Nardone, Benito (1906–1964)

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Nardone, Benito (1906–1964)

Benito Nardone (b. 1906; d. 1964), Uruguayan radio personality and political figure who rose to political prominence in the late 1960s. His political vehicle was the Federal League of Rural Action (LFAR), the official name for the political movement known as ruralismo. The LFAR was an interest group ostensibly representing small farming and ranching interests even though its founder, Domingo R. Bordaberry, was a large ranchowner. Bordaberry started the newspaper Diario Rural in 1940 and hired Nardone, then a young journalist, as its editor. In 1951 Bordaberry and Nardone founded a radio station, Radio Rural, which quickly thrust Nardone into the public eye. He became the first important media personality in Uruguay.

By the mid-1950s, Nardone held mass public rallies in Montevideo, which he called cabildos abiertos, a reference to the rural protests of the past. Ruralismo was basically a conservative, nonpartisan movement until the 1958 election, when, disenchanted with the politics of Colorado President Luis Conrado Batlle Berres, Nardone joined the Herrerist faction of the Blancos (National Party). Nardone's support proved crucial to the Blanco victory and thrust him into an even more prominent role in national life. His writings under the name Chico-Tazo (Crack of the Whip) became more strident, reflecting a virulent anticommunism and a championing of the "little guy." In this respect, the movement can be compared to Poujadism in France. He attacked Batllismo and all the liberal, urban values it represented while extolling the virtues of the small farmer and of rural society.

Nardone and a new close collaborator, a rich wood producer named Juan José Gari, continued to support the Blancos in their successful 1962 campaign, publishing the magazine Mundo Americano, whose slogan was "with democracy and against communism." The magazine echoed Nardone's attacks on liberalism and the Left. Nardone's movement dissipated quickly following his death. Radio Rural remained on the air, utilizing Nardone's widow as a symbol of continuity, but with rapidly diminished appeal and influence, ruralismo was not a factor in the 1966 elections.

See alsoRadio and Television; Ruralismo; Uruguay, Political Parties: Blanco Party.


Benito Nardone, Peligro rojo en América Latina (1961).

Martin Weinstein, Uruguay: The Politics of Failure (1975).

Additional Bibliography

Costa Bonino, Luis. La crisis del sistema político uruguayo: Partidos políticos y democracia hasta 1973. Montevideo: Fundación de Cultura Universitaria, 1995.

Jacob, Raúl. Brevísima historia del Partido Ruralista. Montevideo: Arpoador, 2006.

Traversoni, Alfredo, and Diosma Piotti. Historia del Uruguay siglo XX. Montevideo: Ediciones de la Plaza, 1993.

                                      Martin Weinstein