By M. H. J. Finch
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Extra resources for A Political Economy of Uruguay since 1870
By later standards the repression of dissidents was mild, and there was no attempt to eradi"cate traditional political allegiances (though opposition party factions were not permitted to express their opposition effectively). Indeed, support for the 1933 regime was based on an inter-party pact, and this involved the traditional distribution of patronage. Thus the rural interests were unable to maintain control of the state because in fact they never sufficiently secured it. In part their failure was also due to a weakening of the ruling political alliance as a result of international political developments.
The appeal of Luis Batlle, the nephew THE IDEOLOGY OF 'BATLLISMO' 1870-1970 19 of Batlle y Ordonez, and the dominant figure from 1947 until the late 1950s, owed little to the expressed social idealism of earlier times and much to a demagogic populism. Redistribution now favoured industrial capital and its mass market, the urban working class. The strength of the inherited political tradition was again seen in 1951, when constitutional reform reintroduced the collegiate executive, and with it the sharing of power and patronage between the two parties was again institutionalised.
It is true that the livestock interests, through the Asociaci6n Rural, relaxed their early hostility to a potential competitor for land, seeing in the arable sector a safety valve for the absorption of their surplus labour displaced by wire fencing. But the meagre supply ofland and its poor quality, the impossibility of securing credit when even the larger landowners were starved of capital, and the unsuitability of the gaucho labour force to arable production, defeated the plan. The growth of agriculture was in fact largely the work of immigrants, but even so they were a minority of immigrants who decided to settle in rural Uruguay rather than in Montevideo.
A Political Economy of Uruguay since 1870 by M. H. J. Finch