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Tabaré Vázquez

Tabaré Vázquez
39th and 41st President of Uruguay
Assumed office
1 March 2015
Vice President Raúl Sendic
Preceded by José Mujica
In office
1 March 2005 – 1 March 2010
Vice President Rodolfo Nin
Preceded by Jorge Batlle
Succeeded by José Mujica
President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations
Assumed office
1 March 2015
Preceded by José Mujica
Intendant of Montevideo
In office
5 May 1990 – 5 May 1994
Preceded by Eduardo Fabini Jiménez
Succeeded by Tabaré González
Personal details
Born Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas
(1940-01-17) 17 January 1940
Montevideo, Uruguay
Political party Socialist Party
Other political
Broad Front
Spouse(s) María Auxiliadora Delgado
Children Ignacio
Alma mater University of the Republic
Religion Roman Catholicism

Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas (Spanish pronunciation: ; born January 17, 1940) is a Uruguayan politician who has been President of Uruguay since 2015. He previously served as President 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, he presided over considerable improvements in education and working conditions, a significant expansion of the welfare system,[1][2] and a dramatic reduction in poverty,[3] with the percentage of Uruguayans living in poverty falling from 32% to 20% of the population from 2004 to 2009.[4] Vázquez was returned to office in the 2014 presidential election.[5]


  • Background 1
  • President of Uruguay, 2005–2010 2
    • Policies and governance 2.1
      • Domestic policy and human rights 2.1.1
      • International 2.1.2
      • Military hardware trade controversies 2.1.3
        • Arms from Iran controversy
        • Diversion of Malaysian-owned jet engines
      • Support for delisting coca as a dangerous drug and relations with Bolivia 2.1.4
  • Popularity 3
  • Second term as President 4
  • Honours and awards 5
    • WHO recognition 5.1
  • Cabinet 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


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 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

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 Broad Front 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, likewise 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

Domestic policy and human rights

Vázquez 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.. This reform is known in Uruguay as "the I.R.P.F. reform" (Impuesto a la Renta de las Personas Fisicas, i.e. "Income Tax on Natural Persons"); this reform remains as one of the most controversial measures in terms of the country's taxation system.

The Broad Front 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 legalizing 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 stopping the bill legalizing abortion in Uruguay.


Tabaré Vázquez receives asado a la parrilla

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 Free Trade Area of the Americas.[7]

In June 2008 President Vázquez visited Cuba.[8] While in Cuba, Vázquez and the Presidential party engaged in a number of high-profile events, including a summit with President Raúl Castro.[9]

This visit attracted a measure of censure from the Uruguayan 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.[10]

Military hardware trade controversies

Arms from Iran controversy

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.[11]

Diversion of Malaysian-owned jet engines

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 ).[12]

Support for delisting coca as a dangerous drug and relations with Bolivia

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'.[13]


Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez with Argentine President Néstor Kirchner
Vázquez with Hugo Chávez

President Vázquez began his tenure with a 77% approval rating; but 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.[14] His approval later recovered, however, reaching 80% by his last term in office.[15]

While his decision not to sign the failed Free Trade Area of the Americas treaty in 2006 alienated 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 approved of his administration.[14] A new poll by Factum showed a 57% approval by June 2008, however, indicating a significant recovery from a year earlier.[16]

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 reëlection of the President (forbidden under the present constitution). The central tenet of the reëlection 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 reëlected in a public address he made in June 2007.

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. Vázquez went on to be the Frente Amplio candidate for Presidency in 2014.

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

Second term as President

Vázquez left office in 2010, at the end of his 5-year presidential term, with an 80% approval rating, a record in Uruguay.[15] He formally announced his candidacy for the upcoming 2014 election in November 2013.[17]

Renominated by the Broad Front for the Presidency with running mate Raúl Fernando Sendic on 1 June,[18] he was returned to office in the 30 November elections, defeating right-wing candidate Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou of the National Party by 53% to 41% in the second round.[5]

Vázquez has already nominated his future cabinet:[19]

Honours and awards

Award or decoration Country Date Place Note Ref
Order of Merit  Qatar 2 May 2007 Doha Qatari highest decoration. [20]
Grand Collar of the National Order of San Lorenzo  Ecuador 7 September 2010 Quito Ecuatorian highest order of merit. [21]

WHO recognition

Vázquez was awarded the tobacco control in Uruguay, which has implemented some of the most stringent tobacco control measures in the world.[22]


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–

See also


  1. ^ "Social democracy lives in Latin America". Project Syndicate. 10 August 2009. 
  2. ^ Verónica Amarante and Andrea Vigorito (August 2012). "The Expansion of Non-Contributory Transfers in Uruguay in Recent Years" (PDF).  
  3. ^ "Uruguay: A Chance to Leave Poverty Behind". IPS News. 3 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Turning Activists Into Voters in Uruguay: The Frente Amplio and José Mujica". Upside Down World. 3 December 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Uruguayan ruling party's Vazquez wins presidential election". Buenos Aires Herald. 30 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Uruguay curbs smoking in public". BBC News. March 1, 2006. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Tabaré Vázquez ve inviable al ALCA; Fox lo refuta". El Universal. 27 April 2006. 
  8. ^ SEPREDI, Departamento Web - Presidencia de la Repblica Oriental del Uruguay. "Scenes from President Vázquez's June 2008 visit to Cuba". 
  9. ^ Scenes from Vázquez-Castro June 2008 summit
  10. ^ Pedro Bordaberry (26 June 2008). "Más, nunca". Esta Boca es Mía. 
  11. ^ "'Uruguay caught buying Iranian arms'". The Washingtion Times. 
  12. ^ "El enigma de los motores de F-5 robados". El País. 3 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Uruguayan ports will give Bolivian trade access to the sea". Mercopress. 15 July 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "Vázquez tiene un 44% de aprobación, según encuesta de Equipos Mori". El Espectador. 16 May 2007. 
  15. ^ a b "Tabaré Vázquez cierra su mandato con récord histórico de apoyo popular: 80%". La Red 21. 22 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "Vázquez con 57% de aprobación". La República. 3 July 2008. 
  17. ^ "The Broad Front's candidates and platform".  
  18. ^ "Victory of Vázquez in the Uruguayan primaries".  
  19. ^ "Vázquez' future cabinet". El Espectador. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  20. ^ Vázquez, condecorado por príncipe heredero de Qatar, 3 May 2007 (Spanish)
  21. ^ "ECUADOR CONDECORA AL EX PRESIDENTE TABARÉ VÁSQUEZ" (in Español). Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Comercio e Integración - Ecuador. 7 September 2010. 
  22. ^ "Award Winners named for World No Tobacco Day in the Americas".  

External links

  • (Spanish) Site of President of Uruguay
  • (Spanish) Electoral site of Tabaré Vázquez
  • (Spanish) Biography by CIDOB
  • New leftist cabinet launched in Uruguay (Xinhua News Agency)
  • Uruguay inaugurates first leftist president (The Globe and Mail)
  • Left-wing Uruguay leader sworn in (BBC News)
  • Uruguay joys over new president (BBC News)
  • (Spanish) : Tax ReformEl Espectador
  • Leftist Chief Is Installed in Uruguay and Gets Busy on Agenda (The New York Times)
  • (Spanish) Links for Plan de Emergencia Nacional
Political offices
Preceded by
Eduardo Fabini Jiménez
Intendant of Montevideo
Succeeded by
Tabaré González
Preceded by
Jorge Batlle
President of Uruguay
Succeeded by
José Mujica
Preceded by
José Mujica
President of Uruguay
Party political offices
Preceded by
Liber Seregni
Leader of the Broad Front
Succeeded by
Jorge Brovetto
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