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Published:April 11th, 2008 11:46 EST
World Chronicle: April 11

World Chronicle: April 11

By Krzys Wasilewski

It happened today in Caracas, Venezuela…

Among the first to visualize the fall of the dollar was Fidel Castro, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In a surprising statement, the controversial president and “America’s personal foe,” as he calls himself, Chavez remembered a conversation he had with Cuba’s ailing leader months ago. According to Chavez, quoted by the Associated Press, Castro told him: “Chavez, it won't be long before the crisis of the dollar occurs.” Fortune telling is yet another gift that Castro seems to have in abundance. Earlier it was known that Castro was not only surprisingly immune to various CIA assassinations but, in his own words, became the first dictator to make people happy by introducing communism.

It happened today in Paris, France…

France will send around 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, the French foreign minister announced on Friday. Visiting Tajikistan, the minister said that the decision had been long discussed within the government and showed the determination of NATO to successfully end its mission to war-shattered Afghanistan. “This is the will of our president and his decision was not spontaneous. He sent a letter to all coalition members to inform them about it,” the minister told the Associated Press. During a NATO summit in Bucharest last week, U.S. President George W. Bush called on other member states to contribute more to the mission as not only the freedom of Afghanistan was at stake but also the stability of the entire region.

It happened 29 years ago in Kampala, Uganda…

On April 11, 1979, Idi Amin, a long-time brutal dictator of Uganda, had to flee his country after Tanzania-backed liberation forces captured the capital, Kampala. Although he considered himself “the most powerful figure in the world,” Amin, not unlike his opponents, hurriedly left Uganda and peacefully retired in Saudi Arabia. This former army corporal came to power in 1971 in a military coup after he promised to end wide-spread corruption and economical recession. But soon it turned out that Amin did not differ much from his predecessors, stealing money from national companies and finishing off real and imaginative opposition. It is approximated that during his rule, over 500,000 people could have lost their lives. As poor a commander and president as he was, Idi Amin is remembered for his colorful comments. To one of his advisers, he was to say: “I want your heart. I want to eat your children.” His brutal executions, the dictator supported by claiming that “in any country there must be people who have to die. They are the sacrifices any nation has to make to achieve law and order.” Amin was also reported to have sent a friendly card to President Nixon after the Watergate scandal broke out.

It happened 47 years ago in Jerusalem, Israel…

It was on this day in 1961 that the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious “architect of Holocaust,” began in Jerusalem, Israel. It took 14 years for Israeli agents to capture him in Argentina although the CIA knew about Eichmann’s whereabouts as early as 1952. But then-friendly relations with West Germany proved too big an obstacle and diplomacy trumped moral duties. In April 1960 the Israeli intelligence finally discovered Eichmann, and after a spectacular operation in Buenos Aires, the German was transported to Israel. One year later a trial began that would last 14 weeks during which some 100 concentration camps survivors told their horrific stories. On the last day, December 15, the court found Eichmann guilty of implementing the Final Solution and being responsible for the death of some six million Jews. One witness testified that Eichmann “made numerous interventions to prevent a single Jew being exempted from the transports.” Adolf Eichmann was hanged on June 1, 1962, remaining the only civil person to be sentenced to death in Israel.

It happened 57 years ago in Washington, DC…

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, supreme commander of the U.N. forces during the Korean War, was dismissed on this day in 1951 by President Harry S. Truman. Despite a successful assault on Inchon and an offensive into North Korea, the American army supported by troops from 20 countries was in a critical position. The Communists that recently came to power in China decided to help its neighbor and sent hundreds of thousands of “volunteers” who, although poorly equipped, managed to push MacArthur’s army deep south. This and the fact that the boisterous general allowed himself to publicly criticize the president spurred Truman to find a new commander. The president’s decision to replace MacArthur with Gen. James Alward Van Fleet met with unheard-of opposition from the Republican Party as well as from the majority of the society. People began to call their president a “pig” and “traitor;” on his return to the United States, MacArthur was welcomed by thousands of enthusiastic supporters. The general toyed with an idea of running for president in 1952 but his political ambitions were soon thawed. Instead, MacArthur retired from public life and died in 1954.

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