After becoming an elected government official, be it a mayor, state senator, or even President of the United States, the well-being of the nation becomes your top priority.
When not focused with the issues on U.S. soil, national government officials try to keep the peace on an international level with organizations like the United Nations and by carrying out clever foreign policy maneuvers.
While striving to do what’s right for the entire country, the U.S. government strikes up a variety of deals with other world leaders in exchange for protection and other basic needs. We’d like to think that all our past foreign connections were made with great consideration, but sadly, that hasn’t always been the case. Here are six examples of the U.S. supporting radical dictators, knowingly and otherwise.
1. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo – Equatorial Guinea
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo first came to power after killing the African nation’s former dictator, who also just so happened to be his uncle. Mbasogo claims to be in close contact with God, thus giving him the power to kill anyone as he feels necessary. In the ’90s, he even considered killing one of our own U.S. ambassadors to the country. He is also believed to have embezzled millions of dollars from public funds to buy sports cars and Parisian real estate.
So what’s the determining factor that has the U.S. financially supporting Equatorial Guinea? Oil. In 2008, the U.S. imported nearly $3 Billion of petroleum products from the country.
2. Idriss Déby – Chad
After successfully helping Hissen Habre end Goukouki Oueddei’s regime in Chad, Idriss Déby lter took down Habre to become President of Chad in 1991. Amnesty International has accused Déby of ignoring basic human rights. In 2012, he married the daughter of Musa Hilal, the suspected leader of the Sudanese Janjaweed Militia. Under Déby’s rule, the country has seen countless reported rapes, humanitarians killed and abducted, and numerous unlawful arrests.
The U.S. and the World Bank have donated millions of dollars to the country combat famine. Unfortunately, Déby and the government have used more than $30 million to purchase firearms to help protect the President during his most recent re-election.
3. Mobutu Sese Seko – Zaire
Mobutu Sese Seko is often considered to be the Marie Antoinette of Africa. He is suspected to have amassed a small fortune of $5 billion all while also leading the fifth poorest country in Africa. Much of his fortune was directly pocketed after American aid was sent to the nation to help end poverty. The U.S. was the third highest provider of aid to the country thanks to Seko’s close friendships with Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. He has also been criticized for his major human rights violations.
Although the financial connection stems from good intentions, the fact that multiple presidents colluded with this violator of human rights isn’t exactly good news.
4. Islam Karimov – Uzbekistan
Perhaps it is Uzbekistan’s close proximity to Russia, Iran, and China that has solidified our connection to the country. From 1991 until 2016, Islam Karimov served as the nation’s dictator. In 2005, after pepople took to the streets to protest Karimov’s role in office, he had members of the National Security Service open fire in the streets, killing 400 to 500 people.
He also directed other unseemly acts of torture toward the Muslim community and reportedly had people boiled alive. Despite his actions, Uzbekistan remains one of America’s leading allies in regard to the War on Terror. They are also a large manufacturer of uranium, which the U.S. often purchases.
5. Augusto Pinochet – Chile
General Augusto Pinochet, along with the unwitting U.S. State Department, helped execute a successful coup against Salvador Allende. Pinochet believed that Allende was headed toward a Communist government and it was his sole responsibility to put a stop to it. And while the U.S. often condemned the coup, it also helped provide crucial paperwork that led to its success. Pinochet was no saint himself, and under his rule, labor leaders and other troublemakers were taken into the National Soccer Stadium and executed one by one. More than 50,000 people were murdered on Pinochet’s orders.
6. Park Chung Hee – South Korea
While their northern counterparts are often considered to be ruled by extreme dictators, South Korea was once known for similar methods. Park Chung Hee came to office after a U.S.-supported coup. During his reign, he initiated martial law and revised the constitution to support his own authoritarian ideas. He would threaten lawmakers who opposed him, going so far as executing them for their differing opinions. Despite his ideals, the CIA and the U.S. continued to support Hee until he was assassinated in 1979.
Sometimes in government, you have to get your hands dirty to help do what’s best for the American people, even if it means supporting murderous dictators in the process.
(via All That Is Interesting)