Luis Lacalle Pou and Lorena Ponce de León, when the president obtained his electoral victory.

It is not the first time that a president of Uruguay He will live alone, and although there is little history, now Luis Lacalle Pou will have to face the post-pandemic political challenges in a large house, which will be left without the family life of a married couple with children.

The information on Friday about the separation of the Uruguayan president (48 years old) from his wife, Lorena Ponce de León (45 years old), became the main topic of conversation and social media trend In uruguay. There was no official communication or public comment, but the local press confirmed at Government House that the separation was a factjust when I was missing alone a month for their 22nd wedding anniversary.

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Close friends of the family identify a process of tensions linked to what has been experienced during the last months of the president’s administration and they do not rule out that they can be reconciledwith the memory that they had already had a separation of a few weeks during 2011.

The couple had moved to the Prado presidential residence after Lacalle Pou assumed the head of state in March 2020, to the same place where the current president had lived part of his adolescence. Between 1990 and 1994 Luis Alberto Lacalle de Herrera and Julia Pou lived there, during the previous government of the National Party.

Luis Lacalle Pou and Lorena Ponce de León, when the president obtained his electoral victory. / Santiago Mazzarovich – AP

Lacalle Pou and Ponce de León have had projects together and she directs one of the Plans to promote personal and family businessesin the Sowing plan. An act of that organization showed them together last Thursday.

Message on the networks

Just over a year ago, she had put a affectionate message on your social networks to remember the Wedding’s date: “Today we celebrate 21 years of marriage. So many anecdotes, memories, stories, learning, so many teachings that this time together has given us and so many that we still have to learn. The most important thing, love and the constant search for understanding for each other and the best of this lifeour three children: Luis, Violeta and Manuel”.

Lacalle Pou has highlighted the role of his wife in encouraging him to embark on challenging political projects, such as the second electoral campaign in search of the presidency.

Politics, curiously, is what brought this couple together: as teenagers they met at the end of 1989 during a National Party party (whites) to celebrate the electoral victory of Luis Lacalle de Herrera in a tough election. The last white government had been in 1962-1967.

Years passed, they became a couple and married with the blessing of the current Archbishop of MontevideoCardinal Daniel Sturla, who had known the family for a long time. Lacalle de Herrera is a Catholic who attends mass weekly and one of his most important deputies was Martín Sturla, the priest’s brother. “Luis called me when he was getting married to ask me to preside over the wedding, so there I had the joy of celebrating the wedding and preparing with him and Loli. And then when the boys were born, I baptized them. So I also had meetings there and then I have met Luis several times”.

Ponce de León did not come from a political family, but when she got married to Lacalle Pou, she undertook the electoral campaign tour and was even seen hanging and taking down party advertising posters.

He graduated as a lawyer and she as a forestry and landscape technician. Both have recounted how difficult it was to be able to have children and try various techniques to achieve it.accompanied in this process.


Uruguay has only one history of separation from an incumbent president, according to historian Alejandro Giménez Rodríguez, author of the biographical books of all the heads of state. The case was not officially given at the time, but it was handled publicly, with a very special president, who liked politics, exercised command firmly, loved sports – particularly boxing – and outings with friends to share whiskey. Jorge Pacheco Areco was president between 1967 and 1972, he had four marriages, one of which was during the exercise of powerbut was interrupted two before the end of the period.

There is two cases of widowhood in times and at the end of mandate. the former president, Tabare Vazquezwho served two terms, 2004-2010 and 2015-2020, was left a widower with seven months left to finish his term, due to the death of his wife María Auxiliadora Delgado.

Luis Lacalle Pou and Lorena Ponce de León, with supporters in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2019.
Luis Lacalle Pou and Lorena Ponce de León, with supporters in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 2019. / REUTERS/Mariana Greif

John Campisteguy he was the president of the centenary, with the patriotic celebrations and the inauguration of the stadium for the first World Cup (1930), who was widowed three days before passing the command.

And Uruguay had three single presidents: José Ellauri (1873-1875), Francisco Antonino Vidal (1880-1882 and 1886), and Julio Herrera y Obes (1890-1894), who lived alone while in office.

Former Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez.
Former Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez. / Reuters Agency

The Prado residence became a house for the presidents in 1947 and an Argentine woman was decisive in choosing it as the venue. Until then, a house was rented for the president and it was Luis Batlle Berres who decided to choose a State property to leave as a permanent residence. His wife, the Argentine Matilde Ibáñez (1907-2002), chose the Prado because of the memories she had of when she had met her husband, when she was very young, fifteen years old.

Luis Lacalle Pou, together with Lorena Ponce de León, at the inauguration in Montevideo, on March 1, 2020.
Luis Lacalle Pou, together with Lorena Ponce de León, at the inauguration in Montevideo, on March 1, 2020. / REUTERS/Mariana Greif

Ponce de León moved in with his children, and Luis Lacalle Pou will stay in that great residencejust when the government faces pressure from the political and trade union opposition due to inflation, which reached 9.4%, and his supporters expect him to step on the accelerator to implement promised reforms.

By Nelson Fernandez

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