Search Results for dictator

Spain’s Post-Franco Emergence from Dictatorship to Democracy

Spanish leader Francisco Franco died November 20, 1975 at the age of 82 after 36 years in power, first as a dictator, then as head of a semi-pluralist authoritarian system. His regime was held responsible for the deaths of as many as 400,000 political dissenters, many during the Spanish Civil War from 1936-1939. Franco persecuted […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Cold War, Europe, Human Rights, Military, Russia/Soviet Union Tagged , , , |
Chile’s 1988 Plebiscite and the End of Pinochet’s Dictatorship

The 1970s and 1980s were a long, dark time for Chile. The September 11, 1973 coup against Socialist president Salvador Allende led to the brutal dictatorship under Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, who immediately began to round up thousands of opponents in stadiums and elsewhere and have them killed. In 1980, a new constitution was approved, which […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Human Rights, Military, Public Diplomacy, Western Hemisphere, Women and Minority FSOs Tagged , |
“You’re nothing but a two-bit dictator” – Dealing with the DR’s Rafael Trujillo

Known as “El Jefe,” or “The Chief,” Rafael Trujillo ruled as dictator of the Dominican Republic for more than 30 years. During this time, more than 50,000 people were killed under Trujillo’s oppressive and corrupted regime. He was assassinated in 1961, less than a year after Ambassador Joseph Farland left the Dominican Republic. Farland served […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History, Human Rights, Western Hemisphere
A Georgian Spring Amidst Autumn: The Rose Revolution from a U.S. Perspective

Revolutions are always exciting times for U.S. Foreign Service personnel, and the November 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia was no different. Denny Robertson served as a USAID (United States Agency for International Development) election observer. When President Shevardnadze’s government allegedly rigged a parliamentary election, Robertson saw first-hand how Georgians took to the streets and protested […]

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Duty and Danger: Escaping the Burning U.S. Embassy in 1979 Libya

On December 2nd, 1979, thousands of anti-American demonstrators attacked the U.S. Embassy; protesters broke down the door and set fires that damaged the lower floors. Political Officer James Hooper and other American officials inside the embassy hurriedly attempted to shred sensitive information before sneaking out past an angry mob, one by one, through a back […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
Brief Portraits of the Ghanaian People—A Collection of FSO Personal Perceptions

With a rich history, beautiful landscape, and friendly people, Ghana is one of the most welcoming countries in sub-Saharan Africa. One of the buildings at the Kotoka International Airport in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, even has the word “Akwaaba,” meaning “Welcome!” spelled in giant letters across its side, reflecting the well-known hospitality of the Ghanaian […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
60 Minutes in Central America: The Politicization of Development During the Cold War

Complex geopolitical realities, poor leadership, and economic dysfunction characterized the Cold War in Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. USAID (United States Agency for International Development) played a crucial role in strengthening the political and economic institutions of these countries. Its ability to work and achieve success in Cold War conditions was nothing short of extraordinary. […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
How Soviet Astronauts Met Stars in America

Two Soviet astronauts—a general and a scientist—come to visit the United States. They ride roller coasters at Disneyland, donkeys at the Grand Canyon, and a presidential plane through the sky—and then, they drop in on an A-list Hollywood party. It’s not the opening line of a joke, or the premise of a comedy film—it happened, […]

Posted in A Moment in U.S. Diplomatic History
South Korea’s 1987 “Tear Gas Festival:” The Path to Democratic Elections

South Korea was in a haze in 1987—both literally and figuratively. After years of de facto military dictatorship, the populace was demanding greater political freedom.  The path to more democracy was marked by massive protests and the pervasive haze of tear gas. For weeks, police clashed each night with up to three million people crowding […]

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Guatemala in the 1960s: Vigilantes or Government Operatives?

Young political officer William Newlin arrived in Guatemala in early 1966 amidst worsening political and social chaos.  As the civil war raged, thousands of people began disappearing from universities, churches, and media institutions. The Guatemalan government claimed that a right-wing insurgency group was orchestrating the disappearances—the Mano Blanca (White Hand).  An official, top-secret U.S. government […]

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