With the 2010 World Cup underway, Banana Republican is always scrambling for a bandwagon to jump on. Nicaragua's pathetic soccer team has never qualified for tournament play. Based on an entirely subjective, purely unscientific method of rooting for the most scandalous, the most immoral, and the most corrupt republics, here are my top ten rogue nations to cheer for:
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
When the West African nation qualified for World Cup competition in 2006, it looked like the country's civil war -- which had both sides committing mass murder, forcing children into indentured soldiering, and other human rights violations -- was finally coming to an end.
But thanks to the world's leading stall-job artist, Laurent Gbago, the country is on the brink again. In February, the Côte d'Ivoire's president dissolved the government and postponed presidential elections for the seventh time since 2005, sparking deadly riots.
A country led by a stylishly sensible eccentric despot who wants everybody to call him the supreme leader is a republic destined for greatness on the soccer battle field.
I will triumphantly blow my vuvuzela for the world's last Stalinist dictatorship. Here's to the North Koreans pulling off a nuclear upset versus Brazil in today's afternoon matchup.
Honduras is the only country to represent Central America, and I'm proud to call the Hondurans paisans. Nicaragua's neighbor did a tremendous job last year of maintaining a Third-World reputation with the ouster of President José Manuel Zelaya. Very clever move by the Honduran supreme court to disguise the coup d'état as a preservation of the country's constitution.
When I saw Siphiwe Tshabalala score South Africa's lone goal against Mexico to open World Cup play this past Friday, I felt a warm glow for the host country's polygamous leader Jacob Zuma. The dude with lotsa wives went through some shit before World Cup festivities got underway in the land of Die Antwoord. Local newspapers blasted allegations that his second spouse was pregnant and the baby daddy was one of Zuma's personal bodyguards, who subsequently committed suicide.
The defending World Cup champions could go a long way in making their countrymen forget the shenanigans of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Last year, in asking for a divorce, his wife accused the 73-year-old conservative leader of sexing up a 17-year-old girl, which he denied. He also nay-nayed an escort's claims he banged her and paid her to attend parties at his Rome residence.
How hard could it be to root for a country beseiged by drug cartels, including one made up of former national special police forces, that resort to dismembering people to keep the populace in check?
This country perfected the acts of speaking no evil, seeing no evil, and hearing no evil. I've got no problem hoisting my fist in the air for the world's biggest money laundromat.
Nigeria is the last African nation to make the list. We can't pass up an opportunity to wish godspeed to the country that supplies us with a steady flow of blood diamonds and wire-transfer scams. By the way, if you email me your name, social security number, and address I can have my Nigerian cousin in Lagos deposit $10 million into your bank account! But you must act now! This is an absolutely real, once-in-a-lifetime deal!
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I almost crossed off the United Kingdom. After all, Brits are supposed to be stoic defenders of all things puritanical. Don't need any of that rubbish to sully our little listicle here. But then we remembered the John Terry incident. England's captain was dropped from the team this past February after the tawdry details of his torrid affair with a former teammate's girlfriend was revealed in tabloid press reports. Ole Terry, who is married with two kids, even allegedly knocked the gal up, which led to an abortion. Team England gets an "atta laddie boy" for that one. And there is one other reason I left the Brits on the list. Something to do with the initials BP.
Team America gets my support for a bevy of reasons:
The gulf oil spill.
These are all great causes that bring a nation together as one.