NewsPress Release - 1/4/2000
Long-time Marlboro College faculty member Luis Batlle will be traveling to his native Uruguay for the inauguration of his brother as the country's president. Jorge Batlle, a 72-year-old lawyer and former senator, will be inaugurated on March 1.
The Batlle (pronounced BAH-jay) brothers come from a family with a long line of Uruguayan presidents - their great-grandfather General Lorenzo Batlle (1868-1871), grand-uncle Jose Batlle y Ordoñez (1903-1907 and 1911-1915), and father Luis Batlle Berres (1947-1951) each served in office.
The contributions of all the Batlle presidents have been notable but, according to Luis, his grand-uncle played a particularly significant role in history. Jose Batlle y Ordoñez is credited with leading a social revolution in Uruguay that separated church from state, provided for an eight-hour workday, promoted worker unions, provided free education for all Uruguayans through the doctorate level, protected unmarried mothers, and allowed women the same privilege as men to get a divorce without stating a reason.
Luis, who has taught music at Marlboro College since 1980, is a noted musician who studied under Wilhelm Kolischer in Montevideo, Uruguay; Yves Nat in Paris; and Rudolf Serkin in Philadelphia. Luis has been a regular participant in the Marlboro Music Festival since 1956. He travels abroad regularly to give concerts, lecture on music, and lead master classes. In 1985, he performed at the presidential inauguration of Julio Maria Sanguinetti, the first democratically elected president in Uruguay since the military coup of 1973 and the current outgoing president.
Luis' brother, Jorge, who won the presidential election on the governing party's platform, is expected to follow policies similar to those of Sanguinetti. During his campaign, Jorge pledged "to pursue a vigorous foreign policy that would open markets for Uruguay's dairy and wool products and to improve educational opportunities by broadly expanding computer and Internet access," according to a New York Times report.
Uruguay, which gained its independence from Spain in 1825, has a population of 3.2 million and is bordered by Argentina, Brazil, and the Atlantic Ocean.