Another One Bites the Dust
It’s been a bad year for Latin American despots. Alfredo Stroessner, Fidel Castro and Augusto Pinochet all died in 2006, with the possible exception of Castro. Now a Central Asian dictator has joined these caudillos in the great beyond. Saparmurat Niyazov, ruler of Turkmenistan, who dubbed himself “Turkmenbashi,” or “father of the Turkmen,” died today of heart failure. Niyazov is best known for some of the wackier elements of his rule, as enumerated by the Guardian:
As one of a series of measures to establish a personality cult, Saparmurat Niyazov had a gold statue of himself put on top of a building in the capital, Ashgabat. The statue revolves so it always faces the sun. Niyazov, who was appointed president for life in 1999, changed the names of the months in honour of members of his own family. . . .
Niyazov outlawed ballet and opera and banned men from listening to car radios; he also banned the use of recorded music at weddings and other public events.
But not everything he did was funny:
Dissidents are sent into internal exile, forced out of their homes or detained in psychiatric hospitals. Torture is common. The media are tightly controlled, the state keeping a firm grip on access to the internet.
On the other hand, in some ways he was no less liberal than certain Western leaders:
When he gave up smoking after major heart surgery in 1997, all his ministers had to follow suit, and he banned smoking in public places.
That’s only as oppressive as Michael Bloomberg’s New York.
O sonho – intencional ou não – de quem pede controle “social” (social? Quem é o “social”? Ah, não importa, sei, sei…) é algo similar ao paraíso democrático e popular de Niyazov.
Boa sorte, pelegada besta!
p.s. clique no link para ver os links do texto original…