President Cristina Fernandez deeply regretted that history did not allow Uruguay to be part of Argentina and blamed ‘so many other events that divided and separated’ the two neighbouring countries preventing them from being ‘a great, great nation’.
The president speaking in the province of Entre Rios praised the memory of Uruguayan liberator Jose Artigas, who set the foundations for an independent Uruguay, but also first tried to convert the United Provinces inherited from the Spanish empire into a federal state following on the US example. But he was defeated in his attempts by conspiration from the city of Buenos Aires.
“This flag of Entre Rios with its red sash across is the symbol of Artigas, who remains alive in the spirit of Entre Rios, that great Artigas who wanted to become Argentine and we didn’t let him, damn it, How was that possible? Sorry for the coarse expression”, said Cristina Fernandez during a political rally launching the campaign for the August primaries leading to the October mid term election that will seal the last two years of her second mandate.
“I get mad when reading history, when you read and find out that Buenos Aires at the time rejected the delegates sent from the Oriental Band (later Uruguay) and that is why today we are not an only great, great nation, as so many other events that happened and divided and separated us. From history we understand that we must make the reverse path, both inside and outside” added the Argentine president calling on the crowd to support her ‘country project’ led by the ‘people’s baton’.
“If we had followed Artigas legacy we wouldn’t be two nations”, emphasized Cristina Fernandez, who then referring to Argentina called for ‘national unity which does not mean agreeing in all and every issue, but agreeing in those that are essential for the development of the nation”.
There were no immediate reactions from Uruguay to the history statements, but it must be said that Artigas Federal League which included several Argentine provinces was finally defeated when a fearful Buenos Aires conspired with Portugal and later with Brazil to have him and his federal republican ideas ousted. Artigas died in exile in Paraguay but his lieutenants with the guarantee of Britain, managed ten years later an independent Uruguay, protected from the territorial ambitions of its powerful neighbours.
Horacio Brusquera, a Uruguayan historian said that Cristina Fernandez was partly right: although Artigas never wanted to become an Argentine (Argentina as such did not exist then) but rather a federal state, and “yes together it would have been a great nation with Uruguay the head and brains and Argentina the rest”, as history has repeatedly witnessed.