The terms ‘institutional crisis’ and ‘political uncertainty’ get thrown around a lot in reference to Latin American governments, not always accurately. They are rarely applied to Uruguay, but right now they would be apposite. President Tabaré Vázquez dismissed General José González as the commander of the army, along with five other generals and the defence minister, on 1 April. González had only just assumed the mantle from Guido Manini Ríos, who was fired for misconduct. No government has decommissioned more generals in Uruguay’s history. Vázquez accomplished the feat in under three weeks, triggering the most serious military crisis since Uruguay’s return to democracy in 1985. It comes seven months before general elections in which the ruling left-wing Frente Amplio (FA) coalition faces the biggest threat to its political dominance since 2005.

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