MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay opened the commemoration of three decades of democracy after the 1973-1985 dictatorship with a ceremony where speakers emphasized the changes in the country and society over the last 30 years.
“The advent of a government again elected by the people was no more than a vindication of the spirit of those who undertook with strength the struggle for democracy,” Vice President Raul Sendic said, referring to people who resisted the military-backed regime.
Activities to mark the 30-year milestone will continue until the end of the year with the aim of bringing citizens closer to democratic institutions.
The program will include a series of roundtables giving lawmakers, politicians and civic leaders a chance to offer their individual perspectives on the process the country has gone through in the past three decades.
Sendic said that with the return to democracy, Uruguay experienced not only social and political improvements, but a new economic impetus born of the political class’ determination to “repair the disaster” left by the dictatorship.
He described the first post-dictatorship government, the 1985-1990 administration of President Julio Maria Sanguinetti, as “a great struggle to rescue the search for peace.”
“Thirty years allow us ‘amalgamate’ two generations: one that knew, lived under and fought against the dictatorship ... and another generation that was born in democracy,” Alejandro Sanchez, speaker of the lower house of Congress, said during the event.
Sendic also pointed to the “democratic strength” that, in his opinion, Uruguayan political parties have developed in the period.
“In Uruguay, we can declare that transparency is valued by all parties,” he said. “The scourge of corruption that stains so many political parties across the Americas and the world, it is a scourge resisted by each one of our political organizations.”
“We have sustained three decades without exceptional measures, without suspension of individual rights, without interruptions and great frights, except that painful economic crisis in which we saw ourselves immersed in 2002 and from which we were able to emerge without any authoritarian response,” Sendic said.
President Tabare Vazquez and other senior officials were also present for the gathering in Montevideo.