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Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Teodoro

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, 1942–, Equatoguinean military and political leader, president of Equatorial Guinea (1979–). He graduated (1963) from Spain's Zaragoza Military Academy while Equatorial Guinea was still a Spanish colony, and after independence worked (1968–79) in various capacities for Francisco Macías Nguema, his uncle and the country's despotic first president. In 1979 Obiang Nguema staged a coup and installed himself as military chief and president. He had his uncle executed, declared amnesty for political prisoners, encouraged refugees to return, and instituted other reforms. Although a new constitution was promulgated (1982), opposition parties legalized (1992), and legislative elections held (1993), only one party, Obiang's Democratic Party for Equatorial Guinea, had any real power and opposition was increasingly repressed. Obiang, who won landslide victories in the 1996, 2002, and 2009 elections, has solidified his dictatorial rule, which has been marked by rampant corruption and human rights violations.

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