San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Unity Party leaders to blame for Rodolfo Hernández’s exit, campaign manager says

Social Christian Unity Party (PUSC) campaign manager Humberto Vargas on Friday accused three top party leaders – Rolando Laclé, Gonzalo Fajardo and Jorge Guardia – of sparking internal clashes that led to the resignation of former presidential candidate Rodolfo Hernández.

In an interview on Telenoticias Channel 7, Vargas said those three politicians, along with members of PUSC’s Strategy Committee, attempted to force Hernández to dismiss several party members, including three of his closest advisers.

Hernández announced his resignation on Thursday, just five months after winning the party’s nomination and one day after the 2014 election season kicked off.

Hernández was the only candidate from a major party not to attend the opening campaign ceremony on Wednesday at the Supreme Elections Tribunal in San José.

In a public letter Hernández, who is director of the National Children’s Hospital, claimed that he was “a victim of backstabbing” by members of his own party.

Although Hernández had never participated in politics, recent polls showed him as second favorite to win the presidency, behind ruling National Liberation Party candidate and former San José Mayor Johnny Araya.

PUSC leaders are currently considering alternative candidates including Rodolfo Piza, who placed second in the party’s primaries and was Hernández’s candidate for vice president.

Party officials also are considering sitting out the 2014 presidential race, running only candidates for the Legislative Assembly instead.

A group of PUSC supporters on Saturday will march to Hernández’s home in eastern San José to ask him to reconsider his decision. The march will begin at 11 a.m. at the La Hispanidad roundabout, east of the capital, and will end in Sabanilla.

Contact L. Arias at

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