Presidential candidate does an about face and returns

When the former director of the children’s hospital dropped out of the presidential race Thursday, he issued a scathing condemnation of his political party.

His opinion is valuable because it reflects the views of an outside suddenly exposed to the inner workings of one of the nation’s major political parties.

He said he was faced with so much intrigue, so much envy, so much egotism, so much treason and so much disloyalty. In bitterness, the letter of Rodolfo Hernández Gómez ranks right up there with the comments of Richard Nixon in 1962 after he lost the California governor’s race telling newsmen that they won’t have him to kick around any more.

Hernández said he was upset because some of the party’s legislative candidates were only interested in winning their seat and not helping to support him and the party in the presidential race. He also said there were informants leaking information to rival politicians and that those who had promised to make financial contributions backed away.

The letter has to be seen in the light of the current campaign in which Johnny Araya Monge, the Partido Liberación Nacional candidate, holds a commanding lead in polls. Other political parties, too, have seen desertion to the Araya banner.

In his description of his woes as the candidate of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, Hernández used some medical terms, as might be expected from a physician. He said the party was in intensive care. The once dominant party was hammered in the 2010 elections and got less than 4 percent of the presidential vote.

Hernández was in second place in national polling although probably further from Araya than the 5 percent he claimed in the letter.

He said he was sad that many persons declined to support him because he was running a campaign that was clean, transparent, honest and without compromise.

He also took a shot at the press, saying that they sold him short because they said he does not have fangs, a reference to his lack of political experience. He said he decided to step down and return to direct the Hospital Nacional de Niños where he would not be in a contaminated environment surrounded by love, respect honor and fraternity.

He denied that he could be manipulated to be exhibited as a trophy by some unscrupulous person. He was widely seen as the hand-picked candidate of Rafael Ángel Calderón Fournier, the former president who was convicted in an influence peddling case involving the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

“I made a strong effort to continue, but I can’t stand more knives in the back,” he said. “This is not the democracy that I dreamed of. This is not the party that I always defended. This is not what I want for Costa Rica.”

The party’s general assembly is expected to meet within a week to pick a new candidate. Rodolfo Piza, a vice presidential candidate, is a likely candidate.

Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, the presidential candidate of the Partido Acción Ciudadana, quickly said that he was sad because no one can be happy when someone else speaks of a knife in the back, betrayal or envy. He said his party will continue to put Costa Rica first.

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