Uruguay’s election – final week campaign color

We continue our eclectic, non-citizens but informed-residents, coverage of the Uruguayan national elections. Again, from the perspective that as immigrants legally resident in this welcoming nation, we have an obligation to learn how things are done in our new country. Just the same as we expected, when living in the USA as native-born US citizens, that legal immigrants to the USA should do. Learn how the system works. Learn and use, at least to a basic functional extent, the dominant language. Be part of it to the extent you are legally allowed – think about how it impacts you. Learn from your neighbors. Read, watch, listen to the local media in the local language.

In the past few weeks we’ve had some vocal “expats” criticize us for writing about the Uruguay election, as if it were supposed to be none of our business, none of any expat’s business. Sorry, we’re not that kind of “expat” and we’re glad we’re not. What’s more important is we’ve had Uruguayan friends thank us for covering it. Friends telling us that they appreciate how we are presenting some detailed and balanced information of how Uruguay’s representative democratic republic actually works, to the English-speaking expat/immigrant audience. Neighbors happy to get into political discussions with us, or to explain how the mechanism of the vote works. We’re gratified that our amigos and vecinos appreciate our interest and our election coverage, and we feel that you, the readers of our site who are considering moving to Uruguay, in the process, or already living here, need to understand its political environment and process. That’s why we share it with you.

Certainly if you ever want to become fully part of Uruguayan society and culture, you should be aware of its system of governance. Whether or not you plan to get citizenship or just remain as a resident, or even just do the “visa hop” (we don’t recommend that, and for most it’s not even a visa, but it’s disrespectful to the country), you will be living here. Paying taxes indirectly or directly here. Hopefully making some friends here beyond just expat circles. Perhaps employing people here, maybe starting a business here, possibly working in a job here. Learn about your new country. We’re learning, we’ve almost certainly getting some things wrong, but we’re trying to understand, and sharing what we learn.

First, let’s look at many of the colorful campaign banners and booths all over town. In Centro, at the weekly feria, out in front of the big supermarkets, on lampposts and phone poles, and on houses all around town, there are signs of the election almost everywhere in our medium-sized modest beach town of Atlántida.

What is the actual process of casting a ballot here, you may wonder. How does a Uruguayan citizen vote? Continue reading Uruguay’s election – final week campaign color

Reblog/reaction: No, you can’t have your own president Mujica – Medium

Reblogging a brilliant piece by Medium contributor “rabble” who covers politics and history, often for Uruguay. With our take on it, and a whole bunch of on-the-ground observation by us, added here in our Uruguay Expat Life post.

No, you can’t have your own president Mujica. — Medium.

So why can’t there be more leaders like Mujica. Well it’s complicated. He’s a reflection of the politics and country which elected him…

To explain why Mujica got elected, how he was able to govern and reshape Uruguay we need a tiny bit of a history lesson.

screencap snippet of start of article
From Medium.com

This is such a great counter-piece to all the excesses of Hipster-Uruguay articles that both Uruguayans and most expats/immigrants here are getting sick and tired of seeing. (Something we’ve skewered right here before.) We do admire Mujica, though some of our neighbors in both the Uruguayan and the Anglophone expat communities dislike, or even despise him. We understand why they do and do not demonize them for it – they have points that make sense. Continue reading Reblog/reaction: No, you can’t have your own president Mujica – Medium

Crime increasing in Uruguay, expect electoral consequences

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.

Entryway of the Paraguay embassy, showing a wooden stairway to a recessed door on a white stucco building, with the flag of Paraguay to the right side of the stairway
Embassy of Paraguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. ©El Pais

 

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.

The candidate standing, dressed in a dark suit and open-neck white shirt, wearing a Uruguayan flag lapel pin.
Frente Amplio Candidate Tabaré Vásquez.
©Fabio Pozzebom/ABr – Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons CC-BY-3.0-br

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. Continue reading Crime increasing in Uruguay, expect electoral consequences

Uruguay Politics

We’re obviously not experts, but there’s a lot happening this year, with the Presidential election and legislative elections. Whether a new expat, a longer-time immigrant with residency, a naturalized citizen of Uruguay, or a native Uruguayan who follows expat news – This election’s results will affect all of us.

Lacalle Pou’s campaign HQ hit by a break-in that took nearly everything.

We’ve been posting a selection of news stories and commentary on them, and encouraging discussion, over the past couple of months. Mostly at our social media sites – so be sure to check our pages. Addresses and links to them are right at the top and sidebar of every page here on the website.

To get you started, here’s a post I did today, as our Uruguay for Me Page on Google+, to our Uruguay Expat Life Community(like a forum but on Google), about a break-in at the campaign headquarters of the leading opposition candidate. Shades of Watergate!

Read it, and if you have a Google ID (Android, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) participate in the discussion at the Uruguay Expat Life Community.

— Mark the dual-country political junkie.

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