Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has chosen Luis Alberto Heber to become the new Minister of the Interior following the death of Jorge Larrañaga last week, it was announced.
“I asked Luis Alberto Heber to take over the Ministry of the Interior in order to continue with the management carried out by Jorge Larrañaga. He will continue a process of change, defense of Uruguayans, respect and support for the police,” wrote Lacalle Pou on Twitter late Monday.
According to Montevideo's daily El País, all of Larrañaga's team will keep their positions, including Undersecretary Guillermo Maciel, the general director of the Secretariat, Luis Calabria, and the director of Coexistence and Citizen Security, Santiago González.
Heber has been serving as Transport Minister up until last week. After conferring with Lacalle who coveyed to him his decision, Heber left the room and said There is an order not to loosen up, Larrañaga's powerful catchphrase.
Meanwhile, José Luis Falero, the former mayor of San José who was serving as Deputy Director at the Planning and Budget Office (OPP), will replace Heber. His appointment was due to the good bond he maintains with the group of mayors, and because of his knowledge of logistics and infrastructure in general. Falero learned of his new role on the phone; Lacalle called him for a while before meeting with Heber.
Falero's replacement at the OPP is yet to be chosen.
In 2013, when Luis Lacalle Pou began to think about his candidacy for the Presidency and other herreristas (followers of former President Luis Alberto Lacalle Herrera, father of the current leader) challenged his meager 4% within the National Party, Heber was the first to drop his candidacy and join him, a gesture that would earn him Lacalle's loyalty and protection for years to come.
In the previous legislature when both Lacalle Pou and Heber shared seats on the Senate, the latter always covered for Lacalle to avoid dents to his image. “You are not just another legislator. You are our candidate,” Heber had told Lacalle.
Heber was a legislator from 1985 until March 2020, when he took office as Transport Minister in the Lacalle Pou government. Heber, 63, is, in fact, the longest-serving legislator in Parliament, being first a deputy and then a senator for several consecutive legislatures, until last year.
Falero, 55, also belongs to the PN, for which he was mayor (regional governor) of San José (south) between 2010 and 2020.