Uruguay Modern History Part II

By | December 20, 2021

Meanwhile, two parties had already formed – which will be called later, due to their respective uniforms: white and red, blancos and colorados. – headed respectively by Juan Lavalleja and Fructuoso Rivera and who subsequently, for almost a century, had to ravage the life of the young republic with their contrast. Rivera (1830-34) was elected first constitutional president and then (1834) Carlo Auaya who was succeeded by blanco Manuel Oribe (1835-37). He wanted to bring a trial against Rivera who in turn, thanks to his prestige, relieved the people. Oribe, who emigrated to Argentina, allied himself with the dictator Rosas who sent him first to suppress a revolt that broke out in other Argentine provinces and then against Uruguay. A first attack by the Argentines took place in 1839 under the command of General Echague. Rivera, who had been re-elected president of the republic (1838-43), defeated the invader at Cagancha. A new shipment of 14. 000 men at the head of Oribe clashed with the troops of Rivera who, having passed Uruguay, had invaded the Argentine province of Entre Ríos. In the battle of Arroyo Grande, Rivera was severely defeated and saw his troops almost destroyed. For Uruguay democracy and rights, please check localbusinessexplorer.com.

In February 1843 Joaquín Suárez took over the Uruguayan government, who, since Rosas and Oribe claimed to be fighting against Rivera, ordered his exile. But he could not prevent Montevideo – the refuge of all Argentine emigrants who are ill tolerant of the Rosas dictatorship – from being under siege. French, Spanish and numerous Italian volunteers under the command of Giuseppe Garibaldi participated in the defense of the city. After eight years of siege, the situation began to turn against Rosas. England and France sent ships against Rosas, Brazil declared war on him and the Argentine general Urquiza entered into negotiations with the authorities of Montevideo: on 8 October 1851 the peace was signed recognizing in the treaty that there had been no winners. nor defeated. Argentines.

Despite the peace that occurred after the 9 years of the “great war”, despite the treaties stipulated with the Argentine and Brazilian neighbors, the internal situation was full of unknowns. The conditions of the economy are desolate, violent, without quarter, the struggles between the parties. For fifty years – until the end of the century – there was a continuous succession of presidents (JF Giro, 1852; V. Flores, 1854; MB Bustamante, 1855; GA Pereira, 1856; B. Prudencio Berro, 1860; AC Aguirre, 1860 ; T. Villalba, 1865; V. Flores, 1865; L. Battle, 1868; T. Gomensoro, 1872; JE Ellaurri, 1873; P. Varela, 1875; L. Latorre, 1876; FA Vidal, 1880; M. Santos, 1886; M. Tajes, 1886; J. Herrera y Obes, 1890; J. Idiarte Borda, 1894; JL Cuesta, 1897) of revolts, wars (Uruguay participated, alongside Argentina and Brazil, to the war against Paraguay; v.paraguay: History), of epidemics. However, especially by General Venancio Flores, some impetus was given to railway constructions and industries connected with livestock (the greatest wealth of the country), to social legislation (Flores promulgates the civil and commercial codes), to public education. Lindolfo Cuestas, who ruled from 1897 to 1903, dissolved the chambers and began an era of peace and internal reorganization that lasted, almost without interruption, to the present day. Beneficial in every respect was the administration of José Battle y Ordóñez, who held power from 1903 to 1907 and from 1910 to 1911, and of Claudio Williman (1907-10). Great impetus was given to social legislation (8-hour day law, abolition of the death penalty, divorce, primary education law, secondary school and free university), to the frozen meat industry; the Montevideo-Rio de Janeiro line was inaugurated (1912); immigration was favored by every means and, with two successive treaties (May 1, 1910 and May 7, 1913) the question of the borders with Brazil and the use of water in the Río Jaguarón and Laguna Merim was settled. Battle, convinced that the power available to the president was a great incentive to the rise of revolutionary uprisings, also attempted a constitutional reform by proposing to replace the president with an administrative commission of 9 members. The project was not accepted, but Battle’s influence managed to impose a transactional system by which, the representative functions and those relating to acts of authority (functions of Interior Minister, Foreign Affairs and National Defense), the executive power was entrusted, for the administrative part (management acts), to a commission of 9 members of which three for the minority and 6 for the parliamentary majority. The reform of the constitution in this sense was implemented during the presidency of Feliciano Viera (1915-1919) and went into effect on 1 March 1919: beyond the division of executive power, the new constitution sanctioned the complete separation of the Church from the state and a strong administrative decentralization.

During the World War Uruguay held an attitude clearly favorable to the Entente: even without reaching a formal declaration of war, it broke diplomatic relations with Germany (6 October 1917) and declared (15 October) that it could not be apply the rules of neutrality to the Allies. From this policy the country drew great economic advantages both through the granting, by France and England, of two loans for a total of 30,000,000 pesos., both by increasing its trade relations with the United States. President Baltasar Brum (1919-23), who pursued a policy in a distinctly pan-American sense, entered into arbitration treaties with England, France and Italy, gave impetus to social legislation and entered into a trade treaty with Argentina. He was succeeded by José Serrato (123-27) and Juan Campistegui (1927-31).

Gabriel Terra, elected in 1931 and re-elected for the period 1934-38 in the face of opposition from the Chamber to a series of exceptional measures adopted by him, dissolved the chamber (March 31, 1933) and with a coup (April 1) he abolished the administrative commission by fully assuming the responsibility of power. The new constitution – which sanctioned this state of affairs – went into effect on April 29, 1934.

During the presidency of Terra a law was enacted (October 26, 1932) which practically closed immigration. Diplomatic relations with the USSR were resumed (August 1933), broken again, by a unilateral act of Uruguay, on December 27, 1935, having Uruguay claimed that the Soviet embassy was fomenting a center of communist organization which was to to start a revolution on March 2, 1936. Faced with protests by the USSR, the question was referred to the Society of Nations which, with a resolution of January 25, 1936, left the question practically unsolved, deferring it to the judgment of world public opinion.

Even today the political life of the country is practically dominated by the two parties of the blancos (or “nationalists”) with conservative tendencies, and of the colorados, liberals. In the elections of 1934, 55 colorados, 32 blancos, 2 socialists, 2 independent Catholics and a communist were elected.

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