( dpa ) - Cuba will support crisis-riddled Zimbabwe which is being "punished" by the West for seizing white- owned farms, the Cuban ambassador was quoted as saying here Saturday.
In a belated address to mark the 49th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, Ambassador Cosme Torres Espinoza told reporters that there were similarities between the way the US treated Cuba and Zimbabwe.
Cuba is under an economic blockade. The US, the EU and other Western countries have imposed travel sanctions and asset freezes on more than 100 top officials of Zimbabwe's ruling party to protest rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe.
Mugabe blames the sanctions for Zimbabwe's deepening economic rot: the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates annual inflation in this once-prosperous country reached 115,000 per cent in December, reports said this week.
"I can see similar trends in the way America deals with Cuba and Zimbabwe," the Cuban ambassador said. Cuba has been sending doctors to staff many of Zimbabwe's rural hospitals, deserted by locals over poor pay and conditions.
"The Cuban Revolution has been successful because our people understand the goals of the revolution and have benefited from independence," said the ambassador in quotes carried by the official Herald daily.
"We are therefore prepared to work with Zimbabwe in its quest for economic, social and political freedom," he added.
Western countries maintain the sanctions they have imposed upon Zimbabwe are only targeted measures and that Mugabe's misrule including his controversial seven-year programme of white land seizures - is entirely to blame for the crisis.
The US granted Zimbabwe 220 million US dollars in aid in 2007, US ambassador James McGee was quoted as saying this week.