A "miracle"man toppled

He called himself "The One True Miracle of Equatorial Guinea." With the possible exception of Uganda's deposed dictator, Idi Amin Dada, no African despot has been more brutal and erratic than Francisco Macias Nguema, the President-for-Life of his tiny West African nation.

In the eleven years since the country won independence from Spain, Macias presided over a reign of terror that took the lives of some 50,000 Guineans and drove perhaps 150,000—one-third of the remaining population—into exile.

To stem the flow, Macias ordered all the boats in the country destroyed. When labor shortages appeared on his cocoa plantations, he...

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