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Born Feb. 1, 1896, in San Marcos; died Sept. 29, 1956, in the Panama Canal Zone. Nicaraguan state figure and general.
After holding several public posts, Somoza became head of the National Guard in 1932. From 1936 to 1947 and from 1950 to 1956, he was president of Nicaragua, but in fact he governed the country for 20 years. Under his rule, thousands of patriots were killed, including the national hero of Nicaragua, A. Sandino, and trade unions and democratic organizations were liquidated. Somoza dispatched troops to fight against progressive forces in Costa Rica in 1948 and to organize intervention in Guatemala in 1954. His policies led to the strengthening of Nicaragua’s economic, military, and political dependence on the USA. Somoza was fatally wounded by an assassin.