The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 18, 2007

Statement by Deputy Press Secretary on Zimbabwe's Independence Day

Today the people of Zimbabwe celebrate their nation's 27th year of independence. Despite the increasing campaign of oppression by the Mugabe regime against the people of Zimbabwe, we remain hopeful that one day soon they will join the growing family of democracies around the world. The efforts by the Zimbabwean Government to suppress the peaceful expression of democratic rights and its misguided economic policies have brought untold misery to the nation. The life expectancy of an average Zimbabwean is now 36 years old, the third lowest in the world. Income levels have fallen by half since 2000, and state-sponsored violence is rampant. Roughly a quarter of the population has fled Zimbabwe's borders to escape the unrelenting suffering.

The American people join the international community in supporting those in Zimbabwe who bravely speak out for urgent political and economic reforms. Zimbabweans understand that a return to freedom and prosperity requires a new direction. We support their efforts to achieve a new and true independence, free from tyranny and poverty.

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