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12 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Please keep this civil.  For sure Castro has a LOT of blood on his hands, for sure Cuba is still a repressive state, but that doesn't mean everything he did for Cuba was decidedly negative.  Like many "successful" dictators, there's some successes mixed in with the failures.  And like most "successful" dictators, generally the failures are vastly in excess of the successes.

It is too bad that when a rare Human being (and Castro is certainly that) arises to lead a successful removal of a corrupt, inept, and murderous regime that they turn out be just as bad or worse.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could have leaders with strong magnetic personalities, excellent skills at overcoming injustice *AND* not be thieving and/or murdering tyrants as soon as they take power?  The world would be a lot less "interesting", but a whole lot nicer to live in.

Steve

Yeah my worst case was Robert Mugabe. Talk about a disaster for his people. I was in high school doing clothing drives for ZANU and the patriotic front to benefit the population displaced into refugee camps by the war.   As much as that did need to happen, ZANU has been an abysmal failure at governing. Can't say the ANC has that much better of a record. Problem is people who seize power via military means already have the mindset of "us vs them" and believe their efforts mean they shouldn't have to share power.  They lose sight of who they were supposedly representing and assume their organization itself represents the nation. 

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Mugabe is indeed an evil dude but Steffani Whitmyer from the Warrior site neglects to include him in her Top 10 Evil Dictator list. Presumably, the nonagenarian lacked the Flair Factor. Seems like Idi Amin, a favorite, needed to make the cut.

#7. Vlad the Impaler

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The inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula is just as scary as the blood-drinking monster. Vlad had a particular taste for blood and torture – and his name offers a clue . To impale his victims, he would insert a wood or metal pole through the body. Usually, it was inserted vertically so that the exit wound would be near the victim's neck, shoulders, or mouth. In most instances, the pole was not sharp to prolong suffering and, in most cases, it would take hours or even days for the person to die. The pole would be raised vertically to showcase the victim. But impaling his victims wasn't the only form of killing he enjoyed. He also drove nails through his victims'  heads, as well as burning, beheading, roasting children alive and then feeding them to their mothers, mutilation, and countless other atrocities. It's rumored that he would dip his bread in blood before eating it and often enjoyed eating feasts with his impaled victims around him (usually still alive and writhing). It's estimated that he killed anywhere between 40,000 to 100,000 people. Although a relatively small number compared to other evil dictators on this list, Vlad the Impaler earns a spot in the top ten simply for his sadistic pleasure of torturing and killing people.

http://www.scout.com/military/warrior/story/1405030-top-10-evil-dictators

Edited by Childress
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On 12/6/2016 at 8:20 AM, sburke said:

people who seize power via military means already have the mindset of "us vs them" and believe their efforts mean they shouldn't have to share power.  They lose sight of who they were supposedly representing and assume their organization itself represents the nation. 

There is that, and communist revolutionaries are the poster children for seizing power through the gun, then using the gun to prevent any further revolution.

But there is also this to consider

Quote

I keep being reminded of Trevor Noah's comparison to African dictators. One of the biggest obstacles to over-throwing a dictatorship isn't the dictator himself, but rather the weak or even non-existent government institutions.

Dictators wreck institutions as a way to concentrate power in their hands. That makes it easy enough to topple a dictator, he's a single point of failure. But it makes recovering from a dictatorship immensely difficult. It may be why the Arab spring has fared so poorly - ousting the dictators was the easy part, replacing them with a functional non-dictator based government without the aid of pre-existing institutions is practically impossible. They end up just falling back into dictatorship again.

I understand Batista was, uh, an absolute batista. I don't know much about Cuban history, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he fit the above description of African dictators to a 'T'.

Edited by JonS
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5 hours ago, JonS said:

There is that, and communist revolutionaries are the poster children for seizing power through the gun, then using the gun to prevent any further revolution.

But there is also this to consider

I understand Batista was, uh, an absolute batista. I don't know much about Cuban history, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he fit the above description of African dictators to a 'T'.

There's always variations. Batista had his own style of murderous kleptocracy, as every of those notable gentlemen you have put into the "African dictators" bag did. And also pretty much as it turned out to be all the military juntas that took over at some point in time or another every South American republic - with the notable exception of perhaps Costa Rica? - between 1950 and 1989. Or the military junta that still is in power in Burma (they keep all the assets, and give "all the power to the people" right). Or Suharto's Indonesian regime, under which the life of moneyed Chinese was forfeit, because you know, all Chinese obviously were mind controlled from Beijing by Mao. Or the South Korean generals that eventually stepped down and into comfortable positions in the chaebol cartels. And so it goes.

But if you want to read about one who totally was on a league of his own, pretty much like good old Idi Amin, or Gaddafi, is Rafael "El Jefe" Trujillo head honcho of the Dominican Republican for nearly 30 years, between 1931 and 1961. His demise was brought about by a palace coup, which saw his limo being ambushed and riddled with submachine gun fire, in a mafia style ambush orchestrated by a clique of generals who weren't getting their stuff. Compared with Gaddafi's that was an awesome way to go.

Shortly thereafter, the "leftist" government democratically elected was toppled by a coup-de-etat, and the following military junta government is toppled a mere year and a half after than. Then LBJ decides that enough is enough, and sends in the USMC and the 82nd Airborne Division to "pacify" the country and contain Cuban infiltration. That eventually leads to another democratic election, where a former associate of Trujillo goes on to govern the western half of the island formerly known as La Hispaniola for 12 years. That government spends a few years purging anybody suspected of anything like sounding vaguely "leftist", to cruise into the late 1970s and past the "red danger", as the realisation that communism in the real world eventually becomes a deeply nationalistic bureaucratic aristocracy sinks in.

I do remember that the reflection/cartoon published by a famous political cartoonist, which I read as a teenager, when the Islamic Salvation Front won the elections in 1991 in Algeria. They didn't even got into office as a coup installed a military junta. The ISF then made it to the hills, very much as the National Front had did to the French 30 years before, opening up a horrifyingly bloody civil war that who knows how many lives took away. Eventually the ISF was crushed, but its remnants became later the embers for AQMI and other forms of organised banditry that run amok through the Sahel.

The cartoon had two vignettes. One had a crossed ballot box and under it was written "Ayatollahs". Next to it there was another vignette with a ballot box in a cage.  The caption under it read "Algerian Generals".

Back then I found that cartoon rather depressing. Now I find it eerily prescient of what the 21st century is shaping up to look like.

Edited by BletchleyGeek
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19 hours ago, JonS said:

There is that, and communist revolutionaries are the poster children for seizing power through the gun, then using the gun to prevent any further revolution.

I've noticed one almost universal failing of dictatorships is failure to prepare a younger generation to step into power when the first generation dies off. So even if the leader of the first generation is "not too bad", his political heirs usually inherit chaos.

Michael

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