Top Ten Dictators


David Wallechinsky–he of The Book of Lists fame–produces a personal list of tyrannical bastards for Parade magazine (link courtesy of RealClear Politics).

Looking at how long many of these thugs have been in power makes you appreciate one-term US presidents all the more.

The envelope, puh-lease:

1) Kim Jong Il—North Korea (Age 61, in power since 1994)
2) King Fahd & Crown Prince Abdullah—Saudi Arabia (Ages 80 & 79, in power since 1982 & 1995, respectively)
3) Saddam Hussein—Iraq (Age 65, in power since 1979)
4) Charles Taylor—Liberia (Age 55, in power since 1997)
5) Than Shwe—Burma (Age 70, in power since 1992)
6) Teodoro Obiang Nguema—Equatorial Guinea (Age 60, in power since 1979).
7) Saparmurad Niyazov—Turkmenistan (Age 62, in power since 1990)
8) Muammar al-Qaddafi—Libya (Age 60, in power since 1969)
9) Fidel Castro—Cuba (Age 76, in power since 1959)
10) Alexander Lukashenko—Belarus (Age 48, in power since 1994)

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  1. The most amazing one is Qadaffi, who is 60 and tool power in 1959!

  2. “Looking at how long many of these thugs have been in power makes you appreciate one-term US presidents all the more.”

    Except that each President is usually quite similar to the guy he is replacing with the exception of the name of his party.

  3. Looks like a polygon of evil to me. I say bomb ’em.

  4. Don’t forget Mugabe of Zimbabwe, real nice guy starving his people into submission.

  5. Too soon for Mugabe, he’s only stolen one election after all. But what about the young Assad in Syria?

  6. A reminder that democracy is the worst possible form of government — except for all the others…..

  7. It should be noted that Castro has the longest streak with 44 years, freshly turned January 1, 2003.

  8. The entry that says Charles Taylor has been ruling Liberia since 1977 must be a typo. If I remember right, Samuel Doe took control of the country in 1980 and was deposed by a coup ten years later.

  9. Forgot one:

    Robert Byrd (Age 85, in power since 1958)

  10. Thanks for catching the typo, which has been fixed.


  11. “Converse” Chuck Taylor is a really super evil guy and all, but I remember the 1997 Liberian elections being rather clean. If I remember correctly he got 83 or so percent, not the 98% that one gets in a rigged election. His opponents were not immediately killed nor fled into exile (at least then; I’ve stopped following since).

    It was just that the Liberians voted knowing that Taylor’s guys would trash the country if he didn’t win.

  12. You forgot Nick Gillespie too, that guy is cukoo for cocoa puffs if you get my meaning…

  13. Seems that our Belarusian dictator – Lukashenko – who said recently that he would rule this poor country one more term of office, is the youngest one. Record for Guinness Book?

  14. No Bush? Hasn’t this guy been paying attention to the peace protests?

  15. what about dead dictators like saloth sar aka pol pot, and hitler… not mao zedong

  16. o ya kim chong-il from north korea

  17. the time something is posted is an hour fast

  18. I read Quadaffi took power in ’69, not ’59. But there’s another conflicting report from
    That says he took power after a coup in ’67. Anyhow, i myself am Belarussian, and a strongly dislike Lukashenko. He put part of my family into prison for poltical oppositon in ’97, haven’t heard from them since.

  19. The president of Togo has been in power for 4 decades. I wonder how an article so well written such as yours could go to the trouble not to mention president Gnassingbe Eyadema of Republic of Togo who seized power in 1963 after assassinating the first democratically elected president, Mr. Silvanius Olympio! The French were involved…

    Gilchrist Olympio, the second son of Silvanius Olympio is Gnassingbe Eyadema’s current main opposition, although exist other as powerful oppositions.

    The empirical question: how is this person managing to stay in power for this long?

    The right answer is he is the richest person in the country. The amount of personal security he affords himself makes impossible his overthrow. The citizens don’t have the money it would take to force the president to resign, or be ousted if you visit, you will read the many cries of these dedicated, yet helpless citizens of once a prosperous nation. Estimates show that it would take at least $1.5M for a successful regime change there. Or even much less when certain circumstances are met. The citizens want to execute themselves any plan for the removal of this self-imposed president. If you can help, contact me at


    Lima Gnasse

  20. hi is Hu Jintao a world top ten

  21. joseph is an ass

  22. suk on these apples shafia

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