MONTEVIDEO – Uruguayan lawmakers and public figures commemorated the nation’s late Economy and Finance Minister Alejandro Atchugarry, considered a key official in bringing the country out of its 2002 crisis, and who died Sunday night of an aneurysm. He was 64.
“Unfortunately Alejandro Atchugarry has died. The nation loses a great man, admired by many and respected by all, RIP,” German Cardoso, a legislator of the Colorado Party (PC), wrote on his Twitter account.
“Rest in peace, Alejandro; thank you for everything; you were an example and will continue to be one,” for his part tweeted Sen. Pedro Bordaberry of the PC, the political party to which Atchugarry belonged.
The former minister was admitted in critical condition last Wednesday to the Spanish Association Hospital in Montevideo after suffering an aneurysm.
It was the second time Atchugarry required surgery for that ailment; he had suffered a previous aneurysm in 1989.
Posted on social networks were streams of Uruguayan politicians’ reactions to his death and commemorating his illustrious career.
“Gone is a great man who did so much for our country, brilliant professional and better human being. My kindest regards to the family of Alejandro Atchugarry,” Veronica Alonso, a senator of the opposition National Party (PN), wrote on Twitter.
The cardinal and archbishop of Montevideo, Daniel Sturla, said on the same social network that Atchugarry was an “exemplary citizen and politician.”
“Lord give him eternal rest and may the perpetual light shine upon him,” he said.
Atchugarry was economy and finance minister during the time of the worst economic crisis in Uruguayan history, in 2002, and is remembered as one of those who contributed most to getting the country back to normal.
He headed the Economy and Finance Ministry from July 2002 until August 2003 during the 2000-2005 presidency of Jorge Batlle, who passed away last year.
He was seen as the one directing the government during the economic crisis at the beginning of the century, together with the president of the Central Bank, Julio de Brun.
When the Uruguayan economy began to improve, Atchugarry resigned his position and returned to the Senate.
Jose Mujica, president between 2010-2015, would acknowledge years later that the choice of Atchugarry as minister was a brilliant move by Batlle, the local daily El Observador recalled in the Monday obituary.
In 2005 Atchugarry turned down Batlle’s invitation to run for president of the republic.