Juan María Bordaberry

Juan María Bordaberry

infobox President
name = Juan María Bordaberry

caption =
order = President of Uruguay
term_start = March 1, 1972
term_end = June 12, 1976
vicepresident = Jorge Sapelli (1972-1973)
"Vacant" (1973-1976)
predecessor = Jorge Pacheco
successor = Alberto Demicheli
birth_date = birth date and age|1928|6|17
birth_place = Montevideo, Uruguay
death_date =
death_place =
party = Colorado Party
profession = Rancher
constituency =
spouse = Josefina Herrán Puig
religion =
footnotes =

Juan María Bordaberry Arocena is a Uruguayan statesman and cattle rancher, who served as President from 1972 to 1976.

In 1973, he dissolved the General Assembly and was widely regarded as ruling by decree as a military-sponsored dictator until disagreements with the military led to his deposition. On November 17, 2006 he was arrested in a case involving four deaths, including two of members of the General Assembly during the period of civilian-military rule in the 1970s.


Bordaberry was born in 1928 in Montevideo, Uruguay's capital. He was the heir to one of the largest ranches in the country. Initially, he belonged to the National Party, popularly known as the _es. "Blancos", and was elected to the Senate on the Blanco ticket. In 1964, however, he assumed the leadership of _es. Liga Nacional de Accion Ruralista (Spanish for "National Rural Action League"), and in 1969 joined the Colorado Party. That year he was appointed to the Cabinet, where he sat from 1969 to 1971 as agriculture minister in the government of President Jorge Pacheco, having had a long association with rural affairs. (See also: Domingo Bordaberry, Santiago Bordaberry.)

President of Uruguay

Bordaberry was elected president as the Colorado candidate in 1971. It has since emerged that he only won due to considerable electoral fraud. [http://www.blythe.org/nytransfer-subs/Caribbean/Radio_Havana_Cuba-09_May_2002] He took office in 1972 in the midst of an institutional crisis caused by the authoritarian rule of Pacheco. Bordaberry, at the time, was a very minor political figure; he exercised little independent standing as a successor to Pacheco other than being Pacheco's handpicked successor. He continued Pacheco's authoritarian methods, suspending civil liberties, banning labor unions, and imprisoning and killing opposition figures. He also appointed military officers to most leading government positions.

In personal terms, one of Bordaberry's actions which proved in hindsight to have been disadvantageous was his appointment of Jorge Sapelli as Vice President of Uruguay, given the latter's resignation and public repudiation of him in 1973.

In 1973, the military commanders threatened to remove him from power unless he agreed to be the figurehead leader of a coup d'etat. Bordaberry gave in; on June 27, 1973 he dissolved Congress and suspended the Constitution. For the next three years, he ruled by decree with the assistance of a National Security Council.

In 1976, the military, preferring to rule through Alberto Demicheli, already serving in the government and a figure at first thought to be more accommodating to their wishes, ousted Bordaberry from office. The military claimed, whether accurately or not, that Bordaberry wanted to dissolve permanently the political parties and set up a corporatist state according to a pattern with little historical precedent in Uruguayan history. Bordaberry's anticipated 5-year term of office, 1972-1977, was thus curtailed by the military. He then returned to his ranch.

Pedro Bordaberry, a son of Juan Maria Bordaberry, was Tourism and Industry Minister in the government of Jorge Batlle. Another son of his, Santiago Bordaberry, is a rural affairs activist.


On November 17, 2006, following an order by judge Roberto Timbal, Bordaberry was placed under arrest along with his former foreign minister Juan Carlos Blanco Estradé [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6157418.stm] . He was arrested in connection with the 1976 assassination of two legislators, Senator Zelmar Michelini of the Christian Democratic Party and House leader Héctor Gutiérrez of the National Party. The assassinations took place in Buenos Aires but the prosecution argued they had been part of Operation Condor, in which the military regimes of Uruguay and Argentina coordinated actions against dissidents. Timbal ruled that since the killings took place outside Uruguay, they were not covered by an amnesty enacted after the return of civilian rule in 1985.

Bordaberry's arrest was generally met with satisfaction and regarded as the end of impunity in Uruguay, a country considered by some to have lagged behind other Latin American nations in this matter [http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/latin_america/newsid_6160000/6160438.stm] . However, former President Julio Sanguinetti has been critical of the one-sided prosecution of individuals involved in the conflict, and there has been lively media debate regarding issues surrounding Bordaberry's arrest.

One of his sons, Pedro Bordaberry, himself a former minister, has been vocal in public support for his father, and, by strong implication, for a measure of justification for the role of the civilian-military government of 1973–1985. Another son, Santiago Bordaberry, is a rancher and religious activist.

ee also

* List_of_political_families#Uruguay
* Domingo_Bordaberry#Political_heritage
* Politics of Uruguay
* [http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_María_Bordaberry] (in Spanish)


External links

* [http://www.rau.edu.uy/uruguay/iconos/jmbordab.gifJuan María Bordaberry photograph]

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