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Moncada, José María (1871–1945)

Moncada, José María (1871–1945)

José María Moncada (b. 1871; d. 23 February 1945), president of Nicaragua (1929–1933). Moncada rose to fame as one of the principal Conservative generals responsible for the overthrow of the Liberal dictator José Santos Zelaya in 1909. He was not, however, a professional military man; he had begun his career in Nicaraguan politics as a journalist for a Conservative newspaper published in Granada. During the Zelaya dictatorship, Moncada published a pro-government newspaper, but by 1906 he had fallen out with the dictator and had fled to Honduras. There he served as undersecretary of the interior until the Conservative revolt against Zelaya began. After Zelaya's ouster, Moncada served as secretary of the interior in the Conservative government from 1910 to 1911. Moncada, however, fell out with the Conservatives and switched his allegiance to the Liberal Party. He was elected to the Senate in 1924. In 1926 Moncada supported the return from Mexico of former Liberal vice president Juan Bautista Sacasa, not only by supplying arms and ammunition but also by serving as Sacasa's minister of war in his campaign against the Conservative government headed by Adolfo Díaz. The ensuing civil war led to increased U.S. intervention. As a consequence Moncada and his generals accepted the terms of the Tipitapa Agreements (1927) that Moncada and U.S. representative Henry L. Stimson negotiated to end hostilities.

In 1928, Moncada won the presidential election supervised by the U.S. The reemergence of Augusto César Sandino, the only one of Moncada's generals who had refused to accept the terms of the Tipitapa Agreements and to lay down his arms, however, overshadowed the Moncada presidency. Nonetheless, the U.S. entrusted Moncada to hold elections in 1932. Sacasa was elected president, and the U.S. Marines left Nicaragua on 2 January 1933.

See alsoNicaragua; Tipitapa Agreements.


William Kamman, A Search for Stability: United States Diplomacy Toward Nicaragua, 1925–1933 (1968).

Neill Macaulay, The Sandino Affair (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Mercado, Gustavo. José María Moncada: Vivir haciendo historia. Managua, Nicaragua: Fondo Editorial CIRA, 2002.

Moncada Fonseca, Manuel. "Pensamiento y acción de José María Moncada." Cuadernos Americanos 86 (March-April 2001): 114-127.

                                          Shannon Bellamy

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