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Joaquin Balaguer

Joaquin Balaguer (September 1, 1906 - July 14, 2002) was the President of the Dominican Republic from 1966 to 1978, and again from 1986 to 1996. He had been a protege of Rafael Trujillo, and was accused of election fraud and of intimidating would-be opponents.

Balaguer studied law at the Sorbonne, then returned to the Dominican Republic, and started working for Trujillo in 1930. After Trujillo was assassinated in 1961, he fled to the United States. In 1965, a military coup overthrew the leftist government of Juan Bosch. Other military officers revolted, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson sent 20,000 American troops to defeat the revolt. Balaguer became the President of the Dominican Republic in 1966, with U.S. backing.

He left office for the second time, reluctantly, in 1996, but was a power in Dominican politics to the very end of his life. He died of heart failure in 2002. Balaguer never married and had no children; he is survived by a sister.

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