Vazquez Rosas, Tabare Ramon

▪ 2006

      On March 1, 2005, Tabaré Vázquez was sworn in as the new president of Uruguay. The historic significance of this event could not be overestimated. Vázquez was the first leftist president in Uruguay's history, and the coalition he led, the Broad Front–Progressive Encounter—which was composed of former guerrillas, socialists, communists, and independent leftists—enjoyed a majority in both houses of the parliament. Vázquez's rise was emblematic of an electoral trend to the left throughout Latin America. Among the ambitious goals he established for his presidency were improving an economy that had been beset by years of negative growth, bringing greater social justice to the country, and dealing with the legacy of human rights violations that had taken place during Uruguay's 1973–85 military dictatorship.

      Vázquez was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Jan. 17, 1940. He graduated from the medical school of the University of the Republic, Montevideo, in 1972 with a specialty in oncology and radiology. He entered private practice as an oncologist and built a reputation as one of the premier doctors in the country. Vázquez served as director of the University of the Republic medical school's department of radiology. He also founded the first medical clinic in his childhood neighbourhood of Las Teja. Vázquez further raised his public profile as president (1978–89) of the Club Progreso, an association football (soccer) team.

      A lifelong militant in the Socialist Party, Vázquez became a member of the party's Central Committee in 1987. In 1989 he ran successfully as the Broad Front candidate for mayor of Montevideo, generally considered the second most important political post in the country. Since more than 40% of Uruguay's population lived in the capital, Vázquez's victory in the mayoral race represented the left's first triumph in a national election. The win also firmly established the charismatic and photogenic Tabaré, as many Uruguayans simply called him, as a political force.

      Vázquez was the left's presidential candidate in 1994 and again in 1999, but he lost both of these elections. In 1999, however, he won the initial round of voting but failed to achieve the majority required by new electoral laws for avoiding a runoff. He went on to lose the runoff to Jorge Batlle by a 52–44% margin. In 2004 Vázquez was perfectly positioned for a third try for the presidency. By then polls were showing that the Broad Front–Progressive Encounter had become the largest party in the country, and Vázquez was able to claim 50.45% of the vote and avoid a second round. One of his first acts as president was to announce a $200 million National Emergency Plan to assist the estimated 20% of Uruguayans in abject poverty.

Martin Weinstein

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Tabaré Vázquez — Infobox President name = Tabaré Vázquez honorific suffix = MD caption = imagesize = 200px order = President of Uruguay vicepresident = Rodolfo Nin term start = March 1 2005 term end = predecessor = Jorge Batlle successor = birth date = birth date …   Wikipedia

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