Uruguay was once the most stable democracy in Latin America, but in
1973 the military seized power for the first time. Political
parties did not disappear, however, even though they were made
illegal. By the 1980s Uruguay's generals were anxious to find a way
to withdraw from power. Yet they continued to insist on certain
guarantees as the price for holding elections. The issue of whether
to make any concessions to the military came to divide the
country's three major parties--the Blancos, the Colorados, and the
Left. Nevertheless, the latter two parties eventually did agree to
a pact in July 1984. The military agreed to return to the barracks
and the politicians made an implicit commitment not to prosecute
them for their past human rights violations.
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