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Uruguay - Military Doctrine

The National Police, under the Ministry of Interior, maintain internal security. The National Directorate for Migration, also under the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for migration and border enforcement. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the National Police, and the government has effective mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption. The armed forces, under the Ministry of National Defense, are responsible for external security and have some domestic responsibilities as guardians of the outside perimeter of six prisons. There were no reports of impunity involving police and security forces during the year 2016.

The Minister of Defense Fernandez Huidobro said 22 December 2014 that "We will produce nothing more and nothing less than the Military Defence Policy. I believe that soon Uruguay will have it for the first time ever. Among other things this results in the modification of five major organizational laws, that of the Armed Forces of each of the three Forces and of the Ministry of National Defence itself. This large, a formidable state reform Ministry will demand great job of Parliament, to us and therefore the corresponding time. It is the natural continuation and systematic, methodical of the Framework Law on Defense, made in the previous government, and after having created the ESMADE, the National Defense Council, and be prepared for the first time in the history of the country, the Policy National Defense, which governs us today, and has been received by all social and political sectors welcome. As it was timely in Parliament voted unanimously Defense Framework Act."

Uruguay faced no external threat. Its defense posture was based on the country's geostrategic position as a buffer state. Defense planners recognized that the nation could never independently deter invasion, however unlikely, by either of its two giant neighbors Argentina and Brazil and instead counted on obtaining aid from one should the other attack. As a result, the armed forces were chiefly organized to cope with internal threats, although Uruguay had no terrorist or insurgency problem in the 1980s and 1990.

During the 1960s and early 1970s, an urban guerrilla movement the National Liberation Movement-Tupamaros (Movimiento de Liberacion Nacional-TupamarosMLN-T) posed a significant threat to national security. The military ruthlessly suppressed the Tupamaros in 1972 after the police proved unable to do so.

Although the Tupamaros had been brought under control by then, the military seized control of the government ofJuan Maria Bordaberry Arocena (1972-76) in 1973 in order to suppress all activity it interpreted as threatening the public order. The military's effort to rationalize and legitimize its role as political arbiter was rejected in a 1980 referendum. The defeat was attributable to the country's strong national democratic tradition and to public bitterness over human rights abuses under military rule. The military, itself divided over the armed forces' proper role in national political life, accepted the public's decision, and civilian rule was restored completely in 1985.

After the resumption of civilian rule, the armed forces occupied a position much like that during the period before military rule; they were under the control of the civilian government and were largely excluded from national political and economic decision making. The armed forces continued to embrace a conservative and anticommunist political orientation. The military leadership, however, expressed its commitment to a pluralist democratic system on several occasions during the late 1980s and in 1990.

When a discussion on whether or not to deploy Uruguayan troops to UN Chapter VII missions has arisen, the left has systematically opposed sending troops. The left in Uruguay believes that the use of force, allowed under Chapter VII operations, is against the principles of peaceful resolution of controversies and non-intervention. In addition, the left thinks that some peacekeeping operations, rather than being a tool for ensuring peace and international security, have been used to manage powerful countries interests in certain regions. In this sense, a document prepared by the Defense Committee of the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) argued that the government should not be willing to deploy troops under Chapter VII.

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Page last modified: 25-05-2017 13:59:54 ZULU