TechCamp Goes to Montevideo – Technology for a Civil Society

Why do people increasingly call this country Tech Hub Uruguay? A big reason is the educated populace, including Uruguay providing a free laptop to every schoolchild.

Uruguayay schoolchilderen at their desks with their OLPC computers.
Uruguay – first country in the world with 100% coverage by the One Laptop Per Child initiative, implemented in Uruguay as “Plan Ceibal”.

Sometimes Uruguay goes even further. About two years ago, Uruguay was the host country for a USA-sponsored initiative, a series of “Tech Camps” promoting technology for a civil society. We were in the process of our initial move to Uruguay back then, during our 2-month Uruguay Test Drive, so didn’t catch this story at the time: TechCamp Goes to Montevideo, Uruguay | US State Department – USA-Uruguay cooperation on technology education for our hemisphere.

Hosted in partnership with the Government of Uruguay — whose sponsorship of laptops for youths has seen amazing success for education among children in the country — TechCamp provided an opportunity for participants to interact with expert technologists through a series of training sessions and small group discussions.

Uruguay wasn’t chosen because it needs to develop a civil society. It wasn’t chosen because it needs to educate its population on technology. The US Department of State, under Hillary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State for the Obama Administration, chose Uruguay as a host country because Uruguay already is a leader in technology for a civil society. Continue reading TechCamp Goes to Montevideo – Technology for a Civil Society

A silent anniversary in Uruguay?

One month ago was the 40th anniversary of the coup in Uruguay, which ended representative democracy and liberty for 12 years. During that time of the dictadura, the dictatorship, many Uruguayans left the country, often for the USA, as the best choice for them and their families for freedom. We know several who came back afterwards. Others stayed and resisted, and still others simply went about everyday life as best as they could.

Al-Jazeera ran this column last month, about the desire of many Uruguayos to make 27-June a national day of commemoration.

A silent anniversary in Uruguay? – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

We don’t sugarcoat the truth here at Uruguay Expat Life. Yes, this is a country that only a generation ago, had widespread surveillance and spying, secret courts, prisons without hope of appeal or release, torture of those who were deemed to be enemies of the state.

Perhaps one of the reasons Lisa and I are comfortable with life and liberty in Uruguay now, is that only that one generation ago, Uruguay resisted and recovered its freedom. Continue reading A silent anniversary in Uruguay?

Olimpicos – not just a sandwich

The “Olympic” is a favorite Uruguayan sandwich. But right now, it’s also los Juegos Olimpicos, the Olympic Games.

Here’s a picture of our National Team entering the arena at Friday’s Opening Ceremony. Uruguayn Olympic Team

A report (in Spanish) from La Republica  newspaper shows them entering and gives some background on the team.

As an expat USA Citizen living in Uruguay, but temporarily back in the States for about a month, covering all of the Olympics, this is one of life’s little expat dilemmas – who to cheer? Continue reading Olimpicos – not just a sandwich