Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Worst of the Bad Guys

I'm not a regular reader of Parade, the popular Sunday newspaper insert, but for reasons that Peter Howard at The Duck of Minerva articulates well, the annual "World's Worst Dictator" issue is worth a look. Omar al-Bashir of Sudan retains his position at the top of the list, followed by Kim Jong-il, who was also second on last year's list.

Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema, father of Malibu's own Teodoro Nguema Obiang, is eleventh on the list. Here's what Parade has to say about him:

Obiang seized control of this small, oil-rich West African nation by executing the previous dictator--his uncle. In July 2003, state radio announced that Obiang “is in permanent contact with The Almighty” and that he "can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to Hell." Obiang himself told his citizenry that he felt compelled to take full control of the national treasury in order to prevent civil servants from being tempted to engage in corrupt practices. To avoid this corruption, Obiang deposited more than half a billion dollars into accounts controlled by Obiang and his family at a bank in Washington, D.C., leading a U.S. federal court to fine the bank $16 million.

The complete list of the twenty worst dictators is available here.