Remaining true to his word, liberal party bulwark Francisco Aguirre Sacasa resigned today from his leadership job as national secretary of the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC).
Aguirre, a former lawmaker, foreign minister, ambassador and 2011 vice-presidential candidate, says his reasons for leaving Arnoldo Alemán’s party are both personal and political. Aguirre says he was offered a lucrative consulting job that will keep him busy for the next several months, but decided to take the offer because the PLC thing isn’t working out anymore.
As a result, Aguirre says he woke up at 3 a.m. this morning and banged out his letter of resignation, which he handed in today at noon.
“I had to get this if off my chest,” Aguirre told The Nicaragua Dispatch. “It was on my bucket list.”
Aguirre’s resignation, following three months of coordinating the PLC’s “regeneration” process that started after the party’s whooping in the 2011 general elections, is consistent with what he said he would do. In an interview with the Nicaragua Dispatch late last year, Aguirre said the first step in the PLC’s efforts to reinvent itself was for the party to name a new president, secretary and vice president by the end of February, 2012.
That didn’t happen, so Aguirre decided to resign and show the other PLC mossbacks the way to the door.
“I am doing what I said I was going to do,” Aguirre says. “No one else moved, so I did.”
In his letter of resignation, of which The Nicaragua Dispatch obtained a copy, Aguirre wrote: “In first place, reflecting on the results of the Nov. 6 general elections, I came to the conclusion that our party needs to reinvent itself after years of losing political terrain…the rejection of our leadership by the population—together with a long list of serious errors—contributed to worsening election results each time since 1996.”
For the PLC, the resignation of Aguirre—arguably the party’s most respected and clearheaded leader—is like the sensible first mate jumping ship to leave the daffy Captain Ahab to chase his white whale all alone. Indeed, Aguirre’s departure Thursday afternoon has hastened calls for mutiny among the remaining PLC crew, who are demanding Alemán finally let go of the ship’s wheel before running aground entirely.
Former PLC spokesman and veteran political windbag Leonel Teller responded to Aguirre’s announcement by saying that he a group of other “notables” are drafting a letter to Alemán asking the caudillo to step aside next week to allow for “new blood” in the party’s leadership.
Alemán, meanwhile, has not reacted to the shakeup.
“I think the only Liberal in Nicaragua who hasn’t called me since my announcement is you-know-who,” Aguirre told The Dispatch.
Aguirre says he’ll remain a Liberal “of conviction” even though he’ll no longer be active in the PLC’s leadership. Still, he says he hopes his departure serves as a wakeup call to the party before it’s too late.
“The party is in deep shit and they are still not aware of it,” he said. “I am trying to do them a favor by giving them a jolt, which will hopefully serve as a reality check.”