RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The criticisms of the president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, expressed at the CELAC Summit towards Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, whose governments he labeled as totalitarian regimes, generated repercussions in Uruguay.
The position expressed by the Uruguayan president during the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, held in Mexico, where he questioned the lack of freedom and the state of human rights in Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, divided the ruling party and the opposition in Uruguay.
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The Uruguayan president expressed his rejection of opponents’ imprisonment and the lack of full democracies in that meeting.
“In a calm but firm voice, we must say with concern that we see seriously what is happening in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela”, he said.
That position generated reactions for and against Uruguay. Two-time former President Julio María Sanguinetti (1985-1990 and 1995-2000) said President Lacalle Pou rose to the occasion with his criticism “of totalitarian governments”.
Former Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Ope Pasquet, said that what the President said represents most Uruguayans.
On the contrary, the opposition Frente Amplio, the coalition of leftist parties, criticized the president. The former ambassador of Uruguay to Cuba during the Frente Amplio government, Eduardo Lorier, questioned the statements and described them as “interfering”.
The candidate for president of the Frente Amplio, Fernando Pereira, criticized Lacalle Pou and said that human rights in other countries such as Colombia, where the right-wing governs, should be reviewed. “He generated tension, from my point of view unnecessary, with Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela,” he said.
On Sunday, a score of Cubans living in Uruguay mobilized in front of the government headquarters in Montevideo to express their gratitude to President Lacalle Pou. The group showed up at Independence Square with banners that read “Free Cubans in Uruguay”.
In their call, they expressed gratitude to the Uruguayan president in messages that read: Thank you Luis (…) for being the voice of millions of oppressed Cubans (…) for maintaining the commitment to democracy and human rights (…) for the dignified position in CELAC in the face of the complicit silence of many.”