Friday, December 12, 2008

List of Dictators

I'd like to start off saying, thanks for visiting! I'm trying to make my own blog about dictators and hope the list will start growing, and the list I have at the bottom is copied from a popular online encyclopedia mix in aswell as some of mine, for I don't think the other source would mine because, they no longer have it on there website anyways.

If anyone has any questions about this blog on whether thay have a dictator that should be added or whatever, please, email me at or I wish I could have an open discussion forum but, don't know how to make one yet for,I am knew to this.

For Dictator Info, please visit ""

definition of a Dictator
is an absolute ruler of a sovereign state;
governs outside the otherwise accepted rule of law;
commonly (but not necessarily) gained power through fraud or a coup d'éta, or resorts to them to stay in power;
may develop a cult of personality;
may be autocratic, oppressive, despotic or tyrannical.

Some so-called 'Dictators' The 'benevolent dictators' may be viewed as beneficial and their leadership seen as a 'necessary evil'.
The modern usage of the term 'dictator' developed largely in response to instances of autocratic rule in republics, so traditional monarchs are not usually described as dictators in historical commentary. Also excluded from this list are those who held absolute power during national State of emergencies, but restored the rule of law soon thereafter. Otherwise those included have been widely cited by historians or described by the Mass media as dictators. Any controversy surrounding such characterisation is mentioned in the notes.

List of Dictators

Dictators In Africa

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Prime Minister of Egypt 1954-1962; President of Egypt 1956-1970. Part of a group of officers in control of Egypt after the coup against British supported King Farouk in 1952; In February 1954, Nasser forced president Muhammad Naguib to appoint him prime minister and give up most practical power to him; later in that year Naguib resigned and Nasser became president by self-appointment; elected by popular vote (as only candidate) in 1956, and subsequently. Many personalistic elements to Nasser's rule, but nominal parliamentary system under Nasser's 1956-1970 presidency, until his death in 1970.

Ahmed Sékou Touré

President of Guinea. Widely described as a dictator, with estimates of up to 50,000 extra-judicial killings during his rule and 250,000 Guineans fleeing his rule.

David Dacko
Central African Republic-1960-1966/1979-1981

President of the Central African Republic. Banned opposition; Gained power by coup in 1979, though subsequently stood for election.

Modibo Keita

Schoolteacher and first president of Mali. Forced socialization and extensive protectionism severely harmed the economy and continued the country's dependence on aid donors. Discontent with these policies led Keita to implement his own "Cultural Revolution" and establish a network of people's militias to inform on and punish dissent. In the last few years of his presidency, full powers were vested in an extralegal "National Committee for Defense of the Revolution". He was deposed in a military coup.

François Tombalbaye

Head of State 1960-1962; President of Chad 1962-1975. Never fought a contested election; imprisoned opposition leaders. Launched a "Cultural Revolution" in the early 1970s encouraging authenticité.

Félix Houphouët-Boigny
Côte d'Ivoire-1960-1993

President of Côte d'Ivoire. Ruled until 1990 with all opposition banned, but not considered particularly repressive. Relocated the official capital to his home village of Yamoussoukro and constructed the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, the largest religious structure in Africa.

Milton Obote

Prime Minister of Uganda 1962-1966; President of Uganda 1966-1971 and 1980-1985. Suspended the constitution and declared himself President and Prime Minister in 1966.

Hastings Kamuzu Banda

Prime Minister of Malawi 1963-1966; President of Malawi 1966-1994. Banned all opposition in 1966; declared himself President for Life in 1971; exiled and killed opposition leaders. Ordered that a letter bomb be sent to exiled opposition leader Attati Mpakati; suspected of being involved in the car crash deaths of senior Congress Party leaders; violently crushed an attempted rebellion. Aged 98, he allowed and lost a free election in 1994.

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Kenneth Kaunda

President of the Republic of Zambia 1964-1991.Elected 1964, banned all political parties in Zambia, viewed himself as "WAMUYAYA" (eternal President).Accused of torturing political opponents.Defeated by Frederick Chiluba in 1991.

Houari Boumediene

President of Algeria from 19 June 1965 to his death, (27 December 1978); Chairman of the Revolutionary Council until 12 December 1976).
In June 1965, Boumédienne seized power in a bloodless coup. Initially lacking a personal power base, he was seen as a weak ruler. But after a botched coup attempt against him by military officers in 1967 he tightened his rule, and then remained Algeria's undisputed ruler until his death in 1978.

Mobutu Sese Seko

President of Congo 1965 - 1971; President of Zaïre 1971-1997. Kleptocrat (amassed $5 billion personal fortune); cult of personality; banned all opposition political parties until 1990. Originally resorted to torturing and killing opposition, he later resorted to bribing, incarcerating or killing them.

Modibo Keita

Schoolteacher and first president of Mali. Forced socialization and extensive protectionism severely harmed the economy and continued the country's dependence on aid donors. Discontent with these policies led Keita to implement his own "Cultural Revolution" and establish a network of people's militias to inform on and punish dissent. In the last few years of his presidency, full powers were vested in an extralegal "National Committee for Defense of the Revolution". He was deposed in a military coup.

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Jean-Bédel Bokassa
Central African Republic-1966-1979

President of the Central African Republic 1966-1976; Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire 1976-1979. Bokassa overthrew the autocratic Dacko in a swift coup d'état and assumed power as president of the Republic and head of the sole political party, the Mouvement pour l'évolution sociale de l'Afrique Noire (MESAN). Bokassa abolished the constitution of 1959 on January 4 and began to rule by decree. He proclaimed himself emperor in 1976.

Gnassingbé Eyadéma

President of Togo. Gained power in a coup; never fought a contested election until 1998; banned, tortured and killed opposition. Fostered a cult of personality that was reinforced after he was the sole survivor of an airplane crash in 1974. In late 1991, troops loyal to Eyadéma closed a constitutional conference that had shifted most executive power to a new transitional government and banned Eyadéma's RPT party. January 1993 saw a mass exodus of residents to neighboring states after security forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators. Further repression followed a purported 1994 coup attempt.

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Omar Bongo

As vice president, he acceded to the presidency following the death of President Léon M'ba. In 1968, Bongo decreed a one-party state under his Gabonese Democratic Party and was thrice elected unopposed in the 1970s and 1980s. He became very wealthy during the country's oil boom. Open elections were held in 1990 and Bongo was re-elected in 1993, 1998 and 2005. Observers have criticized the elections as unfair and corruption watchdogs have accused the president of nepotism. Riots resulting from the mysterious death in 1990 of prominent dissident Joseph Rendjambe in a government hotel room were put down by French troops.

Moussa Traoré

Chairman of the Military National Liberation Committee 1968-1969; Head of State 1969-1979; President of Mali 1979-1991. Seized power in a coup; banned all opposition; installed a police state; established one-party state in 1979.

Francisco Macías Nguema
Equatorial Guinea-1968-1979

President of Equatorial Guinea 1968-1979. Elected in 1968 but declared himself President for Life in 1972; "extreme personality cult"; over a third of population fled his regime. Banned fishing and sanctioned the deaths of most of his pre-independence political rivals, including ex-prime minister Bonifacio Ondó Edu and foreign minister Atanasio Ndongo Miyone. Declared an atheist state by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. As many as 50,000 civilians were killed, in particular those of the Bubi ethnic minority on Bioko associated with relative wealth and intellectualism.

Gaafar Nimeiry

Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council 1969-1971; President of Sudan 1971-1985. Gained power in a military coup, banned opposition, dissolved southern Sudanese government, imposed sharia law. Executed several leading communists (the most prominent being Abdel Khaliq Mahjub and Joseph Garang) after a botched 1971 coup attempt.

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Mohamed Siad Barre

Chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Council 1969-1976; President of Somalia 1976-1991. In 1969, during the power vacuum following the assassination of President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, the military staged a coup and took over. Barre was to rule for the next twenty-two years. He attempted to develop a personality cult; large posters of him were common in the capital Mogadishu during his reign, many of which can still be seen today. He dreamed of a "Greater Somalia" and tried unsuccessfully to annex the Ogaden—legally Ethiopian territory—in 1977 to realize this end (see Ogaden War).

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Muammar al-Qaddafi

Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council 1969-1979; General Secretary of the General People's Congress (nominal chief of state) 1977-1979; "Guide of the Revolution" 1969-current. Officially Qaddafi has no official government title, but he is the head of state for diplomatic purposes. The United States, United Kingdom and other countries regard him as a de facto military dictator.

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Anwar Sadat

President of Egypt 1970-1981. Unelected, suppressed opposition in what was termed "The Corrective Revolution". Assassinated.

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Idi Amin

President of Uganda, later (1976) declared as for Life. Deposed in 1979 after declaring war on Tanzania.

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Juvénal Habyarimana

President of Rwanda. Seized power in a coup, never fought an election. Fostered a climate of Hutu chauvinism that is seen to have played a major part in the Rwandan Genocide. Derived much power from the social connections of his wife, Agathe Kanzinga, in a power network known as the akazu.

Mengistu Haile Mariam

Chairman of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (Derg) in 1974 and 1977-1987; President of Ethiopia 1987-1991. One-party state; repression of opposition; tens of thousands of extra-judicial killings.

Didier Ratsiraka
President of Madagascar from 1975 to 1993 and from 1997 to 2002. 1989 elections considered fraudulent by opposition, which resulted in the death of atleast 75 protesters, and again in 1991, ordering a helicopter to open fire on strikers, resulting in atleast 11 deaths. In 1993, eventaully allowed elections and lost, and ran agian and won in 1997, but not as dictator.
Olusegun Obasanjo

Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria between 1976 and 1979. Elected President of Nigeria in 1999. Chairman of the African Union 2004-2006.

Jean-Baptiste Bagaza

President of Burundi. Widely described as a military dictator.

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Albert René

President of Seychelles. Deposed the elected president Sir James Mancham and promulgated a one-party constitution after a period of rule by decree. Created the National Youth Service (NYS), a compulsory educational institution that included traditional curricula interlaced with political indoctrination and paramilitary training.

Daniel arap Moi

President of Kenya. Changed constitution to establish a de jure one-party state; resorted to repressive rule, including torture and imprisonment without trial.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
Equatorial Guinea-1979-current

Chairman of the Supreme Military Council 1979-1982; President of Equatorial Guinea 1982-current. Deposed his uncle in a violent coup; opposition is banned in all but name.

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José Eduardo dos Santos

President of Angola. One-party state; did not stand for election until 1992.

João Bernardo Vieira

Became president by a coup. killing and exiled opposition. faoumes for the Guinea-Bissau Civil War.

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Samuel Doe

Chairman of the People's Redemption Council 1980-1984; President of Liberia 1984-1990. Gained power in a military coup that killed President William R. Tolbert, Jr., a reformer. Promoted Krahn chauvinism and "died a multi-millionaire and proud owner of mansions and estates".

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Robert Mugabe

Gained power through election, and repeatedly re-elected, but criticized for steps used to maintain power. From 1999 on, used police and militant groups like the War Veterans Association and Border Gezi Youth to enforce ZANU-PF policies and to prevent opponents from voting; called "king" by his aides.[13] Arrested and tortured opponents and human rights activists; gave amnesty to murderers of his political opponents in 2000; ignores court rulings.Criticized as dictator by Desmond Tutu and Vladimir Putin.

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Hosni Mubarak

President of Egypt. Did not stand in a contested election until 2005, when a highly-restricted democratic process was allowed.

Jerry Rawlings

Gained power in a military coup during 1979 but handed it over. Re-took power in another coup of 1981. Elected President in 1992 and again in 1996 before standing aside as per the constitution.

André Kolingba
Central African Republic-1981-1993

Chairman of the Military Committee of National Recovery 1981-1985; President of the Central African Republic 1985-1993. Gained power in a coup; persecuted opposition; allowed (and lost) free elections in 1993. Attempted second coup in 2001.

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Paul Biya

He served under President Ahmadou Ahidjo and became Prime Minister in 1975. Ahidjo resigned on November 6, 1982 and Biya became president. After years of totalitarian rule, he allowed the creation of opposition parties in 1990 but his re-elections have been marked by widespread fraud and intimidation.

Hissène Habré

Chairman of the Council of State 1982; President of Chad 1982-1990. Gained power in a coup; abolished post of Prime Minister; executed opposition leaders.

Thomas Sankara
Burkina Faso-1983-1987

President of Upper Volta 1983-1984; President of Burkina Faso 1984-1987. Gained power in coup. Lead millitary regime. Overthrown and killed in coup.

Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya

Deposed the military head of state, Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, on December 1984 and declared himself Chairman of the Military Committee for National Salvation. Deposed by Ely Ould Mohamed Vall in a bloodless coup d'état.

Ibrahim Babangida

Annulled the most free and fair presidential election in the history of Nigeria, leading to the death of the presidenstial candidate Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

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Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

President of Tunisia. Although he announced political pluralism in 1992, his Democratic Constitutional Rally (formerly Neo-Destour party) continues to dominate the national politics and there is no genuine open political debate. In 1999, although two unknown alternative candidates were permitted for the first time to stand in the presidential elections, Ben Ali was re-elected with 99.66% of the vote. A controversial constitutional referendum in 2002 allowed him to seek re-election and contemplate the possibility of remaining in office until 2014. On October 24, 2004, he was again re-elected, officially taking 94.48% of the vote. Certain books, periodicals and internet sites are banned or blocked. The National Television frequently show his actions during a week, but often the President only appears in passing on television.

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Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir

President of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation 1989-1993; President of Sudan 1993-current. Took power in a military coup and increasingly centralized power into himself. Widely believed to be implicated in the Darfur Janjaweed pogroms.

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Idriss Déby

Head of State 1990-1991; President of Chad 1991 to date. Gained power in a coup; continues to suppress opposition and press

Sani Abacha

Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council 1993-1998. Seized power in a coup; persecuted opposition; never stood for election. Jailed Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 presidential election; presided over execution of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Ange-Félix Patassé
Central African Republic-1993-2003

President of Central African Republic 1993-2003; Elected into office. Banned all opposition; incarcerated and tortured opposition. Overthrown in coup by François Bozizé in 2003; currently in exile in Togo.

Isaias Afewerki

President of a single-party state.Suspended the constitution. Detained journalists,and forced people into a useless border war.
Once a figure for hope to declare independence.

Yahya Jammeh
The Gambia-1994-current

President of The Gambia. Gained power in coup d'état. Right to the press and free speech supressed. Stood for three elections (1996, 2001, and 2006); last election deemed unfair by opposition.

Laurent-Désiré Kabila
Democratic Republic of the Congo-1997-2001

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko in coup. No elections held during ongoing, interstate First and Second Congo Wars.

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Charles Taylor

President of Liberia 1997-2003. Elected, but widely described as a dictator. Linked to "blood diamonds" and illegal arms trading. Believed to have interfered frequently in the internal affairs of neighboring states while a warlord, before his election to the presidency.

François Bozizé
Central African Republic-2003-current

President of the Central African Republic 2003 to date. Gained power in a coup and suspended the constitution, though he has restored some democracy.

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Ely Ould Mohamed Vall

Chairman of the Military Council for Justice and Democracy. Gained power via a military coup.

Dictators In The Americas

North America

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Agustín de Iturbide
Shortly after the Mexican War of Independence, he was declared Emperor of Mexico in 1822. Repressive, cracked down on free speech and any opposition. Desposed when popular opposition forced him to abdicate.

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Santa Anna
President or Provisional President of Mexico 1833-1837, then 1841 to February 1844, June to December 1844, March to September 1847 and finally 1853-1855. When Anastasio Bustamante led a coup overthrowing and killing President Vicente Guerrero, Santa Anna seized power and then was elected President in 1833. At first he gave a free hand to his vice-president Valentín Gómez Farías, a liberal reformer. Later he dismissed Gómez Farías, declared the Constitution suspended, disbanded the Congress and worked to concentrate power in the central government. He was overthrown and restored to power several times before his final overthrow in 1855.

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Porfirio Díaz
Interim president 1876-1877; President of Mexico 1877-1880, 1884-1911. De facto ruler 1880-1884. Gained power in a coup, after his Revolution of Tuxtepac overthrew his predecessor, Lerdo. He did not run for reelection after his first term in order to keep his one-term promises that he made during his revolution. However, he retook the presidency a few years later and did not leave from power until the Revolution of 1910 kicked him from the Presidency. His rule saw the rapid modernization of Mexico, progress mainly caused by Diaz's encouragement of foreign investment in the country's infrastructure. However, the poor became quite miserable during this time. Political opposition was squelched and rebellions were put down by the rurals, Diaz's personal guard. He was eventually overthrown by the Revolution which lasted 10 years.

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Victoriano Huerta
Appointed president, established a military dictatorship for about a year, and then was forced to resign.

Central America

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Rafael Carrera

President of Guatemala. Gained power in a coup; styled himself President for Life.

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William Walker

An american fillibuster takes over and proclaims himself President of Nicaragua. Tried to conquer several central american countries. Eventually executed.

Justo Rufino Barrios

President of Guatemala. Gained power in a bloody coup, but introduced reforms.

Manuel Estrada Cabrera

President of Guatemala. Never elected; subverted constitution; widely described as a dictator. Constructed numerous large Hellenic-style temples as monuments to his rule.

Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
El Salvador-1931-1934/1935-1944

Acting President 1931-1934; President of El Salvador 1935-1944. Gained power in a coup; suppressed opposition; oversaw massacre of between ten and forty thousand suspected opponents. Presided over La Matanza in 1932, a massacre (genocide) of communists, suspected communists, campesinos and Pipil Indians.

Jorge Ubico

President of Guatemala. Elected, but suppressed opposition and "assumed dictatorial powers".

Tiburcio Carías Andino

President of Honduras. Banned opposition and set up a rubber-stamp congress; suppressed unions.

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Anastasio Somoza García

Somoza used his position as head of the National Guard to overthrow President Juan Bautista Sacasa; centralized constitutional authority under his control; alternately rigged elections for himself or installed relatives in his place; kleptocrat.

Carlos Castillo Armas

Junta Chairman, 1954; President of Guatemala 1954-1957. Gained power in a coup; banned the popular Communist party; purged trade unions of leftist influence; declared himself president in 1956. Assassinated.

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Oswaldo López Arellano

Head of Military Government 1963-1965; President of Honduras 1965-1971; Head of State 1972-1975. Military officer who allowed elections in 1971 before re-seizing power the next year. According to Clara Nieto in Masters of War: Latin America and United States Aggression from the Cuban Revolution through the Clinton years. "During this second term (1972-1975) López governed without a congress and by decree."

Anastasio Somoza Debayle

Succeeded his somewhat more liberal brother Luis; stepped down briefly in 1972, then resumed the presidency after an earthquake; outlawed several opposition parties; declared martial law in response to guerilla opposition; oversaw brutal repression by the National Guard.

Omar Torrijos

Commander of the National Guard. Gained power in a coup; banned opposition, unions and free press.

Efraín Ríos Montt

Chairman of military junta 1982; President of Guatemala 1982-1983. Dictator during a military coup. Known for scorched earth counter-insurgency strategies. Since then was Head of Congress for many years and made several failed attempts to be elected democratically. Used his declared conservative evangelical Christian beliefs to portray dissent as an attack against God.

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Manuel Noriega

Commander of the National Guard and de facto military leader, widely described as a dictator.

South America

José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (Paraguay) 1813-1814/1814-1840
gained power in election. Outlawed all opposition. Installed a police state. Cult of personality; citizens forced to raise their hats or a brim when he passed by; styled himself with the position name "El Supremo".

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Simón Bolívar
Gran Columbia-1821-1830

Though an admirer of classical liberal democracy, the founder and president of Gran Colombia proclaimed himself dictator in 1828 after an unsuccessful constitutional convention. Resigned eighteen months later.

Juan Manuel de Rosas

Governor of Buenos Aires 1829-1832, 1835-1852; Supreme Chief of the Argentine Confederation 1851-1852. Assumed dictatorial powers; exiled opponents.

Carlos Antonio López

First Consul 1841-1844; President of Paraguay 1844-1862.

Manuel Belzu

Provisional President of Bolivia 1848-1850; President of Bolivia 1850-1855. Unelected military ruler; caudillo. A populist and nationalist who voluntarily relinquished power after 1855 elections as the "cleanest ever held" in (early) Bolivian history.

Francisco Solano López

President of Paraguay. Inherited power from his father; had himself awarded immense powers by a congress he had packed with supporters. Killed in the War of the Triple Alliance.

Mariano Melgarejo

Provisional President 1864-1870; President of Bolivia 1870-1871. Gained power in a coup and ruthlessly suppressed opposition. In 1869 he sent the army to suppress an uprising by Huaichu Indians attempting to regain land privileges they enjoyed under President Belzu.

Antonio Guzmán Blanco

Acting President of Venezuela 1863, 1865; General-in-chief April-July 1870; Provisional President of Venezuela 1870-1873; President of Venezuela 1873 - 1877; Supreme Director 1879; Provisional President of Venezuela 1879 - 1880; President of Venezuela 1880 -1884, 1886 -1888. Described, perhaps inaccurately, as a "benevolent despot"; other sources mention his "long dictatorship".

Cipriano Castro

Supreme Chief 1899-1901; Provisional President 1901 - 1902, 1904 - 1905; President of Venezuela 1902 - 1904, 1905 - 1909. Took over in a military coup.

Rafael Reyes

President 1904 - 1909, as a military ruler representing the Conservatives. "In the course of his regime, Reyes improved the country’s finances, expanded roads and railroads, and encouraged increased coffee production. Large U.S. investments and purchases of coffee and minerals contributed to Colombia’s economic growth. However, Reyes ruled as a dictator. He dissolved the congress and replaced it with a handpicked legislature, jailed and exiled political opponents, and declared martial law."

Juan Vicente Gómez

Provisional President 1909-1910; President of Venezuela 1910-1914, 1922-1929, 1931-1935. Gained power in a coup; never elected; kleptocrat; widely described as a dictator

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Óscar Benavides

Junta Chairman 1914; President of Peru 1914-1915, 1933-1939. Twice gained power by coup.

Augusto Leguía

President of Peru. Gained power in a coup; ignored constitution; suppressed and exiled opposition.

Carlos Ibáñez del Campo

Acting President 1927, President 1927 - 1931. Democratically elected to a six-year term in 1952.

Getúlio Vargas

Head of provisional government 1930-1934 after revolution; indirectly elected as Constitutional President 1934-1937; launched a coup in 1937 and became dictator 1937-1945; democratically-elected President of Brazil 1950-1954.

Gabriel Terra

President of Uruguay. Suspended congress and dissolved constitution in 1933.

Higinio Morínigo

Provisional president 1940-1943; President of Paraguay 1943-1948. Seized absolute power; ruled by diktat until 1946.

Manuel Odría

Chairman of military junta 1948 - 1950; President of Peru 1950 - 1956. Gained power in a coup; restricted civil rights; allowed election in 1956

Marcos Pérez Jiménez

Member of military junta 1948 - 1952; Provisional president 1952 -1953; President of Venezuela 1953 - 1958. Never elected; pursued opposition violently; credited with improvements to the country's infrastructure.

Gustavo Rojas Pinilla

President of Colombia. Gained power in a coup.

Alfredo Stroessner

President of Paraguay. He took over in a military coup.

Humberto Castelo Branco

President of Brazil. Gained power in a coup; abolished most opposition; subsequently appointed by congress.

René Barrientos

Chairman of the military junta, 1964-January 1966 (jointly with Alfredo Ovando 1965-1966); President of Bolivia, August 1966 - 1969. Gained power in military coup; kleptocrat; responsible for Catavi massacre and execution of Che Guevara.

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Forbes Burnham

Prime Minister 1966 - 1980; President 1980 - 1985. Elected, but became increasingly dictatorial; held dubious elections and encouraged leftist religious cults (such as the Peoples Temple) to settle in the Guyanese interior.

Artur da Costa e Silva

President of Brazil 1967-1969. Elected in 1966, but centralised power; closed the Congress; banned opposition; suspended free press. Decreed Institutional Act No. 5, described as "the most unconstitutional, anti-democratic, arbitrary, and repressive decree in Brazil's history."

Emílio Garrastazu Médici

President of Brazil. Appointed by congress, but instituted a military government; suppressed press and opposition.

Hugo Banzer

President of Bolivia. Gained power in a coup; suppressed opposition; closed universities; 3,000 opponents arrested, 200 killed.

Juan María Bordaberry
Uruguay) 1972-1976

President of Uruguay 1972 - 1976. Elected, but installed a military government, dissolved Congress, suspended civil liberties and banned unions.

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Augusto Pinochet

Chairman of military junta 1973-1974; Supreme Head of the Nation 1974; President of Chile 1974 - 1990. Gained power in a coup; suppressed and exiled opposition; over 3000 "disappearances" and 28,000 tortured.

Ernesto Geisel

Congress-appointed President of Brazil. The fourth of the military dictators; party and union freedom were still inexistent during his term; had oppositionists like journalist Wladimir Herzog and factory worker Manoel Fiel Filho tortured and murdered.

Jorge Rafael Videla

President of Argentina. Gained power in a coup; never elected; between ten and thirty thousand opponents killed.

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João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo

Congress-appointed President of Brazil. Society won some democratic measures these years, but there was still a major fraud during 1982 State government elections. His government was responsible for the 1983 bomb in the Riocentro.

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Dési Bouterse

Chairman of the National Military Council 1980-1988. Gained power in a coup; never elected; widespread misrule. Most infamous atrocity is the Decembermoorden.

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Luis García Meza Tejada

President of Bolivia. Gained power in the "Cocaine Coup" aided by Klaus Barbie; highly repressive; over 1,000 killed.

Gregorio Conrado Álvarez

President of Uruguay. Ignored constitution; extensive human rights abuses.

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Leopoldo Galtieri

President of Argentina 1981-1982. Gained power in a coup.Deposed after failed invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.

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Alberto Fujimori

President of Peru 1990-2000, widely critizised for his political authoritarism.After enjoying a certain degree of popular support, Fujimori was forced from office following controvertial third term re-election.In 2000 political opponent Mario Vargas Llosa called Fujimori a "dictator". His government was also marked by the influence of the director of the SIN, Vladimiro Montesinos.Currently in exile in Chile, Fujimori is awaiting extradition by the Peruvian government for presumpt charges ranging from corruption to participation in crimes against humanity.

Carribean Islands

Jean-Jacques Dessalines
Governor-General of Haiti 1804; Emperor of Haiti (as Jacques I) 1804 - 1806. Ruled autocratically.

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Henry Christophe
Northern Haiti-1806-1820
Provisional Chief of the Haitian Government 1806-1807; President of Haiti 1807-1811; King of Haiti (as Henry I) 1811-1820. Ruled autocratically.

Pedro Santana
Dominican Republic-1844-1848/1853-1856/1858-1861
Never elected; suppressed opposition; widely considered a dictator.

Buenaventura Báez
Dominican Republic-1849-1878
President of the Dominican Republic five times. Gained power following coups; never elected.

Ulises Heureaux
Dominican Republic-1882-1899
President of the Dominican Republic three times. Never elected; widely described as a dictator.

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Gerardo Machado
President of Cuba. A follower of Benito Mussolini, he is widely described as a dictator.

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Rafael Trujillo
Dominican Republic-1930-1961
President of the Dominican Republic 1930 - 1938, 1942 - 1952; de facto ruler 1930-1961. Gained power in a coup; cult of personality (renamed the capital Ciudad Trujillo); promoted racism against Haitians and ordered the massacre of 20,000 blacks.

Paul Magloire
President of Haiti. Gained power in a coup; never elected.

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Fulgencio Batista
President of Cuba 1940-1944; 1952-1959. Gained power the second time in a coup; suppressed opposition violently. Use of torture and collective punishment. Mafia ties.

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François Duvalier
President of Haiti. Elected in 1957, but banned opposition; declared himself President for Life in 1964; highly repressive.

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Fidel Castro
Prime Minister of Cuba 1959-1976; President of the Council of State and the Council of Ministers from 1976. Gained power after revolution. Castro was elected President after 1976, but within a one-party Communist state.

Jean-Claude Duvalier
President of Haiti. Inherited presidency aged 19 from his father; never elected.

Eric Gairy
Prime Minister of Grenada 1967-1979. Widely described as a dictator.

Raoul Cédras
De facto ruler for a relatively short period of time. Gained power in a coup.

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Raúl Castro
Appointed successor by his brother of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Dictators In Asia

Western Asia ("Middle East")

Abdul Karim Qassem
Gained power by coup; viewed by some as benevolent.

Abdul Salam Arif
Gained power in a coup; military ruler.

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Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Gained power in a coup; never elected.

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Hafez al-Assad
Gained power in a coup; totalitarian; cult of personality; oversaw Hama massacre yielding twenty to forty thousand dead.

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Ruhollah Khomeini
s Supreme Leader, held ultimate and uncontested authority over all government matters under the principle of Guardianship. Created the extra-constitutional Special Clerical Court system in 1987, accountable only to the Supreme Leader and used principally for suppression of political dissent. Instituted routine torture, beheadings for children.

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Saddam Hussein
Pressured Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr to resign in 1979 and formally became president. Repressive; developed extensive personality cult; deposed by United States and coalition forces in an invasion.

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Bashar al-Assad
No opposition permitted in election following death of his father; widely described as a dictator.

Central Asia

Askar Akayev
Appointed but became increasingly authoritarian; widely described as a dictator.

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Islam Karimov
Described as authoritarian who is increasingly centralizing power. Elections essentially uncontested and unmonitored. Opposition repressed.

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Saparmurat Niyazofv
Declared President for Life in 1999; cult of personality; his book Ruhnama is to be treated with reverence.

Ilham Aliyev
Considered a Theocratic Dictator who excercized strict sharia laws; allowed the persecution of Hazaras; gave Al Qaeda refuge in Afghanistan.

Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedow
Unelected, appointed as successor upon Niyazov's death. Turkemnistan still continues to be oppresive and a single-party state.

Southeast Asia

Ayub Khan
Gained power in a coup. Subsequent elections considered dubious.

Yahya Khan
Military ruler, gaining power from coup.

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Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
Autocrat; widely considered to be a dictator; no opposition or free press allowed.

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq
Took over following coup. Claimed government to be legitimate because it was Islamic.

Rahimuddin Khan
Region of Balochistan-1978-1984
Appointed supreme Martial Law Governor of Balochistan by central Pakistani military government following coup.

Hossain Mohammad Ershad
Gained power in a coup; declared martial law; never elected.

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Pervez Musharraff
Deposed Nawaz Sharif in a military coup, calling it a necessity during a state of emergency. Governed directly as commander in chief until Parliament reconvened in November 2002. Assumed the title of President upon Rafiq Tarar's resignation and stood in a referendum in 2002. Opposition parties state that the rule of law in his custody has deteriorated further.

Eastern Asia ("Far East")

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Tokugawa Ieyasu
Shogun of Japan and founder of the long reigning Tokugawa shogunate. Gained power by unifying the warring clans during Japan's long period of civil unrest. He also created an "alternate attendance" system to pacify the daimyo warlords, as well as closing and isolating trade and the economy, in order to retain his power. His rule was also marked by persecution of european missionaries and japanese christians.

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Yuan Shikai
Republic of China-1912-1916
President of China 1912 - 1915, self-proclaimed Emperor of China, 1916. Ignored legislative consent as defined by the Constitution; dissolved the National Assembly; assassinated Song Jiaoren; disbanded the Kuomintang.

Roman von Ungern-Sternberg
Born, Baron Roman Nicolaus von Ungern-Sternberg (Роман Фёдорович Унгерн фон Штернберг), in Graf, Austria of Prussian nobility, von Ungern-Sternberg fought, against his own Prussians, in the Imperial Russian Army during World War I and fought the Bolsheviks, in Siberia, after 1917. A rabid monarchist, von Ungern-Sternberg soon thereafter became an independent warlord with the intention of establishing an independent Russo-Sino-Mongolian monarchy in Urga under the nominal rule of Bogd Khaan (the Living Buddha). Although considered the paragon of bravery, von Ungern-Sternberg was reckless, brutal and mentally unstable. After a savage battle against occupying Chinese republican forces, on March 13, 1921, Mongolia was proclaimed an independent monarchy, and Ungern von Sternberg became Mongolian dictator. His brief rule of Mongolia was characterised by looting, raping and a reign of terror by his army. Eventually, the Bolsheviks invaded Mongolia and after a series of battles, von Ungern-Sternberg was defeated in a August 1921, captured by his own soldiers, and handed over to the Red Army on August 21, 1921.

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Chiang Kai-Shek
Republic of China-1927-1975
Known as the "Generalissimo". Gained power by military force. Leader of anti-communist one-party state under the Kuomintang. Rule on mainland China repeatedly undermined by powerful regional factions, civil wars, and the war against Japan. Ruled with an iron-fist following his retreat to Taiwan in 1949.

Horloogiyn Choybalsan
Unelected; opponents purged; cult of personality.

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Kim Il-sung
North Korea-1948-1994
Appointed prime minister in 1948; purged rivals in the Workers' Party of Korea to consolidate power in 1956; introduced "Juche" ideology demanding absolute loyalty to him and the party; created most pervavise cult of personality in recent history. Declared "Eternal President" on his death.

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Mao Zedong
People's Republic of China-1949-1976
Chairman of the PRC (1949 – 1959), Chairman of the Communist Party of China (1945 – 1976), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (1936 – 1976). Immense cult of personality; purged members of government; silenced opposition. Circumvented Communist Party hierarchy after the 1966 Cultural Revolution; imprisoned head of state Liu Shaoqi. Millions of Chinese citizens killed or murdered as a result of his policies and repression.

Ngô Ðình Diệm
South Vietnam-1955-1963
Unelected; autocratic; oppressed Buddhists.

Park Chung Hee
South Korea-1961–1979
Took power in 1961 coup. Although initially welcomed by much of the population, he suspended the constitution in 1971 and introduced a new constitution that greatly increased his power.

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Ne Win
Seized power in a coup; instituted extreme repression.

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Thanom Kittikachorn
Military dictator, known as one of Thailand's so-called "Three Tyrants". Oppressed student-led uprisings in October 1973 and 1976.

Ferdinand Marcos
Elected president in 1965 and 1969; declared martial law in 1972 based on nonexistent assassination plot; closed all independent press; kleptocrat; retained presidency through elections that he firmly controlled.

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His New Order imprisoned Communists and alleged Communists; repressed Chinese inhabitants; made existing parties subordinate. Also a cleptocrat (with personal and family's assets at least worth US$ 15 billion, based on Time Magazine investigation in 1998). Described as a dictator in many sources.

Lon Nol
Gained power by coup; not elected.

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Pol Pot
Unelected; led a Khmer Rouge dictatorship; responsible for deaths of at least 1 million Cambodian citizens during his rule.

Chun Doo Hwan
South Korea-1980-1988
Gained power in a coup; declared martial law; oversaw Gwangju Massacre.

Khamtai Siphandon
Unelected; one-party state.

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Than Shwe
Unelected; persecution of minorities leading 250,000 to flee. He always tried to get his position as the King of the country permanently. He moved to a new capital in Kyat Pyay in 2006, & renamed it as Nay Pyi Daw ,i.e the Royal Palace City". Although he gained power by Military Coup & announced not to hand over the power to Aung San Suu Kyi's Elected Party(NLD); no free press.

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Kim Jong-il
North Korea-1994-current
Became General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Chairman of the National Defense Commission (the highest state offices) on his father's death. Continues his father's "Juche" ideology.

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Sonthi Boonyaratglin
Army chief seized power while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was out of the country. A state of martial law was declared, parliament was dissolved and the constitution abrogated. Instituted press censorship and restrictions on protests. The first Muslim in charge of the mostly Buddhist army.

Dictators In Europe

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Julius Caesar
Roman Republic-49BB-44BB
Julius Caesar was a successful military general. In 49 BC he led his legions across the Rubicon sparking the Roman civil war, becoming undisputed master of Rome. After assuming control of the government he began extensive reforms of Roman society and government. He heavily centralized the bureaucracy of the Republic and was proclaimed dictator for life in 49BC.

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Oliver Cromwell
Commonwealth of England-1653-1658
A Puritan general in the English Civil War who quickly rose through the ranks to become de facto head of the Parliamentary forces. After the Royalist defeat and the execution of Charles I the newly constituted Rump Parliament was overthrown by Cromwell who refused the Crown, choosing instead the title of Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. After his death the monarchy was reinstated.

Maximilien Robespierre
Head of the Committee of Public Safety during the French Revolution. To purge french society of "Counter Revolutionaries", he instituted the heavily repressive Reign of Terror, a period which killed thousands of french citizens, many of those killed were simply killed under mere suspicion, with little or no proof. Desposed when the National Convention declared him an outlaw.

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Napoleon Bonaparte
First Consul, 1799-1804. Emperor of the French 1804-1814. Declared himself "First Consul for Life" in 1802 and then Emperor in 1804.

Józef Grzegorz Chłopicki
Held official title of dictator for one year only.

Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte
President of France from 1848 to 1852. In 1851 he launched a coup against the legislature, making himself absolute ruler. From 1852 to 1870 he styled himself Emperor of the French under the name Napoléon III from 1852 to 1870. Later during his reign constitutional liberties were gradually restored. In 1870 he was captured during the abortive Franco-Prussian War and deposed in his absence by the Third Republic of France.

Romuald Traugutt
Held official title of dictator for one year. Succeeded Marian Langiewicz who had declared himself dictator previously, but only lasted less than a year in 1863.

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Vladimir Lenin
Head of Bolshevik Revolution took power in 1917. Secured victory in the Russian civil war. Headed effort to transform the Russian economy to a socialist model.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Led the Turkish national movement. Transformed Turkey into a secular republic through broad authoritarian reforms. A benevolent dictator.

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Benito Mussolini
Prime Minister of Italy 1922-1943; head of the so-called Italian Social Republic until 1945. "He introduced strict censorship and altered the methods of election so that in 1925–1926 he was able to assume dictatorial powers and dissolve all other political parties.

Miguel Primo de Rivera
Prime Minister of Spain. Gained power in a coup; suspended the constitution; established martial law; imposed strict censorship; banned all political parties. Widely described as a dictator.

Aleksandar Tsankov
Established Right wing nationalist, anti communist coup against Stamboliyski’s democratic elected Agrarians. Forced out of power by Tsar Boris III.

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Josef Stalin
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 1922 - 1953; Premier of the Soviet Union 1941 - 1953. Never elected; cult of personality; heavily repressive; responsible for deaths of millions of Soviet citizens.

Ahmet Bej Zogu
Originally elected Prime Minister of Albania 1922-1924 and 1925; President of Albania 1925-1928; crowned himself King of the Albanians (as Zog I) 1928-1939. Described as a dictator. Forced to flee with his wife, Queen Geraldine, the imminent takeover of the country by Italy under Benito Mussolini.

José Mendes Cabeçadas
Leader of Ditadura Nacional during the first part of June immediately after the 28th May 1926 coup d'état

Gomes da Costa
Succeeded Cabeçadas as head of the Ditadura Nacional for less than a month

António Óscar Carmona
Head of Ditadura Nacional

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Józef Piłsudski
Polish Head of State 1918-1922, but regained power in 1926 via coup. Prime Minister of Poland 1926-1928 and 1930; Commander in Chief of the Army 1926-1935. Initiated authoritarian Sanacja government; often described as a "benevolent dictator".

Antanas Smetona
resident of Lithuania. Seized power in a 1925 military coup: authoritarian rule. His description as a dictator is common, but not universal.

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António de Oliveira Salazar
Prime Minister of Portugal. Established an anti-democratic, anti-parliamentarian, ultra-clericalist, corporativist, extremely conservative, repressive and authoritarian dictatorship, connoted with the Italian fascism, highly supported by the Roman Catholic Church. Longest right-wing dictatorship ever (four complete decades).

Alexander I
King of Yugoslavia from 1921. On January 6, 1929 he abolished the constitution, prorogued parliament and established the so-called "January 6 Dictatorship." A new constitution in 1931 left all significant political power in the hands of the King.

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Engelbert Dollfuss
Chancellor of Austria 1932-1934. Suspended parliament indefinitely in March 1933, governing thereafter by decree. Rule sometimes compared to Mussolini or Franco.

Konstantin Päts
State Elder 1933 - 1937; State Protector 1937 - 1938; President of Estonia 1938-1940. Established authoritarian rule following a coup. Allowed (and won) election in 1938.

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Adolf Hitler
Chancellor of Germany 1933-1945; Führer (Leader) 1934-1945. The 1933 Enabling Act suspended most of the constitution and allowed Hitler to rule by decree. Heavily repressive; ordered imprisonment of millions of political opponents and members of ethnic minorities in concentration camps, where they were abused and killed.

Kimon Georgiev
Took power in coup. Overthrown by Tsar Boris III.

Tsar Boris III
Overthrew Kimon Geogiev. Took power him self ruled through puppet Prime Ministers Georgi Kyoseivanov. His Regime banned all opposition parties. Took Bulgaria into alliance with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.

Kurt Schuschnigg
Chancellor of Austria. Maintained his predecessor Dollfuss' oppressive rule.

Kārlis Ulmanis
Prime Minister of Latvia 1934-1940; President of Latvia 1936 - 1940. Gained power in a coup and dissolved parliament; generally viewed as a "benevolent dictator".

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Ioannis Metaxas
Prime Minister of Greece. Never elected; banned political parties; arrested opponents; criminalized unions; censored media. Widely described as a dictator.

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Francisco Franco
Prime Minister of Spain 1938-1975 and Head of State 1939 - 1975 (in the Nationalist Zone, both only to 1939). Purged opposition; often referred to as a dictator or caudillo. Strongly supported by the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

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Carol II
King of Romania from 1930. In January 1938 he abolished parliamentary government and pushed through a new constitution putting all executive power into his own hands.

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Jozef Tiso
President of WWII Slovak Republic. Led a partly Roman Catholic clerical, partly pro-Nazi, one-party state. Described by some as a dictator.

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Ion Antonescu
Prime Minister of Romania. Two days after his appointment, forced King Carol II (see above) to abdicate in favor of his son, Mihai. Named himself Conducător (Leader), assumed dictatorial powers and relegated monarchy to decorative role.

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Philippe Pétain
Vichy France-1940-1944
Prime Minister of France 1940 - 1942; Head of State 1940 - 1944. The Assemblée Nationale of Vichy France suspended the Third Republic and granted Pétain dictatorial power, although ultimately he was answerable to the German Nazi hierarchy.

Ante Pavelić
Poglavnik ("Leader") of Croatia. Not elected; ordered massacres of Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and dissidents; hundreds of thousands slaughtered; led the genocial, devoutly Roman Catholic Ustase. Supported by most, if not all, of the Roman Catholic church in Croatia.

Ferenc Szálasi
Leader of the fascist Arrow Cross party, Szálasi was installed as a fascist ruler by the Nazis following their overthrow of regent Miklós Horthy.

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Josip Broz Tito
Secretary-General of the Yugoslav Communist Party 1937 - 1963; Prime Minister of Yugoslavia 1945–1953; Premier of Yugoslavia 1953 - 1963; President of Yugoslavia 1953 - 1980; President of the Presidium of the League of Communists from 1963 until 1980. Declared himself President for Life in 1963. Viewed favorably in Yugoslavia despite authoritarian rule.

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Enver Hoxha
General Secretary of the Albanian Party of Labour. Leader of single-party Communist state; extensive personality cult; Declared his nation to be the world's only officially atheist state and banned all practice of religion in 1967.

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Mátyás Rákosi
General Secretary of the Hungarian Workers Party and Prime Minister of the Hungarian People's Republic. Leader of single-party Communist state; nicknamed "Stalin's best Hungarian disciple"; Invented the phrase "salami tactics" to describe piecemeal assumption of power.

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Nikita Khrushchev
First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1953-1964. Allowed limited liberalisation in the arts and media later on.

Walter Ulbricht
German Democratic Republic-1950/1960-1971
General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany 1950-1971 and Head of State 1960-1973.

Janos Kadar
Secretary General of the Hungarian Communist Party, from 1956 to 1988.

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Todor Zhivkov
Head of pro soviet communist regimen in Bulgaria. Became party secretary in 1956 and prime minister in 1962. Forced out of power in 1989 by communist party to comply with demands of protesters.

Antonín Novotný
Antonín Novotný, the First Secretary of the Communist Party and President of the Republic, was leader of Czechoslovakia during the Stalinisation of the country, resulting in the replacement of the Czechoslovakian democracy by a one-party communist state. His dictatorship centralized power and used force to protect his regime which lasted fifteen years.

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Leonid Brezhnev
First/General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1964-1982. Formed a cult of Personality later on.

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Nicolae Ceauşescu
General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party, 1965-1989; President of Romania, 1974-1989. Leader of single-party Communist state; extensive personality cult developed during the 1970s. Lived lavish lifestyle while country was still using donkey carts.

George Papadopoulos
Prime Minister of Greece 1967 - 1973; Regent 1972 - 1973; President of Greece 1973. Gained power in a coup; lead military regime. Widely described as a dictator.

Marcelo Caetano
Prime Minister of Portugal 1968 - 1974; Upon the death of António de Oliveira Salazar he continued the dictatorial regime. Some liberties were improved but the situation of the country and the colonial wars lead to the Carnation Revolution.

Gustáv Husák
Came into power through soviets, Crushed the Prague spring. Headed brutal secret police stepped down from power in 1987 two years before communism fell.

Erich Honecker
German Democratic Republic-1971-1989
General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany 1971-1989 and Head of State 1976-1989.

Phaedon Gizikis
President of Greece 1973-1974. Gained power in coup. Lead millitary regime installed by previous head of state.

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Wojciech Jaruzelski
Imposed martial law in Poland in 1981 in response to Solidarity party led strikes. Made himself head of the "Commission for National Salvation." Stated his actions were taken in order to prevent a Soviet invasion of Poland. Was President of Poland until his resignation in 1990.

Yuri Andropov
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1982-1984. Early signs of Perestroika and Glasnost.

Konstantin Chernenko
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union between 1984-1985. Ailing stop-gap leader.

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Mikhail Gorbachev
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the CPSU was banned. Oversaw democratisation in the Soviet Union, but was never directly elected as leader.

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Slobodan Milošević
General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and the CPSU was banned. Oversaw democratisation in the Soviet Union, but was never directly elected as leader.
In 1984 he became the head of the local Communist party in Belgrade and adopted a populist style, the party's leader. He successfully took over as head of the Serbian Communist party in 1987. He challenged the federal government, championed Serbian control of the autonomous provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina, and advocated stridently socialist economic policy. By 1988, he had replaced party leaders in Kosovo and Vojvodina, and in 1989 he became president of Serbia. However, in September 1990, a new democratic constitution was passed allowing direct, multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections. Milosevic was elected president of Serbia for the first time in December 1990, although allegations persist of electoral fraud during the Milosevic years

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Aleksandr Lukashenko
President of Belarus. Said to have an "authoritarian ruling style". Lack of democratic standards. Human rights violations. Referred to as "Europe's last dictatorship."

Dictators In The Pacific

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Sitiveni Rabuka
Twice gained power through coup, allowed elections in 1992, which he won.

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Frank Bainimarama
Launched a coup d'etat in December 2006 after weeks of threats against the elected government.

And more dictators to come.