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La Teja, the Uruguayan neighborhood that mourns Vázquez, its dearest neighbor

Montevideo, Dec 7 (EFE) .- In the western part of Montevideo is La Teja, a humble, working-class neighborhood with a unique sense of belonging and that is usually painted yellow and red by the colors of the Progreso club. This Monday, the neighborhood continues with the sadness of the death of its dearest neighbor, Tabaré Vázquez. From the bar La Razón, which the former president cradled as his own, the ties that he built over 80 years of life with a neighborhood that saw him grow up to be one of the most influential people of recent times in the country are reflected. South American. A pizza maker who played in Progreso when Vázquez was president, the owner of the bar and even one of the regular customers hold the memory of someone who marked both the venue and the rest of the neighborhood that cries for him today. The love for the former president, who died this Sunday at the age of 80, can be seen on banners and even on the flags of the Frente Amplio (a left-wing political force to which he belonged) placed at half mast. However, the greatest display of affection and respect appears when the residents of the neighborhood tell of shared experiences or admiration for someone who, despite reaching the highest position to which a Uruguayan can aspire, never left their roots. A BAR THAT SAW HIM GROW In Carlos María Ramírez, the main street of La Teja, is the La Razón bar, a place where “parishioners” come from morning to have a drink, eat pizza or simply talk among “relatives”, such as they are considered. “At the bar he was a client of the pizzeria, both he and his wife. Once he appeared with the car, we saw that he was queuing and we told him, come on, President, come in, and he said ‘no, I’m going to queue like any other customer.’ “, tells Efe Sebastián Segovia, manager of the bar. Still saddened by the departure of one of the symbols of the neighborhood, Segovia remembers Vázquez as someone humble who loved to eat pizza with mozzarella and fainá (tortilla made with chickpea flour) from there. From his time as a neighbor until he became mayor of Montevideo or president of the country on two occasions (2005-2010 and 2015-2020), Vázquez always tried to make time to go to this bar, talk to workers or clients and drink Photos. La Teja did not forget these gestures and on Sunday, at his farewell, he acclaimed him with the crowded streets that chanted: “And you see, the president is Tabaré.” “It was strong, the truth is that it was. The whole neighborhood lived a very sad moment, someone very important to us left us, he was always present, always helping us,” emphasizes the owner of the bar. On Sunday, despite the sadness, the place remained open and many people approached knowing that this was one of Vázquez’s favorite places. “Many people came to meet, from other neighborhoods, who did not know the place knowing that he was here. They came as if it were a part of him,” he recalls. PROUD NEIGHBOR On Monday morning there are several faithful who attend the bar to start the week drinking a glass of whiskey or sharing anecdotes. Daniel Villabona is one of them; a neighbor who has lived in La Teja for 50 years and has been a preferential witness to the growth of Vázquez over the years. The emotion in his words towards someone who shares the same illness together with the pride of belonging for having left a working class neighborhood, are reflected in the look of this veteran who leans his elbows against the bar to talk. “For me, Tabaré Vázquez is a great person first of all, a good neighbor and a good politician,” this man who is already known to everyone at the bar tells Efe. From his point of view, there was no other person who made an entire neighborhood so sad as happened with the death of Vázquez. “To leave a working class neighborhood with many factories that are not there today and to become president of the Republic, I think it is the greatest thing that can be done and I am proud to have a person as president of a working class neighborhood like La Teja” , emphasizes. Villabona’s gaze and pride towards someone who “will remain in history” is summarized in the farewell he would have liked to give him: “Brother, you gave everything you could. Let’s go up, rest in peace.” THE PIZZERO THAT WAS ‘9’ OF PROGRESS Before Vázquez got into the political life of the country, he already began to show his charisma as a leader in soccer. After founding the Arbolito club in 1958, he joined Progreso, the team of his loves and where he left an indelible mark as president. The pizza man at the bar, Adrián Cejas, knew how to be a professional soccer player in his youth in Progreso while Vázquez was in charge. “He was a guy you always admired, because no matter how many problems there were, he always maintained serenity, calm, always looking for the best way to solve them,” he recalls. For Cejas it was “a privilege” to share moments with someone who gave so much to the club and who was always present both in the stadium and in everyday life. “From the hand of Tabaré, Progreso is one of the Uruguayan champions. He got the title in 1989, as we all know there are seven Uruguayan champions in all of history,” he says. Today, so many years later, Progreso has a much more important infrastructure and remains afloat thanks “to the school he left.” From the houses to the streets, from Progreso to the La Razón bar but, fundamentally, in every corner of a working-class neighborhood that is in mourning, Tabaré Vázquez will remain alive and his immaterial legacy is a proud guide for all these neighbors who lament the departure of their most beloved son but they keep the joy to remember it. ) (c) EFE Agency

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