Pablo Echevarría Pérez

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Pablo Echevarría Pérez
Member of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
November 18, 2013 — December 31, 2013
1st Vice President of Bermeja
In office
November 20, 2005 – November 20, 2009
President Esteban Alejándrez Espino
Predecessor Office created
Successor Gabino Herrera González
Personal information
Born August 20, 1988 (1988-08-20) (age 32)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Citizenship Bermejan
Nationality Puerto Rican
Political party None
Other political
affiliations
Liberal Party (2013)
None (2009–2013)
National Party (2005–2009)
Spouse(s) Ángela Fernández López (2007–2008)
Daniela Sánchez Rivera (m. 2014)
Children 3
Religion Roman Catholic

Pablo Esteban Echevarría Pérez (born August 20, 1988) is a retired Bermejan politician and a Fundador (English, "Founder of Bermeja"). He served as 1st Vice President of Bermeja and—by virtue of exercising that office—1st President of the Chamber of Deputies from 2005 to 2009 and as a member of the Chamber of Deputies from November to December 2013, when he announced his retirement from Bermejan and micronation politics.

Foundation of Bermeja

Echevarría was the only one of the Founders of Bermeja not to be present for the initial signing of the Declaration of Independence and, therefore, some do not class him as a true fundador. Despite this, his name is formally listed in government sources as being such. Despite this, Echevarría took part in the drafting of the Constitution and Charter of Fundamental Rights, although critics question how much of a say he actually had. It is generally accepted, however, that he had significant input in regards to the family sections of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Vice Presidency

Upon the announcement that there was to be a presidential election, Echevarría expressed no interest in seeking the presidency and instead supported the candidacy of Esteban Alejándrez Espino. After a failed attempt at an electoral alliance between Alejándrez and Gabino Herrera González, Echevarría was chosen as the vice-presidential candidate on the National Party ticket.

Although initially seen side-by-side with Alejándrez in his presidential campaign, Echevarría was reduced to a less prominent role after what was considered a disastrous vice-presidential debate against Jaime Molina Rodríguez (running as Herrera's VP candidate). Due to the Vice President of Bermeja also serving as the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Echevarría's poor performance would later be blamed by National Party lawmakers for costing the party its majority in the Chamber of Deputies (it feel short of an absolute majority by 1 seat). The National Party ticket—consisting of Alejándrez and Echevarría—nevertheless won the 2005 presidential election with 59% of the vote.

Echevarría was largely reserved as Vice President/President of the Chamber of Deputies, only intervening as he deemed absolutely necessary. Thus was set the precedent of the President of the Chamber of Deputies being a largely neutral position. Later Presidents of the Chamber followed Echevarría's example.

2009 Presidential Election

Nomination

In March 2009, Echevarría announced his intentions to stand in that year's presidential election. This was considered by some to be extremely premature and presumptive as presidential nominees were usually decided by the parties in the last weeks of June in election years. It was widely anticipated, however, that Echevarría would receive the National Party's nomination. The incumbent, Esteban Alejándrez Espino, was ineligible for re-election under the Constitution and Echevarría, as Vice President, considered himself a natural successor. The only challenge to Echevarría's automatic nomination came on June 1, 2009, when his counsin, Carla Pérez Álvarez, announced she was challenging him for the presidential nomination. Pérez withdraw her candidacy, however, on June 25, 2009 in exchange for being made Echevarría's running mate for the National Party ticket. Echevarría was formally named the National Party nominee for President of Bermeja on July 1, 2009.

Campaign

Echevarría's campaign in the 2009 election was widely seen as lackluster, lethargic and mismanaged from the beginning. An early setback came when incumbent President Alejándrez—former running mate of Echevarría—did not openly endorse Echevarría for the presidency. Although Alejándrez later claimed he was attempting to not use his position to influence the outcome of the election, Echevarría privately believed Alejándrez' refusal to openly support him was because he had allowed the Chamber of Deputies to roundly refuse Alejándrez' first Cabinet nominations after his own election four years earlier.

He began his official campaign the day after his official nomination and, along with his early announcement to contest the presidency, made his campaign seem tired and demotivated almost before it had began. Despite his general popularity with the political classes, Echevarría—and more so his vice-presidential candidate—struggled to connect with voters and polling was poor throughout the campaign.

Controversy

Campaigning was suspended for 14 days after the death of Isabel Molina Rodríguez—wife of the outgoing president, Esteban Alejándrez Espino, and twin sister of Echevarría's rival for the presidency, Jaime Molina Rodríguez—on July 14, 2009. When campaigning resumed, with public sympathy on the side of Molina, Echevarría's chances of winning were widely considered over. His campaign took increasingly desperate steps to take back the momentum culminating in Echevarría suggesting that Molina's dead sister would have backed Echevarría's campaign. Echevarría immediately apologized to Molina and President Alejándrez stating he meant nothing by his comments and was "speaking without thinking". However, his running mate, Carla Pérez Álvarez, later stated that the suggestion was "only right".

Result

After a troubled and controversial campaign, Echevarría was soundly defeated by Molina who took 56% of the vote. Echevarría narrowly finishing second with 31% of the vote. In the Chamber of Deputies, meanwhile, his National Party lost its plurality and slumped to a distant second, losing half of its seats to finish with 3.

Echevarría gave his concession speech on election night itself shortly after all votes were fully counted. He again apologized for his remarks about Molina and for any distress or upset that he had caused, as well as apologizing to the party for its losing votes and seats, and told party supporters, "I could have—and should have—been better and done better."

Despite the campaign and its outcome, Echevarría did not rule out the possibility of contesting the next presidential election, although said it was "unlikely right now".

Later career and retirement

Echevarría continued in Bermejan politics although his reputation arguably never recovered. On September 12, 2009, he was elected chairman of the National Party. Less than 2 months into his chairmanship, Echevarría resigned the position on November 2, 2009 citing political differences with other party leaders and called the party "damaged goods". Between 2010 and 2013 he remained on the sidelines of Bermejan politics, rarely making public appearances or attending national events. In 2013, however, he announced his membership of the Liberal Party and that he would be contesting the Chamber of Deputies election that November. Echevarría was named 3rd on the party list and was elected to the Chamber of Deputies when the Liberal Party won 3 seats. He took up his seat on November 18, 2013 but after just 5 weeks in office announced his resignation from the Chamber of Deputies and furthermore—citing the needs of his family—announced his retirement from Bermejan politics and the micronation project.

Personal life

Echevarría was born in the Cupey neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 20, 1988. He was the youngest of 4 children—3 of whom survived to adulthood—born to Alberto Echevarría Hernández (b. 1959), a heavy hauler, and Paula Pérez García (b. 1961), a home-maker. Echevarría is named after his older brother, also named Pablo Esteban (b. 1980), who died when he was just weeks old. He has two older sisters, Juana (b. 1983) and Débora (b. 1985).

Aged 15, Echevarría dropped out of high school and began working in the same heavy hauling company as his father soon after. On July 7, 2007, he married former fellow student Ángela Fernández López. Fernández, however, filed for an annulment on December 6, 2007 citing "the existence of a significant misunderstanding" in the marriage (it is believed she did not want children whereas Echevarría did). Although he contested the citation, Echevarría did not contest the annulment which was granted on January 31, 2008.

Later that year, he met Daniela Sánchez Rivera with whom he had 3 children: twin daughters, Julia and María (b. 2009), and a son, Javier (b. 2012). The youngest of his twins, María, was born with brain damage in the form of hydrocephalus. This was one of the reasons Echevarría cited when announcing his decision to retire from Bermejan politics in 2013. He married Daniela on February 28, 2014.