History of Uruguay

For the purpose of telling the story of Socialism in the Southern Cone (Uruguay, Argentina and kind of a bit of Brazil) I will tell ya'll the story of my people. The 'Uruguayan' people, or as the people's history would rather call it, the tale of the Easterners (Orientales)

Once upon a time, in 1810, there was a man, called Artigas, who dreamed of a free nation, modeled after the United States, but a bunch of Buenos Aires Oligarchs wouldn't let him.
So he made a coalition with the governors of like-minded provinces and created the League of Free Peoples in opposition to the triumvirate of Buenos Aires, which made its own coalition, based around the Congress of Tucuman

And so, both coalitions of provinces battled, until 1820, when ironically the Artigas faction won, but left Artigas to fend for himself in the Easternland (modern Uruguay) to a portuguese invasion, which eventually forced him to retreat into exile in Paraguay, where he died in 1850.

In 1825, the Easternland successfully revolted against the newly independent Brazil and began a second war of independence that had the country initially side itself with a motley crew of Argentinian warlords headed by Buenos Aires.

After a series of victories in the Easternland proper the Argentinian-Easterner army eventually found itself in a war of stagnation against the empire of Brazil that it couldn't possibly win, forcing both sides to the mediation of the British Empire, which agreed to making the Easternland independent from both Argentina and Brazil. But under a system where both governments would approve its constitution and keep a right to intervening in its politics.

By the way, Easternland is a translation I came up with, since Banda Oriental literally means Eastern Strip land or some shit, and it sounds dumb and hard to relate with.

I'll continue the story in the second post. If any Argentinians and Brazilians want to contribute, I'd be happy

By 1830, the new country that was created in the easternland from what was left of Artigas ancient state was made independent, had its first constitution approved (by the foreign powers) and its first president sworn in (presidents were elected by the landed gentry, soldiers couldn't vote, nor farmhands, nor anyone who didn't have a certain amount of wealth and power, making the country essentially an oligarchy as opposed to Artigas vision)

The first president, Fructuoso Rivera (an old ally of Artigas and lieutenant) eventually left in 1935 and was succeeded by Manuel Oribe (another lieutenant of Artigas and a freemason) And so, began the era of unstability in the newly born State East of Uruguay…

Rivera never relinquished his post of overall commander of the army, and Oribe never forced him out, and so, both leaders began a stand off that lasted about an year, until Rivera revolted against Oribe, and got his ass defeated by him initially, in the Battle of Carpinteria.

This battle would have unforseen consequences in Uruguayan history… as it would be the first battle where both of the fighting forces would use the old bandanas that would go on to fight for another hundred years. The Colorado (Red) bandana and the Blanco (White) bandana.

The Colorados would be the Party of Rivera, and the Blancos (self proclaimed as the party of the Laws, i.e: of the government of Oribe) the party of Oribe

Shown in picture are some of the bandanas, also called divisas in Uruguay

For the next hundred years, both parties, would fight on, and on in numerous civil wars.
Beginning with the Great War of the River Plata, followed by the War of the Triple Alliance begun by Venancio Flores, then the Revolt of the Lances of Timoteo Aparicio, then with an interregnum of military dictatorships by the Colorados, then followed by even more civil wars begun by the Blancos led by Aparicio Saravia(who by then had forgotten why the wars begun to begin with and began fighting for electoral rights)

With the death of Aparicio Saravia in 1904, the Colorados finally were able to quell the countryside, but not without finally giving an inch and giving the Blancos what they really wanting, a measure of justice, electoral rights and participation in Government

And thus started what can be called the golden era of Uruguayan history, the 50 years of progress that began with Battle y Ordoñez administration (Colorado) who was so progressive by South American standards, that even some socialists (who initially were part of his party) even asked him to join them, an offer he rejected

By 1950 though, the signs of new problems began rising in the horizon, as the world wars that had given the country much of its wealth (due to the country being a huge source of foodstuffs for the allied powers) began to dry

Syndicates, Trade Unions and social movements began to rise up. The Blancos (now called the National Party) won in 1958 and ruled until 1966, when the Colorados came back to power.

During the 60s an urban guerrilla took up arms, called the MLN-T (Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional - Tupamaros) alongside with the anarchist group OPR33

By 1971, a constitutional crisis began, as the military backed Pacheco Areco began a campaign for his re-election that led the more progressive members of his Colorado Party to leave the party and begin what's known as the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) with the help of the Revolutionary Left in Uruguay

In the 1971 election, with the help of the Brazilians (as attested by unclassified CIA documents), Pacheco Areco had the elections rigged and prevented the victory of the Blanco Wilson Ferreira Aldunate (who although being part of the Blanco Party was aligned more closely with the Frente Amplio and even copied their programme in some key parts)

Pacheco Areco was prevented from re-election due to losing a constitutional referendum during the election, resulting in the election Juan Maria Bordaberry, his vicepresident… a name not soon to be forgotten

During the heyday of the guerrilla, at the start of the 70s, they were able to break out of prison through a hole in the walls. However, Bordaberry with the help of the 'reforms' made by Pacheco Areco in his previous government had the military take over the duties of the police and created the joint security forces. These forces hunted down the guerrilla and imprisoned them within 3 months.

During this time the Joint Forces, greedy for power began plotting to take over the government. In February of 1973, the Navy (Armada) took their forces to the streets to defend the constitutionality of the presidency, but weren't heard by the President, who gave up to the military.

In June of 1973, Bordaberry had the Parliament closed down and the Military-Civilian 'Process' (dictatorship) began.

Initially, the Frente Amplio hoped for a left-wing military coup, but after their leaders began being jailed, they began a general strike which had no much success and began either leaving the country (the richer ones), being jailed (the less powerful and more revolutionary of them) or being denied jobs in the country (the middle of both worlds and worst at all)

By 1985 the military dictatorship found itself out of time, money and support, thus it sought a way out.

'Thanks' to the Pact of the Naval Club, both Wilson Ferreira (Blanco) and Seregni (Ex-Colorado and Frente Amplist) were kept out of the election rolls, thus helping the Colorados to win.

After the elections both were let out of prison and they began a campaign to have the military leaders tried for their crimes during the dictatorship. But the political forces of the country eventually succeeded in convincing Wilson that democracy would only go on if the military were absolved of their crimes through a law. The law of the Caducity of the State's Pretension of Punity (more or less the translation of its name) which left the military out of jail

In the 1990s, the Blancos first (under the conservative Blanco, Luis Lacalle) and the colorados after (under Sanguinetti) did neoliberal 'reforms' that fucked the country further and tried privatizing several state companies, with limited success.

By 1996, both parties had exhausted themselves and sought a pact to keep the Frente Amplio out of power, which they managed to, by adding the presidential ballotage to the constitution, thus winning against the Frente Amplio in a 51 vs 49 margin in 1999

This was not to pass for long though, as Jorge Batlle (grand-grandson of Batlle y Ordoñez) led a coalition government of Colorados and Blancos that went through a major crisis, the 2002 crisis, during which a large number of uruguayans went bankrupt and some event fled the country as the banks crashed

In 2004 the Frente Amplio, led by Tabaré Vazquez won the presidential election in the first round of elections with 51% of the vote, thus circumventing the ballotage

The Frente Amplio after entering government, tried to deal with both Blancos and Colorados by giving them key ministries, but after both parties began trying to jacole them for posts, the Frente Amplio finished the negotiations and told them off, thus forming government on its own

The economy which had been recovering since 2003, boomed throughout 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, thus resulting in the election of a second Frente Amplio government, led by former guerrilla José Mujica who promised to lead the country left.

A promise he didn't deliver, as his presidency was a roller coaster of promises, rambling incoherence and a chronic case of overinflated expectations but overall the economy did fine

Thus Tabaré Vazquez got re-elected in 2014, and so began Vazquez 2.0 the electric bugaloo of strikes, incoherent promises half-way delivered that nobody cared about (national system for caring of the elderly, tablets for the elderly and the list goes on)

I have to take a while out, so feel free to comment on what I've written so far

Currently the country's politics are dominated by the Frente Amplio (which is allegedly left wing, but is in reality in bed with big agricultural, transport and pulp mill companies) and has 50 diputados out of 99(representatives in uruguayan parlance), 15 senators out of 30 (plus the vicepresident which counts as one extra, thus 16/31)

The National (Blanco) Party which has 30 diputados and has 10 senators, which counts as right of center, pro-capitalist party

The Colorado Party which has around 13 diputados and 3 senators, which used to be the party of government and is now a regular liberal party

The Independent Party which is a 'radical' centrist party, left of center, 3 diputados and 1 senator

The Popular Unity which has only 1 diputado and is revolutionary left and has MLM folks as well as ML

And finally there's the Radical Ecologists, who have no diputados (almost got one, and almost surely will get 1 next elections in 2019), as well as the Trotskysts who have barely 6k votes, in a country where you need 20 or so thousand votes to get a diputado

Any further information you can pretty much get out of wikipedia, in particular spanish wikipedia…

If anyone else wants to contribute with their knowledge of river plate history, they are welcome

So given that your country revolted against Brazil do you think Brazil is now an imperialist power as some MLs seem to think?

dude weed lmao

Well, its bourgeoisie certainly keeps the brazilian government from importing our rice for starters, even though we are supposed to have a FREAKING FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH THEM

Same applies to Argentina, although on the topic of exporting cloth, bike parts and other things, even back during the period the Kirchners were in power, hell, in particular during that period

The Mercosur is a big joke and has been called a mistake even by one of the uruguayan architects of it, conservative (blanco) Luis Lacalle

Its not so much a problem of yesteryear and it having controlled Uruguay back in some time before I was born, as much as Brazil AND Argentina having a real bone to pick with Uruguay, and having ASSETS they OWN in Uruguay

Its hilarious, because one of the more left wing diputados at the Frente Amplio actually didn't want to vote for the law, arguing that Marihuana is a bourgeois drug (which is rather true)

Also most drugs are decriminalized here since at least the 90s, so the whole craze over weed is mostly made up

Further on the subject of Mercosur, its such a sham that it has turned even old right wingers who are supposed to be for free trade against it.

Want to export absolutely anything to Argentina?
Want to export milk, or any other dairy products to Brazil?
Well fuck you, here's some super cheap Argentinian and Brazilian products that you have to import though at super cheap prices your national companies can't compete with. Also give us all your industries and fields, thank you very much

Pretty much. Here in Brazil nobody talks about Latin America union etc. All that they want is trade agreement with Europe and the Transpacific, to sell meat and soy.

Which is funny, because what is supposed to work with those, if we can't make free trade work among ourselves to begin with

That continent is destined to fail, stop thinking there's any hope for the Americas, they must all die.

They won't make it, not in SA.

B-but people elected the Frente Amplio thinking they were left (they weren't in the end, but they called themselves democratic socialists), they even had an agrarian reform project (which they never implemented once they got to power)

So I have some hopes of seeing an actual left wing party to power (Popular Unity) somewhen in the future

Won't work, they'll only be tricked again.

Great post and much appreciated effort. There is another poster from Brazil if I remember in the late stage capitalism thread. Would it be possible to build a regional party on a cross cooperation of south American socialist parties to improve conditions in Latin America? I live in Burgerland and was thinking of learning Spanish to reach out to Mexican and Central American's to solidify support across the borders. Is that a viable strategy were you live and assuming you know do you think that would be a viable strategy in the states?

The problem is that each country 'down here' has wildly different material circumstances.
Argentina for instance has -some- tangible indigenous peoples, bolivian populations (salta, jujuy, and in buenos aires), paraguayan populations (formosa and of course buenos aires), Uruguay pretty much doesn't, except for some isolated communities of 'indigenous heritage'. As for Brazil, they are pretty much a microcosm, and there's quite a chasm over language with portuguese speakers.

Uruguay and South Brazil as well as some of the eastern regions of Argentina do have a history (as I've posted) of doing things kind of together, but we still come from very different backgrounds.

In the long term it would work out to attempt to 'work together', but as I've mentioned, there's quite a lot that drives us down different roads for quite a while.

I mean, a 'greater argentina' that involves Uruguay and Paraguay would probably work out, if it included Bolivia, that would be a stretch, Brazil would never relinquish their southern provinces peacefully, and Chile is just beyond the mountains and has more in common with Perú than with us by now.

An United South America right now is more of a pipe dream than reality, but then again, the world is filled with pipe dreams come true. I suspect though, that we need to continue persisting in achieving success in each country on our own, and hopefully without involving third parties (*coughs* venezuela, cuba *coughs*) as that would probably give us a bad rap in our attempts to reach a wider voting base.

A lot of the more 'traditional' voters in Uruguay, for instance, don't care about a lot of things that are full on 'duh' right wing orthodoxy elsewhere… For instance, we had a referendum a few years ago on appealing an abortion law that got less than 8%, where else on earth do you see that kind of thing?

As for the other countries, am pretty sure Mexico and the Central American countries are waaay more conservative than us.

Even freaking Costa Rica which is one of our only real 'rivals' in terms of democratic institutions aside from Canada (that's right, USA isn't even in the radar in that concept) has issues like abortion that make it veer way off to the right (an evangelic preacher made it to the second round of elections due to the topic of abortion there like a week ago)

As for Perú and Colombia, they still have right wing death squads up there. Ecuador is kind of so-so and does have a strong 'left' movement. Am not even going to waste my breath on Bolivia, Venezuela and the rest, they are pretty much lighting rods for the right and they pretty much fuel the right's power in the entire region by the mere reason of existing (although Bolivia has become less so of a lighting rod recently, since its quite isolated and nobody really gives a shit about what goes on there, also Evo Morales has done quite decently actually apparently, at least the press hasn't gone pants on crazy on him)

Although sadly I suspect few in leftypol really give a shit about the southern cone of south america since we are -that- far off from the rest of the 'civilized world'. I suspect we are farther off than say, Australia, and that's pretty far off the map to begin with

They just hate the "new world". If Socaliisim is going to come to the American's both North and South it'll have to be done on are own.

I never really thought that leftypol would be so purely european and would have so few american posters though