I have preferred to write the title as above, and I hope I am not wrong. Read the story below and you will understand why! This means Americans are responsible for all those people killed by Kagame and other war crimes committed by the darling tyrant! Admin
The thing to know about Rwandan President Paul Kagame is not just that he is a dictator responsible for human rights abuses but that, despite this, he has a great many friends.
Kagame, credited with commanding the rebel force that put an end to Rwanda’s genocide 20 years ago, has made himself a global celebrity. Bill Clinton hails him as among “the greatest leaders of our time.” Tony Blair calls him a “visionary.” Bill Gates works closely with him. Kagame has spoken at Harvard and received honorary doctorates from a number of universities in the United States and Europe. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also a fan, telling Kagame in May, “I hope many African nations will emulate what Rwanda is doing. I highly commend you.” The praise inside Rwanda, in the press and public forums, is even more effusive. When I ask Rwandan citizens why there is no criticism of their president, I am told there is nothing to criticize. The political “opposition” consists of parties that refuse to speak out against Kagame even during elections, and there is talk of soon scrapping the constitution’s two-term limit for presidents so he can run in 2017 for a third time.
After all, for Rwandans, it can be lethal to be Kagame’s enemy. When Patrick Karegeya—Kagame’s former spy chief and friend who became one of his fiercest critics—was found dead in a South African hotel room in January, the Rwandan foreign minister, asked for the government’s response, tweeted, “This man was a self-declared enemy of my Gov & my country, U expect pity?” The Rwandan defense minister added, “When you choose to live like a dog, you die like a dog.” And Kagame himself remarked in a speech, “Shouldn’t we have done it?”
Not only was the president justifying a murder—he was warning his critics that betraying Rwanda brings consequences. In fact, in Kagame’s 20 years as the de facto leader of the country, more than a dozen prominent dissidents have been assassinated, imprisoned, exiled and tortured. According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, in recent years perhaps half a dozen well known investigators, journalists and opposition politicians have also been found dead in mysterious circumstances, including, six months ago, a Rwandan Transparency International worker who had been investigating police corruption.
Foreign governments, notably the United States, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, are nonetheless lining up at Kagame’s door with praise, and money, desperate for a foreign aid success story after 50 barren years in Africa. Total publicly reported foreign aid to Kagame’s government stands at some $1 billion annually, of which the U.S. government provides about a fifth. It’s not surprising that these Western countries, as well as international institutions like the World Bank, believe Rwanda is one of their best hopes in the region: Kagame’s government says it lifted 1 million people out of poverty between 2008 and 2012, and that the country’s economy grew at a remarkable 8 percent clip during the global economic crisis—successes that seem even more remarkable in a country still recovering from the 1994 genocide, which killed nearly a million people and brought the economy to a standstill.
The catch: Kagame administers the Rwandan government’s foreign-funded aid programs with a strict autocratic hand. Political critics have been imprisoned for speaking out when government programs cause harm. In 2011, for instance, a pastor criticized a nationwide housing project to eliminate thatched roofs because it left thousands of people homeless, and in return he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Foreign-funded media and human rights programs that once reported on Kagame’s excesses, repression or policy failings—including programs run by Transparency International, Lawyers without Borders and the Rwandan League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights —have shut down or become toothless under government pressure. The Rwandan people know that to survive in such an environment, and to benefit from any government- or foreign-funded aid, they must be loyal to their president. Few other countries can mimic the results—95 percent participation rates in everything from elections to government health programs. Foreign donors echo the faux optimism, celebrating these programs’ efficiency and praising Kagame as a progressive leader; he is acclaimed, for instance, for promoting gender equality in the Rwandan parliament, where women outnumber men—even though the legislature has little power.
The United States, without doubt, is Kagame’s staunchest ally and oldest supporter, eager to maintain Rwanda as a strategic partner with a powerful army in mineral-rich eastern Africa. In the 1990s, Kagame studied at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kans., before he returned to Rwanda and seized power in 1994. (More recently, his son Ivan trained at West Point.) Although the United States typically provides only about half a million dollars in bilateral military aid to Rwanda, high-ranking current and former U.S. officials—including not only Bill Clinton but also national security adviser Susan Rice and Jendayi Frazer, a former top Africa diplomat—have a history of backing Kagame, despite evidence of abuses by his forces.
U.N. documentation implicates senior Rwandan military staff who report directly to Kagame in the large-scale massacre of perhaps tens of thousands of civilians, including unarmed women and children, in 1996 and 1998—acts that the United Nations has said are war crimes and possibly acts of genocide. (Kagame has said in response that his troops were difficult to control just after the genocide.) At the time of the massacres, Rice, then the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, reportedly said in a private conversation, “The only thing we [the United States] have to do is look the other way.” Later, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, she reportedly tried to block the publication of a 2010 U.N. report about the killings. (Rice denies that the United States “supported, encouraged or condoned” Rwanda’s invasion of Congo, during which the massacres occurred.) Washington has also shielded Kagame from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), set up to prosecute killings during the genocide: In 2003, the United States pushed to remove Carla del Ponte, an ICTR prosecutor, after she began to investigate crimes linked to Kagame, which the United States feared would destabilize his government.
U.N. evidence also shows that Rwanda long supported rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that are accused of crimes against humanity and mass rape, though Kagame officially denies his military’s involvement. A portion of Rwanda’s support stopped last year after warnings from the United States, which suspended some military aid last year, though Washington is now considering reinstating the funds. The mostly symbolic U.S. aid cut, after months of foot-dragging, helped to restore peace in Congo at least temporarily. But millions of dollars in foreign aid continue to flow to the Rwandan government, and Kagame’s supporters seem reluctant to diminish their praise. Bill Clinton, asked last year about Kagame’s tight grip on the press and political opponents, insisted he did not support it but admitted, “I suppose I do make more allowances for a government that produces as much progress as this one.” Or, as Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), visiting Rwanda in January, put it, “I speak on behalf of many fellow senators back home, and I assure you that [the United States] doesn’t have a better friend than Kagame.”