|Baltasar Brum Rodríguez|
|23rd President of Uruguay|
March 1, 1919 – March 1, 1923
|Preceded by||Feliciano Viera|
|Succeeded by||José Serrato|
June 18, 1883|
Artigas Department, Uruguay
|Died||March 31, 1933
|Political party||Colorado Party|
His political convictions closely followed those of liberal President José Batlle y Ordóñez, under whom Brum served as Education Minister 1913 - 1915. He was Interior Minister from 1915 - 1916.
Foreign Minister of Uruguay
Brum subsequently served as Foreign Minister under the Presidency of Feliciano Viera; in the latter capacity, Brum was noted for promoting good relations with the United States, which had joined World War I against Germany in 1917.
Brum's period of office as Foreign Minister proved to be somewhat controversial. In the autumn of 1917, American warships sailed to the Argentine capital Buenos Aires and a delegation issued threats to the country's President Hipólito Yrigoyen, in relation to the country's neutrality, which the United States insisted should be more clearly focused as being pro-American. Yrigoyen refused to be bowed by such threats from a military delegation, whereupon the American ships sailed to Montevideo, where they were warmly welcomed by Brum, in contrast to the guarded reception which the delegation had received in Buenos Aires. Brum later travelled to the United States and was received by the Secretary of State.
President of Uruguay
Brum thus came to Presidential office in 1919 as one with a reputation as a pro-American facilitator of US interests.
During Brum's Presidency, he was noted for pursuing economic stability, but on the political front faced significant opposition from both his own Colorado Party, and notably from Luis Alberto de Herrera of the Blanco, or National, Party.
Historical and literary interests
Beyond the strictly political, Baltasar Brum was noted for interests in Uruguayan history and folklore. During his Presidential term of office he took measures with a view to preserving and protecting the historic Fort of Santa Teresa in the Rocha Department and after leaving office Brum collaborated in the preparation of related literature.
President Gabriel Terra's rule by decree & Brum's suicide
On March 31, 1933, on the installation of President Gabriel Terra's rule by decree, Brum attempted to lead resistance to Terra's government. After having increasingly realized during the course of that day that Terra's authoritarian rule enjoyed at least tacit support by many Uruguayans, Brum hurried into the middle of a road in Montevideo, was heard to shout "viva la libertad! viva Batlle!" (long live liberty! long live Batlle!), and committed suicide by gunshot. He was aged 49 at the time of his death.
To some observers, Brum represented a self-sacrificing romantic streak within Uruguayan politics at a time when many Uruguayans were prepared tacitly to accept extrajudicial changes brought in by Terra. To others, Brum's spectacular suicide suggested the presence of elements of mental instability, which, however, was not medically proven.
Family and heritage
A town in Artigas Department is named after him.
- Photo, showing Baltasar Brum on March 31, 1933, before he committed suicide later that day: