Tabaré Vázquez

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This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Vázquez and the second or maternal family name is Rosas.
For other uses, see Tabaré.
Tabaré Vázquez
Tabaré26022007.jpg
Tabaré Vázquez in 2007.
39th President of Uruguay
In office
March 1, 2005 – March 1, 2010
Vice President Rodolfo Nin
Preceded by Jorge Batlle
Succeeded by José Mujica
Intendant of Montevideo
In office
May 5, 1990 – May 5, 1994
Preceded by Eduardo Fabini Jiménez
Succeeded by Tabaré González
Personal details
Born (1940-01-17) January 17, 1940 (age 74)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Political party Broad Front
Spouse(s) María Auxiliadora Delgado
Children Ignacio
Álvaro
Javier
Fabián
Alma mater Universidad de la República
Profession Oncologist
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature

Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas (Spanish pronunciation: [taβaˈɾe raˈmon ˈbaskes ˈrosas]; born January 17, 1940) is a Uruguayan politician who was President of Uruguay from 2005 to 2010. A physician (oncologist) by training, he is a member of the leftist Frente Amplio coalition (Broad Front in English). Vázquez was elected president on October 31, 2004, took office on March 1, 2005, and relinquished the office on March 1, 2010. As president, Vázquez presided over considerable improvements in education and working conditions, a significant expansion of the welfare system,[1][2][3] and a dramatic reduction in poverty,[4] with the percentage of Uruguayans living in poverty falling from 32% to 20% of the population from 2004 to 2009.[5]

Background[edit]

Born in the Montevideo neighbourhood of La Teja, Tabaré Vázquez studied medicine at the Universidad de la República Medical School, graduating as an oncology specialist[6] in 1972. In 1976, he received a grant from the French government, allowing him to obtain additional training at the Gustave Roussy Institute in Paris.

From 1990 to 1995, Vázquez was the Frente Amplio coalition's first Mayor of Montevideo. In 1994, he made an unsuccessful run for president as the Frente Amplio candidate, receiving 30.6% of the vote. In 1996, he was elected leader of the Frente Amplio, replacing the historic leader of the left-wing coalition, Liber Seregni. He ran again in 1999, receiving 45.9 percent of the vote in the runoff election, losing to Jorge Batlle.

Vázquez and his wife María Auxiliadora Delgado

Vázquez is married to María Auxiliadora Delgado and has three biological children with her (Ignacio, Álvaro and Javier) and an adopted son (Fabián).

President of Uruguay, 2005–2010[edit]

President Tabaré Vázquez with Vice President Rodolfo Nin Novoa

In the 2004 elections, he won 50.45% of the valid votes, with 1,124,761 votes on the first ballot, eliminating the need for a runoff, and taking office in early 2005. He became the first Uruguayan president from a left-wing party, and thus the first one who did not belong to the so-called "traditional" parties, the National (Blanco) and Colorado parties.

With his own Frente Amplio holding a majority in Parliament, Vázquez was thought to have few obstacles to start with. He also had the support of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also a centre-leftist.

Vázquez is a notable football fan. During his ten-year stint (1979–1989) as president of the Club Progreso team, it won the professional national championship (for first and only time) in 1989.

Policies and governance[edit]

Vázquez and U.S. President, George W. Bush

Domestic policy and human rights[edit]

Vázquez has followed a cautious path regarding economic policy. Even though his Finance Minister, Danilo Astori, has followed a conservative policy regarding macroeconomic policy and debt repayment, the government introduced a bill that aims to widely reform the taxation system in Uruguay.[citation needed]. This reform is known in Uruguay as "the I.R.P.F. reform" (the abbreviation is in Spanish); this reform remains as one of the most controversial measures in terms of the country's taxation system.

The Frente Amplio ran on a platform of social justice. Vázquez initiated an "emergency plan" (in Spanish Plan de Atención Nacional a la Emergencia Social or PANES) intended to address the most urgent needs of an estimated 200,000 Uruguayans for two years by investing $100 million in a number of programs which range from food assistance to health care. The plan, which has met with criticism over its bureaucracy, especially during its initial stages, was run under the responsibility of the Minister of Social Development, Marina Arismendi. It has been compared to Brazil's plan Fome Zero at a smaller scale.

In November 2005 his administration led a profound and significant victory in the investigation of human rights violations that had taken place during the last military dictatorship which took place, according to official dates, between June 27 of 1973 and March 1 of 1985. Having appointed a team of anthropologists and forensic investigators, and having ordered the military to cooperate and indicate possible sites for the unmarked graves, his government succeeded in unearthing remains of leftists disappeared during the 1970s and 1980s military rule.

The Parliament, having a majority of representatives from the Frente Amplio since 2005, approved a law regarding sexual and reproductive health (the law was known as "Ley de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva"), which initially contained an article about legalising abortion, which is banned under Uruguayan legislation since 1938. Despite the fact that the Parliament had expressed their approval of the whole content of the law, Vázquez used his veto power against the article about abortion, in order to avoid legalising this practice.

International[edit]

Among the most complex issues that have dominated his administration is an ongoing conflict with Argentina over potential contamination from pulp mills being built on the Uruguayan side of the Uruguay River.

Vazquez has tried to create new commercial and cultural links outside the region. Vazquez was the first Uruguayan President to visit New Zealand and South Korea, and has established contacts with other countries in Southeast Asia.

2008 Visit to Cuba[edit]

In June 2008 President Vázquez visited Cuba.[7] While in Cuba, Vázquez and the Presidential party engaged in a number of high-profile events, including a summit with President Raúl Castro.[8]

This visit attracted a measure of censure from the Uruguayan Opposition, from Pedro Bordaberry and others, who were critical of Vázquez for choosing to be in Cuba during a commemoration – which Vázquez himself initiated – of the victims of the dictatorship of 1973–1985.[9]

Military hardware trade controversies[edit]

Arms from Iran controversy[edit]

In 2007 the loading of Iranian arms onto a Uruguayan Navy vessel visiting Venezuela, in contravention of a UN-sponsored arms embargo, provoked international comment. Internal controversy regarding this event was centred on protests to Vázquez's Government from the Uruguayan opposition National Party.[10]

Diversion of Malaysian-owned jet engines[edit]

In February 2010 the Vázquez Government was cooperating with an investigation to explain how two Northrop F-5E jet engines valued at many millions of US dollars had surfaced in Uruguay (See: Royal Malaysian Air Force#Engines diverted to Uruguay ).[11]

Support for delisting coca as a dangerous drug & relations with Bolivia[edit]

In June 2009 President Vázquez, who had been courting diplomatically the Bolivian President Evo Morales, announced his support for the delisting of coca from the category of a 'dangerous drug'.[12]

Popularity[edit]

Tabaré Vázquez receives U.S. President George W. Bush with asado a la parrilla
Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez with the late Argentine President Néstor Kirchner
Vázquez with Hugo Chávez

President Vázquez started with a 77%[citation needed] approval rating, but according to an opinion poll of Equipos/MORI, his approval had fallen to 44% by April 2006.[13] This level of popularity is below the electoral support he received in the 2004 elections and is attributed by some analysts to the decision of the government led by Vázquez not to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the United States under pressure from the more radical base of his party, which may have alienated more conservative voters. Other moves by his administration concerning economic policy have met with resistance from trade unions and the left. Furthermore, many believe that Vázquez's opposition to legalising abortion and threats to veto any pro-choice legislation passed by the government -a position that stands in contrast with the opinions of both the majority of his governing coalition and the majority of Uruguayans- have made a modest dent in his public support. (Against this it may also be noted that one of the constituent parties of the ruling Frente Amplio coalition – the cohesion of which Vázquez is pledged to maintain – is the Christian Democratic Party of Uruguay, which opposes the measure.) In October 2006, President Vázquez was still personally more popular than his government with a 62% approval rating. However, a considerable drop in the government's popularity was registered by an Equipos/MORI poll in late April 2007, showing that 44% of Uruguayans approve of the action of his government.[13] Lately a new poll by Factum shows a 57% of approvement, indicating a significant recovery.[14]

In January 2008, two members of the ruling coalition, former Senator José Korzeniak and Foreign Secretary Reinaldo Gargano, made proposals to reform the Constitution of Uruguay, focusing on the possibility of the immediate reelection of the President (forbidden under the present constitution). The central tenet of the reelection clause is based on Vázquez continuing popularity and in order to prevent a divisive succession battle within the Frente Amplio. A reform of the constitution is quite unlikely, however, as all of the opposition parties, as well as some members of the ruling coalition, have expressed their opposition to this idea. Vázquez himself ruled out that he would try to be reelected in a public address he made in June 2007.[citation needed]

A perceived strength of Vázquez is his ability to hold together in the Frente Amplio ruling coalition figures of greatly differing outlook. After the Mujica-Astori couple were elected in November 2009 as President and Vice President respectively, Vázquez was offered to resume the presidency of the Frente Amplio but he declined. Though he has not said it expressly, Vázquez does not rule out the possibility of being the Frente Amplio candidate for Presidency in 2014. To this effect, he said that "only the political circumstances and biology will tell".

On December 4, 2008, Tabaré Vázquez renounced his positions at the Socialist Party, due to controversy after his position contrary to abortion.

Tabaré Vázquez left office in 2010, at the end of his 5 year presidential term, with an 80% approval rating, a record in Uruguay.[15]

Honours and awards[edit]

Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref
Order of Merit  Qatar 2 May 2007 Doha Qatari highest decoration. [16]
Ribbon bar of Orden Nacional de San Lorenzo.png Grand Collar of the National Order of San Lorenzo  Ecuador 7 September 2010 Quito Ecuatorian highest order of merit. [17]

Recognition[edit]

In 2006, Vázquez was chosen to receive the World Health Organization Director General's Award in recognition of his leadership on tobacco control in Uruguay, which has implemented some of the most stringent tobacco control measures in the world.[18]

Cabinet[edit]

Minister Name Period
Interior Minister José Díaz 2005–2007
Daisy Tourné 2007–
Finance Minister Danilo Astori 2005–2008
Álvaro García 2008–2010
Defence Minister Azucena Berruti 2005–
Foreign Affairs Minister Reinaldo Gargano 2005–2008
Gonzalo Fernández 2008–
Education Minister Jorge Brovetto 2005–
Health Minister María Julia Muñoz 2005–2010
Employment Minister Eduardo Bonomi 2005–
Housing Minister Mariano Arana 2005–
Agriculture Minister José Mujica 2005–2008
Ing. Agr. Ernesto Agazzi 2008–2010
Industry Minister Jorge Lepra 2005–2008
Daniel Martínez 2008–2010
Transportation Minister Víctor Rossi 2005–2010
Tourism and Sports Minister Hector Lescano 2005–present
Social Development Minister Marina Arismendi 2005–2010
Secretary to the President Gonzalo Fernández 2005–
Budget Director Carlos Viera 2005
Enrique Rubio 2007–

Upcoming 2014 election[edit]

In November 2013 was formally announced the candidacy of Vázquez to the Uruguayan presidential election, 2014.[19] On 1 June 2014, Vázquez was elected as running candidate.[20] His running mate shall be Raúl Fernando Sendic.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Eduardo Fabini Jiménez
Intendant of Montevideo
1990–1994
Succeeded by
Tabaré González
Preceded by
Jorge Batlle
President of Uruguay
2005–2010
Succeeded by
José Mujica
Party political offices
Preceded by
Liber Seregni
Leader of the Broad Front
1996–1999
Succeeded by
Jorge Brovetto