History, Postwar Decade
Colorado Party, general assembly elections, Communist countries, Blancos, trade restrictions
Tomas Berreta, candidate of the Colorado Party and former public works minister, was elected president in 1946, but he died a few months after taking office. Vice President Luis Batlle Berres completed the remainder of Berreta’s term. During this time, government policy became more conservative and government efforts centered on consolidation of the social changes introduced originally by Batlle and his successors. The presidential and general assembly elections of 1950 brought Andres Martinez Trueba of the Colorado Party to power. In 1952 a Trueba-sponsored constitutional amendment, approved the year before, abolished the presidency and transferred executive power to a nine-member national council of government.
In retaliation against the Uruguayan policy of granting asylum to Argentine political refugees, Argentine dictator Juan Peron imposed travel and trade restrictions on Uruguay. The government, in protest, severed diplomatic relations with Argentina in January 1953.
Meanwhile, declining wool prices and curtailed meat exports had led to increasing unemployment and inflation. To ease the economic situation, Uruguay entered into trade agreements during 1956 with the People’s Republic of China and other Communist countries. The economy continued to deteriorate, however.
In 1958, after 93 years of Colorado government, an overwhelming majority elected the Blancos to power, partly as a reaction to the prolonged economic recession. The new government initiated economic reforms; it was faced, however, with leftist agitation and consequent labor unrest, and it charged that Uruguay was being made a base of international communism.
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