Dictators’ tombs around the world

Dictators’ tombs around the world: from the modest to the megalomaniacal

by Nicolás Valle for 324 translated from Les tombes de dictadors arreu del món: de la discreció a la megalomania into English by Milford Edge:

I’ve divided the burials of the dictators of the 20th-21st century into three categories:
1. Dictators buried in excrement
2. Dictators hiding in family crypts
3. Dictators buried in VIP mausolea

Fidel, Mao, Kim Jong-il and Franco all have mausolea, but only one is buried in a democratic country.

How have other countries solved the problem of burying their dictators? In the 20th century some died of old age, by suicide, in exile or hung by their feet. They’ve also had a variety of graves, tombs or mausolea. All, however, fall into three categories:

Third class: Pitiful

Here we have Nicaraguan dictator Tacho Somoza. He was buried with honours, but the Sandinistas took the corpse and threw it straight in the garbage.

Stroesnner, the Paraguayan dictator, died in exile. His country’s government would never allow the repatriation of his remains. He’s buried in a plain grave in a plain Brazilian graveyard.

Pol Pot, the genocidal Cambodian dictator, was doused in petrol on a dirty mattress and burned. Wardens have found people worshipping at the cremation site.

And Adolf Hitler‘s corpse was burned twice, shredded and thrown in the river. On the site of his bunker stands a social housing block and a park with swings.

Second class: Modest

Another Somoza, Tachito, was machine-gunned to death in Asunción while strolling down … Francisco Franco Avenue. He’s buried in Miami.

Mussolini‘s cadaver was hidden for ten years in the boot of a car, a wardrobe and a convent. Now he’s buried in the family crypt.

The family of Augusto Pinochet requested a State funeral. That was never going to happen. ‘Burn the corpse and keep it’ was the bidding of the Chilean Government. He’s buried on private property.

Stalin was laid to rest at Lenin‘s side but, in the 1960s, someone decided the Soviet dictator was not worthy of such distinguished company. He’s buried in a corner outside the walls of the Kremlin.

Madrid is home to other dictators. At rest there are Croatian tyrant Ante Pavelic, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista and Dominican despot Leonidas Trujillo, shamelessly buried in El Pardo.

First Class
And finally the “premium category” – dictators entombed in VIP mausolea with full honours. This is the case of Fidel Castro‘s monument a Santa Ifigenia.

Mao Tse Tung‘s mummy is admired by millions in Tianamen Square.

Kim Jong-il: it’s frowned upon for North Koreans not to weep in front of his monument.

And Francisco Franco is buried in El Valle de los Caídos, The Valley of the Fallen. Of the final four, he’s the only one buried in a democratic country.

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