Anastasio Somoza Debayle

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Anastasio ("Tachito") Somoza Debayle (Spanish pronunciation: [anasˈtasio soˈmosa ðeˈβaile]) (5 December 1925  – 17 September 1980) was officially the 73rd and 76th President of Nicaragua from 1 May 1967 to 1 May 1972 and from 1 December 1974 to 17 July 1979. As head of the National Guard, he was ruler of the country from 1967 to 1979. He was the last member of the Somoza family to be President. After being overthrown in an insurrection led by the FSLN communist guerrillas, he fled Nicaragua in exile and power was ceded to a the Junta of National Reconstruction. He was eventually assassinated while in exile in Paraguay.

Contents

Name

As is customary in Spanish-speaking countries, he was given both his father's and mother's last names, Somoza being his father's surname and Debayle being his mother's surname. Debayle is of French origin.

Biography

Anastasio Somoza Debayle, nicknamed "Tachito" (Spanish: Little Tacho) by his father, was the third child of Anastasio Somoza García and Salvadora Debayle. At the age of seven, he was enrolled at the Instituto Pedagógica, run by the Christian Brothers. One of his classmates was Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal,[1] who would grow up to become one of the most prominent opponents of the Somoza dynasty. From the age of ten, Tachito was educated in the United States, attending St. Leo College Prep (Florida) and La Salle Military Academy (Long Island). He passed the examination for West Point, entered the United States Military Academy on July 3, 1943, and graduated on June 6, 1946.[2] Two years after his return from West Point, he fathered an illegitimate daughter, Patricia, who was later sent to a series of schools abroad.[3] Also after his return, he was appointed chief of staff of the National Guard by his father, who had previously given many important posts to family members and close personal friends. As commander of the Guard, he was effectively the second most powerful man in Nicaragua. On 10 December 1950, he married Hope Portocarrero, his first cousin who was an attractive American, at the Cathedral in Managua by Archbishop Jose Antonio Lezcano. Over 4,000 guests attended the ceremony. The reception was given by President Anastasio Somoza García in the luxurious and modern Palacio de Comunicaciones. They had five children:

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