Ten Other Despots Who Need to Go
Now that Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has finally given in to the masses of brave demonstrators (and military leaders) demanding his resignation, we couldn't help but fantasize about who should follow his example.
There are, after all, a ton of terrible dictators out there -- and the world would be much better off if they decided to pull a Mubarak and stepped down.
Our list of the dudes we'd most like to see hit the road after the jump.
Yes, there are technically much, more worse leaders out there than this prime minister -- who was, in fact, democratically elected. But c'mon -- this is Italy. The people who gave us one of the greatest empires in world history can do better than a buffoon who allegedly hired an underage hooker and generally seems convinced that the only women worth paying attention to (even as cabinet ministers!) are topless models and hot playthings. Time for this out-of-touch media mogul to quit.
9. Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba, Gabon
People of the central west African nation of Gabon surely hoped for change when the country's long-running dictator, Omar Bongo, breathed his last in June 2009. Instead, somehow, they got stuck with his son, Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba. Like his father, Ali Ben seems much more interested in looting the country to increase his personal fortune than bettering the lives of its citizens: Soon after taking office, he purchased a 48,000-square-feet mansion in the heart of Paris, complete with a swimming pool. As the U.K.'s Daily Mail reports, the average resident of Gabon gets by on $12 per day -- Ali Ben Bongo's palace cost $136 million.
8. Paul Biya, Cameroon
Paul Biya has run Cameroon for 28 years -- after an uncontested "election" put him into office. (Must be nice.) He has the backing of the U.S., apparently, but this is not a guy we should be proud to be in bed with: According to a recent report from Amnesty International, when protestors in Cameroon dared to protest against a constitutional amendment that would allow Biya to stay in office even longer, his security forces came down hard -- killing more than 100 citizens.
|This is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. Trying saying that sober.|
7. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan
No, we did not include this guy (heretofore to be referred to as "this guy") simply because his name cracks us up. We included him because he earned the gig mainly because he the longtime dentist of this former Soviet Republic's President for Life, Saparmurat Niyazov. Niyazov was the head of a serious cult of personality, going so far as to rename days of the week and months after himself and his family -- and banning things like gold teeth and beards, just because he didn't like them. The government also restricted numerous freedoms, including those of "movement, speech, press, and assembly," according to the State Department.
Observers say the dentist Niyazov hand-picked to take over after his 2006 death has not improved matters much, if any. A memo recently released through WikiLeaks noted that Berdimuhamedov "does not like people who are smarter than he is. Since he's not a very bright guy, our source offered, he is suspicious of a lot of people." Observers report that repression has continued unabated, with Christians a particular target.
6. King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia
How is there even a "king" ruling a country in 2011? Isn't that so ... Middle Ages? Shouldn't world leaders at least feint toward democracy (e.g. "dictator for life"?)
And yes, Saudi Arabia is an ally of this country, but it's also ludicrously oppressive, especially toward women. The State Department notes that women have no right to come or go without their husbands' permission. Dancing, playing music and screening movies are forbidden in public areas, while pork, alcohol, and even some reading materials are banned outright. No bacon and no booze? It's amazing the Saudis aren't rioting in the streets.