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Tabaré Vázquez

Tabaré Vázquez

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Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas (taβaˈɾe raˈmon ˈbaθkeð ˈrosas; born January 17, 1940) is a former President of Uruguay
President of Uruguay
The President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay is the head of state of Uruguay. His or her rights are determined in the Constitution of Uruguay. Conforms with the Secretariat of the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the Director of the Office of Planning and Budget, the executive branch...

. A physician
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 (oncologist) by training, he is a member of the leftist Frente Amplo
Broad Front (Uruguay)
The Broad Front is a Uruguayan left-wing coalition of political parties. It is led by Jorge Brovetto. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement.-History:...

 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, Vázquez presided over considerable improvements in education and working conditions, a significant expansion of the welfare system, and a dramatic reduction in poverty, with the percentage of Uruguayans living in poverty falling from 32% to 20% of the population from 2004 to 2009.

Background


Born in the Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 neighbourhood of La Teja, Tabaré Vázquez studied medicine at the Universidad de la República Medical School, graduating as an oncology
Oncology
Oncology is a branch of medicine that deals with cancer...

 specialist in 1972. In 1976, he received a grant from the French government, allowing him to obtain additional training at the Gustave Roussy Institute
Institut Gustave Roussy
The Institut Gustave-Roussy is one of the world’s leading cancer-research institutes and the biggest health center dedicated to oncology in Europe. It is located in Villejuif, South Paris, France...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

.

From 1990 to 1995, Vázquez was the Frente Amplio coalition's first Mayor of Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

. In 1994, he made an unsuccessful run for president as the Frente Amplio candidate, receiving 30.6% of the vote. In 1996, he was elected leader of the Frente Amplio, replacing the historic leader of the left-wing coalition, Liber Seregni
Líber Seregni
Líber Seregni Mosquera , was an Uruguayan military officer and politician. In his youth he a was a member of the Colorado Party. Under successive governments of that party, he had a successful military career until his retirement in 1968...

. He ran again in 1999, receiving 45.9 percent of the vote in the runoff
Two-round system
The two-round system is a voting system used to elect a single winner where the voter casts a single vote for their chosen candidate...

 election, losing to Jorge Batlle.

Vázquez is married to María Auxiliadora Delgado and has three biological children with her (Ignacio, Álvaro and Javier) and an adopted son (Fabián).

Tabaré, like many other politicians in Latin America such as Castro in Cuba or Pinera in Chile, is of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 background.

President of Uruguay, 2005–2010



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 Frente Amplio 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
President of Brazil
The president of Brazil is both the head of state and head of government of the Federative Republic of Brazil. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the Brazilian Armed Forces...

, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva , known popularly as Lula, served as the 35th President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010.A founding member of the Workers' Party , he ran for President three times unsuccessfully, first in the 1989 election. Lula achieved victory in the 2002 election, and was inaugurated as...

, also a centre-left
Centre-left
Centre-left is a political term that describes individuals, political parties or organisations such as think tanks whose ideology lies between the centre and the left on the left-right spectrum...

ist.

Vázquez is a notable football
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 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 has followed a cautious path regarding economic policy. Even though his Finance Minister, Danilo Astori
Danilo Astori
Danilo Astori is a Uruguayan social democratic politician who was the Minister of Economics and Finance of Uruguay from 2005 to 2008...

, has followed a conservative policy
Fiscal conservatism
Fiscal conservatism is a political term used to describe a fiscal policy that advocates avoiding deficit spending. Fiscal conservatives often consider reduction of overall government spending and national debt as well as ensuring balanced budget of paramount importance...

 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" (the abbreviation is in Spanish); this reform remains as one of the most controversial measures in terms of the country's taxation system.

The Frente Amplio 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
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

. The plan, which has met with criticism over its bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

, especially during its initial stages, was run under the responsibility of the Minister of Social Development, Marina Arismendi
Marina Arismendi
Ana Marina Arismendi Dubinsky is an Uruguayan senator and current minister of social development in the government of President Tabaré Vázquez...

. It has been compared to Brazil's
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 plan Fome Zero
Fome Zero
Fome Zero is a Brazilian government program introduced by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2003, with the objective to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty in Brazil.-Contents of the program:...

 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
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

 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
Forced disappearance
In international human rights law, a forced disappearance occurs when a person is secretly abducted or imprisoned by a state or political organization or by a third party with the authorization, support, or acquiescence of a state or political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the...

 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 legalising abortion -currently 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 against the article about abortion, in order to avoid legalising this practice.

International


Among the most complex issues that have dominated his administration is an ongoing conflict
Cellulose plant conflict between Argentina and Uruguay
The pulp mill dispute was a dispute in South America between Argentina and Uruguay concerning the construction of pulp mills on the Uruguay River. The presidents at the time were Néstor Kirchner and Tabaré Vázquez...

 with Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 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 New Zealand and South Korea, and has established contacts with other countries in South East Asia.

2008 Visit to Cuba


In June 2008 President Vázquez visited Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.

While in Cuba, Vázquez and the Presidential party engaged in a number of high-profile events, including a summit with President Raúl Castro
Raúl Castro
Raúl Modesto Castro Ruz is a Cuban politician and revolutionary who has been President of the Council of State of Cuba and the President of the Council of Ministers of Cuba since 2008; he previously exercised presidential powers in an acting capacity from 2006 to 2008...

.
Criticism of visit

This visit attracted a measure of censure from the Uruguayan
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 Opposition, from Pedro Bordaberry
Pedro Bordaberry
Juan Pedro Bordaberry Herrán is a Uruguayan political figure. He is the current President of the Colorado Party-Early life:Bordaberry was educated at The British Schools of Montevideo, gaining fluency in English...

 and others, who were critical of Vázquez for choosing to be in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 during a commemoration – which Vázquez himself initiated – of the victims of the dictatorship of 1973–1985.
Arms from Iran controversy

In 2007 the loading of Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian arms onto a Uruguayan Navy vessel visiting Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, 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 Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

an opposition National Party
National Party (Uruguay)
The National Party , also known as the White Party , is a major right-wing conservative political party in Uruguay, currently the major opposition party to the ruling Frente Amplio government....

.
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
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 (See: Royal Malaysian Air Force#Engines diverted to Uruguay ).

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


In June 2009 President Vázquez, who had been courting diplomatically the Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

n President Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

, announced his support for the delisting of coca
Coca
Coca, Erythroxylum coca, is a plant in the family Erythroxylaceae, native to western South America. The plant plays a significant role in many traditional Andean cultures...

 from the category of a 'dangerous drug'.

Popularity


President Vázquez started with a 77% approval rating, but according to an opinion poll of Equipos/MORI, his approval had fallen to 44% by April 2006. This level of popularity is below the electoral support he received in the 2004 elections and is attributed by some analysts to the decision of the government led by Vázquez not to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 under pressure from the more radical base of his party, which may have alienated more 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 coaltion – the cohesion of which Vázquez is pledged to maintain – is the Christian Democratic Party of Uruguay
Christian Democratic Party of Uruguay
The Christian Democratic Party of Uruguay is a political party of the Christian Left.-Affiliation:...

, 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 approve of the action of his government. Lately a new poll by Factum shows a 57% of approvement, indicating a significant recovery.

In January 2008, two members of the ruling coalition, former Senator José Korzeniak and Foreign Secretary Reinaldo Gargano
Reinaldo Gargano
Reinaldo Apolo Gargano Ostuni is a Uruguayan political figure.-Exile:Gargano went into exile in Spain in 1974 following a coup d'état.He returned to Uruguay several years later.-Socialist Party Leader; Senator:...

, made proposals to reform the Constitution of Uruguay
Constitution of Uruguay
The Constitution of Uruguay is the supreme law of Uruguay. Its first version was written in 1830 and its last amendment was made in 2002. A new amendment is in talks as of April 2007....

, focusing on the possibility of the immediate reelection of the President (forbidden under the present constitution). The central tenet of the reelection 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 reelected in a public address he made in June 2007.

A perceived strength of Vázquez is his ability to hold together in the Frente Amplio
Broad Front (Uruguay)
The Broad Front is a Uruguayan left-wing coalition of political parties. It is led by Jorge Brovetto. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement.-History:...

 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. Though he has not said it expressly, Vázquez does not rule out the possibility of being the Frente Amplio candidate for Presidency in 2014. To this effect, he said that "only the political circumstances and biology will tell"

On December 4, 2008, Tabaré Vázquez renounced his positions at the Socialist Party, due to controversy after his position contrary to abortion.

Tabare Vazquez left office in 2010, at the end of his 5 year presidential term, with an 80% approval rating, a record in Uruguay.

Awards


In 2006, Vázquez was chosen to receive the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 Director General's Award in recognition of his leadership on tobacco control in Uruguay, which has implemented some of the most stringent tobacco control measures in the world.

Cabinet

Minister Name Period
Interior Minister José Díaz 2005–2007
Daisy Tourné
Daisy Tourné
-Frente Amplio associations:She is aligned politically with the Frente Amplio movement, which has been in government office since 2005, headed by President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez....

2007–
Finance Minister Danilo Astori
Danilo Astori
Danilo Astori is a Uruguayan social democratic politician who was the Minister of Economics and Finance of Uruguay from 2005 to 2008...

2005–2008
Álvaro García
Álvaro García (Uruguayan politician)
-Background:He has a professional background in both private and public sector appointments in finance and planning.García also taught at two Uruguayan universities for a number of years.He is a member of the Uruguayan Socialist Party.-Political role:...

2008–2010
Defence Minister Azucena Berruti
Azucena Berruti
Azucena Berrutti , a famous lawyer and Uruguayan politician, she was the National Defence Minister, appointed by the Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez, from March 2005 until March 2008.-Appointment as Defence Minister, 2005:...

2005–
Foreign Affairs Minister Reinaldo Gargano
Reinaldo Gargano
Reinaldo Apolo Gargano Ostuni is a Uruguayan political figure.-Exile:Gargano went into exile in Spain in 1974 following a coup d'état.He returned to Uruguay several years later.-Socialist Party Leader; Senator:...

2005–2008
Gonzalo Fernández
Gonzalo Fernández
Gonzalo Fernández may refer to:*Gonzalo Fernández de Traba, Galician nobleman*Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba known as el Gran Capitán, Castilian general and statesman...

2008–
Education Minister Jorge Brovetto 2005–
Health Minister María Julia Muñoz 2005–2010
Employment Minister Eduardo Bonomi 2005–
Housing Minister Mariano Arana
Mariano Arana
Mariano Arana is an Uruguayan architect and politician, former Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment of Uruguay and former mayor of Montevideo.-Biography:...

2005–
Agriculture Minister José Mujica
José Mujica
José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano is a Uruguayan politician and former guerrilla fighter, a member of the Broad Front and current President of Uruguay....

2005–2008
Ing. Agr. Ernesto Agazzi 2008–2010
Industry Minister Jorge Lepra
Jorge Lepra
Jorge Lepra Loiodice is a Uruguayan diplomat and political figure.-Background:Lepra pursued a business career, including work for Texaco, prior to entering politics.He is politically independent.-Ministerial rôle:...

2005–2008
Daniel Martínez
Daniel Martínez
-Background:Martínez pursued an engineering career prior to taking up a ministerial post. For many years he was President of Uruguayan Engineers' Association.He also taught university courses in his field....

2008–2010
Transportation Minister Víctor Rossi 2005–2010
Tourism and Sports Minister Hector Lescano 2005–present
Social Development Minister Marina Arismendi
Marina Arismendi
Ana Marina Arismendi Dubinsky is an Uruguayan senator and current minister of social development in the government of President Tabaré Vázquez...

2005–2010
Secretary to the President Gonzalo Fernández
Gonzalo Fernández (Uruguayan politician)
Gonzalo Fernández is a Uruguayan politician and former Foreign Minister of Uruguay, having been appointed in March 2008. Subsequently he was Defense Minister until March 1, 2010. -Background:...

2005–
Budget Director Carlos Viera 2005
Enrique Rubio 2007–

External links


Official site
  • New leftist cabinet launched in Uruguay (Xinhua News Agency
    Xinhua News Agency
    The Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China and the biggest center for collecting information and press conferences in the PRC. It is the largest news agency in the PRC, ahead of the China News Service...

    )
  • Uruguay inaugurates first leftist president (The Globe and Mail
    The Globe and Mail
    The Globe and Mail is a nationally distributed Canadian newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. With a weekly readership of approximately 1 million, it is Canada's largest-circulation national newspaper and second-largest daily newspaper after the Toronto Star...

    )
  • Left-wing Uruguay leader sworn in (BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

    )
  • Uruguay joys over new president (BBC News
    BBC News
    BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

    ) El Espectador: Tax Reform
  • Leftist Chief Is Installed in Uruguay and Gets Busy on Agenda (The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    ) Links for Plan de Emergencia Nacional

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