On the 50th anniversary of the last coup d’état in Uruguay, President Luis Lacalle Pou and the three former presidents alive since the return to democracy in the country united in a joint message: “Never again.” The president called on Julio María Sanguinetti, Luis Lacalle Herrera, and José Mujica to make a joint statement to commemorate the dissolution of Parliament that marked the beginning of a 12-year civil-military dictatorship.
Lacalle Pou, who was not born at the time, recalled the late former presidents Jorge Batlle and Tabaré Vázquez, expressing his conviction that the next president of the Republic, regardless of his political party, would also be present on that occasion.
The President emphasized that for “Never Again” to become a reality, it is fundamental that democracy last forever. He celebrated the national unity and the impulse that his predecessors provided with their presence.
In the speeches of the three former presidents, there was a call for understanding and an end to intolerance and antagonism. Sanguinetti emphasized the importance of saying “Never again to violence,” “Never again to authoritarian messianisms” and “Never again to revolutionary utopias.” Lacalle Herrera, father of the current president, stressed the need not to disqualify others for thinking differently and asked citizens to contribute to maintaining harmony, peace, and democracy in the future. For his part, Mujica, who was a former guerrilla fighter and spent 13 years in prison before coming to power, urged people to take care of coexistence as a way to protect democracy.
The event at the Executive Tower was marked by an incident when Sanguinetti, 87, tripped and fell while taking the stage. Lacalle Pou, in a joking tone, compared the situation to the fall of US President Joe Biden in a military ceremony and helped Sanguinetti get up.
Previously, the four participated in a solemn act in the Legislative Palace, which recreated the last session of the Senate before the dissolution of the Chambers.
The Uruguayan dictatorship from 1973 to 1985 left tens of thousands of opponents imprisoned, banned, and exiled. In addition, an estimated 197 people disappeared in actions attributed to the Uruguayan State, most of them detained in Argentina as part of the Condor Plan, an operation of collaboration between the de facto regimes of the South American Southern Cone.