The year 2011 has been a real game-changer, especially for those who’ve devoted their careers to climbing political ladders and reaching for their country’s highest “people management” position: ruthless, undisputed, autocratic dictator.
First there was Tunisia, then Egypt. Bahrain’s police finally got to try out their rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades. Most notably of late, Moammar Gadhafi has turned his delusional pigheaded arrogance into an international incident that has now even incited U.N. peacekeepers.
However, Gadhafi seems humanitarian and Hosni Mubarak philanthropic compared to the wickedly villainous fairy-tale existence of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. As president of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang has been ensconced in his public servant position for thirty-two years. He has generally received 97 percent or more of the vote in every election since 1979. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, this guy should conduct political seminars on popularity and longevity!” However, these results always occurred amid cyclical accusations of election fraud, rival intimidation, and flagrant assassination.
Though 60 percent of his population struggles to survive on less than one dollar per day, only 50 percent have access to clean water, and 15 percent of the country’s children die before the age of five (according to the U.N.), Obiang is listed by Forbes as one of the wealthiest rulers in the world with a net worth of approximately $600 million. His personal fortune is undoubtedly generated by the country’s oil profits; Equatorial Guinea is the third largest oil-producer in Africa.
Being a megalomaniac tyrant means having to get your hands a little dirty with repeated human rights violations. Arbitrary arrests, government authorized kidnappings, unlawful executions, and police tortures have been documented, but the President’s media have replied with logical and rational reasoning. They say that Obiang has the authority to kill anyone he wants because he is “in permanent contact with the Almighty.”
Now, I have made my own attempts to make even temporary contact with the Almighty. He must have me on Call Block, because I don’t think He’s getting my voicemails. If I did manage to get an audience with Him, I’m quite sure He wouldn’t tell me to go torture anyone. I’m thinking He would be more inclined to say something like, “Go make some sandwiches and hand them out at a homeless shelter.”
Obiang was recently elected chairman of the African Union. Obviously, he must be highly respected or well connected, in lieu of his dubiously extravagant lifestyle and bloodthirsty penchant for murdering people who disagree with him.
That could all change though, due to his son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, nicknamed “Teodorin.” He’s not only the “First Son,” he’s the country’s agriculture and forestry minister, and his behavior makes Charlie Sheen look like a Mormon missionary.
Teodorin just hit his forties, so like many other average ordinary run-of-the-mill guys, he decided to buy himself a new “midlife crisis play toy”: a $380 million yacht. English designed and German built, the luxury vessel will be the second most expensive private yacht in the world, with a cinema, swimming pool, bar, and helipad. This boat will end up costing three times more than Equatorial Guinea annually spends on education and health care combined.
Human rights groups are having conniptions. Teodorin had already gained their scrutiny after buying two houses in South Africa, a home in Paris, and a $31,000,000 mansion in Malibu. The California crib is accessorized with $60,000 worth of carpeting that Teordorin picked out, a $58,000 theatre, and wine glasses priced at $1734 a pair. He also owns a fleet of luxury cars.
Teodorin explains that he has been “lucky in business.” The truth is that he sold off large plots of the country’s unspoiled forest land and charges his clients a substantial “consultation fee” (euphemism) for doing business with him. U.S. investigators also suspect that he is siphoning an illegal “allowance” from his country’s oil proceeds.
Undoubtedly, after the very first citizen of Equatorial Guinea procures a laptop, finds someone with a working power outlet, then locates Internet access, word will spread like a bed-bug infestation in a crackhead hotel: “The rest of the world is different than Equatorial Guinea! You know they have one great leader with a very strange headpiece, who conducts courtroom trials where no one gets executed, just fired. It’s called Celebrity Apprentice! He must be a great man, that chief of the Trump tribe.”
No doubt Mbasogo and the fruit of his loins, prodigal son Teodorin, will keep the populace at bay by convincing them that the West, namely the U.S., is responsible for their miserably impoverished lives. There will be burning of Barak Obama effigies and teaching of the phrase “Death to America” in public schools. Hold it. That’s right! They don’t have public schools, which is why the government is able to convince Guinea’s poor mud-hut dwelling countrymen that the Almighty told Mbasogo he should kill people in their neighborhoods, and his son is entitled to own a boat with platinum bidets.
Someday though, enlightenment will come. Then, Mbasogo and his international playboy son will be exiled to a neutral country, where they might even be able to join Moammar and Hosni over some fine Cognac and imported cigars, swapping stories. “Hey, tell the one again about the time you had your political opponent beheaded at his kid’s birthday party, then bulldozed the house.”
Nevertheless, time has a knack of slipping by, even for evil despots. If there is any justice in a hereafter, sooner than they think, they’ll be sitting with Vladimir Lenin and Saddam Hussein at happy hour in Hell. Their former repressed constituents can be their water waiters, and the service will be really really bad.