September 13, 2011
By Juan Tamayo, The Miami Herald
An article in Foreign Policy magazine has ranked Cuba’s Raúl Castro as the world’s 4th worst dictator, and argued that after 52 years of Castro brothers rule “Cubans are stirring.”
Castro is being forced by a listless economy to slash subsidies that kept people in line for decades and will now rely “entirely on state repression. It is a very fragile arrangement,” it added.
“After 52 years under the rule of the Castro brothers, Cubans are stirring,” wrote George B.N. Ayittey, a native of Ghana and president of the Washington-based Free Africa foundation.
He noted an Aug. 23 incident in which a crowd shouted insults at police who arrested four dissident women who staged a protest on the steps of the Capitol building in Havana.
Ayittey’s article listed Castro at No. 4 on a list of six dictators. He was behind Omar al Basher of Sudan, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and ahead of Cameroon’s Paul Biya and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
His list of the world’s worst dictators, which last year had Castro 21st out of 23, was published Friday by Foreign Policy magazine, owned by Washingtonpost- Newsweek Interactive, LLC. There was no explanation of why the latest list was reduced to only six names.
The 2010 list described Castro as suffering from “intellectual astigmatism” because he has failed to see that the Cuban revolution is “obsolete, an abysmal failure. AndCQ totally irrelevant to the aspirations of the Cuban people.”
In this year’s report, Ayittey noted that when he published last year’s list of dictators — he called them “coconut heads” — few people “thought the tyrants would fall anytime soon.”
Since then, the dictators of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have been toppled, and the rulers of Syria, Bahrain and Yemen are facing bloody domestic upheavals.
“The so-called experts in the Western media were caught napping. These people are not ready for democracy, they once told us,’’ Ayittey wrote. “More pathetic and clueless than anyone else, however, were — and still are — the hardened coconuts themselves.”
Under increasing pressures for change, he added, dictators are resorting to “the coconut boogie” — promises of reforms, brutal crackdowns on opponents “and finally, a tumble for a hard landing on a frozen Swiss bank account.”