Juan Bautista Sacasa

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Juan Bautista Sacasa
J B Sacasa.jpg
President of Nicaragua
In office
1 January 1933 – 9 June 1936
Preceded by José María Moncada
Succeeded by Carlos Alberto Brenes
Personal details
Born 21 December 1874
León, Nicaragua
Died 17 April 1946
Los Angeles, California
Nationality Nicaragua Nicaraguan
Relations Benjamín Lacayo
Alma mater Columbia University
Profession Medical doctor

Juan Bautista Sacasa Sacasa (León, Nicaragua, 21 December 1874 - Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, 17 April 1946) was the President of Nicaragua from 1 January 1933 to 9 June 1936. He was the eldest son of Roberto Sacasa, 44th and 46th President of Nicaragua, and wife and cousin Ángela Sacasa Cuadra. He was a relative of Benjamín Sacasa, 67th President of Nicaragua.

Born in the town of León, Sacasa studied in the United States from 1889 to 1901, earning an M.D. from Columbia University.[1] He served as a professor and dean of faculty at the National University in León, and was a supporter of the Liberal regime of José Santos Zelaya. In 1924, Sacasa became a member of a political coalition headed by moderate Conservative Carlos Solórzano. Shortly afterwards, the detachment of U.S. Marines which had remained in Nicaragua for thirteen years withdrew, believing that the political situation was stable. In October 1925, the government of Solórzano was overthrown in a coup by former President General Emiliano Chamorro, who failed to gain U.S. recognition and subsequently resigned in favor of Adolfo Díaz. In the meantime, Sacasa fled to Mexico.

Following an uprising by Liberal soldiers in Puerto Cabezas, on the Caribbean coast, Sacasa returned to Nicaragua in 1926. Asserting his claim as constitutional president, he established a government in Puerto Cabezas. Supplied by Mexico with arms and munitions, the Liberal rebels, under the command of General José María Moncada, nearly succeeded in capturing Managua. However, the U.S. forced the two warring parties to enter into negotiations, resulting in the Pact of Espino Negro, which required that both sides would disarm and Díaz would be allowed to finish his term.[2] Sacasa reluctantly agreed to accept the agreement and withdraw his claim to the presidency, but refused to sign the pact and left the country;[2] leaving Moncada to sign the pact on Sacasa's behalf.[3] Over the next six years, a formerly obscure Liberal general named Augusto Sandino would lead a guerilla war against the U.S. Marines, who had remained in the country to enforce the agreement.

In 1932, Sacasa was elected President. He took office on January 1, 1933, the day before the scheduled departure of the Marines. At the insistence of the U.S. Ambassador, he named Anastasio Somoza García, who was married to one of his nieces, as director of the Guardia Nacional (National Guard). The following month, Sacasa met with the rebel leader Sandino, during which Sandino pledged his loyalty to the new government in exchange for amnesty and land for his followers. Sandino continued to call for the disbanding of the National Guard and, in February 1934, he was assassinated under orders from Somoza. Despite Sacasa's disapproval, he proved unable to contain the growing power of Somoza and the National Guard. His popularity continued to diminish as Nicaragua's fragile economy suffered the collapse of coffee prices due to the Great Depression and allegations of widespread fraud surfaced the 1934 congressional elections. Meanwhile, Somoza's power continued to grow, and he cultivated ties with former presidents Moncada and Chamorro. Early in 1936, Somoza used the National Guard to purge local officials loyal to the president and replace them with his associates. On June 6, he forced Sacasa to resign, appointing a series of puppet presidents before assuming the presidency himself the following year. Afterwards, Sacasa fled into exile in the U.S., living in Los Angeles until his death ten years later.

He married María Argüello Manning, a cousin of Leonardo Argüello, 66th President of Nicaragua, and had:

  • Maruca Sacasa Argüello
  • Carlos Sacasa Arguello
  • Roberto Sacasa Arguello
  • Gloria Sacasa Arguello
Political offices
Preceded by
Bartolomé Martínez
Vice President of Nicaragua
1926-1927
Succeeded by
Enoc Aguado
Preceded by
José María Moncada
President of Nicaragua
1933-1936
Succeeded by
Carlos Alberto Brenes

References[edit]