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Somoza Debayle, Luis

Luis Somoza Debayle (lōōēs´ sōmō´sä ŧħābī´lā), 1922–67, president of Nicaragua (1957–63). The oldest son of the dictator Anastasio Somoza, he was educated in the United States. He entered congress in 1950, became acting president (1956) upon the assassination of his father, and then president (1957). He liberalized his father's regime, instituted some social reforms, and greatly extended and diversified his family's business interests. Somoza Debayle was an ardent anti-Communist. Deciding that it would be convenient to put a non-Somoza in the presidency, he pushed a law that prohibited his own reelection and prevented any member of his family from immediately succeeding him. He then relinquished the presidency to a chosen successor, René Schick Gutiérrez. He served in the senate and headed the Somoza-dominated Liberal party until his death.

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