Skip to main content

Uruguay government torn over Venezuela 'dictatorship' row

2 min

Montevideo (AFP)

Uruguay's ruling Frente Amplio coalition has suffered a major schism just three months from presidential elections in a row over iconic former president Jose Mujica branding traditional ally Venezuela a "dictatorship."

Speaking at a meeting of his MPP party on Saturday, Mujica said Venezuela "is a dictatorship, yes, in its current situation there's nothing but dictatorship," according to an audio clip on Radio Universal's website.

His position was backed by Daniel Martinez, the front-runner for the October 27 presidential election, in which the ruling coalition of President Tabare Vazquez is aiming for a fourth successive term.

Vazquez, who was president from 2005-10 and has been again since 2015, is ineligible to run due to constitutional term limits.

Martinez, who leads polls with 30 percent, referred on Sunday to a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet as "conclusive with respect to Venezuela, it's a dictatorship."

That brought a rebuke on Tuesday from Vazquez's government.

"It is not the place of states to comment on the nature of another state's governing regime," deputy Foreign Minister Ariel Bergamino said in a radio interview.

Divisions are rife among the left-wing coalition made up of socialists, communists, social democrats and former MLN Tupumaro guerrillas, like Mujica, who was known as the "world's poorest president" during his 2010-15 term due to his austere lifestyle.

The first accusation of despotism against Venezuela came on Friday from Finance Minister Danilo Astori, a founder member of the Frente Amplio, which translates as "Broad Front."

The row is a blow to Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro's regime as Uruguay has been one of its few regional allies since the Frente Amplio came to power.

Page not found

The content you requested does not exist or is not available anymore.