Epidemics of Despicable Global Leaders

May 24, 2011 • Commentary
By Gustavo Coronel
This article appeared in The Latin American Herald Tribune on May 24, 2011.

Mubarak ruled Egypt for over 40 years and amassed a personal fortune estimated in billions of dollars. Gahdaffi, an assassin, has ruled Libya for 40 years and his fortune is also estimated in billions of dollars. The Assads, father and son, have ruled Syria for decades and today the son is bathing his country in blood in order to stay in power. Robert Mugabe has been in cruel control of Zimbabwe for over 40 years. Hugo Chavez just announced his solidarity with Assad while continuing ruining his country materially and spiritually.

Africa suffers under despots and murderers such as Theodore Obiang in Equatorial Guinea. In a lesser, but not less objectionable manner, the president of Guatemala and his wife have decided to get a divorce so that she can be a presidential candidate. President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, is not only the documented rapist of his step‐​daughter but is allying himself with a convicted thief, Aroldo Aleman, in order to win his re‐​election, while already planning to be succeeded by his wife Rosario Murillo, the mother of the raped young woman. The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is a dedicated playboy involved in multiple scandals that he brags about.

This collection of unsavory characters, documented criminals and/​or clowns leads millions of people all across the planet.

Fortunately, one would think, there are international organizations that will act to put things right in spite of so much moral turpitude at national levels: the U.N, the OAS, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, just to name some of the better known international bodies, all led by the best and the brightest. Right? Wrong.

Take Jose Miguel Insulza, the leader of the OAS, the Organization of American States. He has proven to be not only ineffective but also ethically deaf. He refuses to act, even in the clear cases where Latin American extremists have violated the democratic principles of the organization.

The Secretary General of the U.N., Ban Ki‐​Moon, at best manages to express “concern” or “preoccupation” about the multiple transgressions of human rights in Iran and other countries.

And now, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s affair. This gentleman was the head of the International Monetary Fund, the top international organization in charge of seeking remedy to the financial woes of member countries. A person in his position has to have total credibility, not only in his job as financial czar but as a person of impeccable reputation. He also was a leading presidential candidate in his native France. But, he has been indicted of trying to rape an employee of the New York hotel where he was staying, in a $3,000 a night suite. Should a bureaucrat from a typical cost center such as the IMF that lives off contributions from member countries stay in such an expensive place? Should not he be able to differentiate between décor and flamboyance? . But, in addition, a rapist?

It seems incredible that people like these should lead us. Such a despicable fauna could have only been selected under a spell of collective madness, pragmatism trampling over principles.

Societies are being led to believe that ethics only applies to the small people, not to the “important” people. Assad, Chavez and Straus‐​Kahn are showing us the way back to Neanderthal.

About the Author
Gustavo Coronel was author of the Cato Institute study “Corruption, Mismanagement and Abuse of Power in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela” and was the Venezuelan representative to Transparency International from 1996 to 2000. In 1994, he founded Pro Calidad de Vida, an NGO promoting anti‐​corruption techniques in government and civic education for children in Venezuela, Panama, Paraguay, Mexico and Nicaragua.