Tuesday, February 13, 2007

America's Favorite Tyrant (part 1)

This weekend, Parade magazine released its annual "The World's Ten Worst Dictators" list. Faster than you can say "President Raul Castro," a caller to Radio Mambi Monday morning pointed out that the Parade list did not include "Hollywood's favorite tyrant" (wink to Humberto Fontova), Fidel Castro. The caller recommend that listeners should write letters to the Miami Herald (who distribute the Parade down here every Sunday), in another attempt to point out how the Herald is an "accomplice" to Fidel's tyranny. It was another normal Monday morning on Radio Mambi.

Obviously, the caller did not read the opening paragraph to the Parade list, where David Wallechinsky (who blogs for the Huffington Post) wrote that Fidel was not included because he had "relinquished power in Cuba to his brother." Yet, Wallechinsky reminds us that Fidel was on last year's list, "coming in at number 15 on the countdown." (My best Casey Kasem)

So, I was looking at this list and I noticed that there were a few faces that I hadn't seen before, but some faces that were very familiar. Wallechinsky writes that the list is based on reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and the US State Department (most likely its annual Country Reports on Human Rights). The list is enlightening, yet it is a very short summary of each country's human rights abuses, and fails to highlight the historical background of each case. I recommend the annual reports by those organizations mentioned above.

Anyway, aside from the interest of finding everyone's favorite tyrant on some list, there's one dictator that I notice keeps popping up on these lists, and just so happens to be "a good friend" to the US. His name is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea. Now, before I lose you, this has EVERYTHING to do with Cuba, because if you read the latest US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights, you will notice that Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is basically Fidel Castro himself. The differences between the two dictators are miniscule.

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