Uruguay: Lacalle loses, but…


Pedro Bordaberry, the OTHER right-wing bastard in Uruguay’s recent presidential campaign. Would you want this son of a dictator on your side, if you were going to a second round?

Thanks to my friend Anthony, a.k.a. Malmö Blue, for alerting me to this disgusting story in Uruguay’s El Pais:

The leader of Vamos Uruguay, Pedro Bordaberry, explained today that given the conditions in Parliament, the best thing would be for the next president to be Luis Alberto Lacalle: “This forces us to think, for the sake of responsibility. I’m not talking about a ‘Pink Party’ or of the ‘bogeyman’ of the Broad Front. The country comes first.”

In an interview given to the radio station El Espectador, Bordaberry spoke of his fear that if the elections result in a win for José Mujica, it would mean a majority of Parliament and the Executive Power in his hands.

Bordaberry said the situation worries him even more because Mujica is “the most voted-for man in his party and his spouse, after Astori [his running mate], is the third.” This means that all the power would be in Mujica’s hands.

“Is it good for any one person to have all the power in the country? I don’t believe so. Thomas Jefferson said, in the name of Monticello, that the history of democracy is the history of the limitation of power.”

Translation mine.

The “Pink Party” he’s referring to is a mixture of Blancos (“Whites”) and Colorados (“Reds”), the two old parties. Blancos are more conservative and Colorados traditionally more liberal, but as I noted earlier, they’re all oligarchs; it’s a question of degree, not kind. In the end, the oligarchs all like to band together, as it appears they’re about to do. (The one hand washes the other, as my German mom would say.) Bordaberry is officially throwing his support behind a man who, under the old system, would be his bitterest opponent, but who is now a bed-buddy since the Broad Front has grown to full stature and monkey-wrenched the whole thing!

What’s really disgusting about this slick and treacherous move, however, is Bordaberry’s past. This is not just any Blanco politician; Bordaberry’s dad was once the military dictator of Uruguay, and a prosecutor is calling for 30 years’ imprisonment for the old man, on the grounds of human rights violations. Which Lacalle, the man he’s supporting, minimizes. Funny dat!

And funnier still it is that someone whose own father enjoyed a taste of unlimited power for so many years, is suddenly taking leaves from the book of Thomas Jefferson. I wonder what the man so “honored” would say to that!

I may never know what Jefferson would say, but I know what I can say to all this: it’s going to go with the Blancos and Colorados the way it did with Acción Democrática and COPEI in Venezuela. This move is so going to discredit both parties that they will be reduced to rump status, as AD and COPEI have been since Chavecito was elected.

Back in ’98, the Venezuelan oppos, who were then the ruling class, had what they thought was a surefire winner–a former Miss Venezuela and Miss Universe, Irene Sáez. She ran under her own banner, but COPEI, thinking she could drag it back into power on her then-considerable coattails, threw its support behind her–and overnight, her popularity evaporated. It was, as Venezuela expert Richard Gott called it, “a poisoned chalice”. It also didn’t help that Miss Universe was still talking too much like a beauty contestant, in sugary platitudes and silly generalities, while Chavecito was talking like a smart politician, in particulars such as constitutional reform and a radical, long-hoped-for change for Venezuela!

Obviously, the Uruguayan oligarchy can smell what the old Tupamaro has got cooking. They fear he’s another Chávez; who knows, maybe he is! More immediately worrisome, as Bordaberry’s words above indicate, is that he’s popular. That’s one clear point in common with the ‘Cito right there. It’s his popularity, not some Jeffersonian bastard drivel about unlimited power (srsly, who has it nowadays?) that they really fear.

Bordaberry is the poison in the Uruguayan chalice, and I rather hope his stupidities end up throwing the race to Mujica, who should be the winner already.

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3 Responses to Uruguay: Lacalle loses, but…

  1. Manaat says:

    Did Tabaré win the first round? Or did he have to go for a second round too?

  2. Well, according to his Wikipedia entry, he won just a little over 50% on the first round. So he was in automatically. Looks like his successor is a little less lucky.

  3. Matt Hawkins says:

    Mujica obviously had his own political ‘baggage’ to carry throughout the campaign. Something Tabaré did not necessarily have. I’m interested to see what will happen to Uruguay in this next period – while economically the country has not necessarily done the most radical policy changes in Latin America (though what other country provided a laptop to every single one of its young students?) it has advanced a lot of rights for minority groups often targeted by regressive-Catholics. The FA ushered in civil unions and adoption for same-sex couples and the ability to have the state completely recognize an individuals sex-change (to the point of changing your birth certificate). Uruguay has never been a ‘flashy’ country, I don’t expect their politics to be without their understatement, but that is what makes the country fascinating.

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