Anastasio Somoza Garcia was president of Nicaragua for a long time and started a family that ran the country for 50 years. He was born into a wealthy, powerful family with a lot of business and government experience. As a teenager, the boy’s wealthy family sent him to the United States to finish his education. While Anastasio was in the U.S., he met another wealthy Nicaraguan who had fled to the U.S. When this young man finished school and went back to Nicaragua, he struggled for a few years. But when a foreign power came into his country to stop a civil war, Somoza used his skills as an interpreter to get a high position in the new government. When he was later put in charge of his country’s national police force, Anastasio took charge right away. He used his new power to order the killing of a rebel general and the killing of all of that general’s supporters. Then, Somoza got rid of the president and put himself in charge. Somoza took a lot of money from his country for himself by using nepotism, corruption, and other typical methods of brutal dictatorship. Somoza and his family ran Nicaragua like a medieval fiefdom with the help of a foreign power until an assassin’s bullet killed him at a party.
Early years and childhood
Anastasio Somoza Garcia, also known as “Tacho,” was born in San Marcos, Nicaragua, on February 1, 1896. Anastasio Somoza Reyes, his father, grew coffee. Julia Garcia was the name of his mother.
He moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when he was a teenager. While he was studying in the U.S., he met his future wife, Salvadora Debayle Sacasa. She was also from Nicaragua, but she had moved to the U.S.
Anastasio Garcia’s Career
In 1926, Somoza joined a group of armed rebels who wanted to put Somoza’s uncle in charge of Nicaragua. Even though the rebellion failed, the young man learned a lot from working as an interpreter with US negotiators.
In 1929, Jose Maria Moncada became president of Nicaragua. The young man with a lot of energy was chosen to be the governor of the province of Leon, the Nicaraguan consul in neighboring Costa Rica, and the Foreign Minister of Nicaragua at the same time.
Juan Bautista Sacasa, Somoza’s uncle, was chosen to be president in 1933. The National Guard was put under Somoza’s control.
He broke peace talks on February 21, 1934, when he had a rebel general killed.
In 1935, he told the National Guard to kill several people who supported the rebel general who had been killed and take their land.
In June 1936, the dictatorial leader of National Guard made President Sacasa quit. For the rest of the year, the country was run by a series of weak leaders who were controlled by Somoza.
Even though many people said the election was rigged, Anastasio was still elected president of Nicaragua and took office on January 1, 1937.
In 1938, Somoza changed the Constitution so that almost all of the power to run the country was given to the president. Then, he put his family and close friends in key positions in the government and military.
In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt said that Anastasio was a dictator, but he said that Anastasio’s brutality was okay because “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”
In 1941, the dictator told Japan, Germany, and Italy that they were at war with them. There were never any Nicaraguan soldiers in the war.
By 1944, he owned more land than anyone else in the country. Many of his properties were taken from German owners after he told the government to do so.
Later that year, the US put pressure on the dictator to promise that he would not run for re-election in 1947. He also let people get married in Nicaragua for a short time.
Leonardo Arguello was chosen to be the president of Nicaragua in May 1947. He was put up with for three weeks by the dictator. Somoza then made the uncle of his wife president. Because other countries wouldn’t recognize the government, Anastasio made his own uncle president instead of the uncle of his wife.
Somoza could not get the US to recognize his government again until the middle of 1948.
Even though many people said that votes were rigged and elections were stolen, he was still elected president of Nicaragua in 1950.
In 1954, Somoza worked with the US to help overthrow Guatemala’s democratically elected government. He did this by sending troops to the country.
In 1955, he changed the Constitution so that he could run for office again the next year.
Works of note
Anastasio Somoza Garcia was the president of Nicaragua twice, from January 1, 1937, to May 1, 1947, and from May 21, 1950, to September 29, 1956.
Awards & Achievements
Anastasio Somoza was on the cover of Time magazine on November 15, 1948.
Anastasio Garcia’s Earnings
At the end of World War II, it was thought that Somoza had made a $60 million fortune.
Personal History and Legacies
Anastasio married Salvadora Debayle Sacasa in 1919. Luis Somoza Debayle and Anastasio Somoza Debayle are their two sons. Both of their sons would go on to be president of Nicaragua after them.
Lillian Somoza Debayle de Sevilla Sacasa was the couple’s daughter. Jose R. Somoza was born to Anastasio, but his mother is unknown.
Somoza was shot by a poet in the city of Leon on September 21, 1956. The dictator died from his injuries eight days after he was hurt. The country was run by his family for the next 20 years.
Estimated Net worth
Anastasio is on the list of the most popular and wealthiest politicians. Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider all say that Anastasio Somoza Garcia has a net worth of about $1 billion.
At the Cementerio Occidental in Managua, Nicaragua, this famous leader is buried next to his son. He died in Panama, which at the time was directly controlled by the US military.
The dictator in Nicaragua told the people that they had to call him “Tacho,” which is a term of endearment.