With an inflation rate of 1,600% and steadily rising prices, life for Zimbabwe's working class gets harder as the days go by. In a page out of the African liberationist playbook, President Robert Mugabe blames the west for his collapsing economy. In what should be an embarrassment to him, one of his cabinet members was arrested last week for not only trying to smuggle diamonds out of the country but for also attempting to bribe the arresting officer. I guess that's one way to cope with the rising prices and inflation.
The freshly minted $50,000 Zimbabwe dollars printed up last week by the treasury helped consumers cope with rising prices by lightening their wallets but did little else to help the economy. The average working person in Zimbabwe can barely afford basics like food and clothing so the poor are really suffering. In true dictator style, Mugabe is ignoring the mistakes made by another president-for-life Mobutu Sese Seko. It is only a matter of time before the brutal repression, crushing poverty and failing economy ignite political and social change there in spite of military crackdowns and suspension of civil and political rights.
Even if we overlooked the fact that Mugabe and his cronies have run that country into the ground, it's the people of Zimbabwe who are suffering. The economy was in a steep decline before the embargo and it has only gotten worse. The telling sign of how bad things are is reflected in the price of gasoline. A liter of gasoline in Zimbabwe costs $24 US compared to $1.22 US in the European Union. For those of us who never learned the metric system, a gallon of gas in Zimbabwe would cost about $91 US.