Lacalle Herrera, Luis Alberto (1941–)

views updated

Lacalle Herrera, Luis Alberto (1941–)

Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera (b. 13 July 1941) was elected president of Uruguay in 1989 and took office on March 1, 1990. He was the first Blanco (National Party) president of Uruguay elected in the twentieth century. The grandson of the great Blanco leader Luis Alberto de Herrera, Lacalle graduated from law school and gravitated toward a political career. He was elected a deputy to Congress in 1971 but lost his position in 1973 when Congress was closed in the coup that brought the military to power for the next twelve years.

In 1981 Lacalle founded a political group within the Blancos known as the National Herrerist Council, and by 1982 he was on the Blanco board of directors. In the national elections permitted by the military in November 1984, Lacalle was elected to the Senate. In 1987 he served as vice president to the Senate. In July 1988, Lacalle declared himself a presidential candidate. With the 1988 death of the last political caudillo, Blanco Senator Wilson Ferreira Aldunate, Lacalle emerged as the leader of the party. On November 26, 1989, aided by infighting in the ruling Colorado Party and a stagnant economy, Lacalle was elected president, with his party receiving 39 percent of the vote.

Lacalle, an articulate, center-right politician, attempted to steer Uruguay away from its welfarestate orientation. His major goals were to privatize, or at least to bring mixed ownership to, such state-owned operations as the airline and telephone company. He also attempted to reform the social-security system, which was a heavy drain on government resources. On March 26, 1991, he signed an agreement with the presidents of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay for the creation by 1995 of a common market (Mercosur) among these nations. In 1999 he won the primary elections but was defeated in the general elections. He ran again for president in 2004 but was defeated in a two-to-one margin by the other candidate for his party, Jorge Larrañaga. Lacalle has written on political and economic matters, and he authored a book about his grandfather, Herrera, Un nacionalismo oriental (1978).

See alsoHerrera, Luis Alberto de; Mercosur; Uruguay, Political Parties: Blanco Party.


Martin Weinstein, "Consolidating Democracy in Uruguay: The Sea Change of the 1989 Elections" (Bildner Center for Western Hemisphere Studies of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Working Paper Series, 1990).

Charles G. Gillespie, Negotiating Democracy: Politicians and Generals in Uruguay (1991).

Additional Bibliography

Martínez, Durán. Vivir es combatir. Montevideo: Ediciones de la Plaza, 2004.

García Pintos, Pablo. Faltan 60 meses: Peripecias del gobierno blanco (1990–95). Montevideo: Ediciones Cruz del Sur, 2006.

Garrido, Atilio. Lacalle, con alma y vida. Montevideo: Gussi Libros, 2001.

                                     Martin Weinstein

About this article

Lacalle Herrera, Luis Alberto (1941–)

Updated About content Print Article