During the Pink Tide, international attention often focused on the most flamboyant and controversial heads of state, with their radical rhetoric and often limited commitment to the separation of powers. Perhaps it was for that reason that Uruguay, despite a very serious project of reform and three consecutive left-wing governments led by the Frente Amplio (Broad Front), attracted less attention. When international attention did arrive, it was usually by way of contrast. The avuncular former guerrilla, in the figure of José "Pepe" Mujica, seemed an antithesis to the large egos serving as heads of state elsewhere; he lived on a modest farm and drove a 1987 blue Volkswagen Beetle while president from 2010 to 2015. He could also be counted on for expressions of democratic values. He made way for his predecessor (and successor), Tabaré Vázquez. And surveying the struggles of the left on the international scene shortly after he left office, Mujica judged: "If it is the left's turn to lose ground, let it lose ground and learn, for it will have to begin again." But if Uruguay seems like the most successful of the Pink Tide's "social democratic governments," its transformative legacy in Uruguayan history assured, its future is less certain.


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pp. 44-48
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