La Calle Pou : A Balancing Act?
Beatrice E Rangel
At age 46 the new president of Uruguay represents the ascent of a new generation to power in South America. Indeed, up to now leaders sprang from the fights to reinstall democracy.
Lacalle Pou was born during the dictatorship days and raised under democratic rule. He thus enjoyed the blessings of freedom and economic stability. He also is the first generation to taste the fruits of globalization as up and until the military rule Uruguay was an inward-looking nation whose horizons did not go beyond the Brazilian jungles and the Argentinian pampas. But with democracy came globalization. 10% of the population had fled military rule and 90% of the diaspora came back home .
Like Samuel Slater who unveiled the secrets of textile technology to what was to become the United States of America exiled Uruguayans brought with them knowledge about advanced production systems; cultures and technologies that were reshaping the Americas. And this inoculation of globalism reinvigorated the economy and opened new markets to Uruguay.
The democratic period that started in 1985 with the election of Julio Maria Sanguinetti developed a strong civic culture that has established limits to conflict and a sound alternativity among political parties. This civic culture based in adherence to the rule of law has secured stability in public policies and with stability growth has taken place.
More recently the Uruguayan business community has become concerned with the drawbacks that materialize with unbalanced trade. Uruguay’s dependency on Brazil and Argentina has more frequently than not caused development hiccoughs. The young generation of business leaders is thus looking at the world carefully to diversify trade and promote more and richer exchanges with Asia, Europe and the US.
To the world Uruguay offers are rule of law; a hard-working population; fertile lands; financial services and more recently technology development. During the campaign economic stalemate and rising crime were the main issues for the population. And a bit more than half the Uruguayan population decided to give a vote of confidence to Lacalle Pou to tackle these challenges.
President Lacalle Pou thus comes with a clear mandate to preserve the stability that has marked the democratic period while getting tough on crime and jumpstarting the economy. And he is quite well armed and position to meet these goals. From the personal view point he represents a new generation that has no ties to the highly ideological agendas that presided the early days of the return to democracy.
He also is a fruit of Uruguay’s globalization. As such knows how to manage other countries interests in favor of Uruguay. He has given signs that he understands that Uruguay can be the moderating power in Merco Sur and a reliable asset to the US in South America. In short, Lacalle Pou might succeed in playing a successful balancing act for Uruguay that could ignite growth while continuing to strengthen democracy and rule of law in a continent where these are scarce assets,
Published by laht.com Monday, March 2nd. 2020
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