Uruguay’s First Lady and Senator Lucia Topolansky said that for her fellow countrymen having a dispute with Argentina is “like fighting with yourself” and described as ‘painful’ the several years long conflict between the two countries over the construction of the UPM (former Botnia) pulp mill on a shared river.
The wife of President Jose Mujica also denied the existence of a project to build a new pulp mill on the River Uruguay (the natural border between the neighbouring countries), and revealed that yes there are plans for another pulp mill but “to the east of the country” far from Argentina.
Speaking to an Argentine radio Senator Topolansky said that “Argentine and Uruguayan scientists are constantly monitoring whatever can happen at the UPM plant. We must trust in them, they are the ones who know the subject. The conflict over the pulp mill had many more components than environmental issues”.
“People from Gualeguaychú (the town in Argentina across from the UPM plant and which led the protests) with time are going to understand. The number of Uruguayans with family or that live in Gualeguaychú is impressive. Thus the conflict was like fighting with a brother/sister, that is why it was so painful”, said Topolansky.
“Painful because fighting with Argentina is like having a problem with one self. That is why it had such an impact. We worked to overcome the situation and I think it has considerably improved”.
The wife of President Mujica is tipped to be the running mate of Tabare Vazquez for the ruling coalition presidential ticket for 2014. Former president Vazquez has already announced he considers himself a pre-candidate for next year’s presidential election, and President Mujica’s grouping MPP as one of the two strongest in the ruling Broad Front coalition is entitled to the Vice-presidency.
Further on Senator Topolansky said that the controversy over giving the city of Montevideo’s key to visiting Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was ‘the opposition’s position’.
“It’s a very short sighted attitude. Countries don’t move, they remain where they are. We, with the neighbours have always tried to have the best and most fraternal of links. The opposition in Uruguay does not share the idea of the Big Fatherland which the progressive parties of the region support”, claimed the First Lady.
On Tuesday Cristina Fernandez was present in Montevideo for the opening of a fuels (gasoline and diesel) de-sulphuring plant, when she was given the key of the city, but again the Argentine leader overstated. She argued the plant with an investment of 400 million dollars and YPF technology was possible because of Argentine financing.
The truth is that the financing came from Venezuela’s scheme of selling oil on long term soft loan conditions, and a subsidiary of YPF was involved but the technology is Dutch. Likewise the plant became essential for filtering the ‘cheap’ but extremely heavy Venezuelan crude with a high content of contaminating and engine deteriorating sulphur.
The Uruguayan opposition rejected the presence of Cristina Fernandez by not attending the plant inauguration ceremony arguing that the Argentine president has been most obstructive and aggressive when not harmful towards Uruguay with her trade, banking, money-exchange, tourism and industrial policies.
However Lucia Topolansky claimed that the opposition which despises Cristina Fernandez “were the architects in transforming Uruguay is a financial holdout, a fiscal haven, a ‘laundramat’ to launder money which led to the collapse of the Uruguayan economy and financial system in 2002. We have laboriously been dismounting that scheme and we have opted for integration and transparency. But they are free luckily to complain and make statements”.