Different Ways to Get Rid of Dictators

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Dictators often turn out to be rather disastrous for their own people and for others as well. But dictators are very difficult to remove. Here are some methods for removing dictators.

Dictators often turn bad and cause a lot of suffering and damage for their own people. Removing dictators is an age-old problem. Already in the 3rd century Greece, the statesman and orator Demosthenes (384-322) wrote “Every dictator is an enemy of freedom, an opponent of law”.

Paradoxically dictators often come to power on the ladder of free speech and then use their power to shut others up, especially those who do not agree with them.

Here are some common methods used in history for getting rid of dictators. Do you know any other methods of removing dictators?

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Ways To Get Rid of Dictators

  • The people overthrow the dictator (often put in place by foreign agencies) and throw him, along with his henchmen and family, out of the country – e.g., the Shah of Iran, Marcos of Philippines.
  • Organise a violent revolution and have the dictator killed – e.g., Ceaucescu in Romania.
  • Remove the dictator by legal means like elections but allow him to stay in the country. There’s a big risk that he comes back and seeks revenge – e.g., Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.
  • Foreign powers (till then maintaining the dictator) force the dictator to exile without armed intervention – e.g. Mátyás Rákosi of Hungary was exiled by the Soviets to Kirgizia in 1970 to “seek medical attention”.
  • Foreign powers march in and remove the dictator (whom they either instated or helped earlier) – e.g. Saddam Hussein of Iraq or Manuel Noriega of Panama.
  • The dictator kills himself in an act of desperation – e.g., Hitler in 1945.
  • The dictator is assassinated by people near him – e.g., Julius Caesar of Rome in 44 AD was stabbed by 60-70 people (only one wound was fatal though).
  • Organise strikes and unrest to paralyze the country and convince even the army not to support the dictaor – e.g., Jorge Ubico y Castañeda was ousted in Guatemala in 1944 and Guatemala became democratic.
  • Hope that the dictator ages into senility, and stops doing any more harm, and eventually dies when all enemies attend the funeral and praise him – e.g., Fidel Castro of Cuba.
  • Invite him to seminars and conferences and declare him the “good guy” – e.g., Muammar Gaddafi of Libya has suddenly become the good guy in world media.
  • Rejoice that the dictator has a change of heart and ways (but only after he dies) – e.g., "el Caudillo" or Franco of Spain decreed that after him Spain would become a constitutional monarchy with an elected Prime Minister.

Photo source:

If you want to read more about dictators, here’s a link

Sincere apologies to North Koreans, the Burmese and some other people living in dictatorships, I can’t write in your languages, so please try to get the tips translated.

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About This Article

Rana Sinha