Dictators and the Press

September 25, 2007

President Anastasio Somoza, the Nicaraguan dictator, is attempting to bolster his image by local press coverage which portrays his rendezvous with a number of prominent Americans. Photos taken from Nicaraguan newspapers reveal the identities of some of his recent visitors. Among them are : William Keck Jr., President of Superior Oil Co. and ex-Director of Superior Oil Co. of Canada; A. W. Moursend, Texas lawyer, former county judge in Johnson's home, Blanco County (and long-time personal friend of the Johnsons), Director of Texas Broadcasting Co. (of Austin), Director, Johnson City Bank; James A. Farley, Chair- man of the Board of Coca Cola Export Co. since 1940 and a director of the Coca Cola Co., a member of the N.Y. Banking Board since 1955.

Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, former Dominican dictator, engaged in a similar game of image-making. He deployed large amounts of money to finance elaborate receptions for prominent American visitors. Among those whose pictures and names appeared in the press were: Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, whose son Franklin Jr. lobbied for Trujillo (for a fee of $60,000), Richard Nixon, Senator Ellender (D-La.) and Cardinal Spellman, who praised the regime for its religious and anti-Communist policies.

Both the Somoza and Trujillo families have also attempted to control Spanish public opinion in the United States through their joint ownership of El Tiempo, one of the two leading New York City Spanish dailies. Stanley Ross, the editor of E Tiempo is the former editor of Trujillo's El Caribe. Other part owners of El Tiempo include Fulgencio Batista, former Cuban dictator, and Nicholas Biddle Duke, member of the tobacco fortune family (and relative of the current U.S. Ambassador to Spain).

NACLA has heard that the Somoza family is one of New York's major slum lords. WE would appreciate further information concerning this rumor.

CHICAGO CONFERENCE Name Address I plan to attend the conference ($5.00 registration fee enclosed) I cannot attend but I want to receive the working papers. I will need housing for Fri. , Sat._ nights (bring sleeping bags). hake checks payable to U. of Chicago SDS and mail to: University of Chicago SDS, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 East 59th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

Tags: Anastazaio Somoza, Rafael Trujillo, press, US businessmen

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