[UPDATE — See below]
In a video that aired on her CNN International show and then was subsequently displayed in a blog post headlined “Happy Birthday, President Mugabe,” CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour took time to commemorate the 89th birthday of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the internationally reviled dictator who has led the once-prosperous country into near-total economic and humanitarian ruin.
Despite the persistent allegations of horrifying human-rights abuses and crippling financial issues still plaguing Zimbabwe, Amanpour’s tribute to Mugabe’s 33 years of power seemed somewhat positive, but as she later pointed out was meant to be sarcastic.
“Imagine a world leader four years older than the Pope who’s been in power for 33 years and shows no sign of calling it quits,” Amanpour said. “Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, is 89 today, and celebrated modestly by his standards — with a cake and a gift of 89 cows, we’re told. But a lavish birthday party is planned for next month, complete with a soccer match and an all-night concert, at an estimated cost of $600,000, which is a hefty price tag for a country whose finance minister said just last month that it had only $217 left in the national bank. A $30 million infusion followed.”
But Amanpour, who also tweeted “Happy Birthday, President Mugabe” earlier today, didn’t paint a completely rosy picture of the troubled country.
“Zimbabwe is still a blighted landscape for the economy and for human rights,” Amanpour conceded.
Despite having deleted her tweet (posted above) that seemed to suggest she was wishing Mugabe “happy birthday,” Amanpour gave The Daily Caller a statement on Friday morning clarifying her intentions with the tweet and explained why she “adjusted” it:
“This was not a greeting, this was scorn. I assumed, given my work and my record, that would have been clear. What HAS become clear is there is a severe irony-deficit in some circles therefore, I helpfully adjusted the tweet. Of course linking to the actual story in the first place might have avoided the confusion.”