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Uruguay President Vázquez Isn’t Helping Himself by Banning Protests

By: Priscila Guinovart - @PrisUY - Mar 23, 2017, 12:59 pm
Uruguay President Vázquez
With only 28-percent approval right now, Vázquez is not in a position to go against those he is supposed to defend. (El Estímulo)

EspañolEarly this week, Uruguay President Tabare Vázquez signed a decree prohibiting demonstrations in the street.

Officials argued it would preserve public use of the streets, roads and highways, “whose traffic is intended to be obstructed or interrupted by persons, vehicles or objects.”

The initial kick-off for such a decree was written 18 years ago, has nothing to do with the current administration but still causes discomfort among citizens, mostly because it allows Vazquez’s totalitarian inclinations to be more visible.

The decree is gaining even more strength because it seems to be the government’s reaction to a workers protest near the facilities of the Montes del Plata pulp mill.

With only 28-percent approval right now, Vázquez is not in a position to go against those he is supposed to defend, especially unhappy, demonstrating workers.

Such pickets can be very violent, burning tires and other nearby objects, besides causing other damage and disturbances disrupting the free movement of uninvolved people.

But on the other hand, it is also true that demonstrations, as long as they are peaceful, are a fundamental freedom. Vazquez (the same Vazquez who insists that there is democracy in Venezuela) is fighting against them now, and that should strike some fear and worry in the hearts of the country’s citizens.

Pickets are not nor were a plague in Uruguay. Peaceful demonstrations are frequent. The sudden need to sign and relaunch an existing decree gives people in Uruguay the chills. What are Vázquez’s intentions?

Vázquez says people who complain about a lack of security are those who “are not well informed, who do not know the reality of how crimes against property and people are decreasing. The homicides, the robberies. ”

When you are so far from the real world, to govern with decrees and prohibitions (such as the recent ban on alcohol sales between 10 p.m. and 08 a.m.) is particularly dangerous.

Nothing good can be expected of anyone who intends to impose his own personal concept of order and good manners. Much less if that same someone flirts with and protects dictatorships that are the shame of an entire continent.

Priscila Guinovart Priscila Guinovart

Priscila Guinovart is an Uruguayan teacher and writer. She has written for outlets in Latin America, the U.S., and Europe. While in London, she wrote her book La cabeza de Dios. Follow her: @PrisUY.