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Vázquez, Tabaré (1940–)

Vázquez, Tabaré (1940–)

Tabaré Vázquez was elected president of Uruguay in 2004, that country's first elected president who was not a member of either the Blanco or the Colorado party. He ran as a member of the Encuentro Progresista-Frente Amplio (Progressive Encounter-Broad Front), which had brought together a wide variety of parties of the left since 1994.

Born on January 17, 1940, Vazquez was the fourth son of a state oil company worker and a housewife and was raised in La Teja, a working-class neighborhood in Montevideo. After graduating from high school, he worked at a number of jobs before entering the Universidad de la República medical school in 1963. Married with children, he graduated in 1969. Having lost both parents and a sister to cancer during the 1960s, he chose to become an oncologist and later continued his studies in France, the United States, Israel, and Japan. Beginning in 1985 he was head of radiotherapy in the oncology department of the Facultad de Medicina. He joined the Socialist Party secretly during the years of military rule (1973–1985), although, unlike a brother who spent time in prison, he did not take part in anti-government activities. From 1979 until 1989 he was the president of the soccer club Progreso, which had been founded by his grandparents.

Vazquez's political activities began in 1987 when he was the treasurer for a campaign organized to oppose amnesty for the military. In November 1989 he was the first socialist elected to the intendancy of Montevideo, Uruguay assuming office in the following February and quickly becoming a national figure. Although unsuccessful in the presidential races of 1994 and 1999, his national support was clearly expanding. A soft-spoken man, he ran on promises of making his country more innovative and democratic and on making the government more transparent. He was elected president in October 2004 with slightly more than 50 percent of the vote, and was inaugurated in March 2005. Although his election was seen as indicative of a general left-wing trend in Latin American politics in the early twenty-first century, in his first year in office he followed orthodox economic policies.

See alsoUruguay, Political Parties: Blanco Party; Uruguay, Political Parties: Broad Front; Uruguay, Political Parties: Colorado Party; Uruguay, Political Parties: Socialist Party.


Fernández, Nelson. Quién es Quién en El Gobierno de la Iquierda? Montevideo, Uruguay: Editorial Fin de Siglo, 2004.

Lanza, Edison, and Ernesto Tulbovitz. Tabaré Vázquez: Misterios de un Liderazgo que Cambió La Historia. Montevideo, Uruguay: Alcierre Ediciones, 2004.

Liscano, Carlos. Conversaciones con Tabaré Vázquez. Montevideo, Uruguay: Ediciones del Caballo Perdido, 2003.

Perelli, Carina, Fernanda Figueira, and Silvana Rubino. Gobierno y Política en Montevideo: La Intendencia Municipal de Montevideo y la Formación de un Nuevo Liderazgo a Comienzos de los Años 90. Montevideo, Uruguay: PEITHO, 1991.

Vázquez, Tabaré. El Gobierno del Cambio. Montevideo, Uruguay: La República, 2004.

                                Andrew J. Kirkendall

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