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Tupamaros National Liberation Movement, Uruguay

Movimiento de Liberación Nacional - MLN - Tupamaros

Last modified: 2011-06-11 by francisco gregoric
Keywords: tupamaros | tupac amaru | national liberation movement | movimiento de liberación nacional | mln | sendic (raúl) | mujica (josé) | fernández huidobro (eleuterio) | t | star: 5 points (yellow) | artigas (josé gervasio) |
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[Flag of the Tupamaros]
by Francisco Gregoric, 26 Dec 2004
See also: Other sites:


The date of foundation of Tupamaros (MLN, Movimiento de Liberación Nacional = National Liberation Movement) is 1965. There are a few variants of the circle and star in the flag.
Rodolfo Tizzi, 10 Jul 2002

In 1971, the National Liberation Movement reinforced. It was also called Tupamaros, from the name of the Indian Tupac Amaru, who was quartered by the Spaniards on 18 May 1781 in Cuzco (Peru) after having fought against colonization for 4 years. (The name Tupac Amaru was reused by the Peruvian revolutionary group (M.R.T.A.) which assaulted the Japanese embassy in Lima last year.) The Uruguayan Army defeated the Tupamaros in 1972 and overthrew the elected President Juan Maria Bordaberry on 27 June 1973. Civil government was reestablished in 1985 with the election of Julio María Sanguinetti as President.
Ivan Sache, 18 Jun 1998

The MLN - Movimiento de Liberación Nacional - Tupamaros was founded in the early 1960s by journalist Raúl Sendic.

In some aspects, the group took as a model Fidel Castro's Revolution in Cuba. However, following Uruguay's geography and conditions, the Tupamaros used "urban guerrilla" methods.

The group founded a political party as a "political wing" named Movimiento de Independientes 26 de Marzo (March 26th Independent Movement).
Francisco Gregoric, 26 Dec 2004

The Tupamaros joined with the ERP [from Argentina], the Chilean Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR), and the National Liberation Army of Bolivia to form the Junta Coordinadora Revolucionaria (JCR) in August 1973.
Esteban Rivera, 17 Mar 2007

As it was quoted before, the Uruguayan Armed Forces defeated militarily the Tupamaros in 1972 and after that overthrew the Civil government in 1973. Most of the members of MLN (included its founder Raúl Sendic) where kept in military prisons until 1985 when there was an amnesty law.

After that, they returned to politics as a political group and declined guerrilla methods. Raúl Sendic, the founder of the MLN-Tupamaros, died in 1989.

The MLN-Tupamaros continues to exist today as a political group (and legal now), and former Tupamaros are inside the Uruguayan political system. However for elections, its members participate inside different parties and groups that present ballots in Uruguayan elections.

Most of the former Tupamaros are inside the Movimiento de Participación Popular (Popular Participation Movement), for example José Mujica and Eleuterio Fernández Huidobro.

The political group founded by the Tupamaros: the Movimiento 26 de Marzo (March 26th Movement) still exists. Raúl Sendic, the son (with the same name) of the founder of Tupamaros, is a member of this second group.

Finally another group with former MLN members that present ballots in elections is the Corriente de Izquierda (Leftist Trend).

Nowadays the name "Tupamaro" has been used again by a leftist political group in Venezuela: the Movimiento Revolucionario Tupamaro.
Francisco Gregoric, 26 Dec 2004


The flag of Tupamaros, according to W. Smith [smi80], is the historical Artigas flag defaced with a red star enclosed in a white disc. The star is charged with a black T.
Ivan Sache, 18 Jun 1998

In this image I tried to follow my source [ing79a] as closely as possible, I have no other reason to believe that this is the correct one. Is it likely that this political revolutionary flag had precisely defined shades and designs? I suppose that returning to General Artigas’ original flag would provide a sensible comparison. The former Uruguayan jack was even lighter.
Tham-Tâm Lê, 16 Dec 1998

The Tupamaros flag is an Artigas' flag (horizontal triband blue-white-blue with a red diagonal) with a yellow star in the middle. The star has a black letter T inside that stands for "Tupamaros". The reported flag with a red star inside a white circle is not used. Although the star in the flag is yellow, the group has used red stars sometimes in propaganda posters. A red star is also used in the political wing of the Tupamaros: the Movimiento 26 de Marzo (March 26th Movement).

From a design point of view, the flag combines an Uruguayan historical nationalist element (the Artigas' flag) with a leftist revolutionary one (the yellow star). Recently the use of this variant of Artigas flag by the Tupamaros leave to a trial, where some people try to forbid the use of this flag to the MLN, because Artigas's flag is a National Symbol of Uruguay and the people that started the trial saw this use as a profanation of the symbol. However the judge authorized the MLN to continue using their variant of the Artigas' flag.

As there are Artigas' flags available in flag shops in Uruguay, the easiest way to make a Tupamaros flag would be just adding the yellow star with the T. So, there could be little differences in details of this star and the letter T from one flag to another. And slightly different shades of blue could be seen in different flags, too.

There is a drawing of the flag in the official MLN website, and a picture of a real Tupamaros flag used during a meeting. The person speaking behind the flag is Senator José Mujica, that has been a Tupamaro since the 1960s. Nowadays Mujica is also a member of the Movimiento de Participación Popular (Popular Participation Movement), however the Tupamaros flag is still used by the MLN in meetings remembering their 1960s & 1970s activities.
Francisco Gregoric, 26 Dec 2004

Other sites:

Variants of the flag

[Flag of the Tupamaros]
by Francisco Gregoric, 25 Apr 2005

There are no fixed proportions for the yellow star and the letter T. In some flags, part of the letter T goes out of the star in the bottom part. In the following links it is possible to watch differences of details in two Tupamaros flags.
Francisco Gregoric, 25 Apr 2005

Other sites:

Variant with MLN acronym inside the letter T

[Flag of the Tupamaros]
by Francisco Gregoric, 25 Apr 2005

In this particular variant the yellow star and the letter T are bigger, and the acronym of the group "MLN" (for Movimiento de Liberación Nacional) appears in a vertical way inside the T.
Francisco Gregoric, 25 Apr 2005

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