Uruguay. Tensions between the military and the government, led by the left-wing coalition Breda Front (Frente Amplio, FA), increased during the year and reached their most critical point since the FA came to power in 2005. According to Countryaah.com, Montevideo is the capital city of Uruguay, a country located in South America. The coalition has several former members of the radical guerrilla group Tupamaros, but the threat to abolish the amnesty law for human rights violations during the military dictatorship 1973–85 has never been implemented.
Instead, the conflict with the military was about Caja Militar, the officer’s pension system. Army commander General Guido Manini Ríos was placed under house arrest by President Tabaré Vázquez on September 10 for violating the constitutional ban for officers to interfere in politics. Manini had publicly accused Labor Minister Ernesto Murro of lying when he said that pension reform would be generous. The entire pension system is facing major reforms and is suffering from an increasing deficit. The Pensions Agency stated that the deficit for 2017 amounted to $ 582 million and the generous pension terms for officers, whose combined pensions far exceed civilian officials, have long drawn bad blood among both voters and politicians.
The mood became even more tense after pension reform, despite the military’s opposition, was voted through in Congress in October. A representative of Centro Militar, an association of active and retired officers, even said that the situation was ripe for the military to take over power again in defense of the military’s rights.
In addition to these turmoil, the government also saw its public figures slump during the year. In a survey published in October, the party received only 25% support while the opposition combined, especially the Blanco party, advanced, which both seemed bad for the FA ahead of next year’s presidential election. Some influence from the election of the right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro in neighboring Brazil seemed to have been recorded.
At the end of May, large demonstrations, especially in the country’s second largest city of Salto, were organized against the rising violence. The demonstrations soon spread to the capital Montevideo as well. Although Uruguay has significantly lower murder rates than other countries in the region, violence has increased; 2017 was historically the second most violent year to date with 283 murders.