Dictators in Latin America
The Frog was suffering a major case of writers block. How to deal with it when you desperately want to write?
Here at Hubpages.com, a Hubber that has a good Hub Score can type words into the start a hub link and possible Hub titles will appear. These are called exclusives.
I, the Frog, took this exclusive title. The fact that I reside in a Latin American country is one reason. The interesting subject matter is another.
On with the Hub! I will go through Latin American dictators that have been or are still in power. There will be short biographies and I will attempt to find pictures of them.
Use this hub to help a history assignment, or just learn something new. I know that this will be a history lesson for me. Dad always told me that if you don't learn something new every day, it was a wasted day.
Today will not be wasted!
Agustín de Iturbide (1783 – 1824)
He built a following during the Mexican War of Independence. His armed men took control of Mexico in September of 1821. In 1822, with Spain in disarray with how the problems in Mexico, the people yelled for Iturbide to take the crown. He did and it should be duly noted that this would be a dictator that was also over the States of California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. One year later, the Mexican congress led by Santa Anna forced Iturbide to relinquish his domination.
Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794-1876)
This dictator was in and out of power several times over a forty year period. Many feel that he hurt Mexico since it was during his reign that Mexico lost over one half of its territory to the United States. he was a ruthless, manipulative person. He was elected to power and then dissolved the congress, giving himself ultimate power. He would kill anyone who stood in his way. Many tried to get him out and some accomplished it, but Santa Anna would ruthlessly work his way back in. He lived in exile in Cuba and New York City towards the end, but returned to Mexico City and died.
Porfirio Díaz (1830-1915)
He controlled Mexico twice. Once from 1876-1880 and again from 1884-1911. He was not as ruthless as those before him, but he did support the rich and spit on the poor. He has recognition for bringing economic stability and commerce to Mexico. He held good relations with other countries, including the United States. He died in exile in Paris, France.
Victoriano Huerta (1854-1916)
This dictator was very devious. He supported President Madero and then murdered him and took control. United States President, Woodrow Wilson would not accept him as Mexico's leader and sent troops. He was forced out only being dictator for about 1 year. he went into exile. He died in El Paso, Texas.
Rafael Carrera (1814-1865)
He ruled Guatemala twice. First from 1844-1848 and again 1851-1865 when he died. Many leaders at that time were only interested in their own well being. Carrera helped the Indian populations and gained followers. One of the leaders had killed some of his family, so he led a revolt and took over the government. Carrera deemed himself President for life. He was awarded the Order of St Gregory by the Pope in 1854 and his face was put on coins one year after he died.
Justo Rufino Barrios (1835-1885)
he was considered a liberal reformer. He built up Guatemala's police force and communications network. To gain power, Barrios united others and overthrew the government. He was given the power in 1873. In battles against Mexico over border disputes, he was killed. Many of the reforms he created died with him.
Manuel Estrada Cabrera (1857-1924)
This guy took the leadership of Guatemala by force. He murdered the President and then with his pistol drawn he entered the congress and forced his way into power. He was President of Guatemala from 1898-1920. He was very ruthless. He would kill anyone standing in his way. he even attempted to murder American citizens doing business in Guatemala. He also was entrenched in building the cult called Minerva. He had many temples built for this preoccupation.
Jorge Ubico (1878-1946)
He was elected President in 1931 and held it until 1944. Guatemala was in deep depression at the time and Ubico just forced dictatorship upon them. He became so unpopular with his repression and arrogant personality, that the people rose up in protest against him. It was at that point he realized he should resign, but he named who he wanted in control and guns were drawn and forcefulness was used. It ultimately turned into a slight civil war in Guatemala. Ubico died in exile in New Orleans in 1946.
Carlos Castillo Armas (1914-1957)
With the help of the CIA, this man orchestrated a coup of the Guatemalan government. He was President from 1954 until he was assassinated in 1957. The United States was against perceived threats of Communism in Guatemala and they knew Armas from his training in the U.S. He used his power to great extents. He took away the voting power of anyone unable to read. He tortured or killed anyone who may have Communist ties. It saddens me that the United States would support such as this.
William Walker (1824-1860)
Not a Latin sounding name is it? Nope, this was a crazy American who thought he could take control of much of Latin America. He set himself up as President of Nicaragua from 1856-1857. Other nearby countries were nervous of the possibilities of Walker invading their lands. Costa Rican and Honduran troops retaliated against Walker's forces and sent him scrambling back to the United States. His ignorance and greed forced him to return to the area and in 1860 he was executed by the Honduras government.
Anastasio Somoza García (1896-1956)
This man was very ruthless. He ruled Nicaragua with an iron fist from 1936 until he was assassinated in 1956. He used his power to take over peoples lands and businesses. The United States gave him support, because he did not support communism. He did do some wicked things to many people.
Anastasio Somoza Debayle (1925-1980)
This is the second son of the earlier dictator. He was President of Nicaragua twice. Once from 1967-1972 and again from 1974-1979. he was the leader during the Sandinista revolution. He murdered many and then tried to seek asylum in Miami. President Jimmy Carter would not let him in and he fled to Paraguay. That is where a Sandinista group assassinated him in 1980.
Maximiliano Hernández Martínez (1882-1966)
This fascist was put into power of El Salvador in 1931. It was all taken through a coup of the existing government. This power hungry person murdered anyone who showed any kind of sign of going against his ways. He murdered many El Salvadoran people when he assumed they had Communist ties. he was finally run out when students revolted and drove him into exile. He was stabbed to death by his driver whose family member had been killed by Maximiliano.
Tiburcio Carías Andino (1876-1969)
During strong economic depression, this man gained power in Honduras. He was in control from 1933-1949. He manipulated rules and the Honduras constitution to stay in power. If anyone rose up against him, he would have his army quickly crush them. He did attempt to help the economy in Honduras. Many believe he helped Honduras, but many called him the Hitler of Honduras.
Oswaldo López Arellano (1921-2010)
Twice this man was leader of Honduras. 1963-1971 and 1972-1975 were his power holds over Honduras. He took the power by using military forces. He was run out by a coup when it was discovered he was taking bribes to help a corporation. He was a businessman himself, and money was his master. He died of prostrate cancer.
Omar Torrijos (1929-1981)
He was considered Supreme Leader of Panama from 1968-1981. He was supported by the United States because he resisted Communism. He is also the leader who President Jimmy Carter negotiated with to gain full control of the Panama canal. Torrijos was loved by the peasants of Panama. He instituted a land redistribution and helped build schools and get jobs going. The upper class felt like he had stolen from them, but over all, he was considered a very good dictator. He did ban Unions and free press. He died in a plane crash.
Manuel Noriega (1934-)
He controlled Panama from 1983-1989. He used drugs as his power hold and supported drug cartels. The United States invaded and took Noriega into custody. His sentence in the U.S. ended in 2007 and he was extradited to France for money laundering and murder. he was sentenced seven years. He was given conditional release to serve a twenty year sentence in Panama. He has been in a Panama prison since 2011. Many believe that Noriega set up the crash that killed the first dictator, Torrijos. Noriega worked for the C.I.A. and by doing so, they turned a blind eye to his illegal activities. Hopefully the United States has learned a big lesson from their mistakes in Noriega being such an evil culprit, and their allowing it.
Simón Bolívar (1783-1830)
He helped gain independence for many Latin American countries from Spain. He was the dictator of Gran Columbia from 1819-1830. Gran Columbia encompassed the countries of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru and northwest Brazil. To control the population he just proclaimed dictatorship for a temporary period. He relinquished that power in 1830 and soon died from tuberculosis.
José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (1766-1840)
Right after Paraguay gained independence from Spain, this man took control of the country. he ran the country from 1814-1840. He created a police state and would imprison anyone who tried to stand up to his ideals. He was always fearful of assassination and went to extreme steps to ensure he was not murdered. He was excommunicated by the Pope when he took the Roman Catholic Church as his own within Paraguay. Many were joyful when he died. Some stole his body and cut it up and threw it in the river. His remains have never been recovered.
Carlos Antonio López (1792-1862)
He was President of Paraguay from 1841-1862. Carlos was a part of drawing up Paraguay's Constitution. He foresaw that he would be leading and made sure that no liberties were allowed. His dictatorship powers were not overused as many do. He did release many political prisoners and outlawed slavery.
Francisco Solano López (1827-1870)
He inherited the Presidency from his Father. He took the power in 1862 and it lasted until his death in 1870. He was very paranoid, thinking everyone was out to get him. He had many of his male family members executed and his own mother was flogged. He led Paraguay and many of its men into a war with deadly consequences. The War of the Triple Alliance killed him and 90% of the male population.
Higinio Morínigo (1897-1983)
He was President from 1940-1948. In 1940, the President died in a plane crash and Higinio took what was supposed to be temporary control until elections could be held. He announced the elections would be postponed for two years. Soon after he announced on the radio that Paraguay was in a police state and he was in control. His political party kept control even though he was taken out of the office in 1948.
Alfredo Stroessner (1912-2006)
Alfredo was President from 1954-1989. He was a loyal follower of Higinio Morínigo. This gave him power and set his course before his election. He used torture against anyone that seemed to be against his political stance. he was very ruthless. He gave refuge to drug dealers and smugglers. He was taken out of power by a coup in 1989. He escaped to Brazil where he died in 2006.
Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793-1877)
He had an odd sense of how government should be run. He believed in both democracy and authoritarianism which is like an oxymoron. he did create some economic stability in Argentina. Towards the end of his reign, he was battling forces from all sides. France and the United Kingdom were trying to gain Argentina and he had the warmongers in Uruguay starting rife. Rosas exiled to the United Kingdom.
Jorge Rafael Videla (1925-)
This man was President from 1976-1981. He is now doing life+ in prison. He murdered many and he was also sentenced for stealing babies. He had multiple concentration camps and committed multiple human rights violations. His evilness caught up with him.
Leopoldo Galtieri (1926-2003)
Leopoldo took the reigns after Videla was ousted. He didn't last very long as the last dictator of Argentina. Just until 1982 when he was taken out after the British retook the Falkland Islands that Galtieri had ordered his forces to take. He was found guilty of war crimes in the dirty war but was pardoned. He ended up a recluse in Buenos Aires. He died in 2003 from pancreatic cancer.
Manuel Belzu (1808-1865)
Helping a coup as a high ranking soldier, Belzu turned against the supreme leader and assumed control of Bolivia. Belzu was popular with the people as he had escaped an assassination attempt. He did get killed in 1865 though, the bullet finally found him.
Mariano Melgarejo (1820-1871)
This is who killed Belzu. He was a terrible leader and suppressed the Indian population. This made him quite unpopular. he was highly unskilled as a leader and gave away much of Bolivia's land.
René Barrientos (1919-1969)
He was President from 1964-1969. He came to power because of a C.I.A. backed coup. he was very charismatic and popular with the peasant population. He was very much against Communism. He is the dictator that had Che Guevara executed.
Hugo Banzer (1926-2002)
Hugo held the Presidency twice. the first time he was a dictator from 1971-1978 and then he was constitutional President from 1997-2001. While dictator he had opponents tortured and killed. many escaped to asylum. On his second term, pressure from the United States forced democracy. Dictatorship was a thing of the past, or was it? Sometimes these characters cam make it look different than it really is.
Luis García Meza Tejada (1932-)
He violently overthrew the existing government in the Cocaine Coup in 1980. The Nazi, Klaus Barbie was involved in this scheme. He committed many human rights crimes. His dictatorship lasted one year. He is now in a Bolivian prison doing hard time for all he did to people.
Antonio Guzmán Blanco (1829-1899)
Antonio was President of Venezuela three different times. Those dates were 1870-1877, 1879-1884, and 1886-1887. From everything I have studied, he and his underlings did very well with Venezuela. He brought about great economic achievements for the country.
Cipriano Castro (1858-1924)
He ruled Venezuela from 1899-1908. He lived the high life, killing opponents and amassing fortunes. He lived extravagantly and did not pay bills to other countries. England, Germany and others made blockades against his country, forcing United States intervention. Castro was finally taken out of power. He was quite sick and left for Paris to be treated for syphilis. He died in exile here in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1924.
Juan Vicente Gómez (1857-1935)
He was President of Venezuela three different times, but even when he wasn't President, he still ruled. This was all from 1908 until he died. He seized power from Castro when he went to Paris. Gomez was a poor farmer before he turned into a military man. His rise to power went to his head and he was called the tyrant of the Andes. He ruled until he died. He became rich off the oil of Venezuela and allowed his people to suffer.
Marcos Pérez Jiménez (1914-2001)
He was President from 1952-1958. His term in office as dictator saw great improvements for Venezuela. His secret police were terrible though. They killed, tortured and imprisoned anyone who disagreed with the government policies. The military forced him out in 1958 with a coup. He exiled in the United States, but was extradited back to Venezuela on embezzlement charges. He was given a term in prison, which he served. He then exiled to Spain where he died.
Hugo Chávez (1954-2013)
This guy just died not long ago. A hard line Socialist, he was President from 1999 until this year when he died. His system has done a lot to help the poor in Venezuela, but he had made many enemies of countries such as the United States. He named the next one to lead, and through what seemed a fixed election, the next guy won.
Nicolás Maduro (1962-)
He continues the ideologies of Chavez. He has accused the United States as killing his predecessor. In my opinion, this guy is a big problem for Venezuela.
Rafael Reyes (1849-1921)
Reyes was President of Columbia from 1904-1909. He had been a member of the military and the people loved his heroism. When he became President, that tide turned. He attempted to be a diplomatic President, and the people turned on him when he started making treaties with enemy forces. He ended up resigning.
Gustavo Rojas Pinilla (1900-1975)
Gustavo was President of Columbia from 1953-1957. He seized power in a coup, but was duly sworn in as President. the people were tired of the previous administration and welcomed him. His administration had major accomplishments that helped Columbia.
Óscar Benavides (1876-1945)
He was the President of Peru twice. His first was 1914-1915 and then again from 1933-1939. There was a coup in 1914 and he was given the power. On his second term, he built the military powers of Peru. He built tourism in Peru.
Augusto Leguía (1863-1932)
Augusto was President of Peru twice. He was from 1908-1912 and from 1919-1930. On his first term, he was elected. During that term, he solved border disputes with both Bolivia and Brazil. His second term was taken by a military coup. he changed the constitution so he could stay in office. He was cruel to any who opposed his style. In 1930, a coup forced him out and he was promptly arrested. He died in a prison in 1932.
Manuel Odría (1897-1974)
He was President of Peru from 1948-1956. He gained power through a coup. He catered to the poor working class, using expensive ways and means. This kept him loved, but at the same time he came down hard on opposition. He imprisoned and tortured any who went against his ideals. After leaving the Presidency, he still kept a voice in how things were done. In many ways he hurt Peru's economy because of agreements to keep him quiet.
Alberto Fujimori (1938-)
There is much heated debate on whether Fujimori was a dictator. he was President from 1990-2000. Many of the population felt he was a great leader. He helped get Peru back on a good economic level. He helped put a dent in terrorism. This is where he gained problems. The terror groups he dispelled have people in political places. He was part Peruvian and part Japanese. When problems arose, he fled to Japan. He was charged with human rights abuses over the torture and imprisonment of political enemies/terrorists. He was extradited back to Peru with charges of human rights abuse, bribery, and embezzlement. He is currently in a Peru prison.
Carlos Ibáñez del Campo (1877-1960)
He was the President of Chile twice. He first reigned from 1927-1931 and again from 1952-1958. When the first reign came, it was by a coup in a way. Chile was in a state of great upheaval and he was one who had the common sense to straighten it out. He moved his reign into a dictatorship and proceeded to get rid of opposing people. The United States helped him by making many loans to Chile. He built public works of many kinds that appeased the people. When wall Street collapsed in 1929, his power started diminishing. He resigned in 1931 and went into exile. He gained Nazi friends and returned to Chile. With his new friends, he started attempting coups, several were unsuccessful. in 1952 he ran on a ticket and made many promises. He won. His ideologies kept communism out, but he really did nothing for Chile on his second term. He died in 1960 in Santiago.
Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006)
He ruled Chile from 1973 until 1990. He gained this power in a coup. Pinochet had many friends and probably twice the enemies. He is blamed for Chile's economic stability, but also for gaining his own wealth along the way. He did away with opponents and had many charges brought against him. Before he could be tried on human rights violations and embezzlement, he died.
Getúlio Vargas (1882-1954)
He was dictator of Brazil from 1930-1945 and was democratically elected in 1951 and committed suicide in 1954 while still in office. This man helped push Brazil into a industrialized country. He was a friend of the poor and was totally against Communism. He was friends with the Nazis since they purchased many Brazilian goods. When Hitler was on the way down, Vargas realized the United States was a good source of money. He allied with the US and Brazil grew. On his second term, he helped to bring the economy back again. In 1954, opposing forces gained power by upheaval and Vargas shot himself in the chest. It was a moment most Brazilians will never forget.
Humberto Castelo Branco (1897-1967)
He became leader of Brazil in a 1964 coup. He left the seat in 1967 and was soon after killed in a weird plane accident where another Brazilian plane shot his plane down. He dropped all political parties in Brazil and extended his term until 1967. He was a hardcore dictator.
Artur da Costa e Silva (1899-1969)
He was the one who took over Humberto's place from the 1964 coup. He was very hard-lined on keeping Communism out of Brazil. He put in place a special decree that gave him power to suspend any politician he deemed a threat or had Communist ties. there were many terrorist activities against his government. In 1969, he suffered a cerebral thrombosis which took him out of office. He soon died.
Emílio Garrastazu Médici (1905-1985)
He controlled Brazil from 1969-1974. He ran one of the tightest military dictatorships ever. He used torture as a regular form of punishment. He controlled all forms of media and made morals a top priority for all Brazilian citizens. He became very close with United States President, Richard Nixon.
Ernesto Geisel (1907-1996)
He controlled Brazil from 1974-1979. The economy of Brazil saw great strides during Geisel's reign. He also made moves towards a democratic government. He even stepped out and made developments with Communist nations. Geisel made many changes to Brazil in those few years.
João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo (1918-1999)
Before being President, he was Chief of the Secret Service. He was President from 1979-1985. The economy in Brazil turned sharply down after his placement and the people blamed him. He had continued bringing Brazil to a democratic country as his predecessor had started. More political parties were made. He had many illnesses while in office. He was the last dictator of Brazil, and also probably considered the worst leader ever.
Gabriel Terra (1873-1942)
He ruled Uruguay from 1931-1938. He was a ruthless dictator. He jailed many University professors and put many opposition people on an island prison. He became close friends with both Hitler and Mussolini.
Juan María Bordaberry (1928-2011)
He was President from 1972-1976. His rule was a military dictatorship, but the military got tired of him and relieved him of his office. He was arrested for four deaths, two of which were members of the General Assembly. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 30 years. he was under house arrest and died at 83 years old.
Gregorio Conrado Álvarez (1925-)
He was a dictator of Uruguay from 1981-1985. Uruguay at this point was supposed to be a democratic nation. He ignored the constitution and did as he wanted. He committed many human rights crimes. He had many murdered and in 2007. he was sentenced to 25 years for 37 counts of murder.
Forbes Burnham (1923-1985)
He ruled Guayana from 1964 until he died in 1985. When he was first in office, he made Guayana a police state. Police could enter any dwelling and do what they will. He had great relations with Cuba. He banned free elections. He had some weird thought patterns, but somehow he stayed in power. His ideals around cultist religions brought many crazy religious operations to Guayana.
Pedro Santana (1801-1864)
He held the dictatorship several times between the years of 1844-1861. He was considered a good leader, but was always trying to fight to gain Haiti. He was ruthless though. He had anyone that even considered opposing him arrested and tortured. He even did so to the woman who designed and made the Dominican flag.
Buenaventura Báez (1812-1884)
He was leader of the Dominican Republic several times between 1849 and 1878. He actually tried to give the country to France and when they refused, the United States. He was taken out in coups several times, but returned. The last time, he exiled here to Puerto Rico until he died.
Ulises Heureaux (1845-1899)
He was an leader several times from 1882 until he was assassinated in 1889. He borrowed millions of dollars from other countries such as the United States. much of that money he used for personal gain. When others found his crooked dealings and how bad he had put the country in economically, he was assassinated.
Rafael Trujillo (1891-1961)
He ruled with an iron fist from 1930 until he was assassinated in 1961. he murdered many and had many statues built of himself. The election that originally had gotten him victory showed there were way more votes for him then there were people. It was a rigged election. In a way, Trujillo brought stability to the Dominican republic, but in doing so, he killed and tortured many. He was very extreme in his actions and probably highly deserved his assassination. It is believed the C.I.A. had a part in his killing.
Gerardo Machado (1869-1939)
Gerardo was President of Cuba from 1925-1933. Machado what he wanted. He put Cuba under martial law and ran things as a dictator. It is claimed that he ordered many murders against forces he thought were trying to take his power. He died in Miami, Florida.
Fidel Castro (1926-2013)
Everyone knows who Fidel Castro was. If you don't, you must live under a rock. He controlled Cuba from 1959 until 2006. He probably would have longer, but his health deteriorated and his brother took over. Fidel ran a communist style regime. He killed many and tortured and imprisoned more. He stood hard against the United States and some applaud him for doing so. His political stance has been the course of many debates and probably will be for years.
Raul Castro (1931-)
He has taken over his older brother's place as head of Cuba. Will he attempt to get close with the United States? It seems he is trying to, but by keeping big brother's ideals alive. I am sure we will hear more of Raul soon. Will it be good or bad?
This is by far the longest hub I have made. As I have been working on it, I started thinking this may have been better suited to be a book.
The Americas have had many dictators.
I hope you all have learned something. Did you notice that Puerto Rico has not had any dictators in all these years?
Well, the frog has a plan. Yes, a coup. Will Lastheart help me?
Do you think that we could take control from Alejandro Javier García Padilla?
Hmmmm, the Frog a dictator...the possibilities are endless.
© G.L. Boudonck