Tabaré Vázquez, Club de Madrid Member and a “serious and responsible” President of Uruguay, dies aged 80

Club de Madrid Members and the Secretariat alike mourn the loss of the former President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, also a Club de Madrid Member, who died at home due to a terminal illness on 6 December 2020, accompanied by friends and family.

After serving as the mayor of his native city, Montevideo, Tabaré Vázquez went on to become the President of Uruguay for two terms: the first, between 2005 and 2010; and the second one, between 2015 and 2020. A discreet yet executive President, Vázquez left an indelible mark in his country, Uruguay, and was a very respected Head of State all across Latin America. “I want to be remembered as a serious and responsible President,” he once said in a TV interview. 

He accessed the Presidency in 2005, when Uruguay was in a deep economic crisis, which led him to quickly focus on structural reforms and social emergency plans. Throughout his first mandate, Vázquez, an oncologist before a politician, extended health public coverage to all Uruguayans, creating one of the best public health systems in Latin America. His educational plan delivered a laptop to all schoolchildren of public schools, improving their digital literacy. 

Many believe that these two key reforms have been crucial in the fight against COVID-19, which Uruguay has managed quite well compared to other Latin American countries. The robust health service has provided the capacity to treat patients and test potential infections and the fact that each student had a laptop with him has reduced inequalities when distance learning became necessary. 

Tabaré Vázquez joined Club de Madrid in May, shortly after the end of his presidency (March 2020).