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

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.

Tio Pepe’s Diary – Note to self: Don’t get named “Best President in World” again. Approval plummeted to 39%

Ruh-roh! Our “Tio Pepe” may have just been named “Best President in the World”, but back in Uruguay his ratings have plunged. Oops.

(Poster’s note: we’re committed to bringing you the good and the bad, the truth and the facts about Uruguay – not just all chivitos, mate, and rainbows. Plus it’s Political Silly Season in the country of our citizenship, USA. So here’s some Uruguayan politics.)

Apparently in part because he wants to legalize weed, and also perhaps due to letting our national airline, miserable little Pluna, fail entirely rather than dropping money into a bailout of an unsustainable company. At least that’s the view of the MercoPress article I linked.

However he’s still in good electoral shape, or more importantly, the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) ruling coalition made up fo at least 11 different smaller parties is still far ahead of the century-plus-old traditional 2-party-system competition:

“…if national elections had been held last Sunday, the ruling coalition would garner 42% of the vote followed by the National party with 22% (up two points) and the Colorado party with 14%, down two points.”

For those who don’t follow Uruguay politics (which means just about all of you in the world!), Continue reading Tio Pepe’s Diary – Note to self: Don’t get named “Best President in World” again. Approval plummeted to 39%