Fear and Impatience:
an essay on the democratic transition in Latin America

-by Julio María Sanguinetti Coirolo-

translated by D. Ohmans
(c) copyright 2011

Text imprint Buenos Aires, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1991

By Way of Prologue The Spirit of the Eighties Psychology of Transition Tradition, Consensus and the Vote The World in which We Live Legacies of the Past The Economy as Risk Peace, a Political Project Limitation and Referenda Morality for Transitions The Uniform and the Suit Requirements for Governability
BY WAY OF PROLOGUE POLITICAL circumstances led the author of this essay to be a protagonist, in Uruguay, in the process of seeking a democratic exitway following the dictatorship which in 1973 had broken with the nation's institutional tradition. The election over, in November of 1984 the citizenry confided in us the responsibility of conducting the government during the period of democratic reconstruction. It was essential to restore political and civic habits, newly achieve a fluid institutional functioning, to reactivate an at that time prostrate economy and manage the tensions pertaining to a post-dictatorship, with all the accumulation of passions that that implies. They were five years of enormous effort, begun with great hope and ended with an immense tranquility. We lived them alongside analogous processes in Brazil and Argentina, in the Latin American context of the external debt. And we completed it turning over a peaceful and pacified nation. Many opinions have been spilled over the manner in which the public negotiations were conducted, but the success of the Uruguayan transition, resulting in a climate of stability, has not been disputed. Journalistic curiosity has always fallen on interviewing us concerning the keys to this process and the lived alternatives; for its part, academic interest has centered on a more mediated analysis of the institutional, economic or military factors. All that has motivated us to write some reflections on the Uruguayan experience, compared with that of other countries of Latin America. We know that in this material there are no generalizations possible, because there is no dogmatic thesis. Yet the analogies of situations permit finding common inspirations or apparent errors at times. We deal with neither an historical book nor a chronicle. Much less with a memoir (we only believe in posthumous memoirs or the soliloquies of retirement). We do attempt to clarify some concepts and above all to transcribe possible conclusions from our experience. The proposition is that they may be useful for those who assume political responsibility in periods of transition, as for the conscientious citizens who occupy themselves with these themes. We are confident that the academic community too, to whom we try to contribute with the meditations of one who has had time to reflect upon the filly only after he had to ride her, will be interested. JULIO MARÍA SANGUINETTI Montevideo, September 1990 THE SPIRIT OF THE EIGHTIES The society has become enriched, autonomous, has become at once the most individualist and the most uniform, or, to state things negatively, less aristocratic and less revolutionary. FRANÇOIS FURET THE BICENTENNIAL of the French Revolution has been celebrated with a clamorous triumph of its liberal ideals against the Marxist utopia that it combatted throughout the latest century. The fall of the Bastille, the episode symbolic of the Revolution, has its counterpart, symmetric and foreboding, in the fall of the Berlin wall, the Wagnerian epilogue for the communist regimes of Eastern Europe. The eighties have also been a time of democracy for Latin America. Since Independence, never before had there been more democratic republican systems. The sole Cuban exception appears more insular than ever when the Sandinista regime on one extreme and that of General Pinochet on the other culminate in democratic openings, crowned by free elections. So as Eastern Europe begins a transitional stage passing from Marxist autocracies to democratic systems, in Latin America military authoritarians cede way to republican governments elected by the people. Naturally in Europe the change is more profound for it transcends the political domain: it deals with returning to the market economy after a collectivist experience, with revolutionary modifications even in matters of property. In Latin America, with the partial exception of Nicaragua, which derived from a Marxist system, the challenge is to construct--or reconstruct--a legal state of a democratic nature, starting from the free election of authorities. The economists have spoken of the "lost decade" due to the economic tribulations that impeded growth in our hemisphere. It is a pessimistic vision that does not consider the advent of democracy, with its note of hope. The air of the times has changed. A growing urban civilization exhibits the dynamic vigor of modern cities where the new skyscrapers coexist with the marginalized sectors that this march leaves straggling behind. The middle classes adopt an eagerness to participate which democratizes social life while at the same time they question the system of political institutions. The consumer society erupts, diversifying production but inaugurating the neurosis of "having." Ideologies drop back; their schemes appear aged. The citizenry are tired of slogans and messianic guerrillas. The revolutions are sclerotic. The "new military orders" as well. Laboriously, the idea begins anew to make way that the human individual, singular and concrete, is at the heart of democracy and that the miraculous drug of happiness in prefabricated systems can no longer be given. This process meant, from the end of the year 1983 until 1985, accession to democracy by Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, respectively. The method was different in the three cases:
  • Uruguay returned to democracy in an election after a long four-year process of negotiations, which included a constitutional referendum and an internal party election of a national character.
  • Argentina abruptly inaugurated democracy after the fall of the military regime due to the defeat of the Malvinas. There was no previous negotiation and the overthrown president-general handed over power to another general who would simply preside over the holding of elections.
  • Brazil emerged democratized from an indirect election within the system conceived by the military regime to open the internal transitional period with a civilian president elected by a Parliament predominated by the forces loyal to the regime. A happy political combination of Tancredo Neves (spearheading the opposition with José Sarney, of the officialist faction) unexpectedly yielded a formula that gave the Presidency to the democratic opposition. On the military plane, the alternatives for transition were also different in the three nations: while Brazil and Uruguay handled the problems of the military re-insertion without greater turbulence, Argentina had no respite from the pronouncements, rumors and rebellions that constantly threatened the stability of the democratic government. Meanwhile, their economic evolutions were not analogous either. Brazil maintained a growth dynamic led by spectacular exporting, but inflation was growing and ended in hyperinflation. At the same time, hyperinflation also arrived in Argentina, after years of instability and stagnation in its national product. Uruguay, for its part, sustained a rhythm of growth for the five years and beyond in its economic variables, registering three years of decline due to inflation and two of increase, although without decontrol. At the end of the decade, the years 1989 and 1990, a little unexpectedly, new openings were seen in Paraguay, Nicaragua and Chile.
  • In Paraguay, the change is produced at root by a coup of State from within the system. While many observers speculated that one dealt with nothing more than a military replacement, general Rodriguez opens the country towards democracy, through elections and an unprecedented liberalization.
  • In Nicaragua the elections arrive which the Sandinistas had promised. The right, who in Nicaragua like the rest of Central America insisted that the Sandinistas would break their promise, felt repressively defrauded. At the same time, the left, within as well as abroad, unhappily absorbed the impact of an electoral triumph by the opposition that no one thought possible even in hypothesis.
  • In Chile, the regime of general Pinochet fulfilled its promise of opening, later losing the constitutional referendum and arrived at the elections in a climate of liberty. None of the three cases shows the same military evolution. In Paraguay, the new situation counted on support, for the opening is born from within the Army itself. In Nicaragua and Chile it comes from the particularities of civilian governors who can accomplish their transition with politicized armies, commanded by their previous chiefs who not only maintain their military unity but also represent a very relevant sector of public opinion. Thus, economically, different roads are traveled. In Chile the new government gives assurances of maintaining the nation along the line on which it was found, with a very open economy in vigorous growth. In Nicaragua, a destroyed economy should, as well as reactivate itself, change its fundamentals moving from an asphyxiating oppressive collectivization to the restoration of a market economy. When we speak of transition we do so in the sense of a period in which the restored democratic institutions must coexist with remnants and problems of the de facto period. Strictly, transition will be that moment of passage of the de facto situation to the recognition of the state of law, but this criterion seems too formalistic and limited for the time. So from there, in a wider sense, we consider it as an effort at reconstruction that advances dodging the inherited obstacles. We are too close to the facts to be able to see them with sufficient historical perspective. Some of these transitions have recently begun and, probably will have to traverse difficult moments analogous to those that characterized the previous ones or those which--even before--returned democracy to nations like Bolivia, Peru or Ecuador, or shall pay the stipend still pending for the Central American democracies, reestablished in the midst of violence and crisis. The political class already performs an important work of analysis and clarification. To them it suffices to add the experience of those who have been protagonists in these processes, assuming responsibilities within the limits imposed by a reality always much more demanding and complex than the doctrine. Without evaluating the economic conditions or the state of opinion, the risks that are experienced and which often have to be hidden so as not to sow public alarm, are very difficult to know fully from afar due to their extreme complexity. The dramatic destiny of a democratic government is that what is avoided is not seen. Only that which occurs is judged. But what they managed to avoid, and in this manner construct the peace, should not be told because it was not in the people's experience. To outline the conflict, to pacify passions, to patiently proceed so that all the actors proceed expressing their roles and occupying their space, to construct an economic climate of confidence and tranquility, reaching a tacit state of opinion in which the fantasy of a State coup vanishes, comprise objectives that, when fulfilled, measure the success of a transition. Nevertheless, they are not always immediately appreciated; only when they come to be commitments are they valued in their real dimension. Despite the deformed perspective that receives the effect of this agenda which seems a non-agenda, the man of the State should persist in the effort. The result of a pacified nation will be for all, governors and governed, the greatest recompense. PSYCHOLOGY OF TRANSITION I am myself and my circumstances, and if I do not save myself within them, I do not save myself. JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET TRANSITIONS depend upon the administration of two sentiments: fear and impatience. The fear of those who move away, the impatience of those who are arriving. They are taking the step of renunciation more or less pressured by the circumstances, but assuming the risk that that act represents what many of their companions view as a surrender or ingenuousness. Others experience the triumphalist euphoria of the democratic return and that inflates their spirit, excited by surroundings where everything is reclaimed and "now." The fear of which we speak should not be confounded with an ominous or paralyzing fear. Far from it. In the military mentality there is a traditional cult of courage, belonging to an intellectual and spiritual formation conceived by war. It must always be presumed that the military possesses a discipline of character in which pride and shame overcome the natural paralysis of fear. The question is that these military are acting outside of their environment, in a political scenario where they feel to be outsiders, despite being immersed in it. The unknown creates insecurity and that is accentuated by lack of confidence towards the political directorate that begins to appear on the other side of the familiar. In these situations they normally play a role concerning the influence of civil and family surroundings. In those one might find a stubborn factor of resistance, at times inflamed. We deal with those who have made a political career in the de factor situation, who had been promoted in the administration, whose previous pictures have been replaced, some impresarios who have benefited or simply profit from a government that dominates the trade unions and carries out a political economy without concessions to public opinion. All those dread losing position or being victims of revanchist attitudes. The military have arrived at the situation of transition after an internal process of debate. Only very exceptional circumstances could have generated a rare unanimity. In the Uruguayan situation a long lapse occurred in which the idea of arriving at an opening was maturing, yet with guarantees that would preserve the institution from the attacks--perceived as inevitable--of their longtime enemies or of politicians impassioned by the years of confrontation. In such a situation the military position is always convenient of warning against the risks the institution runs upon leaving power and positioning itself as possible victim of revenge. Very difficult on the other hand will be that of those who defend the idea of the opening, whether out of democratic conviction, or from considering that the historical time of the regime is over, whether from believing that it is the best way to preserve the military institution from the evils pertaining to absolute power, or perhaps for a varied mix of all these reasons. The dynamic of the facts advances leaving some with the comfort of critique, owners of the menu of reproach against whatever transpires, and the others with the weight of a growing responsibility. It is natural that they feel, then, the reasonable fear of any rational person before a difficult decision, and that the other exacerbate it even more with the admonitory tone which prepares the case for an eventual settling of accounts. In the political medium, a parallel evolution separates those who bet on the fall of the regime without negotiation or transaction and who want to take advantage of the circumstances to come out ahead, although at the cost of some concessions. In this field also the radical attitude is the most comfortable: it takes a principled intransigent position and awaits the miracle; while meanwhile they accuse--more openly or more secretly--those of continuationism or accomodationism who assume the difficult responsibility of crossing the minefield to find a solution for the nation. For such moments there are no prefabricated recipes nor magical formulas. As in all political negotiation, an appreciation of the bargaining power held by each sector depends upon the circumstances. After the defeat in the Malvinas, the Argentinean military government lacked political and even psychological strength, and this allowed an exit practically without negotiation. For its part, the Chilean government of general Pinochet, with a situation of economic growth and military unity, possessed great strength which even permitted the retention of the ex-president as commander in chief of the Army. In contrast, in Uruguay, the deteriorated economic situation and the exhaustion of the mission that the Armed Forces themselves had defined for their intervention diminished their power. Nevertheless, they maintained clear military control that enabled them to remain in power a long time more. The fundamental debate then moved to the heart of the Armed Forces where it was indispensable that the majority begin to understand that their permanence only would mean deterioration of the institution and no solution for the nation. It is always difficult to assume an Ortegan "circumstance." Politics has dreamt of itself as the great constructor of a world of generous ideals and now has to grapple with a reality full of miseries. The military wished for itself the redemptive mission of savior and now, with the heroic space gone, must come to agreement with those it sought to replace. The existential challenge is not only taking account of this "circumstance" but also of "redeeming" it so as to "redeem" itself, which was not considered when the Spanish master is cited. Starting from reality and its recognition, our ideals should be translated into a project for action, never into a paralyzing resignation. What is fundamental is, as always, to be clear about goals. If, for the politicians, these are full democratic restoration, with the fewest possible concessions during the time of transition, and for the military is preserving revanchist attitudes or political power that modifies its rules of internal play, the effort should be directed at reconciling both visions. At that point, the military will always tend toward an autonomic activity concerned with not being subordinate to the government, even when they do not expressly say so and even when at times they do not do so tacitly. Inversely, the politicians attempt to keep their hands free, without any class limitations, returning without more ado to the day previous to the State coup. Both must be convinced that such is not possible in an extreme form and that without reciprocal concessions, fundamentally without reciprocal guarantees, there is no durable solution. The problem is in the distrust. The military fear that the politicians will divide them and manipulate the chain of command and obedience with partisan criteria; they fear that investigations will be initiated for excesses committed in the past; they fear that the leaders with whom they speak and eventually settle, afterwards cannot control the situation even when they act in good faith. In turn, the politicians fear that the military will remain sequestered in their organization with the capacity to return at any moment; they fear that without judgments or investigations of the previous excesses a psychology of impunity will be consolidated; they fear that in certain classes of issues like syndicalism or public order its influence will be excessive. For there to be an understanding it is necessary to transcend the reciprocal distrust. While the politicians keep seeing a secret coup behind every military and he in them a subversive or accomodationist incapable of fighting for morality against the enemies of the system, it is impossible to construct anything solid. Confidence has to be attained through deeds. One or the other should begin by recognizing their distinct visions, yet being very meticulous in the fulfillment of those agreements that are being achieved. Thus will be born, first respect and later confidence in the reciprocal loyalty. Thus, the initial understanding of a few on each side, who believe in the exit, will come to be extended and amplified. The day that that confidence is generalized, in which one does not speak of "them" and "us," the transition can be considered completed and will then enter into normality. TRADITION, CONSENSUS AND THE VOTE Whoever wishes to reform an ancien regime into a free State will do well to preserve, at least, the shadow of the old institutions. NICHOLAS MACHIAVELLI THE URUGUAYAN transition had in its favor some factors of signal importance: the democratic tradition of the country, development over a long period of previous negotiation, the support of the union of the parties and social forces who maturely accepted the necessity of contributing and, definitively, the legitimacy of the citizenry's vote, which frames the process with two great plebiscites, that of 1980 and that of April 1989. Tradition, basically, is a set of values, or procedures, of sensibilities, that comprise a national mentality. Beneath the conjunctures there are always permanencies, difficult to abolish, given that the ruptures, even those that attempt to be foundational, take elements from a past which is present in the people's manner of thinking and acting. Also, they incorporate elements that endure when the time of restoration arrives. Uruguay dealt with the cultural weight of an old democracy, patiently constructed over more than a century. Something analogous occurred in Chile. In Argentina a democratic ideal existed, nevertheless contradicted by the deeds repeated throughout more than half a century. Nicaragua, however, where an interesting yet dangerous period of change is conducted, has a different patrimony: there the attempt is not to reconstruct but to construct for the first time a system for which they do not possess the experience, the habits assumed by a people secularly accustomed to the excesses of authoritarianism. The procedure by which one arrives at the institutional opening naturally influences its development. In Argentina there was not a previous negotiation; when the government of Dr. Raúl Alfonsín assumed power in December of 1983 there existed not even a minimal understanding between the highest political directors and the military hierarchies. In our case, on the other hand, the exit was preceded by long negotiations carried out between 1980 and 1984. Except in the final stage, they ended in failure and more than once the dialogue was interrupted due to the conviction they were fruitless. Nevertheless, this period served for the military--little accustomed to negotiate--to learn to do so, and the political directorate--very alien to the military mentality--would begin to better understand its characteristics. A period of dialogue, then, is a favorable circumstance: the deadlocks, the ghettos, the attitudes of enclosure within one's own group are incompatible with a time that requires, above everything, reciprocal comprehension. The widest social consensus possible is another factor of positive relevance in the process of transition. To exhaust it in the democratic election of a government is an insufficient vision, from which something lasting would be hard to produce. A recently elected democratic government initiates enormous expectations that often can translate even into the promise of an age of prosperity. After years of asphyxiation all the claims mount up. The simplistic image spreads with great ease that democracy means some bread under one's arm. An obvious source of disenchantment, exploitable by the enemies of the democratic emergence, is necessary to keep from society. For that nothing is more opportune than an understanding between political, economic and social forces. In Spain this was done in the Pact of Moncloa (1977), in Uruguay in the so- called National Coordination Programmatic, whose basis was laid in 1984, before the election, in the presence of the principal candidates. The latter was not as effective in actuality as the Spanish precedent: it did not last that long, a wave of strikes diminished its credibility from the beginning and each sector interpreted the accords in a subjective manner according to its interests. In any case, it served to avoid clashes and opened a fluid dialogue between sectors that previously was not practiced. The expression of the citizenry's public opinion, fundamentally through the vote, becomes another decisive factor in the generation of the legitimacy necessary for the reconstruction of the system. Necessarily, upon leaving a dictatorship elements and problems emerging from the past are projected into the following period. The necessary transactions between the forces in struggle necessitate the construction of transitory institutions or guarantee mechanisms to throw off doubt concerning the democratic pulchritude of the new situation. That is natural, logical and even desirable--that no one is left out--yet it always awakens suspicions stemming from past confrontations, if not abuses, especially from those hyperjuridical or intellectualized mentalities who accept nothing but the abstract implementation of the system. In Uruguay, the essence of the Naval Club Pact, which spearheaded the transition, was the acceptance, only for the span of one year, of some institutions which--previously agreed--the exiting government decreed. The full validity of the democratic Constitution voted upon in 1967 was accepted, the Institutional Acts repealed that had been modified in the name of the de facto powers and in their place were included transitory norms which would offer some guarantees to the military forces. Those were: 1) The creation of a Council of National Security, to be headed by the president of the Republic and integrating three ministers and the three chief commanders. The organ was strictly valuative, lacking all executive power, with a civilian majority and only to be convened by the president. Its constitutional powers could not have been more anodyne, but it nevertheless provoked resistances, due to the antecedent of similar previous proposals, in which the organ appeared as a true controller or fiscalizer of the government. The partisans and adversaries of the Naval Club Pact spent rivers of ink discussing this theme that later, among the facts, lacked all relevance. Such a council was never convened. Conceived as an organ of special assessment for certain restricted materials, the assured the military a natural domain where they could translate their points of view into Executive Power. In fact, the dialogue turned out to be so frequent and fluid that nothing would be added by the formal reunion of that assessment body. 2) The establishment of a state of insurrection, emergency powers for very grave cases of insurrection, in which individual guarantees could be suspended by initiative of the Executive Power and through law approved by an absolute majority of both chambers. It represented a logical institution in any democratic Constitution encumbered by all the guarantees of the situation. We said then that the danger was not establishing the norm, but that there could be a situation of this nature after only a year from the restoration of democracy. Happily nothing occurred and the rule disappeared a virgin. 3) In cases of promotions to general, it was foreseen that the staff of the Forces would propose double the number of candidates to the vacancies produced, leaving the Executive Power with approval by the Senate in charge. Nothing from the other world, as is seen. In short, instead of a free election and free constitutional re-establishment, there would only be accepted, transitionally, some norms that in no way betrayed the democratic principle and were presented with the necessary guarantees. Looking at them from today's perspective, the discussions in this respect seem somewhat far-fetched, only explicable by prejudices and the persistence of certain political prescriptions that could have been surmounted in a wider accord. In the Uruguayan process the citizenry had two great occasions to express itself: the plebiscite of November of 1980 and that of April, 1989. In the first instance, the military government submitted to the public's verdict a project of constitutional reform which proposed an institutional emergence and culminated in elections, yet with restrictions such that the majority of the political forces resolved to oppose it. The Yes side launched a copious publicity campaign; the No's were banned from access to paid advertising space. As the principal political directors our civic rights were restricted, such that we could not appear in the press media. At that time I wrote in the daily El Día articles concerning international themes or matters of timely social interest; I succeeded in getting published an article titled "Towards a No on the 30th," where I maintained that a negotiation could move forward, but now only an attitude of resistance would do to a constitutional project that had not been negotiated with anyone and which would be imposed, installing also a nominal democracy, incompatible with the essence of their system. From then on that publication meant an immediate engagement for the intelligence services and later a pecuniary sanction consisting of a 50 percent reduction in my payment received as a senior deputy and minister with more than ten years experience in political charges, besides other computable services. When the campaign was launched, the government of the time assumed an outcome favorable to Yes. An economic euphoria was being lived, artificial as later was seen, but greater than any other in recent years. Its basis was an enormous overvaluation of the national currency, the result of an anticipatory pre-fixing mechanism of a sort linked to the dollar with six months of anticipation. It was attempted, by that means, to maintain inflation controlled at the same time as inducing a reactivation. An identical system was applied then in Chile and Argentina, where the de facto governments allowed being dragged along in a manner disseminated by economists of the international financial organisms and by some North American academics. The Yes propaganda campaign insisted that elections could be arrived at via the new Constitution, while that of No left the nation pathless; in quite an open fashion it threatened the population with that a No would prolong, perhaps indefinitely, the possibilities of a free election. The polls seemed to ratify this conclusion and Gallup published a study whereby Yes won by a round percentage. Thus we arrived at the plebiscite, in a climate of enormous uncertainty. The campaign in opposition had been person by person, without higher organization given the situation of the parties and trade union paralysis. The surveys were negative; only three presentations had been done in movie houses. We lacked then, a frame of reference. The only really significant episode consisted of a television program in which two government figures (the State counsel doctor Viana Reyes, an ex-magistrate of solid juridical grounding, and the lawyer colonel Bolentini, State minister and councilor, a controversial yet able polemicist) confronted a veteran nationalist politician, doctor Pons Echeverry, and a university professor of the red political party, though without militancy, doctor Enrique Tarigo. The latter acted in such a convincing manner in impugning the proposition, producing such an impact upon public opinion unaccustomed to the exercise of criticism, that he was automatically transformed into a political figure whose activity culminated as vice president of the Republic during the years when I ran the government. The night before the plebiscite, leaving the editing of El Día, I confessed to Manuel Flores Mora, politician and journalist of the red party, my fears about the result. Aiming his eyes at me he said: --Look, Julio, we used to be called the Switzerland of the Americas and now we are going to demonstrate whether someday we really merit that title. It does not move me that they say dictatorships always win plebiscites, because plebiscites of this nature have not been held in countries with democratic traditions. I believe that we truly were the "Switzerland" and am confident we shall demonstrate that again... At last the election arrived and the outcome was 885,824 No votes (58%) and 643,858 Yes votes (42%). This result provides a very interesting example of the dubious value of polls in moments when public opinion lacks public liberty and fear often inhibits the free expression of an opinion. This case was also an interesting example of the negative effect of propagandistic saturation on television. The campaign, according to the opinion of reliable publicists, was not bad, its message being clear and even convincing. But the abuse of the media and the excessive intensity of the reiterations produced a negative reaction in a society that felt obliged to vote for what was proposed without benefit of analysis nor possible option. This conclusion was much assisted by an absurdity added of late according to which, in the first election to be held at the end of that year, there would be a single candidate emanating from the governing institutions of the regime themselves. This was easy to ridicule and wrested credibility from a campaign whose intensity translated into an increasingly authoritarian tone. This plebiscite marked an era. The reaction of the military regime was irate at first, but soon they began to converse. Within their ranks, those who had invented that approach were weakened and those military who envisioned the necessity of a solution began to express themselves a little more openly. The plebiscite of 1980 comprises the beginning of political opening. That is what occurred between that date and the other plebiscite: that of April 1989, the last year of the democratic government in which the law of amnesty for the military could be voted upon. The nature of the issue, the moment when it was done (a year of general elections) and the long debate that preceded it gave it the character of a plebiscite on the entire transition. The judgment there was also clear--1,082,454 for Yes (56%) and 799,104 (44%) for No--and with that the process was vested with an indisputable democratic legitimacy. It should be added that between those two pronouncements occurred, likewise, another two: the internal election of 1982 and the national election of 1984. The first was an election of authorities for the parties created by the same act, the same day, on the same electoral tables. Its convening resulted from the military government not considering the old directors legitimate and demanded to deal with those who really represented party opinion. In fact it turned into a national election and even though the Broad Front was not authorized, it appeared by means of the write-in vote. In every case, the intra-party debate was held around those terms: compromisers or collaborators with the military government and opponents, themselves divided, in turn, into two modalities - the radicals and the moderates, who already aimed at a search for a negotiated solution. The other popular pronouncement was the election of November 1984. Naturally a government was elected there, but above all, guides for the transition process and thus opinion did not choose those who seemed weak before the military or too radical to ensure the peace. Two plebiscites and two elections gave the Uruguayan transition solid political and moral legitimacy. The experience serves to suggest that this road, difficult and even dangerous, if used as an opportunity can turn out successful for a system's consolidation. THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE A man of his time is a man for all seasons. JOHANN W. GOETHE THE TRANSITIONS of the Eighties developed in an international climate propitious to the democratization that advanced, in the same manner in which, inversely, the coups of State around the Sixties and the years of the Seventies stimulated each other, in a domino effect wherein the pieces kept falling one after another. There can be no doubt that this international context had a favorable influence, even psychologically. From that, however, one cannot derive a sort of mechanical action in which the outcomes become inevitable. Just as many coups of State could have been avoided, also many democratic emergences were delayed--or impeded--by exclusively internal circumstances, which definitely are the essential ones. The human rights politics of president Jimmy Carter doubtless contributed in a favorable way. At times it produced confrontations with the military governments, losing the capacity for dialogue, or suffered from an ingenuous execution, that at times confused Marxist guerrillas with democrats and conservative politicians with militarists. However, no one could doubt that his healthy inspiration positioned the United States in a scenario where its political authority was strongest and which encouraged those who struggled to rediscover the system of liberties. An example of this is the case of Uruguay in August of 1977, when his ambassador Terence Todman visited Montevideo. His visit--in a very isolated country--produced an enormous impact. It was applauded in the streets, which had not occurred with an American leader in years, and provoked from the government some definition of the chronology of the political exit. The latter had been spoken of for some time, and certainly was not then made public, yet the fact is it allowed a positive response to be presented to the government of the United States. This chronology was that which set November 1980 as the date for the constitutional plebiscite (which effectively was done) and 1981 for the national elections (later postponed due to the rejection of the constitutional project). Another illustrative episode was the visit of the king of Spain in May of 1983. We were on the verge of beginning a round of conversations with the military. We spoke but--as with so many things during that time--nothing was finalized. The occasion of the visit precipitated the initiation of dialogue, with the goal of showing the international community how something was already developing. What is important is that the royal presence was taken by the public as an affirmative act of the democracy and not the inverse, of support for the government, however much the latter may have wanted to capitalize it in its favor. Every word of the monarch about democracy, every gesture of this nature, produced an impact that extended like an electrical wave. The culminating point was an interview granted in the Spanish Embassy to the supreme Uruguayan political directorate, including those whose rights still were proscribed. A crowd of several thousand people pounded on the door of the embassy acclaiming the king and democracy. These episodes make evident that, to open up a regime, there is nothing more effective, pardon the redundancy, than opening it. When they are closed off, breaking diplomatic relations or blockading them, they consolidate. First, because that permits the regime to wrap itself in the nationalist flag of being attacked from outside and second because the isolation debilitates those who are far from power and have no medium to express themselves or instruments which would allow them to inspire the citizenry and at least announce to them their existence. This tactical option was often discussed among the democratic political leadership in Latin America. Radical temperaments, accustomed to collision, put forth solutions of confrontation. The other thesis was always shown more effective: what is important is that the influence of the friendly nation manifests itself, and that requires dialogue and diplomatic contact. A resounding example: the visit of the Pope to Poland in 1979, indubitable beginning of the thawing process that will lead in ten years to the explosive fall of the communist regimes. Just as the international factor should be valued, it should not be overvalued; it is a help if internally there exists a viable political project of ideas and forces, and if not, is innocuous. With transition underway, good conduct of international relations becomes of ever greater political value. The creation of a generalized climate of support nurtures the recently born systems and, by contraposition, discourages nostalgic recidivism. The extent that the transmissions of command have had in Latin America in recent years--a fact without precedent for the presence of numerous chiefs of State and councilors--offered an interesting mode of support. It is the opportunity, furthermore, for many statesmen with experience to provide the actors in play with clear testimony as to the viability of the road undertaken. Along the economic dimension, so fundamental--above all in destabilizing-- an adequate international comprehension has unfortunately not existed. The new democratic governments of Latin America had to debate in the midst of harassment from an external debt that robbed their sleep. It is true that many treated it in an arguable or clearly negative manner, but it also is true that very little support came from abroad. The Baker Plan was a well-conceived plan, as is the actual Brady Plan. But one or another never passed beyond the condition of good initiatives to become true plans, with adequate objectives and provision of the means necessary to reach them. The Cartagena group fought boldly to create a climate favorable to an unconventional solution. And there is no doubt that they kept achieving improvements in refinancing procedures or in reduction of the debt. But those were insufficient for the theme not to be the principal protagonist in the scenario. The same can be said of the protectionism of the industrialized nations, which distorts international prices and impedes those countries, indebted and full of problems, from finding the conditions of stability that nourish investment. At Punta del Este the Uruguay round of GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) was launched in 1987 as an attempt--the first in history--to disengage the protectionist net and offer to the world a perspective of a more transparent market. Five years of incessant effort has gone by and the truth is that even when advances are attained, no one thinks, at that level, that there will be dramatic changes. It is opportune to observe, in this respect, limitations that the democratic governments of the developed world exhibit at the hour of making decisions. The European nations, for example, recognize that their agricultural politics is not rationally defensible; nevertheless, at the defining moment, are paralyzed by the political pressure of farmers who are influential in the elections. The same occurs with the North American government, which is often observed from afar as much more powerful than it is, confusing the magnitude of the economy of the country with the slim margin for maneuver of a State always in deficit. Its governments have been decidedly in favor of liberalizing foreign trade since the time of Reagan, but such possibilities proved very weak before the protectionist tendencies established in Congress, where only exceptional figures view the world panorama while the majority, conditioned by the direct interests of the statewide electorates, acts to serve them without further discussion. In a world that was emerging from bipolarity, and which began to distance itself from it at the end of the decade, external circumstances were seen from a totally novel perspective. The United States-Soviet Union conflict was departing the scene to give way to a stage of cooperation. It ceased financing and support for the Latin American guerrillas and produced a new closeness of the United States to its hemisphere, especially because Europe, self-absorbed in the perspective of its unity in 1992 and with the great surprise of the events in the East, diminished its active presence in Latin America, after a moment of renewal. In this context, then, transitions took place--and take place--somewhat orphaned. Foreign interests, which came to be very active in 1985, had declined five years later. The press itself, that for a time followed the happenings little less than daily, now did not maintain the same reflex. It only pauses on some economic catastrophe or some folkloric situation, easy to exploit. It should be said that in journalism there was displayed a relatively low comprehension of the nature of our political processes. In the United States easy generalization was too common about a hemisphere whose diversity was not perceived. At the same time, transitions were approached from a very partial angle as a sort of cowboy movie conflict between good (humanitarian organizations, fighters for human rights) and evil (the military) beneath the expectant gaze of political leaders towards those who alternately would locate in one or the other camp according to the conjunction of forces seen in the episode of the moment. In general, one could (and can) recognize factual honesty in the telling but a recurrent lack of focus in the evaluation of those same deeds. The European press on the other hand, more mature in its interpretation, much more reflected (and reflects) the political orientation of the newspapers themselves, filters that deform occurrences beneath their prism. The theme that might interest a communist, socialist, Christian Democratic, or liberal periodical is predictable in advance and thus also is then the journalistic image. For this reason the European public could not understand how general Pinochet could count a very important sector of opinion in his favor--as he showed in the referendum and in the election--such had been the journalistic caricature of his figure, that the fact appeared as truly unintelligible. This journalistic phenomenon seems to us of summary importance, for in the contemporary world, with so much intercommunication, public opinion is created in turn from these at times fleeting, and in general overly simplified, images. The contribution should not be forgotten that many European news agencies have made in favor of better information. Also that of some columnists and serious correspondents, especially in Spain and in France. Yet, taken together, the balance, unfortunately, is in the red, writings beneath the sign of partisanship or stereotype, frequently disparaging. LEGACIES OF THE PAST Force passes but the hatreds it engenders are permanent. CHARLES MAURICE DE TALLEYRAND A PERIOD OF de facto always presumes acts of violence, previous and subsequent confrontations, restricted rights, inevitable arbitrariness. Then, democracy finds open sores, wounds not scarred-over or at least extreme sensibilities and prejudices. When the democratic government was installed in Uruguay, on March 1st of 1985, there were some hundreds of political prisoners, including among them terrorists often processed by the justice system before the coup of State, others from later, and even communist leaders accused of mere militancy. In the previous months the bulk of the detained had been liberated, yet those cases remained, naturally the most difficult. The solution was a generous amnesty, but the issue was not simple. It struck at the military, who felt defrauded in their fight against terrorism, and annoyed a certain sector of public opinion who could not accept the pardon of those who had used violence during the democracy and which now complicated the relations of the government with the Armed Forces. At the other end, it was natural to encounter innumerable demands from persons aggrieved by the years of dictatorship. The families of the imprisoned or victims of the repression, functionaries removed from office (which in Uruguay numbered thousands), the understandable rebelliousness produced-- especially among youth--by the actual moment of authorization, the political or union directors with their rights restricted for years and banned from participating, the constantly threatened journalists, comprised a dangerous emotional charge. The "revealing," as it was called in Spain, thus contains ingredients not the normal ones. A dog is beside itself when it is released from its chain; it runs and barks as it normally would not. A stifled society also falls into extreme tonalities. It does not sing of reconquered liberty, it shouts it; it not only validates the re-acquired rights, but wishes to exercise them all at once, hurriedly inaugurate them, place them into effect with haste. Thus a bad characteristic of those times is born: "alreadyism." Everything is wanted "today." Every right "already." "Already" all the social demands. In Brazil it was "already direct elections." In Uruguay it was "amnesty already," "pay increases already." It is very difficult to manage that climate of urgencies, because they usually are logical. There is a desire to reconquer the lost age. The years of clandestine or surreptitious opposition have generated a revolutionary romanticism difficult to harmonize with the norms and the matrix of a state of rights that is emerging within a de facto situation with all the lessons which should be learned from the past. Those postponed demands, although being valid, from then on are instilled with an impatience that is bothersome to moderate. It is impossible to rein in their movement, given its basic legitimacy. One attempts to cauterize it so that the current does not overflow the levees and lead to a setback. To these political elements one must add in the economic and the social. To start with, the democratization of the Eighties years was carried out in the midst of the crisis of external debt. The destabilizing potential of that needs no underlining. The radicalization deriving from the years of the dictatorship led many to want to reject the debt, as something illegitimate, as little valid as the de facto governments themselves. The movements denouncing the debt became generalized, to the point of even including the governments themselves, as occurred in Peru under the presidency of Alan García or in Brazil under president Sarney who, without perhaps repudiating the obligation, decreed a moratorium on the service payments. Even without considering such drastic solutions, the difficulty is evident of any government carrying out adjustment programs designed to correct macroeconomic imbalances, with the omission of attending to the payment of interest. "We will not pay the external debt with the hunger of our people" was a phrase repeatedly heard even from the more moderate governments, caught between the pliers of the needs for austerity and attending to the claims. The social demands are very strong and stem from salary postponements possible within an authoritarian context, yet difficult if not impossible to administer in the context of a democratic "revealing." In the case of Uruguay, the situation was dressed in truly dramatic fashion. A diagnosis was solicited from CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin America) that was genuinely alarming. The technical accent was placed on economic reactivation as the only way of dealing with such a degraded social situation. Among other things, they wrote that: During the triennial 1982-1984 the gross national product fell by 15%, bringing a reduction of almost 18% in per capita production over that period. In 1982 external debt thus rose with extraordinary intensity. Nevertheless, during the following years it increased much less, having accumulated by the end of 1984 along the order of 4.600 million dollars, a figure equivalent to 3.5 times the value of exports of goods and services. At the same time inflation accelerated rapidly, whose rate of around 66% at the end of 1984 more than tripled that recorded in 1982. Under these circumstances the social situation deteriorated in dramatic form: real salaries fell approximately 30% in the last three years, whereas the official rate of unemployment in Montevideo rose from the minimum level of 6% recorded at the beginning of 1981 to an average of more than 15% in 1983 and around 14% in 1984... In these circumstances is seems evident that reactivation of the economy should comprise an essential element of any politics of adjustment. In effect, the recession has not only markedly deteriorated the social indicators of the country but also, if it persists, will become a critical obstacle to the fulfillment of the nation's external commitments and, what is most important, for the consolidation of the democratic regime. In sum, reactivation constitutes an imperative as much for strictly economic reasons as for social and political motives. The activity of the cited factors was privileged then, relegating away other possible priorities that in the abstract might be principles or which, in a different context, might have merited that designation. Thus a level of growth was being reached that allowed the transition process to be sustained. To the fall of the gross national product was added a looming banking crisis. With the exception of the foreign banks, private banking had reached the point of cessation of payments. It was essential to win time so that this situation could recover and the State confront the crisis without risks for the stability of the whole. From this angle, the Uruguayan situation resembled the Argentine, while the Brazilian was distinguished because even if inflation was elevated and important economic imbalances existed, the strong pace of growth compensated for the notes of social alarm. The situation of Chile in transition has been and is altogether different, to the point where the democratic government from the first moment tried to bring tranquility to the scene by assuring continuity of the basic politics; nevertheless, the social demands have caused it to feel the result of postponement. It seems inevitable, after the years of conflict, to receive a heavy legacy of a complex nature. A routine situation does not pertain, nor does it allow a routine treatment. THE ECONOMY AS RISK Between the implacable logic of social control and the wild liberty of profit, what is essential in social life consists of relations among the actors and only the combination of their hopes and from their struggles can that which we call development be produced, that is to say, a stronger capacity by the society for action upon itself and consequently, at the same time, economic success and wider social and political participation. ALAIN TOURAINE A PICTURE of an economic situation like what would be depicted of Uruguay reveals, photographically, the risk that decontrol of the economy poses for democracy. For Argentina in those same years the persistence of the disequilibria signalled the source of innumerable problems and one can affirm that it was principally those which necessitated the awaited transfer of power from doctor Alfonsín to doctor Menem, just as he, during his first year, had to confront a very severe crisis of the failure of its primary stabilizing measures. The challenge is to reconcile the possibilities with the expectations, and this charges the political debate with ideological elements that resist rational handling. This leads at times to erratic political economy, to processes of economic confrontation, or perhaps to social outbursts of perturbing consequences for the whole of society. Thus are political agreements weakened until they are diluted, for the opposing parties who collaborate with the government feel timid about confronting a critical and even inflamed public opinion. In those cases it is indispensable to perform the modifications that overcome the economic imbalances, but the political and social variables cannot be deprecated. Numerous technically well-conceived programs became politically unviable by not taking into account in advance that dimension of the issue. It is the natural methodological correspondence with an economic phenomenon whose consequences are projected upon the whole of the society, overflowing its original bounds. In the Uruguayan instance, we had these considerations very much in mind. We acceded to administration after a strong fall of the gross domestic product, the employment level and real wages; to try an adjustment without growth could lead us to a socially explosive situation and thereby, to political instability. This affirmation led us by the hand to consider that a single mode of adjustment does not exist. Orthodoxy may call for an internal adjustment, whereby one tries to eliminate the imbalance of an excess of domestic demand with the consequent inflationary pressure, or perhaps for external adjustment, that attempts to eliminate the imbalance of excess external demand with the subsequent deficit in the current account of the balance of payments. None of these objectives can be ignored in a program of adjustment, yet it also is true that one can vary them with methods linked to production or to distribution. The International Monetary Fund itself, implacably orthodox until a few years ago, has loosened its criteria and accepts programs that include possibilities for economic growth and wage improvement. Another very important conclusion that the experience offers is the inevitability of such adjustments. When one suffers from macroeconomic imbalances she should not postpone adjustment for political reasons. To delay is always to deepen the profundity of the measures that should in any case be adopted, as well as to run the risk that the pathway could undergo a breakdown of the situation. In this case, then, the adjustment still occurs, but instead of being caused by the authorities it is projected in the facts in at times savage ways, with steep wage falls or declines in demand which could have been moderated. In Latin America these postponements have been tragic, just like unreal transformational politics, generators of terrific imbalances and original source of much of the external debt, as occurred in the cases of Uruguay, Argentina and Chile in the years 1978 to 1982. It is possible to think, as a result, of adjustments with growth. Those oblige putting the nation in question on the path to structural reforms that attack the deep root of the disequilibrium. It will be essential, almost always, to augment the yield on investment, accomplish a realistic transformational politics that adapts to the goal of a more open economy, to diminish the weight of the State, and adequately administer the external debt. In the same manner, it is necessary to achieve a better allocation of resources through a more transparent functioning of the market, to overcome dependencies upon one or two export products, eliminate barriers to foreign payments or to imports, rigid procedures for controlling prices or in general the inadequate use of State resources. With the panorama described, the Uruguay of 1985 faced an adjustment program in which economic revival, such as that proposed by CEPAL, comprised the nucleus. The lowering of inflation was defined as an objective to be reached through a gradualist treatment. The hypothesis of a shock was discarded given the political context of the transition, the real social deterioration and the flowering--after years of imposed silence--of syndicalist activity. It was reasonable to think that in a picture of this nature an economic shock, instead of producing confidence in the government's determination, would lead to a climate of negative agitation concerning an open system, which had to overcome the prejudice--dragged in from before and profusely diffused throughout the years of dictatorship--of a lack of order pertaining to a regime of liberties. The cornerstone of the program was fiscal adjustment. The deficit, which in 1982 had attained the astronomical figure of 18 percent of the gross domestic product had descended to 9.5 percent, yet this level was still incompatible with the need for stability. The problem was that the decline of that numeral--although so large--had been achieved through a drastic reduction in productive activity and the wage level. First, then, was fiscal adjustment, begun via imposition of tariffs on public services, so as to reach not only equilibrium but new resources. Some tax rates were incremented, fiscal drains were eliminated and, applying great discipline in State expenditures, the deficit was reduced by half; the remainder was financed with a policy of long-term indebtedness to the international organizations and the offering of public titles which the market absorbed in the midst of a climate sustained by generalized confidence. Thus the inflationary tendency could return over more than three years, and if indeed it later returned to rising--due to very clear conjunctural factors-- nothing collapsed in the confusion. The agreement obtained with the International Monetary Fund for 18 months allowed meeting the five trimester goals, something not altogether frequent in the life of the organism, more accustomed with having to confront the usual lack of fulfillment. Additionally, the fight against the fiscal deficit had to be made compatible with the principal theme of economic reactivation. For this exports were privileged, preserving the positive aspects of the previous situation (free markets, imports and movement of capital, et cetera) and specific stimulus measures were adopted. Exports were prepaid, direct refunds of taxes to those who needed them were effected, and the exporting sectors were given priority, as much in the import of equipment as in the capitalizations of external debt. Likewise, the regimen was intensified on a temporary basis so that the exporting industry could attain competitive pricing, dictating a modern law of franking zones and, fundamentally, markets were opened or financed through an aggressive politics of international projection. This commercial action of the State was a magnificent example of cooperation between the public and private sectors. Bilateral conventions were realized regarding commercial expansion with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and mainland China, the latter with whom diplomatic relations were established for the first time and who signed important trade agreements. Presidential and ministerial travel was exploited so that the private sectors might access contacts at a high level, in general turning the entire diplomatic activity of the nation to support of the exporting sector. The results were good. In the years between 1984 and 1989 total foreign trade moved from 1.560 million dollars to 2.750, or that is an increment of more than 76 percent. Exports passed from .925 million in 1984 to 1.540 in 1989, which shows an advance of 66%, superior to the growth of world exports during this period. Exports also indirectly benefited from a reduction of the maximum tariff on imports, which moved from 55% to 40%. In this manner external adjustment could be accompanied by productive growth, which simultaneously improved the allocation of resources with major external opening. In parallel, the external debt was manipulated so that it would cease to be a crisis factor, even while it continued to weigh heavily. Before the initial impossibility of covering its service, all possible hypotheses of confrontation with the international financial system were discarded: a country immersed in an effort to export and open to world commerce could not support such a project through the path of isolation. Those who followed this other road paid for it dearly and those who without arriving at moratoria prolonged the refinancing based upon hope of improvement also paid through financial strangulation and lack of confidence. Thus even before the new government was well installed it immediately confronted a refinancing. In July of 1986 the first accord was reached which, for the time, was considered excellent, running the gamut of amortization, extending the grace period and lowering interest. In the first trimester of 1988 a new agreement was realized that served to substantively improve conditions, and in 1989, with the Brady Plan launched, Uruguay immediately commenced having a conversation with the banks which was left very advanced for the new administration. Despite the burden of the servicing, through this politics a very important factor of confidence was introduced into the scene. If experience reveals anything it is precisely the enormous value of that psychological ingredient, perhaps difficult to quantify yet determinant of the nation's credit. Additionally, in such difficult times, in which the economic policies in themselves cannot be too popular, it is fundamental that they at least be trustworthy, credible and, in this way, supportive of growth as well as democratic stability. In Uruguay another phenomenon of vast proportions had to be faced: an enormous banking crisis in the private sector. The banks in question (Comercial, Caja Obrera, Pan de Azúcar, and Italia) maintained a very illiquid portfolio since the exchange crisis that in November of 1982 destroyed the famous "little table" which predetermined the value of the dollar. To that was added an endemic elevated cost of administration which brought them into negative profitability. When we took charge of the government we had very exact information concerning that situation and it truly worried us, perhaps nothing worried us more during that time that we now see as distant. Banking crises come from those economic phenomena--such as confidence--difficult to quantify, yet of enormous repercussion. In an open financial market like ours, with a volume of non-resident deposits greater than the country's exports, a generalized bankruptcy can be of devastating effect. That repercussion begins as economic, but ends being political. Few social sectors are more irate than a group of bank depositors with their savings compromised; aroused, they have no limits, and the history of modern revolutions testifies to this. There unfolded then a politics of rescue that progressively gave to the Bank of the Republic the management of those banks, passing later to property of the Corporation for Development with the goal of being sold. During the electoral campaign of 1984, the possible nationalization of banking had been a theme of the debate. Today, from a distance, something anachronistic is seen, after the crisis of the nations of the East, yet in those years of reopening, during which everything seemed to reformulate, it was a controversial issue. The Marxist sectors defended the nationalizations line and sinker, and the majority of the National Party spoke of nationalizing savings and especially banking. Our thesis then was the classical one, or that is of maintaining an open system, with broad competition between the official bank, the national and the foreign account. When we came upon the crisis, in a way we opposed introducing the State and putting it in charge of the situation. We felt the contradiction theoretically, however. It could temporarily assume the direction of those banks, preserving their private nature. Undoubtedly the measure had a cost for the State, for the losses it had to assume, yet these were minimal compared to what the payment of deposits to foreigners would have meant, indemnification for the dismissal of personnel--with the consequent social confrontation--and a loss of credibility in the system which would project for years. Certainly, many people did not accept--nor accept--these reasons. Since the crisis was avoided, no one can perceive its real magnitude, and it becomes easier to reason considering the concrete losses that were produced without mentioning the enormous--yet invaluable--changes that had been produced upon the collection of the body politic. The World Bank itself initially was not persuaded of our politics.. After examining the situation, nevertheless, it arrived at the technical conclusion that there was no better road and granted a very important loan to reform those institutions. Despite the banking crisis and the weight of the external debt, the basic objectives of the political economy were attained. In five years, the gross domestic product grew by 16%. Exports also increased. Unemployment fell from 14% to approximately 8%. Real wages increased by 30% compared to 1984, with higher percentages in private activity, where the terms were negotiated among the parties and the State assumed a supportive and not decision-making role. Improvements in taxation of the working and passive sectors, designed to solve difficult situations and avoid confrontations, joined in the rate of inflationary reduction. In all forms, it was possible to achieve important stability in the inflation rate, which monthly varied over the five years from a minimum of 3.8% (1987) and a maximum of 5.5% (1989), which gave the economy great predictability, avoiding pronounced variations in real interest rates. Naturally, an adjustment with these characteristics is very difficult to administer. Much more than a classical one, which with drastic effect although a simple policy, requires less development over time and less effort in the painful vigilance over public spending. The sacrifice had, nevertheless, the compensation of having been able to again take up the pathway of growth and improve the social indicators in a substantial manner. During the Eighties the economy was an eagle's talon in the Latin American situation. Except for Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, there are no nations with a favorable evolution. Without doubt this situation was very influential in the deterioration of the military governments, hastening their democratic exit, but at the same time it saddled the advent of democracy with a heavy burden. The above affirmation should not lead to a widely dispersed error that attributes to the external debt crisis a democratizing effect. That the situation degraded the dictatorships there is no doubt; however, that mechanical effect cannot be seen in the case of Chile where, conversely, full dynamic expansion produces the democratic opening. The fact is that the majority of the decade's governments have lived in anguish by an economic situation plagued by critical moments, suffering a strong deterioration in public opinion and growth of institutional instability. It thus becomes invaluable to care for economic stability, which is not to say, in Latin American terms, hard money and inflation; it means predictability. Living without surprises. There will be good moments and bad, but the question is to be able to avoid the unexpected avalanches. To reconcile the economy with the needs of institutional transformation is the substantive part of the challenge that this implies. In their analysis the economists usually deprecate or relegate away the political or social factor. The politicians, for their part, are opposed to tying themselves to the rigors of a cautious administration, with limitations in expenditures and without concessions to popularity. That equilibrium must be achieved, both visions placated, to discover a politics which balances one necessity and the other. It is always painful, yet inevitable. The voluntarist myth, resting on faith in the planning State, has foundered not only in the asphyxiating Marxist efforts, but even in its democratic versions. Today we suffer from the countermyth created by a conservative neo-anarchism that practically wishes for the State to evaporate, when the world shows us that even the most open economies do not renounce certain margins of protection and the careful management of some variables such as the monetary. A humanity every day more worried about the environment, by the scarcity of water and oil and by the devastating effects of drug use, will reclaim a distinct presence for the State. The public Benefactor shall now be above all a Guarantor, a bondsman alert to the balances between humanity and nature and among men. PEACE, A POLITICAL PROJECT Everyone excluded becomes an enemy. MATEO LÓPEZ BRAVO Mayor of Casa y Corte ONE MORNING in May of 1985 I called Wilson Ferreira Aldunate, leader of the opposition, and invited him to visit me at six in the evening at the Government House. I received him in the small salon that then was the president's working study. Only two and a half months had passed since the start of the government and the tensions began to appear, beginning with an infantile syndicalist incomprehension. We spoke, as always, in disorderly frankness. It was difficult to converse in any other way with my brilliant interlocutor, who at all times spoke in ingenious phrases and jumped from issue to issue carried by his words. When I noticed it was the appointed hour I said point blank: --They tell me that the commander in chief, lieutenant general Medina, is at home. Are you against talking with him? --No--he said rapidly, despite the surprise. In truth, that was mutual, because neither one of them had been alerted of this possibility. At that height, it seemed indispensable to me to launch a mission of unfreezing between the persons themselves. The military continued intact in their distrust and lack of confidence towards Ferreira Aldunate. And he, his prejudices against the military, whom he pricked with darts at a seminary in Madrid (More than once I had said to Ferreira that no one could aspire to the Presidency alienated from the Armed Forces of his country, whom he would have to command). He hardly responded to me, took up the telephone and asked the chief of the Military House, general Guillermo de Nava, to be present with the commander in chief. He became serious, as is his style, and did not extend his hand until Ferreira would do so, who advanced and greeted him with his habitual smile. He immediately confronted him and said: --Do you hate me very much, General? --Not too much, Medina laconically responded. --That is already something--I said, and invited them to sit down. They did so together on a sofa, before which, on two chairs, we sat with general de Nava. He, looking at me but in a loud voice, said: --Has the President seen how some leave him and then rejoin him? There is no doubt that the whites are always the whites... --That about the whites only more or less, because you (and I looked at Medina) already sinned once. And you sinned with that little hand (said Ferreira as he performed the gesture of putting a ballot in a box). --I do not know to what you are referring--said Medina. --You know--Wilson replied... You know that you voted with the colors party... --No sir, I voted only for the peace of the nation--the general replied. The conversation later followed fluidly. A dialogue then began that kept growing in intensity and ended in a mutual respect, one could say even a personal friendship. This episode, small yet revelatory, situates us in the crux of the process of national reconciliation, without which no peace is possible. If the people do not stop seeing their fellow citizen as an enemy in spite of disagreeing, if one does not take account of that, despite different criteria, they can converse and even find understanding on certain matters, there is no way to construct anything true. For that peace must give credit to a political program from which no aspect can remain outside without risk. One usually alludes to peace as abstention from violence. Thus, simply because there is no war there will be peace. In classical polemical terms one can accept the concept. But it nevertheless is not valid in political analysis, because peace assumes a balance of forces, institutional solidity and, above all, a spiritual state that permits the full exercise of democratic life. We cannot speak of peace seated upon tensions that are hidden unless a spark appears or when we actively maintain all the circumstances of a past conflict. There would be a "cold war," like the scenario of modern strategy, all the cold that is desired, yet war without end; or, at least a non-peace. These concepts become singularly valid when we situate ourselves in the spatial and social domain of a single nation, when we think of a particular type of conflict which is civil war, or that is the violent, bloody confrontation between organized groups within a single State. Institutional transition assumes a movement from a de facto situation to a state of rights. The situation that it leaves behind is ontologically abnormal. It could have begin by a coup of State within a democracy, or be one more phase in a long process of dictatorship, or might occasionally be the result of a specific conflict, but the fact is that we deal precisely with overcoming an abnormal situation. Abnormal in relation to what? To a stable democratic organization whose restoration is desired, in the case of those nations who experienced the fullness of the system, or perhaps in relation to an ideal democracy largely treasured as a hope for that which it has been unable to attain. In every transition these elements of tension deriving from the past are given. The nominal groups in the conflict are present in social life and the nucleus itself of that conflict usually is present too; only the circumstantial element will then be missing which will unravel it again. We have here the challenge for the man of the State. To attain peace, the return to normality, assume demobilizing the groups, and this is only possible by resolving the terms of the conflict. At the same time, one wants to surmount that new version of the conflict, which presents itself as the sequels to the old confrontation. Habitually these are more visible than the other, but in the long run their common origin in the situation begins to be lost. So then, in the Uruguay of 1985, what was the panorama? The two traditional parties had been in the opposition. Both included groups that had collaborated with the military government, but their weight had diminished in recent years. In the National Party there predominated the group headed by Wilson Ferreira Aldunate, a tenacious opponent who had gone into exile at the time of the State coup and who maintained a strong militancy abroad. For the military he was the most characteristic personalized enemy. He had not even supported the Naval Club Pact, which opened the way to elections, such that his attitude was radically hostile to the military forces. In the Colors Party "batllismo" predominated, which had obtained the great majority in the internal election of 1982, relegating the nearest groups to the regime of the past. It was also an oppositional current, yet had assumed greater responsibility in the search for agreement concerning the institutional exit. This attitude had been recognized by the citizenry, who gave a majority to the presidential team Sanguinetti-Tarigo, a duality symbolically representative of the Naval Club Pact. The Wilsonists accused us of "gradualism" for our moderate style and, at the same time, we accused them of rebellion without a cause, which risked subjecting the country to another disaster... The Broad Front, coalition of the forces of the left, with Marxism predominant, had joined in the Naval Club accord, where they managed to overcome their political proscription, but they presented a frankly averse attitude towards the armed forces. Of heterogeneous composition, their ideological spectrum included moderate Christian Democratic or social democratic groups who co-existed with a very orthodox Marxist majority, who offered communists of a Stalinist root, Leninist socialists and even Trotskyists. Their leader, the general Líber Seregni, despite having suffered eight years in prison, had assumed, since liberation, a pacifying attitude. If Seregni had joined with the radical activity of the National Party it would have been politically almost inviable for us, with only the Colors Party, to have come out ahead. Nevertheless, it was a different moment: democracy had been re-established, liberties were being used, the Broad Front claimed important parliamentary representation and beat in the hearts of the men and political tendencies most abused by the military government. The communists had been prohibited until the election of 1984 itself, which they likewise joined beneath the banner of "Advanced Democracy" and with fresh candidates who helped them offer a better image, a renewal of the Stalinist old guard. For its part, the Tupamaros, whose position was undisguisedly "revanchist" against the military forces, and if they did not integrate formally into the Broad Front, they decisively influenced it with their activism. Their publications comprise, up to now, a document roundly expressive of the paralysis of the time. For their part, the military forces, who had arrived in good faith at the institutional exit, began to feel worry. They saw the attacks grow, sometimes generic, sometimes personalized to specific officials, who they saddled with responsibility. If they did not impugn the good faith of the government that was starting, they doubted, alternatively, its possibilities for directing the situation. They feared that disorder could arise and that parliamentary majorities were not enough to find the legislatively indispensable solutions. Obviously military nostalgists were also upset, who never desired the exit or who only accepted it complainingly; now they returned to the charges, laying responsibility on those who had taken the step without the necessary guarantees. To reach calm between all these existing forces is not an easy task. To it we turned with determination, feeling that the nucleus of the transition was there. If we could demobilize spirits, if we succeeded in moving away from the implacable logic of confrontation, we would open up years of peace; on the contrary, if we were to fall again or the nation were to live under an anxiety that corrodes democracy or severely worsens an economic situation which above all demanded tranquility. Uruguay obtained that result and thereby reached, after five years, the election of 1989 in a climate of total peace, without threats nor tumult. Furthermore, the opposition, the National Party, triumphed and the Broad Front won the administration of Montevideo, without anyone feeling at all nervous. The passage of presidential command arrived without the most minimal change in the exchange market or in the national climate, the celebrations being developed with high civic style. The greatest evidence that the nation truly came to pacify itself lies in that, cohabiting in the same city were the Tupamaro leaders header by Raúl Sendic, Fernández Huidobro and others, and the military leaders like the last president, lieutenant general Álvarez, yet no violent episodes were registered. Not one attempt nor a stone through a window. This reflects how the public itself embodied the project of peace. The government could have put in place measures directed towards that objective; the Legislative Power could have dictated the laws it thought pertained, but if the people themselves had not been pacified, the result here would not have been reached. Inversely, it is unimaginable that the people would really accept the project of peace if they had not seen a clear and honest attitude in the public officials; everything arguable as it may be, since there are not revealed truths in this respect, yet clear and honest. The first government measure was, then, the general amnesty for all the political--those with political motives or offenses connected with political activity--prisoners. The amnesty even included those who had left the country and had never been jailed, despite having committed blood offenses during the time of the apogee of Uruguayan terrorism, before the State coup of 1973. Naturally, this measure was not simple. In the political directorate it obtained wide support and on March 8th of 1985, less than a month since the installation of the new Parliament and eight days after taking possession of the government, it was adopted by an overwhelming majority. A strong campaign in favor of a "general and unconditional amnesty, now!" created the proper climate. The mobilization of the forces of the political left and of the trade unions was vigorous and vast sectors of the traditional parties accompanied them. There was doubt as to whether the amnesty should be general or except blood crimes, especially when one dealt with those who had never been tried or when one had the certainty that the judgments had been normal, as occurred in the case of many Tupamaros imprisoned before the State coup. Personally, I myself was a partisan of that criterion at the beginning. Facts, nevertheless, caused us to evolve in our position. It was clearly seen that to keep a nucleus of prisoners was to keep alive a focus of irritation, a banner for possible agitation. Demonstrations at the portal of the jail were predictable, with the possible risks of incidents and--what is worse--the sensation of exclusion that one group of society might experience. Their responsibility had been and was enormous, undoubtedly, for their violence against democracy was what led to the destabilization, but located 15 years from the episodes, after hard years in prison in the majority of the cases, the country totally dedicated to a task of reconstruction, it was time to prefer peace and bet that generosity would be the spark of tolerance. This measure was immediately accompanied by other acts of reparation. A very important one was that called the "law for restoring the dismissed," voted the 25th of November of 1985, which provided norms for restoring to their offices the functionaries who had been dismissed for political reasons, or perhaps to recompose the administrative career of those whose rights of advance had been impeded for the same reasons. The functionaries who were not in a position to be restored had the right to recover their pensions as if they had worked those years and evolved normally in their functional careers. Some 10,000 functionaries benefited from this law. Among them, 3,300 were within the public teaching organisms. To them should be added the 6,000 persons who reformed their pension arrangement. This law, in its generous conception, is without precedent and called for an enormous economic effort. We add to it the problem that the return of those functionaries to the administration represented, for where vacancies had been generated, a chain of promotions had filled them with functionaries who naturally were not at fault for the situation. As could be expected, there were protests on both sides. Some demanded rapid restitutions at any price; others felt endangered by the democracy by virtue of the reappearance of functionaries of a certain grade, reintroduced above them in the hierarchies based upon seniority. Patiently, case by case, progress was made, and in five years the conflict was overcome, leaving a remainder of claims, among which the majority were fanciful (because, obviously, the situation lent itself to the appearance of an industry of victims of the dictatorship). What is undeniable is that this measure brought tranquility to many persons. It took the fuse out of a grenade of resentment that at any moment could have exploded. Not everything was fair, of course. Many of those who had been removed deserved to be, whether one dealt with persons who had brought politics into the public function, or simply with bad functionaries whom the de facto regime had fired using extraordinary powers, in place of substantiating the corresponding charges, in which case there would have existed conditions for proving the ineptitude or sin of those involved. Other acts of reparation were carried out. No sooner had the government been installed, three days after the assumption, than as president I shut down, by order, the proceedings initiated by military justice against Wilson Ferreira Aldunate, general Seregni and other political directors. Also by decree I restored general Seregni to the military rank that the de facto government had removed from him, after declaring him a traitor to the institution for his adhesion to a Marxist strand considered incompatible with military judgment. Certainly the disposition did not please the military command, who respectfully expressed that to me, but I indicated to them that there were insufficient military motives and on the other hand powerful political motives for doing it: Seregni had been a prisoner for eight years for no apparent cause and emerged from jail to promote peace and not to seek hatred, despite belonging to a party where the most exalted rhetoric was used. Also the expulsion from the country of numerous Uruguayan citizens and foreigners was voided, and free entrance to the country was authorized for all persons who had been affected for any type of offense connected with politics. In the military domain, the legal norm was repealed that had authorized the possibility of forced retirement, without the superior officials invoking cause. The so-called regulation g had been the instrument for the expulsion of numerous officials, especially in the Navy, where two thirds of ship captains had been displaced for political reasons. In addition to the repeal of this norm, the government attempted to symbolically repair the moral damage to those in the military who had fallen due to their adhesion to the democratic system. One of them, the most symbolic, was the case of the rear admiral Juan J. Zorilla, who resisted the Navy command's attempted State coup in February 1973 which preceded the actual one, and was later fired and imprisoned. He accompanied us in the elections as a candidate for the Senate, won his seat and later renounced it to accept the designation we gave him as ambassador to the Holy See. Another relevant measure was the constitution, in April of 1985, of the National Commission for Repatriation, which attended to the situation of the exiles who were returning to the nation after years of alienation. It was not easy, since the majority were very radicalized persons in their day and who returned with the mentality of the exile ghetto. We wanted them to feel that the government was not distant from their situation and would help them in the measure possible. Some 16,000 persons returned and in one way or another received support. It dealt with facilitating transactions, access to housing or important social benefits like attention to health. Also small investment projects were carried forward to provide employment, or perhaps they obtained scholarships in order to reinsert themselves into a labor market from which they had been most excluded. The commission worked for five years, with the support of the exterior ministries, and concluded its labor with generalized recognition. There were some who individually could feel not completely satisfied, yet in general, criticism was not heard and one is certain that many persons who might have been overcome by despair re-entered society normally. Meanwhile, the denunciations of the military became generalized. At the beginning the democratic government was a predictable reality but without effective concretization. Fear still weighed on many people and even if the transition seemed to be starting well under good auspices in diverse sectors-- beyond left or right--a possible reversion was feared. In theory it was certainly not a possibility, now that as the days passed the democratic government gained strength and the impugners of the military forces also gained animus. I have been asked more than once why, when the amnesty for the Tupamaros and political prisoners was decreed, the military were not included. The truth is that the question did not then have the relevance which it later gained, nor did there exist parliamentary votes in the political medium for a measure of this nature. It is enough to recall the cost of arriving at that amnesty to prove how difficult it was to propose that theme to a political class that, after years of proscription and maltreatment, kept alive the fire of passion. Nor at the military level was there unanimity in this respect, because if indeed the commanded posited the possibility of a legal measure of this type during conversations prior to the pact, many in the military rejected being included in the same legal norm with those whom they had combatted in the name of the State. The fact is that the denunciations began to occur frequently, some true, others shaky, all accompanied by a constant climate of attack on the Armed Forces making it feel judged. The passion of many was explicable, but one could not help but notice the spirit of revenge in others and, above all, the cheerful political exploitation of many vote-hunters, conscious that they there found an easy vein for a demagogic approach. The tensions were building. Parliament mounted two investigatory commissions, who could not manage to reach any proof, yet which served as a launching platform for the publicity operation. In August of 1986 I found myself making a visit to the State of Brazil, accompanied by high officials of all the parties, among them the senator Alberto Zumarán, who had been the highest voted National Party presidential candidate, and general Seregni. During the flight, in the Brazilian presidential airplane, news of Uruguay came to me. An episode had occurred there the night before at the door of the Military Center on Agraciada Avenue. A demonstration, convened by an irresponsible senator who had a radio show with high impact among the militant left, had arrived at the door of the Center demanding "judgment and punishment," a mission that for now defined this group of hotheads. There were chants, shouts and some stones, but the episode did not become greater, despite that a social reunion of an important nucleus of cadets and officials was convening within. There I had the clear sensation that there was no room for more delay. A military reaction from a window would have been enough for us to have dead in the street, and that was above any other consideration. In the plane itself I gathered the leaders and told them that my point of view was to propose a general amnesty to the nation, which would extend to the military the same generosity given to the guerrillas. Senator Zumarán as well as general Seregni expressed their doubts, although they understood my proposition. Upon my return, I requested a television appearance and there expounded to the nation the necessity for the amnesty, sending the proposal at once to the Parliament. Immediately, from the left, a chorus was lifted that began to tear its clothes before the threat of "impunity." Few times have I felt, during my years in government, so tranquil with my conscience. I was disposed to personally take the responsibility and I so expressed it. I knew that if I came out ahead I would save the nation from many new disgraces. And therefore I exerted all my strength to attain this goal. EXPIRATION AND REFERENDUM We do not expect the men of the two parties, blinded by their respective interests, to go meekly to raising hands, the ones with the hope of governing, the other out of fear of being slaves. You can avoid this misfortune without effort or expense, with no danger nor loss of blood, by ordering by decree the mutual forgetting of all injuries. If there are culpable, now is not the moment to find them, judge them or punish them. We are not dealing today with a particular cause that requires you to proceed with all the formalities of law, but instead with ensuring a common interest, the tranquility of all, a result that you will obtain by shutting your eyes to certain errors. MARCO TULIO CICERO THE LAW OF EXPIRATION of the Punitive Reach of the State, a long and circuitous name for an amnesty law, was the epicenter of debate on the transition. Around it were discussed the attacks upon human rights in the past, in processes of promotion, and with respect to the role that the Armed Forces should assume in the renewed democracy. Formally, the issue began with a project of the Executive Power--of August 28, 1986--that we transmitted when we noticed, as I already said, true risk in the situation. Under the title of Law of Pacification amnesty was sought for offenses committed during the period between January 1st of 1962 and the 1st of March of 1985 by police or military in actions directly or indirectly linked with the anti-subversive struggle. The meetings held up to then had been unfruitful. The last attempt had occurred a month previously, with the designation of a commission of jurists from all the parties who with good will attempted to reconcile points of view, yet whose conclusions did not turn out to be realistic. Within the judicial domain time-periods were shortened. For over a year forums of arbitration had been established between ordinary justice, excited into action by the denunciations, and military justice, which demanded jurisdiction to be authorized to review the alleged crimes committed by the military in the fulfillment of their functions. The Supreme Court of Justice finally ruled that the forums pertained to Ordinary Justice, with which the issue entered the final stage: the calling of the military to testify before the judged, with the subsequent journalistic repercussions. Naturally there began to take shape the possibility of contempt of court. Our effort was incessant, trying to create awareness in the political medium of the gravity of the situation, which had acquired an overt political voltage. Everyone noticed it, yet one felt trapped by old declarations and no one took one step backwards. Every day it was more clear that we were not having a juridical debate nor even one on human rights. It was an institutional situation which reached the heart of the transition in its essence. Could the military be judged after having given amnesty to the terrorists? What if the military refused to testify and the State, through its three branches, remained impotent to complete its determinations? Regarding the military having responsibility, were the military culpable who may have committed excesses or their commanders who directed actions where excess is almost inevitable? The military who got amnesty, were they thereby constituted into a caste immune to the power of justice? And the recently recovered democratic institutions, would they tend to return to the old confrontation that debilitated them? Approximately 180 functionaries were accused in diverse denunciations. The social clubs of the Armed Forces emitted pronouncements of solidarity with those who appeared everyday in the most radicalized newspapers, now not like the accused but instead practically as the condemned. The commander in chief of the Army, for his part, declared himself responsible for the situation. Thus I got to know lieutenant general Hugo Medina, a central figure in the military situation and a key piece for the democratic exit. With him we had conducted conversations ending in the Naval Club Pact, and I had ratified it as commander in chief of the Army, in the conviction that he was a person of high moral condition and a prestigious officer indispensable for facing this stage. He felt intimately responsible for the situation of his comrades for having fostered the democratic exit and, in consequence, was resolved to personally assume its consequences. The generals acted with great discipline and loyalty, trying to help me in the search for a solution and maintaining a sacrificial silence. Nevertheless, they themselves would tell me that their efforts could be sterile if there were no political exit from what they felt as a campaign of denigration, launched by the institution's old enemies and now supported by a political nucleus. Disgracefully it was so, and the feeling legitimated one to think that the relatives of the repression's victims now did not count. On the 1st of December of 1986 I convened all the political leaders in a meeting at the Government House. The commanders in chief were going to be there to be interrogated by whoever wished to inform themselves concerning deeds, opinions or possibilities. At this meeting I provided a very important document: a declaration of the commanders in chief in which they said that the Forces felt excluded from the national reconciliation and at the same time, reiterated their support for the democratic institutions. They alluded also to the excesses of the past and attributed them to "loss of reference points" which led to a situation of conflict with disorder in a de facto state. This document, of great rank, represented an assumption of responsibility and carried the indisputable mark of good faith. The meeting had the solemnity appropriate to a moment felt to be charged with dangers and tensions. Ferreira Aldunate wielded all his perspicacity of an old parliamentarian against general Seregni, trying to demonstrate that the Naval Club Pact had granted a military amnesty and that the left had accepted this in exchange for their reincorporation into political life. This was not so, for the issue had been avoided but, as I then said and was recognized in the law itself, "the logic of facts" led to that inevitable result. It was evident that no one thought they agreed to the democratic transition with the military thinking they would later be placed in the dock (a very different situation from that of Argentina, where there was no such negotiation, since the defeat in the Malvinas led to the overthrow of the regime and the political forces took power abruptly). The amnesty for the Tupamaros being decreed, furthermore, the inertia of facts was even more evident. They were tense days. On the 22nd of December of 1986, finally, the Senate approved a nationalist project for the expiration of the punitive authority of the State, which substituted for that presented by the government. In the Senate the vote was 22 out of 31 and among the Deputies 60 to 37. Clear majorities. To attain this result the activity of Wilson Ferreira Aldunate was fundamental. In his time he had challenged the possibility of an amnesty. He had been against the Naval Club Pact. He even spent the election of 1984 imprisoned in a jail cell. For no one was it more difficult to accept an amnesty. That explains the tortured legalisms he sought so as not to use that word. All that was the form. The substance was what was important: he had arrived at the conclusion that actually neither the president nor the commander in chief were alarmists, but that the nation truly would experience a very delicate institutional situation in the event the trials go forward. His gesture won applause and challenges. What no one can historically deny is greatness and patriotism. In the focus with which the National Party came to propose this new version of amnesty there was however an error of perspective: to reduce the situation to possible contempt towards the judicial citations. At root this was not the issue, because even were the military to testify, there would be neither peace nor tranquility. An army excluded from the climate of pacification, corralled, exposed to public scorn when its enemies--and those of the institutions--become accusers, would be a caged and angry tiger. There was an aspect that the military never came to face clearly: they omitted from their analysis the fact of being responsible for a coup of State. To restore the anti-subversive struggle was logical; also to insist that one could not equate the official who defended the democratic system with the guerrilla who brought violence to the country. Even to ask for a special dispensation for possible excesses committed in the defensive action of the State was legitimate, for whomever unleashes violence cannot ignore that it will generate more violence. All these reasons, however, begin to diminish when we enter the period of the coup of State. Democratic defense cannot be invoked for the moment when the democratic institutions are trampled. Therefore the turnover of power in a legitimate and negotiated form was fundamental so that the Armed Forces could leave in the past that episode wherein it had fallen and begin to reconstruct its image before national opinion, giving credibility to its position. With the law of expiration passed, the Tupamaros and other more radical groups immediately launched the idea of gathering signatures for having the recourse of a referendum against the law. This was embodied in a campaign joining the forces of the Broad Front, an important segment of the National Party, the central trade union, and some independent legislators. For the duration of a year the collection of signatures proceeded. The propagandistic campaign was massive, yet did not obtain the ten percent of the electoral body necessary for the initiative. Upon the expiration of the period they presented a mass of signatures which had to be reviewed in a long process. Finally, the referendum was set for April 16th of 1989. An enormous public relations campaign was carried out by the partisans of the rejection. The State did not create propaganda, abstaining, in the same manner that it had done before, during the long campaign of gathering signatures. The outcome was clear: 54 percent in favor of the ratification of the law. On the same night, the members of the pro-referendum commission ratified the pronouncement and declared the matter closed. No episode of violence marred voting day or the previous campaign. Everyone had had the opportunity to express themselves, on many occasions even, with passion. The referendum acted like a great catharsis. The transition ended there. The final problem pending from the times of conflict had been settled, peacefully, by the citizenry itself. The nation now turned its face to the national election, which six months later would elect a new government, a new Parliament and new Departmental Administrators. Democratic routine--sacred routine--resumed its proper inertia. THE MORAL FOR TRANSITIONS We must be clear about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an 'ethic of ultimate ends' or to an 'ethic of responsibility.' This is not to say that an ethic of ultimate ends is identical with irresponsibility, or that an ethic of responsibility is identical with unprincipled opportunism. Naturally nobody says that. However, there is an abysmal contrast between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate ends--that is, in religious terms, 'The Christian does rightly and leaves the results with the Lord'--and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one's action. MAX WEBER WHAT SHOULD BE done with the past? Should one investigate and judge case by case, punctually, speedily applying the justice proper to a democracy during normal times, or should a great blanket of pardon, but not forgetfulness, cover everything, to turn the nation towards the search for its present and the cementing of its future. Under the first option one runs the risk of anchoring the national debate in the themes of the past and even of reproducing its conflicts, the old passions and old confrontations revivified. Under the second, the danger is wounding the natural sentiment of justice which demands judgment for every crime and punishment for everyone culpable. Reason should begin by considering that these crimes covering violations of human rights or excesses in the exercise of the state powers of repression are not individual crimes, but instead deal with deeds generated within a situation of collective conflict. Ordinary penal law cannot be applied, because it does not deal with a particular person or group of persons who commit a crime within an existing social and judicial order; we stand before a confrontation that involves the entire nation and not the result of someone's sad action, but instead of a social force which transcends individuals and dislocates the normative order to the detriment of the state of law. In some cases one can speak of civil war, in others of guerrilla revolution, in others of a coup of State. In whatever hypothesis, all the situations are de facto and collective phenomena of a political nature: the intentionality is political, its execution also. Nor can we judge the situation in the name of the moral individual, who disapproves of all acts of violence. We have to think in terms of the moral collective, where other factors are in play that comprise the set of society. The common good will appeal to Catholics, the general interest the liberals will say, while the conservatives can denominate it public order. Yet beyond qualifications and denominations, we deal with a collective value, indispensable for organizing life in society and thus permitting each individual or family existence to transpire in terms of stability and indispensable peace. We cannot ignore that violence normally has not had a single origin, but instead diverse challenged groups have had recourse to it. Located upon that terrain, from there the possibility of amnesties is born. Democratic constitutions always foresee those elements of sovereign clemency (amnesty, pardon, grace) as instruments of pacification. This answers the simplistic argument that no criminal episode or excess can remain in impunity, subtracting from justice. If it were always and universally so these constitutional provisions, established precisely to provide a political solution to a political conflict, would not exist. Or does anyone believe that a war can be subjected to legal examination and a judicial decision? It deals with social confrontations, of a political nature, which can only be resolved, in its consequences (now they are unavoidable) through the use of those extreme measures. These relationships between ethics and politics constitute one of the phenomena of our times and are not small problems in an era of transition. On one hand, the development of psychology and the economic boom have devalorized ethical mediation, that now not even the religious practice much. On the other, the "de-ideologization" of the world revalidates an ethical vision of politics, to which the citizen can be introduced with very little baggage and in which, confusing terms, the politicians themselves fall and fall again. They speak in absolute terms, and do not distinguish well between a search oriented by the great ethical principles and the different professional moralities, which impose certain behaviors on individuals. Here we enter another order of reasoning: these measures, although political, cannot damage other principles in play such as equity. Hemiplegic amnesties, which view one side of the situation, are not equitable. We have seen things go this way, however, many times. In Uruguay itself we are afflicted with it: during the democratic re-opening, rivers of ink in the newspapers and paintings on the walls demanded a "general and unrestricted amnesty now"; assuming it would be for the guerrillas and other political prisoners, they began to negate the possibility that it would extend to the military and police. Obviously this is an inequitable vision. One cannot pardon the excesses of some and that of others not. If everything points towards the search for national reconciliation, how could that be founded on such a discriminatory basis? In such cases in should be said that private violence is different from the violence of the State. Some jurists maintain that one should consider that if the armed struggle ineluctably provokes a response of the same nature on the part of the authorities, only this form of State violence is admitted under international law, excluding all forms of repression that resort to torture. This is logical, but they add that violence is certainly practiced by the parties to the conflict, while the torture and disappearances--to speak only of these--are practiced in general, in a single camp and always the same one: the side of the State. They conclude then that it is difficult--at least with respect to inhumane practices in the sense accepted in international law, such as torture or the involuntary or forced disappearances--to allow the notion of "reciprocal amnesty" wherever reciprocity of situations does not exist. The reasoning is based on a false premise: that usually only the State practices disappearance, assassination or torture. In Uruguay the guerrillas pronounced summary judgments and assassinated (calling them "executions"), raped, kidnapped and imprisoned people, who miraculously preserved their lives or mental health, buried in sordid burrows beneath the earth, without light and almost without air, in what were called the "people's jails." A doctor even came to eliminate a miserable agricultural peasant with an injection of Pentothal for the sole crime of having discovered the Tupamaros, without even knowing who they were, in one of their rural hideouts. And so reciprocity existed, and it was not only an exclusively juridical phenomenon but also moral. Another very important consideration must be added: it is not the same to assail as to defend oneself. Defense, although violent, can be legitimate if it is a response equivalent to the aggression that is suffered. When a guerrilla takes arms against the State in times of democracy and political liberty, they are acting--besides that of the laws--with Messianic arrogance, with disrespect towards the public who elect those who govern. It is natural--it is even desirable--that the State react and be able to defend itself. It is possible that in this reaction there will be excesses, but if there are they do not deserve more condemnation than the initial offense; or they are treated equally or, in the case of distinctions being established, they would seem more benign from a social viewpoint, given that they have not begun with a fraudulent or selfish design. When we are in a dictatorship or totalitarian State the situation is different. Those who previously took up arms in those cases are moved by a politically respectable proposition, even if the form of protest be violent. In Uruguay this situation did not apply because the Tupamaro guerrillas acted only against democracy, which they damaged and weakened, and when that fell they already had been dismantled by the Armed Forces, their greater contingent in exile abroad. A similar insensitivity is that which today animates the violent groups acting in Chile, when a model government leads the nation on a democratic path. A reasonable general question is: how is it possible that justice, the clarification of a violation of human rights and its natural punishment, can signify an attack upon public institutions or order? For the simple reason that we are before the results of a political conflict, of a civil war or something analogous. When those deeds or violations appear in isolation, the resultant of action by minorities opposed to the system, it is one thing, yet when we are before confrontations that involve the important nuclei of society and the institutions of the State itself, when we have present--arrayed in the nation- -the same forces, at times the same protagonists from the old struggles, we are under the risk of reproducing the conflict. Is it logical to ignore it and again place the entire society at risk? When in March of 1985 the amnesty for guerrillas and political prisoners was voted, they were given general access without restrictions. This went far beyond the projections that the Executive Power had submitted the first day of the session. That had not included blood offenses but the Parliament pardoned them equally. The Executive Power could partially veto the law and debate it with the Parliament or simply comply with the pronouncement, which had obtained a great majority. We choose the latter, giving priority to the search for peace. We could not ignore that our veto, no matter how moral it might be, even or especially if it contributed sound arguments and doctrines, would introduce a confrontation with Parliament; nor could we ignore that it would excite passions and that, certainly, we would have permanent agitation concerning those prisoners, those who sought vindication from the angle of sacrifice: the years in prison and the maltreatment received in many cases justified amnesty. Many people of good faith felt this. It was not sensible to ignore it. Similarly, we could not ignore that the military forces, convinced their actions, even with excesses, had been oriented to the defense of the State, were going to feel hurt and reactions of diverse sorts would be produced in their breast. Impossible, then, to elude the social reality. Not to seek a legal solution ended by becoming escapism, and one supposes that the legislator or public administrator is to prevent whatever risk comes into view. This is the reason, definitely, why amnesties have always existed following periods of violence. Universal history is full of those episodes and our Uruguayan shows 22 laws of that nature. "Amnesty has been the traditional solution of our nation," says the historian Juan Pivel Devoto in a work specifically on amnesty in the national tradition. Francisco Bauzá, another great Uruguayan historian of the 19th century, says in this regard: Political errors are forgivable errors when they operate within the social context; because no one has sufficient dispassionate calm to be actor and impartial judge in a political question. Such that they fall of themselves under the common criterion of an amnesty or of a pardon, which always is a necessary act after great commotions. If we look towards the distant past, we can remember Cicero following the demise of Julius Caesar. The Senate met assuming its historical role, but in the street, threatening, Caesar's legions awaited orders. He said then, referring to the necessity of defending reconquered liberty: Recently the state of the Republic was such that one bent to the yoke of whoever dictated our decisions with arms in hand, instead of allowing us to prescribe that which needed to be done. Today things have changed: our decrees are our own, dictated in fact be we ourselves; we are free to choose peace with liberty or civil war with tyranny. Whatever be the disposition that you decree, that will be the rule of conduct for all. This being so, I think it is absolutely necessary to erase all types of discord, forget all resentments, abjure from all enmities, so as to return to peace, to friendship, to the unity of ancient times. For no other reason, it is enough to recall that when this union reigned among ourselves, it gave us the strength and the push, was the origin of our conquests, of our wealth, of our glory, and of our power; and we do not forget that when that union dissolved into intestinal dissension, the empire ceased to grow and every day became weaker. Much nearer in time is Spain, whose exemplary process of transition has been a constant source of inspiration. There they amnestied all the offenses and errors of political intentionality, without distinguishing deeds or authors. The most diverse sectors of Spanish life were summoned to the spirit of the amnesty, and indeed that reached among others to military and policies accused of torture. A communist deputy, Marcelino Camacho, said in that moment: We considered that the cornerstone of this politics of national reconciliation had to be the amnesty. How could we reconcile those of us who had been killing one another if we did not erase that past for once and for all?... We want to close one era, we want to open another. We the communists, precisely who have suffered so much, we have buried our dead and our rancor... We request amnesty for all, without exclusion of any place where anyone may have been. The newspaper El País, in Madrid, then wrote in an editorial: The amnesty is an exceptional action, justified by reason of State and by the necessity of writing cancelled and new account on such bloody and painful events for a people as a civil war--a war among brothers--and a long dictatorship. Democratic Spain should look forward from now on, forget the blame and the facts of the civil war, to abstract from the 40 years of dictatorship. The glance towards the past should have as purpose only reflection upon the causes of the catastrophe and the means to prevent its repetition. A people neither can nor should lack historical memory; yet this should serve it to nourish peaceful projects of coexistence into the future and not to feed grievances regarding the past. Thousands of equally inspired pages could be brought to the account. 40 years of dictatorship kept many wounds open, many very near. Certainly the episodes of the civil war were distant but not the torture and summary justice. Nevertheless, Spain turned the leaf over, as the president of the Spanish Government, Felipe González, said more than once, and constructed a democracy never before fully experienced. There are those who dogmatically insist on the necessity of justice at any price. It does not seem morally sustainable. Justice is a value, but so is peace. It is not possible to sacrifice peace to accomplish justice. First because it is not demonstrated that one is worth more than the other. Second because it does not make sense to impose justice backwards--which is irreversible--when we resume compromising forwards, which is controllable. As against conflict, the true justice is peace, because it is the only one possible. And if this assumes a pardon, then welcome the pardon. As Weber magisterially states, it is not ethically acceptable to disengage from the predictable consequences of one's own action. It is not wrong to think, furthermore, that when dealing with conflicts of a political nature, to arrive at a clean and objective administration of justice is difficult. The climate created by public opinion, the open or subliminal pressure of the press, the past of the judge themself who takes the case (who just assumed her office, imbued with democratic restoration, or who cooperated with the dictatorship and now needs to demonstrate his independence of criteria), are factors with weight. In fact there is no right to demand from a judge that, Law in hand, they resolve a conflict of a political nature. If we find ourselves up against communal crimes we would not have this type of concern. If everything has such a particular bias it is by the political nature of these violent phenomena. A political conflict only has a political resolution and this must be understood. A very common argument, of acceptable moral intentionality, is that, it being necessary to prevent the recurrence of excesses, consciousness of impunity should not be developed. The historical experience tells us the contrary. If punishments had an exemplary value, capital punishment would not be ineffective, as it is in those States that retain it for crimes of greater seriousness, whose recurrence continues. When one wishes to avoid repressive excesses what should be prevented is the reappearance of violence, whether of a political or social order. If no one commits violence no one will have to repress it. Unfortunately violence is so disturbing and persistent in Latin America that it is taxing to be optimistic, yet one should have the honesty to recognize that the only effective prevention of repressive excesses derives from having no object to repress. War is not impeded by laws; its effects are not erased by decree. One will say that violence has very often appeared as a reaction to political dictatorship or situations of social injustice. The first is true in some cases and that has given merit to revolutions, which always culminate, precisely, with an amnesty. Violence as a social response if something else now, because when there is political democracy under no condition could it be accepted that one group emerge to substitute for the popular will which is expressed in elections and by force impose its particular conception of justice. The necessity that at least this truth be known should be mentioned. The proposition is laudable and should be attempted. Yet one must remain conscious that that search can be as conflictual as the exercise itself of justice, and nor can it be limited in time. It happened in Uruguay with the Investigatory Commissions of Parliament, which not finding evidence continued and continued in the search for what by all lights seemed impossible, for the simple reason that in those cases no one left a track and that which might be one is difficult to find after years. The problem then is not to fall into the trap of continuing indefinitely paralyzed in the debate of the past. Our experience has been that of history: for great evils, great remedies; for big hatred, grand pardons; for profound sorrows, the greatest generosity possible. At times it might not be enough. But when there could not be a pardon nor could there be justice in the overall process, because they are cases where the conflict was not over and thus there was nothing to do but negotiate an armistice or dilute the conflict. Naturally, that experience is not a miraculous recipe, applicable with its specific solutions in every case. Political particularity is a condition unique to each national configuration and should be recognized to also find the solution that responds to the sensibility of that society, to its tradition and to the relation of forces which it illustrates. That which is universal is the spirit to confront the situation. If there is not a true spirit of reconciliation and an authentic will to pardon, like the will to sacrifice, it becomes very difficult to attain peace. We should all be disposed to renounce some part of our point of view, and no one has the right to try to take the gains. The ethics in play are political and not individual; and this should be understood as such or we shall lose ourselves on the road. THE UNIFORM AND THE SUIT The soldier by trade acquires ever greater power to the degree by which the courage of a collectivity declines. GILBERT K. CHESTERTON ONE OF THE GREATEST lacks in the formation of Latin American leadership is its extremely scant knowledge of the military reality. To the politicians imbued with a liberal life-concept, the years of dictatorship provoked an attitude of alienation in them and even a rejection of the conception. Unforeseen, as a result of that disinterest, war had become reserved to a form exclusive to the military, and thus their subordination of power to a government constituted of rights became difficult, be it only a step. They speak in a low voice, as if of a taboo, despite that it concerns nothing less than the co-active administration of the power of the State, something cosubstantial with its own existence. This situation is found in Latin America in general, considering so many years in which the military forces have operated as a political factor, when not the government itself. It is not as paradoxical as it seems insofar as the polis has felt threatened and developed a sort of allergic antibody, corresponding in turn to an equal vector in the opposite direction. In general the military do not see the politicians as persons with disciplined conduct, the concept of authority and gravity in the necessary functions for managing matters as serious as those where they must intervene. Exceptionally they come to respect some political figures, who when exercising the Presidency--which supposes the supreme command of the Forces--they have done so with authority and respect towards them. It Uruguay too it has been so, even though the Colors Party could show a greater interest in the theme, a result of its long period of exercise of power. The years of the dictatorship and the subsequent transitions have not much improved this panorama. The politicians who are interested are those of the Marxist left, to attack, or even some of the democratic parties whom they complement, respond with of reformist vision of the military institutions totally disconnected from reality. Inversely others, from the right, act like a mere reflexive movement, defending the Armed Forces, but without elaborating an intelligent position, capable of being successfully sustained. In Uruguay nevertheless, it is in the military medium itself where much more interest has been perceived in causing the political leadership to interest themselves in the life of the institution. It even involved constituting a group of retired officials, specialists in participating in academic seminars which in recent years have proliferated, in the Ministry of Defense. This last is also very curious: it shows more academic than political interest. The panorama is not altogether different in the rest of the nations. In Argentina, vast political sectors seem very remote from military life, yet on occasion even confront it. In Brazil, where the parties of a national scale are very weak, the situation is repeated and the same could be said of almost all the rest of Latin America. Venezuela perhaps is an exception, but this stems more from the military's interest in approaching the problems of its specialty than that of a political vocation for them. With this backdrop of separation, the difficulty is predictable of controlling the issue in a period when the turbulences of the past are projected upon the present. The greatest problem for the political leadership is in understanding that some Armed Forces who have exercised power do not emerge the same from it. It is more; it can be said that this transformational process is quite similar to the experience with antisubversive action. A war in which the ideological ingredient was very important is evidently also bound to produce very strong politicization as well in the Armed Forces, as a psychological and doctrinaire instrument for prevailing. It is simplistically thought in the civilian media that subordination, an element so cosubstantial with the military structure, is easily achieved by the government, and that at the same time the higher commands are projected downward. It suffices to recall the dramatic episodes of rebellion produced in Argentina during the administration of doctor Alfonsín--with the subsequent changes in command--to be aware of this difficulty. The Armed Forces, and especially the armies, are vertically organized where subordination is fundamental, but this does not function that way after a period of political exercise. Antisubversive action itself leads the military to hyper-political worry, and the tactical decentralization called for in this type of combat serves to generate an official of questionable discipline. This evolution has been the perturbing nucleus that led many armies to a coup of State, as clearly happened in Uruguay. If after such a stage the direct exercise of government occurs, naturally we cannot obtain it with traditional Armed Forces. The Armed Forces who attacked the guerrillas employed a doctrine of revolutionary war which, on a French basis from the times of Indochina and Algeria, later was added to development of the so-called "doctrine of national security." Our experience during those years clearly showed those influences. The novel The Centurions, by Jean Larteguy, was an indisputable military best seller in the decade of the Seventies. To the extent that a coup of State is arrived at as a natural prolongation of the struggle itself. Against apparently uncontrolled subversion, before an enemy who is everywhere and relies of powerful help, the military view the civil institutions and most especially the political leadership as weak, feeling they are excessively prudent, if not vacillating or even complacent. They come to believe that, with the necessity of victory, any means may be used. Today the danger of that vision is clear, of that attitude and of the generalization of these doctrines into permanent war. Nevertheless, noticing this error should not lead to another of opposite sign: ignoring that the military arrived at this situation in the course of a confrontation for which they were neither ideologically nor psychologically nor even tactically prepared, or also to ignore that there they found the source of legitimacy for their eruption into political life, with a feeling that remains intact. Very few are the military who say, in Uruguay, Chile or Brazil, that they regret the coup of State in which they participated or the military stage of government they experienced, even those who sincerely support an institutional transition. They would not say so publicly, yet this is how they feel. And it is essential to keep this in mind. One is not before a penitent; we are before someone who in analogous circumstances would proceed in the same way, while believing that that stage is superceded and sincerely desiring that it not recur. The politician usually errs in this respect. They keep seeing either a lurking dictator or a democratic military to be found near to the political center of their institution. Both may exist, but it is not among them where a firm transition will reside. With the first, it could be nostalgia for power; with the second, because his politicization has weakened his military professionalism and he will easily lose ground with his comrades. In this regard the already cited document proved of enormous value, that presented by the Uruguayan Armed Forces to the president of the Republic in November of 1986 to facilitate the road to the amnesty law. Where the military usually err is in the vindication of dissimulation of their dictatorial past and in minimizing the wounds that their passage through power has left. Situated as the defender of the State against subversion, the Latin American military has a legitimate and even convincing argument; they lose, on the other hand, when they project from the dictatorial period and do not notice that the republican and democratic sentiment of the people is strong enough to transform this situation. No matter the violations suffered in the democratic program founded by the Liberators, it keeps integrating our culture and the coup of State will never cease being a sin, no matter the apparent explanation which can surround it. The same occurs when the consequences of the absolute exercise of power are left in the past. By its very structure-- prepared to wage war--and by its doctrinaire conception of antisubversive war, which can even include the takeover of power, the military assumes that that era is over and does not keep the force it holds in the spirit and the memory of the people. The dismissed functionary or one subjected to a military discipline foreign to the civil function, the family member who endured the repression, the young student who suffered harassment or blows at some demonstration, the politician who saw her world collapse and her personal expectations and very subsistence frustrated, forget very slowly. It has been a very strong trauma and surmounting it is costly. It requires much greatness of spirit or, in either case, a certain time. A very prominent theme in this relation with the Armed Forces is the attitude towards these divisions, inevitable in the years of displacement from the military axis to a civilian preoccupation. This is very common. In Argentina a moment cannot be remembered, in the last 60 years, when at least two tendencies were not clearly displayed. In Uruguay, with the trauma of the coup of State of 1973 behind it, which certainly left those who opposed it by the wayside, it seemed that the Forces would preserve a monolithic unity; it did not transpire this way and, a little down the road, some were called "gorillas" and others "Peruvianists." The first clung to the conception of the Forces who intervened to restore order and returned to their professionalism, like one chapter more in their battle against Marxist subversion; the second, influenced back then--still--by the socializing and nationalist attitude of general Velasco Alvarado in Peru. At the moment of search for a democratic exit it is also normal that divisions shall return between those who maintain a political position and those representing a professional attitude. Those remained with their doctrinaire antisubversive fanaticism, while the latter dissent, convinced that best for the institution is to save it from that excessive politicization. In the nature of human relations there is the fact that, in the process of search for an exit, personal and political approximations are produced among those on one side or another who share the same activity. Obviously this alienates those who are adversaries or dubious of the exit, although it is an error to think that all this is crystallized in advance. Customarily, when the Armed Forces are out of power attacks from outside begin and that serves to bring them together. For a time the old tendencies may co-exist but they begin to dilute to the degree that the retirement of the old chiefs occurs and in which the critiques revive their corps spirit, so akin to the military mentality. There then results a dangerous game of siding with the branches. When that happened within an Armed Forces party which occupied power, it was naive not to take advantage of that circumstance, of a strict political nature. However, when one lives in a period of democratic normalization--or of plain and simple normality--it is very dangerous to play with divisions among the military. It is never wise to stimulate divisions between the different branches, who have classic rivalries and even certain prejudices. A respectful attitude towards the relation of forces among themselves preserves the neutrality of the civil power and does not exhaust the president; it definitely maintains the indispensable climate so that if those Forces have to act they will do so in a professional and subordinate manner. When into the normal chain of command other solidarities of a political nature are introduced, the efficacy of the institution is clearly debilitated. There is one way to maintain the armed institution of the "fundamentalists" or "painted faces" (as they have been called in Argentina): to take care that those chains of command function naturally starting with an adequate strengthening of the commanders in chief and superior officials. At the same time, grant the Forces a unity of doctrine and leadership with a clear strategic line. For that there is nothing worse than not having a well-drawn strategy or fragile loyalty to institutions of higher command (first, the president). The military doctrine then comes to be an important topic, as much in the transitional period as in the future. The confusion over the years of confrontation with Marxist subversion or the exercise of power today have, additionally, another very significant element: the fall of the communist systems. Until recently the thesis was speculated that one dealt with a circumstantial retreat which would be rapidly reversed. German unity, the disappearance of the German Democratic Republic, is itself sufficiently expressive as a political fact to demonstrate the contrary. Of course, no one can guarantee that all will go well in the Soviet Union, but at this juncture it is not realistic to continue speculating about the hypothesis that Gorbachev is only disguising the old communism. The modifications already introduced and the political costs actually paid are too major not to appreciate that we really see a profound intent. Subversive movements, financed, prepared or supported by the communist world now lack a headquarters and the possibilities for a guerrilla resurgence in the world now derive more from Islamic fundamentalism or from local situations. The defensive strategy of combat against an international enemy, Marxism- Leninism, which largely consumed the armed institutions, gives way-- necessarily--to another vision. That violent Marxist movements or permanent antidemocratic agitation will exist is another matter. It occurs, but now we deal not with the global bellicose phenomenon that was visualized before. The challenge now is to construct a doctrine consistent with security for the democracy, which locates the Armed Forces in their military role of service to the State and to a democratic institutionality adopted as the national philosophy. It cannot be ignored that our armies are unequal to those of the nations of Western Europe, heirs of the monarchical traditions and lacking a political presence of the sort they have in Latin America. Here the armies were born with Independence--or with a foundational revolution as in Mexico--and it is natural that they consider themselves the depositories of the essential values of nationality. The concept of professionalism does not neutralize the attitude derived from those values, which introduces a political ingredient of a very particular character. This results in their activity on the political scene not displaying the same features as a party. Even the Brazilian army, born not as a popular revolutionary force because the country's independence has its leadership among the monarchy itself, identifies with those same national values and treats as its own, vast political enterprises such as the unity of the Federal State. This feeling has its pathology and is the unfolding of a chauvinism that automatically concedes a monopoly to the military in the defense of the national values; the way of fighting the sickness is not to deny it but to correct it, giving to politics the national sentiment which it naturally possesses, lifting it above the partisan disputes and the petty confrontations. The idea is frequently naively planted in parliamentary circles of reforming the study plans in military schools through some political interference that can change them, infusing a vision of a more civil and democratic world. Usually changes are needed, particularly along the line of modernization, but that idea of "civilizing" the military is a contradiction in itself: the military has a specificity which cannot be annulled. The moralist who embarks on these themes and reads about strategic plans and war games, begins with horror regarding the carnage and destruction which the use of force presupposes because she has another mental scheme. We have here the challenge, as always, in organizing military forces. The question, then, is not imagining that we are going to make the military public functionaries like any others. That cannot nor should not be done. The problem is to create a combatant of technical professionalism, profoundly conscious of the power that society has placed in his hands to defend itself. A very solid moral foundation is required so that this destructive force will only be used according to foreseen procedures, under foreseen circumstances and to the benefit of its clients, that is, the Republic. It concerns a very special mission, much closer in its genesis to the religious or the scientific, also possessors of enormous powers- -one spiritual, the other material--that are essential yet which, badly used, possess a capacity for unlimited harm (we think of the fundamentalist fanatics or of Nazi genetic research). At root, this vision will begin with a negative idea concerning the very existence of the armies: when one resignedly concludes that it is not possible to disband them, reasoning about the succession of a structure without true military substance retreats. Including the military theme with the programs of the political collectivities or the levels of administration passes for clearly dealing with this situation. If a society does not unequivocally comprehend the presence of the Armed Forces and the sense of their mission, it becomes difficult to organize that later. An adequate definition of the principle facilitates the later developments. From this perspective, it is essential to affirm that the Armed Forces represent a fundamental element in the construction of any State. The sovereign exercise of power by the State over a determinate territory is unimaginable without the adequate instruments for the eventuality of having to defend it by deeds. The integrity of any State implies the necessity of being willing to defend its identity. In regard to small countries like Uruguay, it has sometimes been said that this principle is not valid given that the disproportion of forces against any eventual adversary makes this defensive potential, which furthermore is enormously expensive, illusory. The argument does not convince us: a small nation, precisely for being small, should be able to defend itself more than any other; if not, it will be an easy target of any adventurous appetite. The slight magnitude of its forces, insufficient for a global confrontation with its hypothetical enemies, also forces development of an active international politics which diplomatically ensures the assistance of indispensable allies. However, if these allies are not offered the minimal conditions of resistance so that their help may arrive, this international politics will have problematic practical substance. The recent episode of the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq is ample testimony in this regard: if tiny Kuwait could have resisted the invasion for only 48 hours, the scenario would have been totally modified. To accept, then, national defense as an obligation of every State carries the commitment to organize Armed Forces appropriate for this exercise and permeated with the idea that their service, always a sacrifice, is at the command of the democratic institutions which comprise part of the exercise of national sovereignty. If the society has defined itself as democratic, and is self-determined in this respect, the first duty of the soldier is the global defense of the system. A military is not acceptable that limits its role to the defense of the territorial sovereignty and does not extend its duty to the democratic institutions which comprise not only a system of government but a lifestyle. Nor is the political vision acceptable that wishes to limit the Armed Forces to some democratic indoctrination and the carrying out of civil tasks, at the expense of its indispensable priorities as a military formation. The Armed Forces can and should collaborate with tasks of development or of administration. It is not healthy that all the wealth of energy and organization which they dispense is underutilized. Yet they cannot confuse terms, awarding priority to that which is secondary. An adequate definition of these aspects is fundamental so that any democracy may project itself into the future with tranquility, without illusions, without taboos. The requirements of a modern society, especially in the poor countries, force limitation of the maximum for military investments. Thus, the latter should be adequately planned. Not to do so, or to confuse the terms of reference, is to introduce a foundational defect in the institutional structure. If something is urgently lacking today to achieve limitation of an arms race, it is resolution of the border disputes among the states of Latin America. That task is political and not military; it presents a very specific challenge. Nobody has the right to demand the reduction of military investment if they have not previously made all the necessary efforts to overcome those situations, which are at the base of the legitimate demand of the Armed Forces to be prepared to eventually confront the military consequences of those diplomatic problems. Were the resolution of said conflicts attained, it would be much easier to envision a modern restructuring of smaller, well-equipped Armed Forces, which by their size alone would not be a destabilizing internal factor, but who would at the same time efficiently accomplish the job of preserving the society from which they emanate. REQUIREMENTS FOR GOVERNABILITY Comparative analysis of Western regimes reveals an insuperable contradiction between the expression of opinions and the expression of will. The first requires that numerous parties offer themselves to the vote of the citizens with the goal that everyone can select a candidate close to their preferences. That implies also that the seats selected be exactly proportional to the ballots received. The second (the expression of will) has need of opposite mechanisms. So that the electors can impose the government of their choice and this have the means to function for all legislation, a reduced number of parties is necessary, each endowed with a strong discipline and sorted according to a bipolar system. To express an opinion is to vote for the desirable. To express will is to vote for the possible. The first is an infantile behavior, only the second is adult. Between them stands the whole distance that separates the pleasure principle from the reality principle. MAURICE DUVERGER BEYOND THIS TIME of transitions what will come? Will Latin American democracy be able to definitively consolidate itself and place itself in the seat of a prosperous business of development? That is the question that all of us have been asking for a long time and which also leads us to look backwards. For in some states of the hemisphere the militarist phenomenon was the simple expression of an endemic political instability stemming from their Independence itself, but in others--those of the Southern Cone--it was a rupture, a break in a long and apparently stable democratic process, constructed by the relatively educated and modern middle classes. In them it is deeper although more clear: a primitive society has been unable to attain the minimal organizational basis of a state of rights, and the militarism is a primary organic state response to clan or semi-feudal anarchy. In the others, however, it is the weakening of a system which seemed to have reached maturity and cracked. What happened to Uruguay during the Seventies so as to fall into a climate of social agitation, political violence and finally dictatorship? What occurred in Chile? They were nations with a large civic trajectory, a cultivated political class, and relative yet noteworthy development in the hemisphere. It gives the impression that around the end of the Fifties, the post-War period over, those countries did not know how to adapt economically to the circumstances of a more competitive world, lived in a very acute climate of social demands, the middle classes took refuge in voluntarist utopias without accepting the requirements of the change, the radicalized minorities fell into messianic violence and the political parties fragmented, becoming impotent toward ensuring the governability of the system. The Argentine process began far earlier, in the Thirties, and also contains all the characteristics of a situation of exhaustion. Constructed under the illustrious and conservative leadership of the 1880's generation, the prosperous Argentina of the day, with investment levels higher than the United States and the majority of Europe, it did not understand the winds of social change. The conservative scheme was repeated internally, enclosing her in her past success. The access of the masses to political control was not accepted, without recognition that the accumulated wealth implied socially protective reforms. And thus began a dialectical play of angry protests and authoritarian responses. If those were the problems at the root of the fall, why would the political classes today be better adapted to the change and the society more ready for the sacrifices of a much more demanding world? Because experience is the best source of knowledge and it makes sense that societies recently emerged from such long crises do not want them to recur. Europe matured in its idea of unity after the tragedy, the destruction, the misery of the war. It learned how little it was worth to keep superseded nationalisms, erected behind border disputes, alive before the magnitude of the challenge of uniting itself to become something and someone in a world of superpowers. Spain matured as well. We all feared what would happen following Franco. Nevertheless, and perhaps smitten by that same fear of making the old dreams of hate and war real, we observe an exemplary transition. Problematical, traumatic, but definitely a fertile intermediate station towards a democratized and Europeanized Spain. It was learned that development is not a foreign question but instead one's own. It is surprising today to measure how little money the Marshall Plan provided; it only set up the necessary incentive to unchain the forces of change that were latent and should be developed. Europe did not count on Japanese fanaticism, which it could not incorporate (the culture, the psychology, are too different), but consciousness of the effort and the productive mentality awakened creative energies. And those generated the adequate political responses, although with problems like those which the events in the life of general DeGaulle demonstrate. Have our people matured? The study of the phenomenon of governability is the order of the day and is the just testimony of that preoccupation. Above all the need is found that there be a consensus in the society about the form of governance. Undoubtedly there have been advances in this dimension. Except for some Marxist-Leninist radicalisms that are no more than islands, the democratic consensus has become much stronger as much toward the left as toward the right. Obviously the contemporary world influences this, with the fall of the Marxist regimes in Eastern Europe, the democratic consolidation of Europe and the advance which Latin America in general has had. Adventurism seems used up and now does not arise with the facility that it did during the times of protest during the Sixties. The State as an organization suffers from a severe crisis. Built at the century's beginning as an instrument of social protection, it itself has devolved to be part of the problem. Its exaggerated growth, the inefficiency of its management of industrial or commercial sectors, the bureaucracy with its developing sclerosis, require profound reforms. And they reflect the status quo. Yesterday's adversaries are today's admirers and those who constructed this enormous apparatus embody in general the function of patricide. It is the case with the PRI in Mexico, with Acción Democrática in Venezuela, with Peronism in the Argentine, that today they privatize what they themselves nationalized earlier. This intellectual and political courage seems encouraging, because it represents the capacity to respond. But it is not simple. The conservative tendencies are very strong, too many persons have become accustomed to the sensation of security, although not of prosperity, which "the philanthropic ogre" offers and do not wish to run the risks of a competitive society. The parties, in consequence of that state crisis and of the decline in ideological debate, today undergo a situation of internal crisis. Yesterday's certainties are today's doubts. But if we focus on these we do not advance towards tomorrow, and are forever further from the Japanese and the Germans in terms of knowledge and development. Recent elections in various countries have been an expression of that situation. The Fujimori phenomenon in Peru or Collor de Melo in Brazil transcended the parties. The Menem phenomenon in Argentine Peronism or Gaviria in Colombian liberalism erased the old markers. The sensation of insecurity that it gives changes everything in the State, the loss of ideological reference points, the anxiety of the middle classes who desire to rapidly access the fruits of well-being, translate messily into new political expressions. This party crisis reflects upon the efficacy of the political system, which is frequently accused of disfunctionalities. For example, the offset between presidential elections and others, whether national, parliamentary or provincial, obliges the governments to have permanent electoral time, very different from the time of governing. The necessary calm for administering, which requires the pressure of unruly demands to be channeled, becomes unmanageable with the urgencies of the electoral campaigns. There has begun to be much discussion of the relations among powers and a current of opinion exists, quite strong in academic circles, which defends the parliamentarization of the regime, asserting that presidentialism has failed in Latin America and they should consider a more flexible system. The premise is arguable and the conclusion perhaps much more, for it is hard to believe that in nations of republican and clan tradition parliamentarism might bring efficacy and security to government. Yet beyond this analysis very profound debates are occurring, revealing the need to adapt structures. The need is felt, in society, to re-evaluate the private sectors, the intermediate organizations, the modalities of participation. The democratic wave does not stop at the political system. It wants to reach the entire society. This carries the risk that it is a dangerous corporatist tendency: where the state gives way to a group of partisans, with identical monopolistic passion and also the seed of the bureaucratizing disease, as was already experienced in the decades of 1920 and 1930. The challenge, then, is to conceive a more decentralized State and a more participatory society without falling into that temptation. To ensure governability, beyond the dysfunctions of the system, assumes aiming for a more flexible political system, less suffocating towards private activity and a motivator for the citizens' participation. Yet all this should definitely be grounded in the development of the society. One cannot imagine a real consolidation of the democratic system without actually achieving greater economic efficiency and, as a consequence, greater social efficacy. For this perspective, Europe is demonstrating its experience. The business of development confronts us with the limitations from which our nations suffer. It is difficult to imagine a real industrial and agricultural expansion without the new contributions of science and technology. We could hardly obtain them through our own research, even when the imperious necessity of developing a basis in those areas exists in order to know how to absorb what is offered in the market. Looking at concrete episodes, the technology agreed to is that which the multinationals control and distribute in their structure, or perhaps that which the equipment vendors necessarily have to transfer. Thus it is urgent to undertake an enormous effort, prioritizing those areas such as agriculture, in which the technologies are not universal and ecological conditions modify their use. We should create a culture for development and democracy. Just as there is a strong psychological propensity for change, it is not clear that its orientation will be adequate and rational. In industry tendencies persist to demand state paternalism; nuclei of public functionaries take refuge behind the status quo; agricultural producers feel justly aggrieved by the protectionism of the European Community, yet in the end enviously demand the same for themselves; the unions continue to prefer salarial claims to discussions of productivity and the other factors that can bring stable life to the enterprise from which they live. Everyone sponsors the change, but starting with sacrifice of the neighbor. In our countries the impresario is not the respected--and even admired-- character that the developed economies have generated. The common man distrusts him and the political media contract with him by necessity, without fully discovering the social meaning of his role as the main actor in development. In the last years Chile may be the country that has managed to change the most, but this has been as a consequence of a phenomenal "shock," represented first by the attempt to construct a socialist economy in Allende's times and a drastic return to the market economy under Pinochet. The combination of both periods has generated, in 20 years, the emergence of a businessman with a truly competitive and international mentality. The question is whether one has to pass through traumas of that magnitude to understand the need for change, or whether civic education can accomplish it through persuasion and culture. We have no right to pessimism, even if it be an intelligent pessimism. Beyond these problems and limitations, it is necessary to reactivate the democratic culture. In every domain one should understand that political liberty is compatible with social discipline, that tolerance is the only spiritual attitude for processing the different criteria, that poverty should be overcome through society's continued effort, and not by a revolutionary explosion. Human rights only shine when the democracy is stable and there is peace; let us care for it, then. Over and over one has wished to search beyond democracy and over and over again the attempt has failed. We shall struggle within democracy, its spirit, its philosophy, not only on the level of political action but also in the enterprise, the syndicate, the study center, the family itself. Let us do so with rationality, comprehending their rules, understanding the responsibilities imposed upon us without paralyzing us with the fear of drowning in impatience. The union outburst is as malign as business conservatism, political demagoguery as journalistic nihilism, economic utopianism as social stasis. Let us change, always change. Renew ourselves, always renew ourselves, but knowing what, how and why we change; for what, how and why we renew ourselves. Julio María Sanguinetti is a lawyer and was president of Uruguay between 1985 and 1989. [And 1995 to 2000] He served ten years as a deputy, was minister of Culture and Education and of Industry and Work and occupied the presidency of the National Fine Arts Commission of Uruguay (1967-1973) and of UNESCO's Regional Centre for Book Development in Latin America and the Caribbean with offices in Bogotá. His journalistic activity unfolded in the Uruguayan dailies Acción and El Dia and in the weekly Friday's Mail; in actuality he is a columnist for the magazine Visión and in the news agency EFE and in El País of Madrid. Among his books: The New Constitution, The Almeida Case and The Nation: nationalism and other isms. Political circumstances brought Julio María Sanguinetti to be a protagonist in the long process of democratic transition in Uruguay after the dictatorship that, in 1973, shattered the institutional tradition of that nation. Thus in these pages the author speaks from his own experience with regard to the Uruguayan case, of a political phenomenon that in the decade of the Eighties, and until today, appears as the common denominator for the great majority of the nations of Latin America; the transit toward the installation of democratic republican systems. This transition, buoyed by continental unanimity, takes place in a regional context characterized by the dismantling of the authoritarian regimes and the rejection of the revolutionary solutions and, along the universal plane, in a situation in which the downfall of the Marxist utopia and the urgent revaluation and bringing to light of the liberal ideals are determinant. Thus, and from the intimacy of his practical politics, Sanguinetti here analyzes the role that reveals, during an evolution towards democracy, some key themes and problems: the psychology of the transition, the consensus among the players, the insertion of the Armed Forces, revision of the immediate past, the control of the economy, the behavior of the political class, the participation of civil society. The result is a lucid and serene reflection, in which the critical attitude of the author approaches a democratic horizon that is encouraging and where, at the same time, unprecedented challenges call for creative responses.