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The Subversion of Democracy: Uruguay, 1971

Very interesting interview about the plans of the Brazilian military, with American support, to invade Uruguay if the left-wing Frente Amplio or if Blanco candidate, Wilson Ferreira were to win the 1971 election. The invasion was to supposed to occur only if the electoral fraud against Ferreira failed, as the FA was not a serious contender for the presidency at that point in time. In line with the reactionary movement of the dominant classes at the time. The once hegemonic liberal-Battlismo that structured the popular interpellations of 'the people' and democracy was undermined by the more populist Ferreira and of the FA into a more socialist, or nationalist interpellation that directly threatened American interests and the efficacy of the anti-communist/populist crusade of the reactionary powers internal to Latin American and external to it. As the author notes:

"Leicht explicó que, entre 1964 y 1971, el Ejército de Brasil apostó tropas en la frontera con Uruguay, y que, además, con la iniciativa del embajador argentino en Brasil, Osiris Villegas, se elaboró el "Plan 30 horas", para invadir el territorio uruguayo en caso de que ganaran las elecciones o el Frente Amplio o el Partido Nacional, de la mano de Wilson Ferreira Aldunate. "Brasil y los Estados Unidos no iban a permitir un nuevo gobierno de izquierda. Estaba la experiencia de Chile y Perú, y no podían dejar que en otro país más triunfara la izquierda. Y no se trataba sólo del Frente Amplio: Wilson era muy resistido en su discurso, no era agradable para los intereses de los Estados Unidos".


Fact is that the electoral fraud was successful, as the final results of the 1971 election show:

Partido Colorado: 40.96
Partido Nacional: 40.19
Frente Amplio: 18.28

The election results show that at least 59 percent of the Uruguayan population wanted greater government control over the economy, tending towards socialization. This is, arguably, the end result of democraticization and popular incorporation. The only way to stop this was to literally coerce society to accept capitalist dominance. As Laclau argues about Latin America at the critical juncture of the 1970s, "the Latin American masses have developed the antagonism inherent in democratic interpellations to a point where it is very difficult for any faction of the bourgeoisie to absorb and neutralise them. This has led, in turn, to a consolidation of the power blocs and an accentuation of their repressive policies towards the dominated classes' (Laclau 194). Brazil was the nexus of the reactionary movement in the continent as its 1964 coup d'etat against populist Goulart started a twenty-year program of dominance and repression by increasingly alienated dominant classes from the democratic system, unencumbered with the pretense of hegemony and whose primary goal was depoliticalization and establishing a Hayekian, 'technical democracy' where substantive issues of capitalist hegemony would be forever be closed.


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