Pacheco Areco, Jorge (1920–1998)

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Pacheco Areco, Jorge (1920–1998)

Jorge Pacheco Areco (b. 8 November 1920; d. 29 July 1998), president of Uruguay (1967–1972). A right-wing Colorado Party politician and little-known editor of El Día, Pacheco became vice president in 1966. He became president less than a year later upon the death of President Oscar Gestido. A former boxer, Pacheco proved to be a stubborn politician. Faced with rising social unrest, strikes, inflation, and a budding guerrilla movement, he invoked a limited State of Siege (Medidas Prontas de Seguridad) during most of his term as president. As civil liberties became increasingly restricted, opposition voices rose within Congress, but Pacheco would not back down. As the struggle with the Tupamaro guerrillas become more dramatic and bloody, Pacheco actually received more support for his heavy-handed measures and his increased reliance on the military. In 1971, he tried to succeed himself by promoting a change in the constitution. Although this strategy ultimately failed, he was able to pick his successor, an even more conservative rural rancher named Juan María Bordaberry.

Pacheco spent the years after his presidency as an ambassador, first in Spain and later in the United States and Switzerland. He never denounced the military government and appeared to be marginalized as party leaders struggled to restore democracy in the early 1980s. Nevertheless, Pacheco's faction of the Colorado Party, the Colorado and Batllist Union (UCB), did well in the 1984 elections, helping the Colorados to win the presidency. In the 1989 elections Pacheco's faction, with him running for president, received about 50 percent of the Colorado vote in a losing effort.

Pacheco continued to have a surprisingly large following among the urban poor in Montevideo as a no-nonsense law-and-order politician. In 1992 his faction was the only non-Blanco (National Party) group to offer parliamentary support to Blanco president Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera. In 1994, though in poor health, Pacheco ran again for president and the few votes that he received helped the Colorado Party to defeat the National Party with the election of Julio María Sanguinetti to presidency. After that election Pacheco largely dropped out of politics; soon after he died and was buried with Presidential Honors at the Cementerio Central.

See alsoUruguay, Political Parties: Colorado Party .


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

Edy Kaufman, Uruguay in Transition: From Civilian to Military Rule (1979).

Additional Bibliography

Chagas, Jorge. Pacheco: El trama oculto del poder. Montevideo, Uruguay: Rumbo Editorial, 2005.

Lepro, Alfredo. Refrescando la memoria. Montevideo, Uruguay: 1983.

                                     Martin Weinstein