Imelda Marcos kisses the refrigerated crypt of her husband, Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in a ceremony marking his 89th birthday on Monday 11 September 2006. The crypt is in Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines. (Associated Press photo by Aaron Favila.)
The couple, depicted in better times, is one of the "Our Friendly Dictators" trading cards. Go there, surf around, it's one of the best sites on the Web, certainly one of the most educational. But here's the OFD text:
20 FERDINAND MARCOS
President of the Philippines
Ferdinand Marcos began his career with a bang: At age 21, convicted of gunning down Julio Nalundasan, his father's victorious opponent in the Philippines' first national elections, he went to prison. He was later released by a Supreme Court Justice who, like Marcos and his father, was a Nazi collaborator. Despite Marcos's record as murderer, fake WW II hero, and Nazi agent, he was elected Philippines President in 1965.
Under Marcos, the Philippines' national debt grew from $2 billion to $30 billion (and his wife Imelda's shoe collection grew along with it to over 1,000 pairs), but U.S. corporations in the Philippines prospered, perhaps explaining why the U.S. didn't protest Marcos' imposition of martial law in 1972.
The Carter Administration engineered an $88 million World Bank loan to Marcos, increased military aid to him by 300% and called him a "soft dictator". But a 1976 Amnesty International report identified 88 government torturers and stated that alleged subversives had their heads slammed into walls, their genitals and pubic hair torched, and were beaten with clubs, fists, bottles and rifle butts.
By 1977, the armed forces had quadrupled and over 60,000 Filipinos had been arrested for political reasons, yet in 1981, Vice President George Bush praised Marcos for his "adherence to democratic principal and to the democratic processes". Marcos was overthrown in 1986 by followers of Corazon Aquino, widow of an assassinated opposition leader. Ferdinand and Imelda fled to Hawaii, only to be indicted in 1988 for fraud and tax evasion. Marcos died in 1989.