Compared with Argentina, Uruguay had been remarkably calm since World War II.
Between 1951 and 1966, Uruguayans implemented an executive committee instead of a one-man presidency.
Despite economic problems, Uruguayan standards of living remained the envy of the hemisphere. Then a group called the Tupamaros tried to foment revolution, just as Che attempted to do in Bolivia.
Formed in 1964, the Tupamaro urban guerilla movement, was directly inspired by the example of the Cuban Revolution.
The Tupamaros recognized the absence of revolutionary conditions in Uruguay. They carried out daring, brilliantly planned operations designed to impress public opinion.
In 1967, the Uruguayan president declared martial law to fight the Tupamaros. The military began a gradual takeover which was completed in 1973. The Tupamaros were quickly cornered once torture penetrated their cover.
Bureaucratic Authoritarianism descended on this once privileged society.
By the end of the 1970s, Uruguay had more political prisoners, relative to its size, than any other country in the world.
For an overview of Military Juntas in the Southern Cone in the Cold War, read our just published post here.
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