Zimbabwe denied entry to a delegation of black U.S. trade unionists on Friday, the latest group of labour activists barred by President Robert Mugabe's government.The US Embassy in Zimbabwe issued a statement condemning the move. Here is the text of the statement:
The AFL-CIO delegation had hoped to meet officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which saw dozens of its members arrested and some badly beaten this month when police stopped them from marching to protest against low wages.
We strongly condemn the Government of Zimbabwe's decision today to deny entry to a delegation from the United States Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU). The CBTU delegation arrived today at the Harare International Airport from South Africa for a visit scheduled months ago but was turned away and forced to return to Johannesburg .(Thanks: KS.)
The CBTU represents black workers within the trade union movement in the United States and its delegations frequently visit Africa[n] nations. Their last visit to Zimbabwe was in May of 2005. The CBTU delegation had informed the Zimbabwean Government of its intended visit, received visas, and scheduled meetings with a variety of government, labor and civil society groups. The delegation was denied entry at the last moment by the government, which claimed that the visit was "unacceptable."
Clearly the Zimbabwean Government's decision not to honor the delegation's visas is the result of the events of September 13, when security forces brutally suppressed planned peaceful demonstrations by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). This transparent attempt to deflect international attention from the vicious beatings is itself an example of the Zimbabwean Government's repression and of its fear of the truth.