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Francisco Macías Nguema

Francisco Macías Nguema (1924 - September 29, 1979; original name Mez-m Ngueme) was the first post-colonial leader of Equatorial Guinea. His ideology was nominally Marxist (although he publicly praised Hitler) and his party was called the United National Workers' Party (PUNT).

He rose to the position of mayor of Mongomo under the Spanish colonial government, and later served as a member of the territorial parliament. He became president in 1968 with the blessing of the Spanish government. During his presidency, his country was nicknamed "Auschwitz of Africa," and became notorious for political executions. The country's pre-independence prime minister, Bonifacio Ondó Edu, was starved and executed in prison shortly after Macías came to power. Other officials, including a former vice president, "committed suicide" while in detention.

Macías Nguema's violations of human rights during his reign caused over one-third of Equatorial Guinea's population to flee to neighboring countries. The country's instruments of repression (military, presidential bodyguard) were entirely controlled by Macías Nguema's relatives and clan members. The president's paranoid actions included banning use of the word "intellectual" and destroying boats (fishing was banned). He "Africanized" his name to Masie Nguema Biyogo Ñegue Ndong in 1976 after demanding that the same be done of the rest of the Equatoguinean population. Conditions became so bad that his own wife fled the country. Macías Nguema had an extreme cult of personality and assigned himself titles such as the "Unique Miracle."

Toward the end of his rule, he declared himself President for Life. On August 3, 1979, he was overthrown by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. He was executed a few weeks later. No Equatoguinean soldier participated in the execution, because Macías Nguema was and is still believed to have magical powers. The job had to be done by hired Moroccan troops.

Today, Macías Nguema is regarded as one of the most kleptocratic, corrupt and dictatorial leaders in post-colonial African history. He has been compared to Pol Pot because of the violent, unpredictable, and anti-intellectual nature of both regimes.

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