The Uruguayan president Jose Mujica lost his temper in an incident with a journalist when he was asked what measures the government was planning to avoid a repeat of the situation with a Spanish flagged vessel chased by an Argentine Coast Guard unit and had to take refuge in Uruguayan waters.
The “Villa Nores”, had left the port of Montevideo and was heading for the South Atlantic licensed to operate in the Falklands’ fisheries when she was ordered by GC24 Mantilla to report and wait for a boarding party.
The Spanish skipper requested instructions from the maritime agent in Montevideo and rapidly moved into Uruguayan waters, until reaching the high seas.
The incident occurred in the framework of the diplomatic controversy with the UK over the barring from Uruguayan ports of Falklands’ flagged vessels, which was announced by President Mujica.
Asked on Sunday about the incident Mujica said that “these things happen every week. The only problem is that you the media, are not aware of it. It happens every week”.
A journalist then asked what measures the Uruguayan government was thinking to avoid a repeat of the incident.
“What measures are you talking about? They’ve done it with these and with many other vessels; it has always been the same”, said the Uruguayan president who immediately added “don’t be stupid”.
“Don’t be disrespectful” replied the journalist.
It’s always been the same. You’re talking about dead wood, brother” added Mujica.
But on the insistence of the journalist asking the President not to be disrespectful, Mujica said:
“You are been disrespectful towards me”
“No, not me!” replied the reporter.
“And why did you ask me if we were going to let the incident die out? So OK get out of here now, please”, concluded Mujica who was escorted out by his bodyguards.
This was not the first time the Uruguayan president has been involved in similar incidents with the press. It happened on several occasions when he was a lawmaker, minister and now head of the Executive.