The condition of democracy in Uruguay over the last two decades has been a model example for almost any other country in the world. In 1999, Freedom House Index rated the level of democracy in the country 1.5, a status that indicated the country was free. Civil rights and political rights were rated at 2 and 1 respectively, with Colorado Party candidate Jorge Batlle winning the 1999 elections with 52 percent of the vote. In 2001, there was a general change of the freedom ratings to 1 mainly because of Batlle’s administration willingness to seek reconciliation based on truth about what happened during a period of military dictatorship (Freedom House, 2017).
That year was characterized by Batlle’s government fighting with the effects of economic turmoil in the country caused by two of its most strategically important neighbors. Uruguay’s exports to Brazil and Argentina alone account for 45% of the total, and economic upheavals in both countries brought trouble for Uruguay. In 2002, there was no change to the freedom index with the major development being the withdrawal of the Blanco Party from the coalition government.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
In the following year, political debate was mainly centered around the free trade disputes with Brazil and human rights concerns with Argentina. There was still no change to the freedom index in the following year, with former mayor of Montevideo, Tabare Vasquez being elected as president (Freedom House, 2017). In 2005, the focus was on the first left-wing government in Uruguay’s history that ended the domination of the country’s political scene by its two traditional parties. In 2006, the focus of the government was addressing the human rights violations that occurred during military rule between 1973 and 1985 while also implementing ambitious social and economic reforms.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
The following year was marked by continuous progress into the human rights violations conducted during the period of military rule as well as political clamor with an eye for the 2009 presidential elections. Structural economic reforms were delayed in the country during 2008 ahead of the following year’s elections. The state of democracy in the country, still ranked highly during this period, highlighted the importance of the 2009 elections. In October that year, ‘Jose Mujica of the ruling center-left Broad Front (FA) coalition emerged as the victor in Uruguay’s November 2009 presidential run-off elections, defeating former president Luis Lacalle’ (Freedom House, 2017).
President José Mujica made an effort through 2010 to bring unity among the opposition parties, with the highlight of the year being the 30-year prison sentence given to former president Juan María Bordaberry for kidnapping and murder during Uruguay’s dirty war. In 2011, Uruguay annulled amnesty for members of the military dictatorship. In the following year, increasing crime rates in the capital, Montevideo, saw the approval ratings of the president slide while the admission of Venezuela into the trade bloc, Mercosur, increased tensions (Freedom House, 2017). In 2013, after public deliberations, parliament passed legislation that legalized the consumption of marijuana in the country; the year was also marked with the first prosecution of a serving general in the military dictatorship, General Miguel Dalmao sentenced to 28 years in prison.
In 2014, the general elections were the main talking point and eventually, Tabaré Vázquez won the presidency for a second term, with the state of democracy index remaining unchanged throughout this period. In the following year, Tabaré Vázquez term as president began, marking important transition points in the Uruguayan government. Over the past two decades, the country’s experience with democracy has been excellent and is ranked highly on the Freedom House Index.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Freedom House Index. (2017). Freedom in the World: Uruguay 1999-2017.