Uruguays Tabar Vzquez commits political suicide

Development: On 11 October former Uruguayan President Tabar Vzquez (2005-2010) said in a public event that he had considered a war scenario with Argentina during the row over the UPM (formerly Botnia) paper mill and had even requested support from the George W. Bush administration (2000-2008).

Significance: President Cristina Fernndez of Argentina, who was been bed ridden for 48 hours following a hypotension episode, and President Jos Mujica, who is in the midst of a European tour, have failed to comment on Vzquezs revelations. However, former members of the Argentine administration who were directly involved in the negotiations came out very strongly against Vzquez, as did members of the Uruguayan Right and Left. Until he made the controversial declarations, Vzquez had been touted as the ruling Frente Amplio (FA)s likely presidential candidate in the 2014 election and opinion polls had him as the clear favourite to win that contest. The admission that he turned to the US administration did not sit well with the Left and is likely to have offended members of the previous and current Brazilian administrations whose foreign policy priority has been to promote Brazils standing as the regional powerhouse.

Key points:

I met the three commanders in chief [of the three branches of the armed forces] and showed them the [war] scenario and they told me: well, we can fight a guerrilla war, said Vzquez who later added that he had held talks with then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) to request US assistance in the eventuality of a war.

Vzquez has lowered even more his inexistent stature as a statesman...Vzquez demonstrates that he is a man without knowledge of international politics and law, said Argentinas former foreign minister, Rafael Bielsa (2003-2005).

Uruguayan Senator Luca Topolansky, the senator elected with the highest vote who is also President Mujicas wife, said Vzquezs comments were absurd" and should be remembered as an anecdote for school...I hope that this doesnt complicate [the relationship with Argentina], that the signals that our government has sent to the Argentine government are firm enough.

All the presidents in the region considered the hypothesis of the conflict, another thing is whether they admit to it, said Vzquez yesterday as criticism against him was mounting.

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