Sacasa, Juan Bautista (1874–1946)

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Sacasa, Juan Bautista (1874–1946)

Juan Bautista Sacasa (b. 21 December 1874; d. 17 April 1946), president of Nicaragua (1933–1936). Born in León, Sacasa rose to prominence in the volatile politics of Nicaragua as a leading member of the Liberal Party during the early twentieth century. He served as vice president in Carlos Solorzano's shaky coalition government in 1926 but was ousted after a coup by discontented Conservatives led by Emilano Chamorro Vargas. Sacasa became the leader of Liberal opposition and along with General José María Moncada led subsequent Liberal uprisings. The U.S. government opposed Sacasa's claim to the Nicaraguan presidency because of his ties with the Liberal Party and his support from Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles. The United States placed Adolfo Díaz, a Conservative, in the presidency and backed him up with marines. After successfully splitting the Liberal forces of Sacasa and Moncada, the United States supervised the 1928 elections. Moncada became president and Sacasa served as Nicaraguan minister to Washington, D.C. Sacasa ultimately came to power in 1932, in the midst of guerrilla commander Augusto César Sandino's war against the U.S. Marines. During this period, the United States established the Nicaraguan National Guard and placed Anastasio Somoza García in its command. Sacasa attempted to negotiate a peace accord with Sandino in good faith, but Sandino was assassinated by the National Guard, leaving Sacasa locked in a power struggle with Somoza (his nephew-in-law). The increasing power and influence of Somoza and his National Guard soon decreased the de facto power of the president. Somoza forced Sacasa to resign from the presidency in June 1936, at which time he went into exile in the United States. He died in Los Angeles.

See alsoMoncada, José María .


Richard Millet, Guardians of the Dynasty (1977).

Eduardo D. Crawley, Dictators Never Die (1979).

Thomas Walker, Nicaragua: The Land of Sandino (1986).

David Close, Nicaragua: Politics, Economics, and Society (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Arellano, Jorge Eduard. La Pax americana en Nicaragua: (1910–1932). Managua: Academia de Geografía e Historia de Nicaragua: Fondo Editorial CIRA, 2004.

Crawley, Andrew. Somoza and Roosevelt: Good Neighbour Diplomacy in Nicaragua, 1933–1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

                               Heather K. Thiessen