José Toribio Merino

José Toribio Merino
José Toribio Merino Castro cropped.jpg
Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Navy
In office
September 11, 1973 – March 8, 1990
Preceded byRaúl Montero
Succeeded byJorge Martínez Busch
President of the Government Junta of Chile
In office
December 17, 1974 – March 8, 1990
Serving with Augusto Pinochet
(December 17, 1974 – March 11, 1981)
Preceded byAugusto Pinochet
Personal details
Born(1915-12-14)December 14, 1915
La Serena, Chile
DiedAugust 30, 1996(1996-08-30) (aged 80)
Viña del Mar, Chile
Spouse(s)Margarita Riofrío
Military service
Allegiance Chile
Branch/service Chilean Navy
Years of service1936-1990
RankVice Admiral

José Toribio Merino Castro (December 14, 1915 – August 30, 1996) was a Chilean admiral who was one of the principal leaders of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, along with General Augusto Pinochet of the Army, General Gustavo Leigh of the Air Force, and General César Mendoza of the Carabineros (national police). Together they established a military government that ruled Chile from 1973 until 1990.

Early life and naval career

Born in La Serena, he was son of Vice Admiral José Toribio Merino Saavedra, Navy Inspector General, and of Bertina Castro Varela. He entered the Naval Academy in 1931, graduating in 1936 as a midshipman. During World War II he served in the US Navy at the USS Raleigh until 1945. After World War II 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 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 1970 he was appointed as Director of Navy Services, and in November of the same year he assumed the command of the Chilean main combat fleet (CJE).