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Anastasio Somoza

Somoza, Anastasio (änästäˈsyō sōmōˈsä) [key], 1896–1956, president of Nicaragua (1937–47, 1950–56). After the end (1933) of U.S. military intervention in Nicaragua, he rose to power as head of the national guard. Though himself a member of the Liberal party, he engineered (1936) a successful coup against the incumbent Liberal regime. In 1937 he formally assumed the presidency. In 1947 he withdrew, but before a month had elapsed he ousted his successor and installed a puppet president. He was accused (1948) by Costa Rica of aiding a group of rebels bent on overthrowing the liberal regime in that country. The Organization of American States investigated the charges, ruled in favor of Costa Rica, and reprimanded Somoza. Undeterred, he had himself reelected in 1950 over the ineffectual opposition of Emiliano Chamorro and continued his dictatorial rule and provocations against Costa Rica. He maintained, however, very cordial relations with the United States. On Sept. 21, 1956, he was shot; eight days later he died. His son, Luis Somoza, succeeded him to the presidency.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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