Biography of Zelmar Michelini (1924-1976)

Politician and Uruguayan journalist, born in Montevideo in 1924 and died in Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 1976.

Belonging to a wealthy family of Italian origin, he/she began his political career at the early age of thirteen years, when, in 1936, joined the Federation of students Batllistas, youth organization of the left-wing faction - batllista - of the Uruguayan Colorado Party. It soon distinguished itself by its organizational capacity and political leadership and, in 1942, he/she was elected Secretary general of the Federation. After concluding his studies, he/she devoted himself professionally to the policy. In 1954 he/she was Deputy for the party Colorado Batllista Act. He/She was re-elected in legislative elections in 1958 and 1962 and became one of the main leaders of the formation batllista. This prompted him to submit his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic, but was defeated. In 1967 he/she was elected national Senator, and held his seat in the high Chamber until 1972. In November 1970, he/she created the so-called Frente Amplio, a coalition leftist and Democratic Socialist parties, Marxist, independent and former tupamaros leaders, who sought to combine the forces of the Uruguayan left to oppose the power of the Conservatives and promote deep social and political reforms. Michelini presided over the Coalition, which was presented to the elections in November 1971, in which he/she beat the conservative candidate of the Colorado Party, Juan MarĂ­a Bordaberry Arocena.

In November 1973, the President Bordaberry perpetrated a hitting with the support of the army and established a dictatorship whose hardness would be worse in the following years. Immediately after the coup, Zelmar Michelini had to flee from Uruguay. He/She settled in Buenos Aires (Argentina), where he/she worked as a journalist at the daily news, and later, in La Opinion. From his journalistic rostrum, he/she developed a stiff opposition to the Uruguayan military dictatorship, whose crimes reported to the called Russell Tribunal, a forum created in Rome in 1973 for the investigation of violations of human rights in Latin American countries. He/She also collaborated with U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, which kept a close political relationship to try to obtain American support against the Uruguayan dictatorship. On May 18, 1976, Zelmar Michelini was abducted from his home in Buenos Aires and killed a few days later by a paramilitary command, possibly under orders from the Uruguayan dictatorial Government.