Tabaré Vázquez

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Tabaré Vázquez
Vázquez in 2017
39th and 41st President of Uruguay
In office
1 March 2015 – 1 March 2020
Vice PresidentRaúl Sendic (Mar 2015 – Sep 2017)
Lucía Topolansky (Sep 2017 – Mar 2020)
Preceded byJosé Mujica
Succeeded byLuis Lacalle Pou
In office
1 March 2005 – 1 March 2010
Vice PresidentRodolfo Nin
Preceded byJorge Batlle
Succeeded byJosé Mujica
President pro tempore of UNASUR
In office
1 March 2015 – 23 April 2016
Preceded byJosé Mujica
Succeeded byLuis Lacalle Pou
Intendant of Montevideo
In office
5 May 1990 – 5 May 1994
Preceded byEduardo Fabini Jiménez
Succeeded byTabaré González
Personal details
Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas

(1940-01-17)17 January 1940
Montevideo, Uruguay
Died6 December 2020(2020-12-06) (aged 80)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Resting placeCementerio de La Teja, Montevideo
Political partySocialist
Other political
Broad Front
(m. 1964; died 2019)
EducationUniversity of the Republic

Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas (Spanish pronunciation: [taβaˈɾe raˈmom ˈbaskes ˈrosas]; 17 January 1940 – 6 December 2020) was a Uruguayan politician who served as the 39th and 41st president of Uruguay from 2005 to 2010 and from 2015 to 2020. A physician (oncologist), he was a member of the leftist Broad Front coalition.

Before his first presidential term, Vázquez was president of the Club Progreso team and made two unsuccessful presidential bids in 1994 and 1999. He served as Intendant of Montevideo between 1990 and 1994 shortly before his first presidential campaign.

Vázquez was first elected president on 31 October 2004 and took office on 1 March 2005. He was the first socialist president of the country.[1] His first presidency was remembered for his diplomatic relationships with Brazil and Argentina while being criticized by his party over his anti-abortion views. After leaving the presidency in 2010, Vázquez successfully ran for a second term in 2014. After leaving office for a second time in March 2020, he later died of lung cancer in December of that year.

Early life[edit]

Vázquez was born in the Montevideo neighbourhood of La Teja on 17 January 1940, the fourth child of the marriage between Héctor Vázquez, a worker of ANCAP, and Elena Rosas.[1] He had Galician ancestry as his grandparents were originally from Ourense and Santiago de Compostela, in Spain.[2] He studied medicine at the Universidad de la República Medical School, graduating as an oncologist in 1972.[3] In 1976, he received a grant from the French government, allowing him to obtain additional training at the Gustave Roussy Institute in Paris.[4]

Early career and Intendant of Montevideo[edit]

Vázquez, a football fanatic, was president of the Club Progreso team from 1979 to 1989.[5]

From 1990 to 1995, Vázquez was the Frente Amplio coalition's first Intendant of Montevideo.[1] In that post, he carried out the functions of both the mayor of the city and governor of the department.

In 1994, he made an unsuccessful run for president as the Frente Amplio candidate.[6] He actually finished with the most votes of the candidates in the field, more than 120,000 votes ahead of the next-highest vote-getter, former president Julio Maria Sanguinetti of the Colorado Party. However, under the multi-candidate Ley de Lemas system then in effect, Sanguinetti won the election, since he was the highest-finishing candidate of the party winning the most votes. Still, Vázquez turned in the best showing of a third-party candidate since the restoration of the presidential system in 1967; he only had 12,100 fewer votes than the combined vote of the second-place National Party.

In 1996, he was elected leader of the Frente Amplio, replacing the historic leader of the left-wing coalition, Liber Seregni.[7] He ran again unsuccessfully for president in 1999.[6] In the first election held after Uruguay scrapped the Ley de Lemas system, he led the field in the first round, with 40.1 percent of the vote. He lost to Colorado candidate Jorge Batlle, taking 45.9 percent of the vote.

First presidency of Uruguay (2005–2010)[edit]

President Tabaré Vázquez with Vice President Rodolfo Nin Novoa in inauguration ceremony

In the 2004 elections, he won 50.45% of the valid votes, enough to win the presidency in a single round.[1] He became the country's first president from a left-wing party, and thus the first one since the 1830s who was not a member of the National (Blanco) or Colorado parties.[1][7] He also had the support of the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, likewise a centre-left democratic socialist.[8]

Tabaré Vázquez receives U.S. President George W. Bush with asado a la parrilla in 2007.

Among the most complex issues that dominated his administration was an ongoing conflict with Argentina over potential contamination from pulp mills being built on the Uruguayan side of the Uruguay River.[9] He even asked Bush for help in the event of an armed conflict with Argentina.[10][11]

Vázquez was the first President of Uruguay to visit New Zealand and South Korea, and he established contacts with other countries in Southeast Asia.[12][13] While he maintained cordial relations with the United States, hosting U.S. President George W. Bush, Vázquez did not sign Bush's failed Free Trade Area of the Americas.[14]

This visit attracted a measure of censure from the opposition, from Pedro Bordaberry and others, who were critical of Vázquez for having chosen to be in Cuba during a commemoration – which Vázquez himself initiated – for the victims of the 1973–1985 dictatorship; Bordaberry's father, Juan María Bordaberry, established the dictatorship with a 1973 decree dissolving Congress.[15]

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.[16] The domestic controversy regarding this event was centred on protests against Vázquez's Government by the opposition National Party.[16]

In June 2008 President Vázquez visited Cuba.[17] While in Cuba, Vázquez and the Presidential party engaged in a number of high-profile events, including a summit with President Raúl Castro.[18]

In June 2009 President Vázquez, who had been courting diplomatically the Bolivian President Evo Morales, announced his support for the delisting of coca leaves from the category of a "dangerous drug".[19]

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 U.S. dollars had surfaced in Uruguay.[20]

Tabaré Vázquez and his government have pursued a centre-left economic policy. Between 2005 and 2008, the minimum wage rose from 1,350 pesos to 4,150 pesos ($70 to $200), while poverty fell from 30.9 per cent to 12.7 per cent of the population and unemployment from 11.3 per cent to 7 per cent.[21]


Vázquez with Argentine President Néstor Kirchner in 2005
Vázquez with Hugo Chávez in 2007

According to an Equipos/MORI opinion poll his approval had fallen to 44% by April 2007, a level below the electoral support he received in the 2004 elections.[22] His approval later recovered, however, reaching 80% by his last term in office.[23]

In October 2006, President Vázquez was still personally more popular than his government with a 62% approval rating.[22] 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 approved of his administration.[22] A new poll by Factum showed a 57% approval by June 2008, however, indicating a significant recovery from a year earlier.[24]

2009 presidential election[edit]

The Constitution of Uruguay does not allow presidents to run for immediate reelection. With this in mind, in January 2008, members of the ruling coalition made proposals to amend the document in order to allow Vázquez to run again in 2009, however Vázquez ruled out a 2009 run.[1][25] José Mujica was elected in November 2009 as president and Vázquez was offered to resume the presidency of the Frente Amplio but he declined.[26] Vázquez went on to be the Frente Amplio candidate for presidency in 2014.[25]

On 4 December 2008, Vázquez resigned his leadership posts at the Socialist Party due to controversy over his opposition to abortion rights.[27]

Second presidency of Uruguay (2015–2020)[edit]

In February 2010, a poll showed that he would finish the term ended on 1 March 2010 with an historic 61% of the approval.[28] Vázquez finally left office with an 80% approval rating.[23] He formally accepted his candidacy for the 2014 election in February 2013.[29]

Renominated by the Broad Front for the presidency with running mate Raúl Fernando Sendic on 1 June,[30] he came up just a few thousand votes short of winning the presidency outright in 26 October election.[25] He was returned to office in the 30 November runoff, defeating right-wing candidate Luis Lacalle Pou of the National Party by 53% to 41% in the second round.[31] Vázquez took office on 1 March 2015, succeeding José Mujica.[32]

After assuming the position, he also became the President pro tempore of UNASUR until 23 April 2016,[33] as he succeeded at the same time José Mujica who was holding the presidency of this international organization.[34]

On 9 September 2017, his running mate and Vice President Raúl Fernando Sendic resigned after he was accused allegedly of misusing public funds while heading state oil company Ancap.[35] Sendic's bad image began with a scandal over his non-existent degree in Human Genetics in 2016, and deeply damaged the image of Vázquez and his government which already suffered from historically low approval.[36]

Personal life and death[edit]

Vázquez and his wife, María Auxiliadora Delgado, in 2007

Vázquez married María Auxiliadora Delgado on 23 October 1964 in the Montevideo parish of Los Vascos.[37] She died of a heart attack on 31 July 2019.[38] They had three biological children together and an adopted son.[39]

On 20 August 2019, President Vázquez revealed that he suffered from a lung nodule with malignant appearance.[40] Nevertheless, he announced his intention of finishing his presidential term on 1 March 2020 as planned.[41] At mid-November, it was confirmed by authorities of the Public Health Ministry that his lung cancer was cured.[42] On 27 November 2020, the rumor spread of his worsening state of health and a Republica journalist announced that his cancer had metastasized to the pancreas.[43] That day, his son reported that his father was in home hospitalization after suffering an acute thrombosis in his left leg, but was recovering.[44]

He died of his lung cancer in Montevideo on 6 December 2020, at age 80.[45][46] President Luis Lacalle Pou declared three days of national mourning following his death and said that Uruguay "lost a prominent scientist and a citizen defender of human rights".[47] His funeral was held in "intimacy" due to the COVID-19 pandemic and he was buried at Cementerio de La Teja in Montevideo alongside his wife.[48] During the funeral procession, thousands of people took to the streets to see him off to applause and cheers.[49] The night before a national applause was called from the balconies.[50]

Honours and awards[edit]

Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref
Order of Merit  Qatar 2 May 2007 Doha Highest Qatari decoration. [51]
Grand Collar of the National Order of San Lorenzo  Ecuador 7 September 2010 Quito Highest Ecuadorian order of merit. [52]
Medal of Military Merit  Uruguay 18 May 2011 Montevideo Highest Uruguayan Army-related military award. Rank: General Officer. [53][54]

WHO recognition[edit]

Vázquez was awarded the World Health Organization Director-General's Award in 2006 in recognition of his leadership on tobacco control in Uruguay, which has implemented some of the most stringent tobacco control measures in the world.[55]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "Tabaré Vázquez, Uruguay's First Socialist President, Dies at 80". The Washington Post. 6 December 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  2. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez "abre las puertas" de Uruguay a las empresas gallegas". El Faro de Vigo (in Spanish). 29 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Uruguay curbs smoking in public". BBC News. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Tabare Vazquez". Bloomberg. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez, Progreso y la AUF: una presidencia exitosa y otra que se le escapó". Ovacion Digital. 6 December 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Tabaré Vázquez: Humble oncologist who rose to be Uruguay's president". Reuters. 6 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Tabaré Vázquez, the first leftist president to govern Uruguay, dies". BBC News. 7 December 2020.
  8. ^ "Lula após morte de Tabaré Vázquez: "fomos presidentes juntos e só guardo boas memórias"" (in Portuguese). Brasil247. 6 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  9. ^ "Uruguay's plans for huge pulp mills still on". Ecoamericas. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  10. ^ El video en el que Tabaré Vázquez habló sobre una guerra por las pasteras (in Spanish)
  11. ^ "President Vázquez asked Bush for support in the event of a war with Argentina" (in Spanish). El Observador. 11 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Uruguayan president to visit NZ". New Zealand Herald. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez gets a briefing". Korea Times. 31 August 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez ve inviable al ALCA; Fox lo refuta". El Universal. 27 April 2006. Archived from the original on 4 December 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  15. ^ Pedro Bordaberry (26 June 2008). "Más, nunca". Esta Boca es Mía.
  16. ^ a b "Uruguay caught buying Iranian arms". The Washington Times.
  17. ^ SEPREDI, Departamento Web - Presidencia de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay. "Scenes from President Vázquez's June 2008 visit to Cuba". Archived from the original on 9 July 2008.
  18. ^ "Scenes from Vázquez-Castro June 2008 summit". Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Uruguayan ports will give Bolivian trade access to the sea". Mercopress. 15 July 2009.
  20. ^ "El enigma de los motores de F-5 robados". El País. 3 February 2010.
  21. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez deixa legado de crescimento econômico no Uruguai". 27 November 2009.
  22. ^ a b c "Vázquez tiene un 44% de aprobación, según encuesta de Equipos Mori". El Espectador. 16 May 2007.
  23. ^ a b "Tabaré Vázquez cierra su mandato con récord histórico de apoyo popular: 80%". La Red 21. 22 December 2009.
  24. ^ "Vázquez con 57% de aprobación". La República. 3 July 2008.
  25. ^ a b c "Uruguay's presidential election goes to runoff". BBC. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Leftists Win Uruguay Vote". The New York Times. 29 November 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez resigns from Socialist Party over abortion vote". Telegraph. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  28. ^ "Uruguay: Tabaré Vázquez termina con buena nota". BBC in Spanish. 22 February 2010.
  29. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez acepta ser candidato presidencial de la izquierda en 2014". El Mundo (in Spanish). 28 February 2013.
  30. ^ "Victory of Vázquez in the Uruguayan primaries". EL PAIS (in Spanish). 2 June 2014. Archived from the original on 2 June 2014.
  31. ^ "Tabare Vazquez wins Uruguay's run-off election". BBC. 1 December 2014.
  32. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez toma posesión como presidente de Uruguay". CNN in Spanish (in Spanish). 1 March 2015.
  33. ^ "Cancilleres de la Unasur están reunidos en Quito; Venezuela asume la Presidencia Pro Témpore". El Comercio (in Spanish). 23 April 2016.
  34. ^ "Surinam entrega la presidencia pro tempore de la Unasur a Uruguay". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 5 December 2014.
  35. ^ "Uruguay vice president quits after accused of misuse of funds". Reuters. 9 September 2017.
  36. ^ Martínez, Magdalena (10 September 2017). "Dimite el vicepresidente de Uruguay tras un intenso proceso de descrédito". El País (in Spanish).
  37. ^ "María Auxiliadora, la mujer de perfil bajo que cultivo las sonrisas". El Observador (in Spanish). 1 August 2019.
  38. ^ "Muere María Auxiliadora Delgado, la esposa del presidente de Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez". BBC (in Spanish). 31 July 2019.
  39. ^ "María Auxiliadora: cómo conoció a Vázquez y su vínculo con la fe". El Observador (in Spanish). 31 July 2019.
  40. ^ "Remember you are a mortal". El Observador (in Spanish). 24 August 2019.
  41. ^ "El médico de Tabaré Vázquez es optimista sobre la salud del presidente". La Diaria (in Spanish). 21 August 2019.
  42. ^ Martínez, Magdalena (13 December 2019). "El presidente de Uruguay "no presenta evidencia" del cáncer que padecía". El País (in Spanish). ISSN 1134-6582. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
  43. ^ "Preocupación por la salud de Tabaré Vázquez". La República (in Spanish). 27 November 2020.
  44. ^ "El ex presidente de Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, sufrió una recaída por el cáncer pulmonar y se encuentra en "delicado estado de salud"". Infobae (in Spanish). 28 November 2020.
  45. ^ "Murió el expresidente Tabaré Vázquez". El País Uruguay (in Spanish). 6 December 2020.
  46. ^ "Murió el expresidente Tabaré Vázquez". El Observador (in Spanish). 6 December 2020.
  47. ^ "Uruguayan gov't declares 3 days of national mourning after death of former president". Xinhuanet. 7 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  48. ^ "Así transcurrió el multitudinario último adiós a Tabaré Vázquez". El País Uruguay (in Spanish). 6 December 2020.
  49. ^ "Uruguay mourns ex-President Tabaré Vázquez, who died of cancer". BBC. 7 December 2020.
  50. ^ "Aplausos desde balcones y el poema de Benedetti: así se escuchó el homenaje a Vázquez que convocó el FA". El País Uruguay (in Spanish). 6 December 2020.
  51. ^ Vázquez, condecorado por príncipe heredero de Qatar, 3 May 2007 (in Spanish)
  52. ^ "ECUADOR CONDECORA AL EX PRESIDENTE TABARÉ VÁSQUEZ" (in Spanish). Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio e Integración - Ecuador. 7 September 2010. Archived from the original on 24 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  54. ^ "Medallas militares para ex presidentes" (in Spanish). Montevideo Portal. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
  55. ^ "Award Winners named for World No Tobacco Day in the Americas". PAHO. 30 May 2006.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Intendant of Montevideo
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Uruguay
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Uruguay
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Broad Front
Succeeded by