They say that the world is a crazy place, but I say they're wrong. The world is a wild, whacked-out, insane place.
In 2007, we went through it all. The big, bloated blimp of self-confidence, Hugo Chavez, was dealt a mighty blow to the ego this year when Venezuelans said "NO!" to his proposed amendments to the Venezuelan constitution. One of the proposed amendments would have removed term limits, allowing Chavez to run for president indefinitely. Yikes.
Of course the biggest dictator news of the year was the death of Saddam Hussein by hanging in Iraq. This actually happened at the end of December in 2006, but the backlash from his execution was felt throughout the Muslim world in January. By humiliating and executing Saddam in the way that they did, the Iraqi justice system succeeded in making Saddam a martyr. Great job, guys.
But that's not all, our other dictator friend, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had the world on edge for a while in March when Iranian military apprehended a crew of British sailors that they claimed were trespassing in Iranian waters. Iranian officials then forced the sailors to write letters admitting their guilt and participate in phony PR-style videos in which they played chess and claimed that they were being treated well. Thankfully, Ahmadinejad didn't go the "Saw" route and make the holding cells into a death trap, although I wouldn't put it past him in the future.
To round out the last two, we have Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe blasting President Bush and the US for criticizing his stranglehold on the country and Brian Haw, a peace activist in the UK who gives 'em hell in front of the parliament. That was the world in 2007, lots of dictators, death, jail and activism. Will 2008 be any different?