Brazen Crime Increasing:
Like it or not, the “rightwing” party is likely to win Uruguay’s presidential election in October, and here’s more evidence why: Increasing street crime in Uruguay, especially in and around the capital, Montevideo. In the latest brazen event, the Ambassador of Paraguay, out on his late-afternoon walk on the Rambla (the seaside walk) in a very posh section of Montevideo, was robbed and seriously injured.
Article is from Uruguay’s leading paper, El País.
Our Election Analysis:
Why do we at the Uruguay Expat Life / Uruguay For Me site network, share this and make that observation on what we think the election outcome will be? Not because El País has a traditional-rightwing editorial view, because this is a news report, not editorial, and is quite objective and factual. Rather, because there’s an increasing disgust in Uruguay among Uruguayans themselves about the level of street crime and home invasion crime. Like it or not, when crime goes up, the party in power gets blamed. The Frente Amplio has been in control of the Presidency for nearly 10 years now, two full terms, and in control of the congress as well.
Plus, the official policy of outgoing-in-March President Mujica, as well as still leading-in-polls candidate, the FA’s Tabaré Vázquez (First president from the FA in the 2005-2010 term from the 2009 campaign), is to oppose lowering of the “Age of Impunity”*- the age of criminal responsibility as an adult, down to 16 from its present 18.
Whether in USA, Australia, UK, or here in Uruguay, when crimes get so violent and increase in prevalence, people want punishment. Even if these perpetrators (one is in detention) are over 18 (unknown from this article), it adds to the “FA soft on crime, Blancos tough on crime” mindset.
Here’s another piece of the electoral puzzle: The expected role in the election of the traditional-left Colorado Party’s candidate, Pedro Bordaberry. This July report of the candidate on the campaign trail, lays out two of his most important positions. Positions closer to the traditional-right “Blancos” than to the left-to-far-left Frente Amplio of Mujica and Vázquez.
That’s an article from another major daily newspaper and site, El Observador. Also right-leaning editorially, though this was a straightforward profile with the third-place candidate, Pedro Bordaberry, of the Partido Colorado. Bordaberry is quoted as pushing charter schools, a Partido Nacional (Blanco) platform item. He wants them state-supported, rather than issuing school vouchers. However, he does want them to exist. That means both the centrist parties want charter schools, while the FA does not. More crucial to the electoral probabilities, Bordaberry is quoted as insisting on lowering the Age of Impunity, at least for serious crimes. Blancos are for that too. FA is dead set against it. Those are two very critical issues for the future of Uruguay: quality of education, and response to crime. They are logically related issues too, in that improving education is a valid response to dealing with one of the root causes of crime, and that makes being tough on those who commit crimes more justified.
You don’t have to agree with that analysis. We don’t entirely ourselves, at least not in an oversimplified way. But you should realize how that resonates with an electorate, whether American, British, or in this case, Uruguayan. You should see how on two central issues, the centrist-left Colorados are much closer to the centerist-right Blancos than to the new-left Frente Amplio. Imagine the electoral results from that perspective.
As we’ve noted before across our site network, the Colorados were both the most-often-ruling party in the Presidential election history of this representative democracy, and played the role, in a rough-but-useful analogy, of the US Democratic Party or UK Labour Party, while the Partido Nacional aka “Blancos” played the analog of the traditional (non-Tea-Party) US Republican Party or the UK Tories. The Colorados have now lost almost all of their traditional left-leaning support to the coalition “party-of-parties” that is the Frente Amplio, where the FA ranges from the Christian Democrats to the actual Communist Party of Uruguay within it.
The Colorados now get only about 10-12% of the vote. But the Blancos get about 40-44%. Combined, they get more of the vote than the Frente Amplio. This is based on the vote in the “internals” a few months ago, which are the equivalent of party primaries here. But they don’t require party membership, anybody who can vote, can walk into her polling place and choose the party ballot for which she wants to make her primary election choice.
The Colorados are now a centrist rather than a leftist party. But they have no chance at winning this election. The only winning choice for centrists is the center-right Blanco candidate Luís Lacalle Pou and his running mate Jorge Larrañaga (who came in a respectable second to Lacalle Pou in the internals and has strong support in the interior of the country). Most smart observers expect an unknown but large percentage of Colorado supporters to vote for Blanco candidate Lacalle Pou next month in the general election. Even if they don’t in that election, the separate Blanco and Colorado totals, along with the small amount for the Partido Independiente, will almost certainly through the election in to a November runoff between the top 2 only – Vázquez of the FA and Lacalle Pou of the Blancos. At that point, it’s highly likely that many, maybe most of the Colorados-preferring voters, will vote for Lacalle Pou.
Why we report on Uruguayan Politics:
Articles are in Spanish, which we expect anybody seriously considering moving to Uruguay to have obtained at least some reading ability in – basic high school Spanish should suffice. If not, Chrome browser auto-translates as does plugging the URL into the Microsoft Bing Translator (often more accurate than translate.google.com.) We strongly feel it’s crucial for anybody considering, “Is Uruguay for me?” to be reading local Uruguayan media, in Spanish, not just the English-language “expat forums and websites”, not even if our own sites are among your favorites.
We definitely want potential, and current, expats/immigrants, to have some sense of the politics and issues of the country of their (potential) choice. Unlike many sites, we have nothing to “sell you”, with the small exception of an expat planning consultation service via Plansify and some affiliate links for guidbooks from Amazon. Maybe some of our own ebooks before too much longer. But no real estate investment, no “Overseas Invest In Living” conferences, no “Uruguay is Paradise” stuff here. So we don’t have to hype Uruguay to make our bills. Uruguay is a good country, it’s our choice as our home, there are good reasons why perhaps it should be your choice, but it’s not a paradise, and it’s not crime-free.
We should know. Really miss that great HD-screen touch-panel laptop we had for all of 3 months, until it was stolen from our living room in the middle of the night while we were sleeping. Was less than 600 bucks in the USA; would be about 1400 dollars US here in Uruguay. Not replaced. The dog who slept through it all, also not replaced. He’s still doing his “keep mommy and daddy safe in bed underneath me” mode of watch-dogging!
* Don’t conflate the issues around the “Age of Impunity” with the similar sounding “Law of Impunity” – both are highly controversial, but entirely different. The Law of Impunity (unofficially but widely known as la Ley de Impunidad) refers to the amnesty and immunity from prosecution given to the perpetrators of the 1973-1985 civil-military dictatorship. Partially home-grown in Uruguay and partially USA-sponsored as part of Operation Condor. The “civil” part of that civillian-military dictatorship was current candidate from the traditional “left”, Pedro Bordaberry’s, very own father, President (and dictator) Juan Mariá Bordaberry.