Visiting the Batlle Monument, Montevideo, Uruguay: remembering a distinguished member of a political dynasty
Recalling a statesman associated with constitutional changes
Readers somewhat familiar with the name Batlle in Uruguayan history may (quite reasonably) assume that the Batlle in question, for whom this monument in Montevideo, Uruguay, is named, refers to José Batlle y Ordoñez, the long-serving President who held office at the end of the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th.
However, this is not actually the case. Because another Batlle was also long-serving President of Uruguay: Luis Batlle Berres (1897-1964) was President from 1947 to 1951 and again from 1955 to 1956. Mr Battle had previously served also as Vice President in 1947.
Between Luis Battle Berres's terms of Presidential office, a noted constitutional development occurred when the directly elected Presidency (in force during his first term) was replaced by an indirectly elected, rotating Presidency on the Swiss model (during his second term). The system adopted was known as the National Council of Government (Spanish: Consejo Nacional de Gobierno ). This system, however, was discontinued in 1967, when the Presidency reverted to the directly elected method of election.
The Monument to Luis Batlle Berres (Spanish: Monumento a Luis Batlle Berres ) was inaugurated in 1967 Its architect was Román Fresnedo Siri. Its horn shape sometimes causes it to be referred to popularly by citizens of Montevideo as 'Batlle's horns' (Spanish: Los cuernos de Batlle ).
Overall, the design of the Monument may rightly be said to suggest a sense of equilibrium and symmetricality. (In a more abstract sense, certainly, for a statesman to have a sense of balance and proportion attributed to him is undoubtedly a compliment.)
The Monument is situated at the intersection of General Artigas Boulevard, and Dr Luis Alberto de Herrera and José P. Varela Avenues, in Montevideo's Jacinto Vera district.
Luis Batlle Berres was not the last of this Presidential dynasty to serve as President. His son, Jorge Batlle Ibáñez (1927-) was also President from 2000 until 2005.
October 2, 2012
(1) José Batlle y Ordoñez (1858-1929) served as acting President in 1899 and as President from 1903 to 1907 and again from 1911 to 1915. He was not the first of this political dynasty to serve as President of Uruguay. His father Lorenzo Batlle y Grau (1810-1887) was President from 1868 to 1872.
Also worth seeing
Montevideo 's numerous visitor attractions include: the Obelisk; the main building of the University of the Republic (UdelaR); the Salvo Palace; the Independence Building facing Plaza Independencia; the Mausoleum of General Artigas; the Legislative Palace; the Cerro Fortresss; and many others.
How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . The Uruguayan airline PLUNA, which codeshares with VARIG, flies to a number of Latin American regional destinations. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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