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Haile Miriam Menghistu

Became head of state of Ethiopia after successfully deposing Haile Selassie (qv). Abolished the Monarchy and attempted a socialist revolution but got bogged down in a war with neighbouring Eritrea which eventually forced him to flee the country in '91. Currently holed up in Zimbabwe.

 

Slobodan Milosevic

Serbian strongman who has revelled in the breakup of Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s. Forever switching allegiances and policy Sloba has but one aim...to stay in power, and at this he is - or at least was - the master.

 

Robert Gabriel Mugabe

First Prime minister of independent Zimbabwe. Most dictators abolish democracy once they take power, Mugabe maintains the electoral process in his country, comfortable in the knowledge he employs the best ballot box stuffers this side of '30s Chicago.

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General Manuel Antonio Noriega Morena

Got his real taste of power in Panama as head of the army police, the G2, in the 1970s, but began to excercise real control following the death of military ruler Omar Torrijos. A decade of money laundering, drug trafficking and sale of US military secrets led to an American invasion of Panama and his arrest. Currently serving a 40-year sentence in a U.S. federal penitentiary.

 

General Park Chung-Hee

Came to power in South Korea in 1963. He opened up the country to the world and his export-led development turned the country into the 11th largest economy on the planet. Had a tendency towards a bit of Marshal Law now and again. Assasinated in 1979.

Full Biography

 

Vidkun Quisling

Dictator and Norway are two words not normally occupying the same sentence but Mr Quisling bucks the trend. Installed as the puppet leader of his nation by the Nazis in 1940 he encountered so much international flak his name became a figure of speech for a traitor and collaborator.

 

Emperor Haile Selassie I

Formerly Ras (prince) Tafari, he was crowned Emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, though forced to leave six years later after the Italian invasion. Returned in 1941 and until his overthrow in 1974 established himself as an authoritarian yet progressive ruler. Revered as the Messiah by certain Jamaican tokers.

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Anastasio Somoza Garciá

Seized power in Nicaragua in 1936 and remained its dictator both directly and indirectly (through puppet rulers 1947-50) until his assasination in 1956. His legacy, however, lived on through the dynasty of his two sons until 1979. Amassed a staggering fortune that made his family among the richest in Latin america.

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Jonas Malheiro Savimbi

Former head of the UNITA party in Angola. Though never officially in power he was in de facto control of at least half of the country for over 25 years. Had the charming habit of throwing his political opponents onto bonfires....while they were still alive.

 

Thojib Suharto

Recently deposed leader of Indonesia. Assumed ultimate power in the archipeligo in 1969, two years after a coup d'etat. Performed wonders with the economy, stabilized the currency and normalized relations with his neighbours but his heavy-handed rule, nepotism and treatment of East Timor eventually forced him out.

 

Alfredo Stroessner

Legendary bossman of Paraguay for 35 years, made sure his country was a home away from home for fleeing members of the Third Reich, wrote the book on kleptocratic extravagance and displayed a prediliction for young virgins, whom he reputedly bought from their parents for his own edification.

 

Josip Broz (Tito)

Though a Communist Tito broke with Stalin (qv) and the Warsaw Pact in 1948 thereby ensuring Yugoslavia was courted by both the West and the Soviet bloc alike. A burgeoning mixed economy, the UDBa secret police force and a total grip on power guaranteed an uninterrupted 35 year rule until his death in 1980.

 

General Hideki Tojo

Position as chief of police in Manchuria from 1937-40 held him in good stead to become leader of Japan in 1941. Decision to attack Pearl Harbour really sealed his doom and he resigned in 1944, being sentenced to death in 1948.

Full Biography

 

Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina

Seized power in a 1930 coup d'etat in the Dominican Republic and remained in power until 1961. Brought a great deal of prosperity to the country during his rule, though most of the wealth went no further than his friends and family. Machine-gunned to death a few months before his 70th birthday.

 

Dr. Hassan al-Turabi

Considered to hold the real power in Sudan. He heads the Popular Arab Islamic Conference. Western educated, eloquent and fantastically charming, Dr. al-Turabi is equally at home entertaining European politicos in London as he is talking up the Jihad with Usama Bin Laden in Khatoum.

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Mohammed Zia ul-Haq

After leading a military coup in his native Pakistan in 1977 he assumed complete control of the republic the next year. His restoration of Shari'ah law caused a great deal of international rebuke but this was overlooked by the Western powers when he came out strongly against the USSR after their invasion of neighbouring Afghanistan. Died in a suspicious plane crash in 1988.

 
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