Monday, May 2, 2011

Mugabe at the Vatican: Dictator beats EU travel ban to be among 1.5m watching Pope beatify his predecessor - 2nd May 2011

Brutal dictator Robert Mugabe sidestepped a European travel ban to attend the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II at the Vatican yesterday.

The Zimbabwean president was able to join the crowd of 1.5million at the ceremony because the Vatican, while located in the Italian capital Rome, is a sovereign state and not part of the EU.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, who attended the ceremony, said Mugabe’s record on human rights was deplorable and ‘it felt uncomfortable to be in his presence’.

It was not the first time Mugabe, 87, who has driven his country to starvation while building up his own riches, has caused controversy by attending a Vatican function.

In 2005 the tyrant sat next to the Prince of Wales at Pope John Paul’s funeral and Charles was caught out having to shake hands with him.

After yesterday’s service, Archbishop Nichols said: ‘The Vatican has not broken off diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe and if [Mugabe] wants to attend and he is invited, then he can do so, but personally I found it uncomfortable.’ Read More