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Montevideo, March 23rd 2019 - 14:49 UTC

Mujica “submissive”, “obsequious” with Argentina, claim Uruguayan opposition

Monday, December 19th 2011 - 03:30 UTC
Full article 26 comments
Lacalle said the current policy is “scaring fishing vessels away from Montevideo” Lacalle said the current policy is “scaring fishing vessels away from Montevideo”

Uruguayan opposition called the government of President Jose Mujica “submissive” and “obsequious” with Argentina for having announced it was barring Falkland Islands flagged vessels from the port of Montevideo.

The situation which is escalating to a major diplomatic confrontation for Uruguay with Great Britain and Spain, (since Spanish vessels with Falklands’ government fishing licences are also being harassed by the Argentine Coast Guard), will most probably be analyzed during Monday and Tuesday’s Mercosur summit ahead of the Wednesday meeting between Uruguayan Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro and the British ambassador in Montevideo Patrick Mullee.

“We can’t have pressures exerted over our government which hampers the interests of Uruguay” said Senator and former president Luis Alberto Lacalle, one of the leaders of the main opposition party.

“All Uruguayan elected governments and even the military dictatorship have been next to Argentina in her claims over the Malvinas Islands sovereignty; however we can discuss about UK war vessels heading for Malvinas, but certainly we can not damage our legitimate interests as the hub port for fishing vessels in the South Atlantic” underlined Lacalle.

He added that the current policy of the government of President Jose Mujica “scares the fishing vessels from Montevideo” in an attitude towards Argentina that can only be described as “excessively obsequious”.

“This attitude of waiting for a signal from the Argentine government is not what we are accustomed to in Uruguay and seriously damages our national interests”, emphasized the former president who recalled that the fishing vessels hub in Montevideo is a business with an annual turnover of 250 to 300 million dollars.

Pedro Bordaberry leader of the opposition minority party said that what is going on is intolerable.

“It’s enough for Palacio San Martin (seat of Argentina’ Foreign Affairs ministry) to make a call and the Uruguayan government rushes to comply. But the other way round does not work: when the Palacio Santos (Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs seat) asks for something it takes months to have a reply”, said Bordaberry.

“This way of reacting from President Mujica who in 24 hours complies with the wishes of Hector Timerman and President Cristina Fernandez does not work the other way: it does not happen with the reference prices imposed by Argentina for Uruguayan exports; it does happen with the dredging of the Martin Garcia Canal nor with the authorization for expanding the port of Nueva Palmira (Uruguay’s main grains and oilseeds export port)”, complained Bordaberry.

The opposition leader further on said Uruguay is on “the wrong track by privileging exclusively the Argentine links” and recalled that back in 1817, when Uruguay’s fight for independence Buenos Aires approved a Portuguese invasion and the country’s leader at the time fought back by signing a free trade and free circulation treaty with the British crown

“If Argentina puts a clamp on us, if Brazil looks another way, we will have to open up to other options”, underlined Bordaberry.

Pablo Mieres from the small Independent party said barring Falklands’ flagged vessels from Montevideo was a “major and incredible political error”, adding he wasn’t aware when such a measure was decided but “only goes to show the lack of professionalism from our Foreign Affairs ministry”.

“This is complete submission because Uruguay receives absolutely nothing in exchange because we continue to be exposed to the same barrage of regrettable attitudes from Argentina” said Mieres.

However over the weekend President Mujica met with all the mayors of Uruguay’s counties (government and opposition) to discuss about local tax issues and distributing revenue, and received a strong unanimous backing for his stand on the Falklands’ flagged vessels issue.

On the initiative from Walter Zimmer, opposition mayor of Colonia just across from Buenos Aires and which much benefits from Argentine investors and tourism, underlined the “courage and bravery” of President Mujica for barring Malvinas flagged vessels from Uruguayan ports.


Top Comments

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  • Redhoyt

    Hmmm - people with a little spine .... interesting.

    Perhaps someone should remind Uruguay that Argentina wouldn't agree to the 1848 Treaty at Lima (which included uti possidetis juris) because General Rosas still had hopes of dragging Uruguay back into a United Argentina. Whether they liked it or not.

    Agentina and come to that Brazil, have a history of wanting to swallow up poor little Uruguay.

    They may do better by keeping in with some serious world powers :-)

    Dec 19th, 2011 - 03:42 am 0
  • Wireless

    I'm sure a Free Trade and Circulation Agreement between Uruguay and the UK would be something that the UK would look forward to.

    If we're prepared to invest time and money protecting non-British people in Libya from oppression, I'm sure we could side with Uruguay should it find itself being oppressed by Argentina.

    After all, Argentina wants to take over everyone else, and despite using terminology like 'brother country' to describe its neighbours, it wants to dominate and control, it has colonial empire building ambitions, and the small countries can be ignored if they get in its way.

    Most beneficial indeed.

    Dec 19th, 2011 - 03:52 am 0
  • Alejomartinez

    Great job Argentina, Mercopress interests also seem to be at stake. Interesting that so many headlines are devoted once again to criticize Argentina. Spain has nothing to say unless they think otherwise regarding Gibraltar. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF A GIBRALTAR FLAGGED VESSEL DOCKED AT AN ARGENTINE PORT???

    Dec 19th, 2011 - 04:04 am 0
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