Carla Pérez Álvarez

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Carla Pérez Álvarez
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
November 18, 2013 — November 18, 2017
In office
November 18, 2005 – November 18, 2009
Personal information
Born September 8, 1987 (1987-09-08) (age 32)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Citizenship Bermejan
Nationality Puerto Rican
Political party None
Other political
affiliations
Liberal Party (2009–2017)
National Party (2005–2009)
Religion None; atheist

Carla Ana Pérez Álvarez (born September 8, 1987) is a retired micronationalist and former Bermejan politician. She served two non-consecutive terms in Chamber of Deputies and unsuccessfully contested the 2009 presidential election as the vice-presidential nominee for the National Party (although she spent most of her political career a member of the Liberal Party).

Political career

Chamber of Deputies, first term

Pérez was the first non-founder to become involved with Bermeja becoming involved in mid-August 2005. She joined the National Party of Esteban Alejándrez Espino and was elected to the 1st Chamber of Deputies. She served as the National Party's whip from December 5, 2005 to September 1, 2009 when she stood down from the role in order to be a candidate for the National Party's presidential nomination.

Pérez co-sponsored many pieces of legislation in the 1st Chamber of Deputies and was generally considered very effective and energetic as her party's whip. Her unwillingness to compromise, however—especially in a Chamber of Deputies where no party had overall control—was seen as a hindrance to progressing her party's flagships programs, such as plans to introduce a alternative currency and a passport program.

2009 presidential election

In May 2009, incumbent Vice President Pablo Echevarría Pérez announced he would be seeking the presidency in the presidential election due in November. Following Echevarría's arguably prematurely announcement of his presidential, his polling numbers began to show a steady decline in support. Seeing an opportunity, Pérez announced on September 1 that she would be challenging Echevarría for the National Party's presidential nomination. When asked why she had chosen to run, she said, "Nobody should expect a free ride, especially not to the presidency."

Echevarría, determined to clinch the nomination for himself and not expecting any serious challengers—not least from within his own party—offered Pérez the vice-presidential nomination if she withdrew her candidacy to give him a clear run. She duly did so on September 25. This move was later criticized by some who reminded her of her earlier statement about "nobody should expect a free ride". This was also widely utilized by her opponents in the presidential election.

The campaign was widely regarded as poorly conducted and gaffe-prone. Neither Echevarría nor Pérez were natural public speakers and both lacked "people skills", seeming wooden and disingenuous in their campaign stumps. Their being related—albeit somewhat distantly—raised accusations of nepotism.

The death of Isabel Molina Rodríguez—wife of the outgoing president, Esteban Alejándrez Espino, and twin sister of Echevarría's presidential rival, Jaime Molina Rodríguez—on July 14, 2009 severely impacted the presidential election, and was later considered the effective end of Echevarría and Pérez' campaign. Despite this, the two continued to try to wrestle back the momentum once campaigned had resumed. This desperation resulted in a career ending controversial gaffe for Echevarría when he said that the deceased Molina would've supported his campaign over her twin brother's. He immediately apologized for the statement but the situation was later further damaged when Pérez said that Echevarría's statement was "only right".

As a result of the disastrous campaign, the National Party ticket took 31% of the vote; a distant second to Molina's winning Solidarity Party ticket. The party's poor performance at the polls also saw it lose half of its representation in the Chamber of Deputies, dropping from 6 seats to 3. Pérez—being placed 4th on National's party list—failed to win a seat.

Interim

In the aftermath of the presidential election, Pérez announced on November 30, 2009 that she was terminating her membership of the National Party after a "profound disagreement with the party's executive body". The disagreement in question was thought to be her being placed 4th on the party list and, therefore, denying her a seat in the Chamber of Deputies.

Pérez subsequently joined the Liberal Party of Gabino Herrera González on October 1, 2009 and was appointed to its governing council on October 15, 2009 and placed in charge of recruitment and members' affairs. She was temporarily suspended from that position on March 23, 2010 after an accusation of "inappropriate behavior towards members". An investigation found no proof but nevertheless chose to censure Pérez before restoring her to her position on April 9, 2010.

At the 2013 general election, Pérez was placed 3rd on the party's list and returned to the Chamber of Deputies when the Liberal Party won 3 seats. Several long-term members criticized Pérez' quick promotion to 3rd on the party list but she brushed off rumors of favoritism saying, "My previous experience has got me here."

Chamber of Deputies, second term

Despite her obvious efforts to win re-election to the Chamber of Deputies, Pérez was consistently absent from sessions beginning in November 2013. Her attendance rate during the 3rd Chamber of Deputies was the lowest for any deputy and there were repeated calls—including from her own party—for her to resign. Throughout, however, she refused to do so citing "personal problems" as the reason for her repeated and prolonged absences.

In July 2017, the Liberal Party announced it would be demoting Pérez on from 3rd to 6th on its party list. Given the party had never won more than 3 seats, this was effectively a deselection of Pérez.

Retirement

Citing ongoing health and other "personal problems", as well as her general lack of activity in the previous Chamber of Deputies, Pérez announced on July 31, 2017 that she would be "formally and fully" retiring from Bermejan politics and micronationalism when her term in the Chamber of Deputies expired on November 18, 2017.

Personal life

Pérez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 8, 1987 as the only child of Pedro Pérez Abarca (b. 1959) and Alma Álvarez Pérez (b. 1960). Throughout her education she attended the same schools as Esteban Alejándrez Espino and Gabino Herrera González. Her friendship with the two eventually led her to join the Bermeja micronation project. She graduated in 2006 with various qualifications in computer science but chose not to attend college.

Beginning in 2012 she dated Stefan Bouwer, a Dutch national resident in Puerto Rico. The relationship was tumultuous and after several break-ups and reconciliations, Pérez announced in early-2017 that they she and Bouwer had permanently separated.

Despite both her parents having the very common Spanish surname "Pérez", they are not related to one another. Through her mother, however, she is related to Pablo Echevarría Pérez with whom she shared a ticket when contesting the 2009 presidential election. Both Pérez' and Echevarría's mother are first cousins through their paternal grandmother.