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Hugo Fernández Artucio and the Language of Democracy in Uruguay During World War II  

Pedro Cameselle-Pesce

During the World War II era, Uruguayan politicians, student groups, and ethnic associations, among others, engaged daily in various circulating dialogues that extended beyond their nation-state. The war mobilized and empowered several actors who were devoted to shaping Uruguayan politics and society, but who were also actively committed to a broader cause. Though often overlooked, transnational nonstate actors helped to mold the era’s social and political movements by seizing on universal pro-Allied and anti-fascist language. Several events in Uruguay, interpreted through the language of democracy by local activists, helped not just to inch along public sentiment concerning the threat of fascism but also to thrust government officials into direct action. Emblematic of these actors was Uruguayan university professor and editor for the New York–based Free World magazine, Hugo Fernández Artucio, who, with various degrees of success, sought to shape public opinion and policy via his internationally broadcasted concerns about the Nazi menace. Though his anti-fascist crusading was often welcomed, as it helped to facilitate certain Uruguayan and US government policies, at times it was deemed as “impracticable” or “dangerous” in the view of government officials.