Just as in other South American countries with progressive presidents, right-wing parties in Uruguay are on the offensive. Using a media campaign intended to heighten a sense of insecurity triggered by violent crimes, the principal leaders of Uruguay's two established conservative parties are working to discredit top government officials. They continue, in vain, with calls to censure Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi, determined to force President Tabare Vazquez to ask for Bonomi's resignation and call for early elections.
An unsigned Oct. 5 editorial in La Republica stated, "In what is a copy of previous situations--this is the third motion to censure the minister--the right-wingers always react in the same way, calling for Bonomi's head as well as [the removal of] those working under him."
Blancos, Colorados seek early elections
The leaders of the two parties that have held power through much of Uruguay's history--the National Party (also called Blanco) and the Colorado Party (NotiSur, June 5, 2015)--are attempting to establish the idea that Uruguayan democracy, the oldest and perhaps the most solid in the region, is in trouble, and that the country's problems would only be remedied with the dissolution of Congress and early elections. That's what former Colorado presidential candidate Pedro Bordaberry said. He was seconded by two top Blanco party leaders, Senators Luis Lacalle Pou and Jorge Larranaga (NotiSur, May 23, 2014).
Alarms went off immediately. "We should begin to speak in a straightforward manner about the right-wing plans to overturn the government," Sen. Monica Xavier said on Oct. 6. Xavier was executive president of the ruling Frente Amplio (FA) through the middle of this year.
The "right-wing plans" that Xavier and other political leaders denounced came after a six-month period of consultations in which President Vazquez sought consensus on a package of anti-crime measures. The two traditional parties participated in the discussions--out of which eight proposals emerged and six have already received legislative attention. Bordaberry and Lacalle sent their representatives but did not participate. At every step, they criticized the unprecedented action, which the government and the rest of the opposition, including Blanco and minority Colorado sectors, described as very positive.
The right-wing offensive was sparked by the shooting death of a retired sailor, Heriberto Prati, on Oct. 1. Three days later, on Oct. 4, Bordaberry, the eldest...