Military and Uruguayan politician, born in Montevideo in 1840 and died in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1916. He ruled dictatorially the Republic between 1876 and 1880, initiating the period of "militarism" continued subsequently by Saints and you Tajes.
Belonging to a family of humble extraction, he took part in the civil war in 1863, and in the war of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay between 1865 and 1868. On January 15, 1875 led the military rebellion that overthrew President José Eugenio Ellauri and clinched the power as provisional Governor José Pedro Varela, whose Cabinet was Latorre Minister of war and Navy. From then on, it was the true owner of the political situation. 19 January sealed the Florida Pact with the leader of the white party, Timoteo Aparicio, to prevent a possible civil war. On March 10, 1876, after a wave of popular unrest by the country's disastrous economic situation, Latorre gave a new coup to overthrow Varela, their man of straw up to that moment, and erected in the new President of the Republic.
With Latorre began the stage of Uruguayan militarism. During his four years at the head of the Government, the country imposed a strict military dictatorship in which dissent is pursued with ferocity. He decreed the abolition of political parties and repealed the constitutional guarantees which extended the rights of expression and Association. Access to power, it had proclaimed that it would establish "a Government honest and decent", but the truth is that it plunged the country into a bloody military crackdown, which ended with many missing. He pursued cattle gauchos and squandered the depleted resources of the State in the sumptuous embellishment of Montevideo and in the creation of numerous charitable foundations. It also undertook educational reform, establishing compulsory the teaching of Spanish in schools. It promulgated various legal codes and encouraged the construction of modern infrastructure, such as railway or telegraph lines, thanks to the British capital investment. He tried to break the power of warlords inside, to strengthen central administration, which attracted him the opposition of the traditional oligarchy. But he managed to put an end to many of the warlords and pacify the Uruguayan countryside, which favored the agricultural expansion of the Uruguayan economy.
After modify at will the electoral legislation by means of a decree-law of November 1878, on March 1 of the following year Latorre was elected "constitutional" President of the Republic. But his term lasted just one year, due to the total lack of support for the President among the political class, the army and the people. On March 13, 1880 was forced to resign the Presidency and leave for exile. He settled in Argentina, where he died aged 76.
PEDEMONTE, J.C. The terrible year: Latorre, Santos, Tajes. Montevideo. 1956.