May 14, 2022 4:05 pm

Why is politics so different in Uruguay and Argentina?

They were born from the same segment, but as they grew they differed. why are they so different in political system Argentina and Uruguay, if they were so similar in their political formation?

Uruguay has full democracy, according to international studies, and a privileged position in “rule of law” in the rankings that measure countries, while Argentina is the scene of a noisy fight and suffers a “crack” that prevents those who think differently from coexisting in the same space.

Uruguay has three historic political parties that reflect diverse ideas and alternate in power without drama, while Argentina is entangled in a menu of “fronts” that encompass specific movements and alliances, either by coincidence or convenience.

There is a point there: the parties have a structure, an elected leadership, rules of discipline, followers with political identity, and above all, a set of ideas and beliefs that imply a common bond. And the movements or electoral fronts have passion, shouting, caudillismo, brave bands instead of political militants, people who come for a personal benefit and not because of a conviction.

This difference is not free, because it is another factor that affects the credit capacity and the cost of borrowed money. Uruguay places debt bonds in demanding markets (such as Japan, end of 2021), while Argentina must ask the IMF for a loan that allows it to pay part of previous loans. Argentina’s country risk premium is almost 2,000 points and Uruguay’s is just over 100 points (plus interest rate).

Argentina began to live politics as on a soccer field and militancy strikes the hype to be heard –by noise and not a message– and to prevent the other from being heard.

In Uruguay there is a harsh confrontation and a clash of ideologies that is transmitted firmly, but both parties dialogue, negotiate, sit at the same table, pass the presidential command with republican cordiality. Lately social networks deteriorate the debate, but that is not the case in the chambers or in face-to-face forums; It is not even close to what is suffered in Buenos Aires.

Although some are tempted to transfer images such as “the crack”, to reflect the hardness of the debate between government and opposition in Uruguay, that is not correct. The Argentine expression alludes to a divided land where there is no coexistence and “the crack” is not a line that marks the space of each side, but a ditch that separates the parties, which prevents them from coming together. In Uruguay there is a clash of opinions, but without eliminating coexistence.

Why so different?

In Uruguay there are long-lived political parties that remain in force and even in times of crisis, it has not fallen into the one that “everyone leaves”. There is a concept of alternation and alternative; It is not pitted against the political party that is in power against nothingness itself, but against an expression of opposition that is trusted.

There was a common political root.

The first River Plate political formations emerged at the end of the colonial era, when Spain fell to the Napoleonic invasion of 1808 and in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, society began to argue with two factions: some behind Cornelio Saavedra and others, along with Mariano Moreno.

The fight between the saavedriistas and the morenistas would lead to the bid between republicans and monarchists; and later, between federal and unitary.

Still separated and formed as different states, Argentine and Eastern they reproduced political expressions and even derivations in warlike combats, such as the “Great War”

From the formation of the Eastern State after the peace convention that ended the war Argentinian-Brazilian, the main leaders Fructuoso Rivera and Lavalleja-Oribe, formed bands that identified themselves with badges, one red and one white.

Those sides, with birth certificate in 1836, when they began to use those colors, they became political parties, which was consolidated between 1880 and 1890, and that was affirmed years later.

Meanwhile, At the beginning of the 20th century, Marxist centers were born which in 1910 led to the creation of the Socialist Party and its arrival in Parliament with the first bench in Deputies. Ten years later the Communist Party was born and then both sought to expand, which they partially achieved in 1962 (with two fronts; Fidel and Popular Union) and then with a solid political construction: the Broad Front, which was so broad as to include communists. , socialists, anarchists, social democrats, and even Christian democrats.

Since 1830, those three political groups have governed Uruguay: the Colorados for 134 years, the Whites for 24 years, the Frente Amplios for 15 years, the merger of parties for 8 years and the military dictatorship for almost 12 years.

In the first half of the 20th century, the colorado José Batlle y Ordoñez influenced Uruguay with modern ideas for the time and a social legislation that distinguished the country. The whites opposed with a patient and persistent leader, Luis Alberto de Herrera, impulse of liberal ideas.

The left built a plan for growth and conquest of wills until it came to power in 2005, with his imprint, but without refoundation plans.

They have not been closed structures, nor do they have hereditary leadership, but rather they are collectivities open, alive and with renewal of leaders.

This summer, the ribbon cutting to inaugurate a new great museum in Punta del Este was with former presidents Julio María Sanguinetti (colorado) and José Mujica (front player), and the current president Luis Lacalle Pou (white). No one was surprised, because that coexistence is natural.

At the time of consolidating parties, Uruguay had strong parties and strategic leaders and with the capacity to agree (which implies yielding positions), to co-participate in government, to vote for solutions in crisis, or to make gestures of goodwill.

Meanwhile, also in the middle of the 20th century, Argentina was permeable to the irruption of a movement with a general addicted to populism: personalism over ideas, and the need to build an enemy –not an adversary– to unite forces.

Uruguay is the history of agreements; Argentina is the record of fights.

They were born from the same segment, they were formed with similar communities, but there was a point of inflection at the time of forming a political system: one had parties and democracy, the other fell in the struggle of fronts and movements. That is why they are so different.

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