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A Look at the Bolivarian Revolution

Everyone has been excited to see Evo Morales get reelected for another mandate, and I don't have much of an opinion about that. But watch out for those of you who would like to point to the reelection as an example of success for the famous, Hugo Chavez-inspired "Bolivarian Revolution."

The name refers to Simon Bolivar, not the modern-day nation, and before anyone gets too excited about the name, it's useful to take a look at what Chavez actually accomplished in his nation before shuffling off this mortal coil. Continue reading "A Look at the Bolivarian Revolution"

Who's got a plushy for Blaise Compaore?

Hey Blaise, hope you're hunkered down over there!  As far as I can tell from here, Burkina Faso is minutes away from declaring the end of you, via a huge popular protest and the support of the military - all things you'd have had a better time handling if you'd ever read my book.  If you're still in Ouagadougou and wondering what to do, have a look at the chapters on Managing Uprisings and Endgame - you're going to need it.


Then, just to make sure you are getting the comfort and support you need in this time of crisis, I recommend hugging a stuffed animal.  Worked for Mobutu (pictured) and the rest of the dictators in this photo series, from Khadaffi to Castro to Chavez.  Everyone needs a hug from Mr. Piggy-Wiggy, eh Blaise? 

Round of applause for Burma!

I'd like to take a moment here and give a shout-out to my boys the Burmese generals.  Ever been to one of those stupid movies where there's a psycho killer in the abandoned house, but the stupid girl and her sorority sisters are walking up to the front door anyway to go get slaughtered in the next two minutes of the film?


That's what watching American trying to court Myanmar is like.  

Continue reading "Round of applause for Burma!"

R.I.P. Baby Doc Duvalier


Well, we're late in wishing Baby Doc Duvalier a happy afterlife, but it's been a long time since he mattered much, and when he did matter, it was for all the wrong reasons. He got more than honorable in the Dictator's Handbook and his 15 year rule of Haiti was only slightly better than an outbreak of a deadly virus, rife with humans rights abuses, torture, and unexplained death.

Never underestimate that power of the crowds to come out and mourn the "good old days," though. Continue reading "R.I.P. Baby Doc Duvalier"

You don't want freedom: you want a firm hand



All this whining and crying about independence movements brings a tear to my eye, as I reach for my revolver.  You, son: you don't want independence, you just think you do.  What you really want, as far as I can tell, is for someone powerful and visionary to show you which direction is up.


In short: you need a Dick.


What if you got your independence?  The jackass behind you would probably decide he needs independence too.  Never mind the fact you can't survive on your own.  Never mind the fact you can't wipe your nose and walk at the same time.  They've got the right idea over at Slate.  Check out their map of what Europe would look like if every separatist movement got its way.  Not pretty, I can assure you.


Maybe you should just sit down and shut up.


Actually, know what I should do?  Let you all get your independence, because individually you are all weak and unprotected.  Then I should run roughshod over you like a bunch of slugs crossing a highway.  Because while you're enjoying your newfound independence, I'll be warming up my army to make you my bitches.

Torture, Nigeria style

I know, I know, you've read the entire chapter of the Dictator's Handbook about security and police forces as well as the chapter on perpetuating a culture of fear, and you're thinking to yourself, "dammit, all the interesting torture practices have already been discovered and are being used elsewhere!  How am I supposed to innovate in this important area of governance?"


Fear not, young Dick.  Nigeria is here to show you the way.

Continue reading "Torture, Nigeria style"

Finally, a law that can stop anyone from doing anything

If you've read the Dictator's Handbook, you've certainly appreciated the chapter on "A Culture of Fear."  And a huge part of keeping people quaking in their boots is a legal framework that encourages self-censoring on every level.  Congrats to you guys in the United Kingdom then. Continue reading "Finally, a law that can stop anyone from doing anything"

History repeats itself in Nicaragua

Once upon a time in Nicaragua, there was a brutal, rapacious, avaricious dictator running Nicaragua. He, his family, and his business cronies owned anything worth owning, and controlled the rest. The press was silenced, political life was basically squashed for any other than his own party, and the people were disaffected but powerless to do much of anything about it. Then in the mountains, ragtag bands of rebels began training and organizing, gaining in strength and in courage, and they used the mountains as a base for attacks on the violent apparatus of the state: the national guard, the police, and the army.

Eventually, the rebels won. The dictator was overthrown, and the head of the rebels became the president. His name was Daniel Ortega.

Ortega knows this story well, as does every school kid that ever went through the Nicaraguan public school system. So it should be no surprise to anyone that what's happening in Nicaragua is a repeat of the past. Only this time, Ortega is the dictator, and the rebels are massing against him.

How do you think it will turn out? How do you hope it will turn out?