José Toribio Merino

José Toribio Merino

Infobox Person
name=Admiral José Toribio Merino

birth_date=birth date|1915|12|14|mf=y
birth_place=La Serena, Chile
death_date=death date and age|1996|8|30|1915|12|14|mf=y
death_place=Viña del Mar, Chile
Admiral Santiago José Toribio Merino Castro (December 14, 1915 - August 30, 1996) was a Chilean admiral, President of the Government Junta of Chile from 1981-1990 and was the principal leader of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, along with General Pinochet of the Army, General Leigh of the Air Force, and General Mendoza of the National Police, that ousted President Salvador Allende. He was a member of the Government Junta from 1973-1990.

Early life and naval creer

Born in La Serena, he was son of Vice Admiral José Toribio Merino Saavedra, nowrap|Navy Inspector General, and of Bertina Castro Varela. He entered the Naval Academy in 1931, graduating in 1936 as a Midshipman. During WWII he served in the US Navy at the USS Raleigh until 1945. After WWII he served in different units of the Chilean Navy such as: Destructor Serrano (2do), Crucero O'Higgins (4to)(CL02),Corbeta Papudo(1º), Transporte Angamos(3ro)

Between 1955 and 1957 he served as aide and counsel in weaponry and naval attache to the Chilean embassy in London. During the construction of the Almirante class destroyers "Williams" and "Riveros". In 1960, he was assigned as a teacher at the Naval War Academy (AGN) teaching Logistics, Geopolitics, Geostrategy. In 1969 he became Naval Director of Weapons. In January of 1970 he was appointed as Director of Navy Sevices, and in November of the same year he assumed the command of the Chilean main combat fleet (CJE). In March 1972 he assumed command of the Chilean Navy (CJA).

Chilean coup

As member of the Governing Junta he was in charge of the economic sector of the country and presided over the Economic Committee of Ministers, where the economic measures were born. In addition, all the decrees were elaborated and the laws on the matters had to dictate to regulate the economic sector.

From the Economic Committee of Ministers, he impelled, the first economic measures of the Military Government, the liberation of prices of goods and services; the fiscal cost was reduced and the interest rates were freed to give birth to capital markets ; the companies of the State were reorganized as well, standardizing them.

, to renegotiate contracts that appeared unfavorable to Chile. Specially, the Pegaso contract renegotiated, successfully. The study of the Statute for foreign investors was initiative of Admiral Merino. He impelled the study and the decree law of exporter promotion of Chile, which gave origin to PROCHILE. In 1975 he participated in the Statute of the Governing Junta, the Legislative Commissions and the Secretariat of Legislation were created.

Admiral Merino presided over the First Legislative Commission, that legislated mainly for the economic sectors and of Foreign Relations, and the Fourth Legislative Commission, for the Defense Sector. In this period impulse the Decree Law to discount the forestation, settling down incentives to develop the plantations of this nature in the country. Again it represented the Government of Chile before the United States Government and one met with President Jimmy Carter. With great sense of social justice, Law N 3,480, allowed to indebted of the System of Saving and the Loan Houses to re-pact its debts, which came to favour of workers of the medium class sector.

During the conflict with Argentina over the Beagle Channel, Merino was one of the most belligerent junta members. He only reluctantly accepted Pope John Paul II's peace proposal, telling him, "I only signed the treaty because I'm Catholic and I respect Your Holiness. If I hadn't, I wouldn't have signed it." Also, he ordered the commander of the surface fleet "go there... and win the war".

In 1980 law N 3,500 was dictated to the decree that created the new previsional system. Admiral Merino was great defender of this legislation, giving him his approval and endorsement during the study and discussion of this matter. He was the main legislative person in charge of the materialization. When the 1980 the new Constitution was approved. Admiral Merino presided the Governing Junta, whom he had to constitute the Legislative Power, that prevailed to us until March 1990. In addition he presided over the first Legislative Commission.

In 1982 the country was affected by the world-wide recession and the Government had to take economic measures to palliate the crisis that is developed.Admiral Merino, from the Legislative Power, impelled laws on the modernization of the financial sector, guarantee of the State to the deposits and savings, low of the tariffs to the imports and in general, the normalization of the sectors more affected by the crisis, giving the maximum support to the Executive authority, which allowed to remove to the country from the crisis.

During this period he impelled the initiative of the Law of promotion to the Merchant Marine, remarkably contributing to the growth of this sector and also to the sector of shipyards and naval industry through the Law N 18.454. He presented the relative motions to replace the Code of Commerce; to adapt the Chilean marine limits to the Convention of Jamaica, by means of the corresponding reform to the Civil Code, and to countermand the legislation that allowed the therapeutic abortion, everything which was approved by means of the corresponding laws dictated in that period.

Also, he impelled all the Constitutional Statutory laws, which allowed the Military Government to fulfill the constitutional itinerary and delivery the power to the civil elected authority. In 1989 he proposed to the Executive authority the law of Fishing and Acuiculture, which was obtained after a great discussion in the sector. Its aim was to put the conditions for the conservation of renewable the marine resources.

Finally, it corresponded to him to preside over the Joint Legislative Commission destined to reform the Political Constitution, whose text, approved by the Governing Junta, was ratified by the conducted plebiscit the 30 of June 1989. During the period of government of the FF.AA., under his tuition 3,660 Decrees were promulgated Laws and 1,090 Laws that take his signature. The 8 of March 1990, after more than 50 service years take refuge in retirement of the Navy. He was President of the Government Junta of Chile from March 11, 1981 until his resignation on March 8, 1990

Later life

After his retirement, he dedicated himself to his favorite pastimes: golf, painting, photography, and bird-watching. He started to write his memoirs, but did not live to see them published. He died of lymphoma in 1996, in Viña del Mar, at the age of 80.

The Chilean Navy in honour of the Admiral named after him the BMS Almirante Merino. This ship is the main surface logistic platform for the submarine force.

Additional information

ee also

*Patricio Carvajal
*Ismael Huerta

External links

* [ Official biography] es icon

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