José Batlle y Ordoñez of Uruguay: The Creator of His Times, 1902-1907

José Batlle y Ordoñez of Uruguay: The Creator of His Times, 1902-1907

José Batlle y Ordoñez of Uruguay: The Creator of His Times, 1902-1907

José Batlle y Ordoñez of Uruguay: The Creator of His Times, 1902-1907

Excerpt

With cautious optimism, El Siglo , the most responsible newspaper in Montevideo, made its prognosis for 1902: a prosperous year, if there were no revolution. The next President of the Republic was to be elected on March 1, 1903, and the campaign would soon begin. Responsible people were concerned that the election could destroy the present armed equilibrium between the traditional rivals, the Colorados still in the government, and the Blancos still out but much closer to power than they had been in many years. Businessmen looked with envy across the Río de la Plata to Argentina, where politics was now subordinated to progress, where progress was everywhere evident. Uruguay's progress was painful. Optimists pointed to Montevideo, a respectable city with a population close to 300,000, to the proud statistic that though Uruguay was the smallest country in South America it had the highest population density. Those whose optimism had cooled remembered that Uruguay was twice the size of Portugal but had only a million inhabitants, one-third of whom lived in the capital. If more people and fewer cattle lived in the interior, maybe there would be fewer gaucho revolutions.

Foreign travelers traditionally arrived by way of the port of Montevideo, one of the best natural harbors in the South Atlantic. Ocean liners had too deep a draft to dock; passengers were landed by lighters. This would soon be remedied. A French construction . . .

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