Dictatorships

In Argentina

Juan Perón was a boy soldier who rose quickly through the officer ranks becoming the military attaché to Chile and then Italy, where he witnessed Nazi Germany’s expansionism and the distasteful grip of fascism in Europe. Eva Perón’s influence and the latter period of his military career are thought to have changed Perón’s conservative politics.
Juan Perón returned to Argentina in 1941, during the next two years he made full colonel, and joined the United Officers Group, a secret military lodge that engineered the 1943 coup to overthrow an ineffective and corrupt civilian government.
The military regimes of the following three years came increasingly under the influence of Perón. Perón was a shrewd political operator and initially took the minor post of secretary of labour and social welfare, but could see that this role would be pivotal in him influencing policy that would affect the masses and win him popular appeal. Perón won the support of the underprivileged labourers (the descamisados, or “shirtless ones” as they would later be known).
In 1944, however, as a protégé of Pres. Gen. Edelmiro J. Farrell (1944–46), Perón became minister of war and then vice president.
However, the direction of government and Perón’s ‘socialism’ had few fans in the ultra-conservative armed forces. The tide of socialism sweeping Europe and the America’s was of great concern and Argentina’s pending free elections worried both the military and business leaders. Not least those who saw communist bogeymen under every American bed. Now it is Muslims.
In October 1945, Perón was ousted from his position by rival army and navy officers in Argentina’s shortest coup, which resulted in the labour unions rallying the workers of greater Buenos Aires – Perón was released from custody on 17 October 1945. That night, from the balcony of the presidential palace (Casa Rosada), he addressed 300,000 people. He promised social justice and reform, and to lead the Argentine people to victory in the pending presidential election.
A few days later, Perón, who was a widower, married Eva Duarte, who had been an undistinguished stage and radio actress. Perón’s politics and his meteoric rise have often been attributed to this powerful lady. Eva Duarte de Perón participated in her husband’s 1945–46 presidential campaign, winning the adulation of the working-class masses, which she addressed as los descamisados.

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In Nicaragua

Family that maintained political control of Nicaragua for more than 40 years. The dynasty’s founder, Anastasio Somoza Garca (18961956), became head of Nicaragua’s army in 1933 and, after deposing the elected president in 1936, ruled the country with a firm and grasping hand until he was assassinated. He was succeeded by his elder son, Luis Somoza Debayle (192267), and later by his younger son, Anastasio Somoza Debayle (192580), whose corrupt and brutal rule (196379) led to his overthrow by the Sandistas. Somoza looted Nicaragua before fleeing the country; he was assassinated in Paraguay

Three of the Somozas served as President of Nicaragua. They were:

  • Anastasio Somoza (1896–1956; ruled 1937–1947, 1950–1956), the father.
  • Luis Somoza Debayle (1922–1967, ruled 1956–1963), his legitimate eldest son.
  • Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1925–1980, ruled 1967–1972, 1974–1979), his second legitimate son.

Other members of the Somoza family include:

  • Hope Portacarrero, wife of Anastasio Somoza Debayle
  • Anastasio Somoza Portocarrero, son of Anastasio Somoza Debayle
  • Bernabé Somoza, a 19th-century rebel

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In Chile.

After Salvador Allende was overthrown by the 11 September 1973 coup d´état, Chile was ruled by a military dictatorship that lasted up until 1990. The regime, led by General Agusto Pinochet, was characterized by the systematic suppression of political parties and the persecution of dissidents to an extent that was unprecedented in the history of Chile. Scholars now consider it an example of a police state.

In 1980, following a highly controversial referendum, Pinochet, who had been proclaimed president in 1974, was elected president and a new constitution was approved. The military government, under the influence of the “Chicago Boys”, then took a neoliberalstance on economics. This has been followed up by subsequent democratic governments. Although the military government of Chile lost power following a referndum in 1988, the military continued to exercise a great influence on politics through deterrence. Before power was relinquished, an amnesty law was passed, preventing most members of the military from being prosecuted by the subsequent regime. Another law was also enacted allowing Pinochet to serve as a senator for life  and technically giving him immunity from prosecution so long as he was not expelled from the Senate.

Many of the civilian allies of the military government continued to be influential in Chilean politics. (UDI) is Chile’s largest party and was also the party with the greatest number of the regime’s supporters. Since the end of the regime, however, it has distanced itself from it.

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