the country’s growing foreclosure problem, including revamping a troubled government programme to prevent foreclosures.

The motor vehicle manufacturing industry is also in turmoil.

General Motors is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy although it has borrowed US$15,4 billion from the US government in the past six months.

Besides presently operating on a tax-payer funded lifeline, General Motors says it still needs up to US$30 billion to prevent collapse.

Such are the chilling statistics of the collapse of capitalism in corporate America.

But then some die-hard capitalists never learn.

Amidst all this financial mayhem and the laying off of thousands of workers in the US automobile manufacturing industry, General Motors, Chrysler and Ford executives flew on private jets to Washington to ask for government aid last year! And as if this was not enough, General Motors entertained 500 of its biggest customers at a luxury spa and golf course in Arizona last week.

General Motors shipped 150 cars and trucks to the event at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa and paid for airfare and hotel lodging for 90 percent of the guests.

This just goes to show that die-hard capitalists do not particularly care about the suffering of the majority of the retrenched workers.

Zimbabwe should avoid adopting an economic blue-print that will inevitably create two classes of people; a few super-rich individuals and a majority of indigent and debt-cripplled citizens.

After perusing the Short-term Emergency Recovery Programme document, I was left convinced that the Minister of Finance and his team have started on a correct footing and here is hoping that the long-term economic blueprint will also take note of the vagaries of pursuing naked capitalism.

I am not anti-business. All I am stating is that business without a sense of morality, humanity and fairness is inherently unsustainable.

I am not mourning the death of naked capitalism.

--Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Help to Cuban doctors.
We need information about a person, institution or social organization or religion in Africa to help the Cuban doctors who leave their medical missions in the territory.
At this time we are asking for help a couple of Cuban doctors are in this situation.
We have a Blog where we unite all that one day this way and we are awaiting this moment. And as advisers and talk about all the benefits of the Government of the United States for Cuban doctors to those who have clearly taken this path.
Whom we can discuss your experience or suggest any kind of help please.
Here is our Blog and Mail.