Luis Somoza Debayle
|Luis Somoza Debayle|
|26th President of Nicaragua|
29 September 1956 – 1 May 1963
|Preceded by||Anastasio Somoza García|
|Succeeded by||René Schick|
November 18, 1922|
April 13, 1967 (aged 44)|
|Political party||Nationalist Liberal Party (PLN)|
Luis Anastasio Somoza Debayle (18 November 1922 – 13 April 1967) was the 26th President of Nicaragua from 29 September 1956 to 1 May 1963, but was effectively dictator of the country from 1956 until his death.
Somoza Debayle was born in León. At the age of 14, he and his younger brother Anastasio attended Saint Leo College Prep near Tampa, before transferring to La Salle Military Academy on Long Island. Luis was then educated at Louisiana State University, where he was a member of Fi Sigma Alfa Hispanic fraternity. Following the assassination of his father, Anastasio Somoza García, Luis was tapped as acting president, and was elected president in his own right later that year. His rule was somewhat milder than that of his father. However, civil liberties remained restricted, and corruption remained widespread.
His brother, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, headed the National Guard and was the second most powerful man in the country during his older brother's rule. Although Luis declined to run for reelection in 1963, he and Anastasio saw to it that the presidency was held from 1963 onward by politicians loyal to the Somozas. As a result, Luis remained the real power in Nicaragua until his death in 1967, when he suffered a massive heart attack in Managua at the age of 44.
Under Luis Somoza's regime, Nicaragua played a key role leading to the creation of the Central American Common Market, with the Alliance for Progress backing that common market's creation. During the Bay of Pigs Invasion, he allowed the CIA-trained Cuban rebels to embark from Puerto Cabezas, on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast. The Sandinistas began their struggle against the government in 1963—a struggle that would oust his brother in 1979.
He is entombed at Cementerio Occidental with his father, in the National Guard Mausoleum in Managua, Nicaragua. His wife died in 2014.
Anastasio Somoza García
| President of Nicaragua
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