Does the New President of Uruguay have Friends Who Threaten His Stability?


Newly elected President of Uruguay, Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, an alumnus of the prestigious British Schools in Montevideo has a lot on his plate as the newly elected President of a country of 3.5 million. What he doesn't need in these first days of his Presidency are old friends trading on his name.

At least one of President Lacalle Pou's friends from the British Schools appears to be capitalizing on the President's name and position. Pablo Camillo Valdez and Hector Esteban Bove Armand Ugon (Hector Bove) own an airplane Lacalle Pou used during his Presidential campaign. During an interview with El Economista News Lacalle Pou was asked "Who is the person who loans you the plane?" The President's curious response, "Is that question
relevant?" seemed to suggest the airplane was a sensitive subject. Lacalle Pou then defended himself by saying, "First, they don't lend it to me, I pay it. The owners are Pablo Camilo Valdez and Héctor Bove. I pay for flight hours... I do not return favors to anyone."

While this may be true on the President's part, one of the aircraft's owners, Hector Bove, seems to have no problem attempting to benefit from the old friendship. A source has confirmed that dropping President Lacalle Pou's name is a favorite practice of Bove's. While it is unknown if this played a role, a lawsuit was recently filed against Hector Bove in his home state of Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA. This $1 Million (U.S.) dollar action is sought by Uruguayan citizen Mercedes Aguerrondo, the owner of Cold Creek Farms (CCF) in Arkansas.

In the lawsuit, Aguerrondo's attorney claimed Hector Bove converted nearly $1 million (U.S.) dollars of Cold Creek Farms money into his own personal and business accounts. One of these businesses was Raven Agriculture, a U.S. company Bove currently owns. One theft allegation
involved the clearing of farmland owned by Cold Creek Farms. Instead of performing the work, it is alleged Bove wired $500,000 US dollars to a bank account controlled by Bove's Raven Agri. According to the lawsuit, Bove failed to perform any land leveling work for CCF.

In another incident, Bove allegedly misappropriated $150,000 U.S. dollars from Aguerrondo during a land deal. The lawsuit alleges Bove began investigating the potential purchase of additional farmland in Arkansas for Aguerrondo. Known as the Eldridge Andrews property, Bove advised he would need $150,000 to complete the due diligence for the purchase of the property and to serve as a down payment. CCF wired $150,000 to its First Security Bank account, entrusting such funds to Bove for use in the Eldridge Andrews farm deal. These funds were allegedly withdrawn on the same day by Hector Bove, with no effort made to purchase the land.

With friends like this close to the President, what will his Presidency look like after he's out of office? There is no allegation President Lacalle Pou has direct involvement with Bove's business dealings. However, the use of Bove's airplane, along with claims Bove might be using his relationship with the President, could undermine Lacalle Pou's leadership.

Hector Bove has not responded to the lawsuit as of the writing of this article and has yet to comment.

Cristina Rodriguez - Free reprint rights.