The Government of Uruguay has appointed Colorado Senator Tabaré Viera and the nation's new Minister of Tourism following the resignation of Germán Cardoso amid a corruption scandal.
Viera will be in charge of dealing with the imminent reopening of borders as the Summer season looms over and Uruguay's resorts are increasingly needing to welcome foreign travellers to bounce back from over more than a year of almost no activity.
Viera was put up for the job by former two-time President Julio María Sanguinetti, who is currently Secretary-General of the Colorado Party and has a say in the choice of Ministers as per the alliance which led Luis Lacalle Pou of the Blanco Party to the presidency.
Replacing Viera on the Senate will be Raúl Batlle, son of former President Jorge Batlle, who is on List 15 within the Colorado Party and Sanguinetti would be left without senators of his own allegiance.
The scandal leading up to Cardoso's departure started when former Tourism Director Martín Pérez Banchero accused his superior of making direct purchases without calling for bids. Cardoso sacked Pérez Banchero but he could not stay in office due to the mounting pressure.
In his first statements as Minister of Tourism, Viera acknowledged that he still could not meet with Lacalle Pou, but thanked Sanguinetti, the sector and the party for their support.
Sanguinetti insisted Cardoso had left the ministry ”to avoid a situation that began as a personal situation and ended up being a political conflict that should not be and had to end.”
The former two-time president (1985-1990 and 1995-2000) explained that Cardoso was merely following the procedures which had been left in place by the former administration of the late President Tabaré Vázquez of the Broad Front.
Sanguinetti hoped these issues in the future would be discussed at the parliamentary level and that from now on another stage will begin. Today we begin another stage with the same hope and with the same spirit, Sanguinetti said during a press conference at his home.
The Colorado Party leader spoke of Viera as a great friend and a guarantee of ability, honesty, experience, who “has been a lifelong management man with the ability to transform with a long journey in various organizations.”
Viera also highlighted that as a minister he would always be looking ahead, “always towards the future.”