Born on December 5, 1925 in León, Nicaragua,Anastasio Somoza Debayle, nicknamed Tachito, was the third member of the Somoza dynasty to be president of Nicaragua (1967-1979), he was also commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
West Point graduate,Anastasio Somozahe quickly rose to power in the Nicaraguan military environment during the presidencies of his father (1933-1956) and his brother (1956-1963). As head of the National Guard, he assisted the United States in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and in the 1965 intervention in the Dominican Republic.
The law preventedSomozabe president directly after his brother, so that in the intervening years (1963–67) until he was able to run, Nicaragua was ruled by puppets. During his first term as president, he promoted health and education programs and agricultural and industrial modernization, improving the country’s economic position and raising per capita income by 8 percent.
He resigned from his position in 1972, but with the devastation caused by the 1972 earthquake,Somozatook power again. He was reelected in 1974 after repealing the constitutional ban on consecutive terms and prohibiting all but the two major parties from participating in elections. Most of his second term was carried out under martial law, in response to active opposition to his heavy-handed tactics by the Sandinistas. The Somoza administration continued to achieve improvements in land reform, peasant welfare, economic progress, and foreign relations, but its inability to solve the problems of unequal income distribution and the reconstruction of Managua, which was still in shambles five years later. The 1972 earthquake caused growing unrest. Meanwhile, the Somoza family was reputed to have a fortune of 500 million dollars and to own or control 50 percent of the land in Nicaragua, causing great resentment. In 1977, guerrilla activity was widespread and the National Guard was accused of retaliating with torture, rape, and mass murder. In all, the Sandinista insurrection claimed some 50,000 lives.