The Other Side of Margaret Thatcher


thatcher and african leadersMargaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87 but her reign as Prime Minister was not without its share of controversy. Here are some controversial decision she made involving South Africa, Zimbabwe, Chile, Iraq etc.

South Africa

Thatcher refused to impose sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid regime and went so far as to describe the African National Congress (ANC) in 1987 as terrorists. She described the ANC as, “a typical terrorist organization”. In several speeches she agrees that apartheid was wrong but yet was one of main forces against placing economic sanctions on the apartheid regime.


In December 1979, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher solidly refused to ever meet Robert Mugabe as she described him and leaders of ZANLA and ZIPRA as “uncivilized terrorists”. The Lancaster House agreement which led to the independence of Zimbabwe was negotiated under Thatcher’s government. The minutes of those meetings are still yet to be released.

According to Time Magazine online she remained steadfast friends with onetime Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet ever since the latter aided the British during the Falklands War with Argentina in 1982. Pinochet came to power in a 1973 coup — allegedly engineered by the CIA — that violently unseated a democratically elected socialist government. Yet Thatcher, in 1999, credited the general for “bringing democracy to Chile”; Pinochet at the time was living in the U.K., locked in a legal battle to avoid extradition to Spain where he could be charged for human-rights abuses during his near two-decade-long rule. Thatcher’s government is also alleged to have funneled arms to Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein and to have provided training and technical assistance to Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge, who, in Western eyes, was a hedge against Soviet-backed Vietnam in Southeast Asia. Defenders of Thatcher’s legacy argue that such policies were the necessary product of the realpolitik of Thatcher’s age.


  1. While l don’t agree with all of Margaret Thatcher’s policies, it is important to remember that policy in those days was viewed in capitalism/socialism/communism viewpoint and that decisions were made from that vantage point. Whether this was right or wrong is another thing, and l am sure historians will continue to debate this issue.

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