What about Uruguay? Jan 7, 2013 18:12:44 GMT
Post by Deleted on Jan 7, 2013 18:12:44 GMT
Uruguay is one of those countries that nobody ever talks about, unless they are from Uruguay or perhaps Argentina or Brazil. The rest of us don't really think about it. Population 3.3 million and a big cattle export industry, just like the big country across the Rio de la Plata.
However, it appears that interesting things are happening there, and I have just read several articles about a variety of subjects that attest to this.
Let's start with the president, José Mujica, a former revolutionary guerilla and one of the leaders of the Tupamaros. The Tupamaros kidnapped and executed a few people, so they were not exactly choir boys. The president now refers to these events as "military deviations."
Anyway, Mr. Mujica was captured in 1972 and spent the next 14 years in prison. He was often in solitary confinement in a hole in the ground. According to legend, there was a frog and some rats down there, too, and he shared crumbs of bread with them. Apparently, this was a wise move, because some of the other Tupamaros in captivity went crazy fighting the rats instead of befriending them. Meanwhile, he went for more than a year without bathing. I don't know if he has ever met Nelson Mandela, but I think they might have some interesting stories to share.
Anyway, he was finally released from prison and immediately entered politics. When the leftists came to power in 2004, he became Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries. And in 2009, he was elected president by a wide margin.
He refused to live in the presidential palace, which has a staff of 42 people, and stayed on his little chrysanthemum farm where he lived with his wife before she died. His net worth when he took office was $1800 and he donates 90% of his presidential salary to housing programmes for the poor, leaving him with $800 a month.
So what?, you wonder. What has he done as president?
Well, in 2015 Uruguay will produce 90% of its electricity from renewable sources. Wind generated electricity will make up 30% of the total and put it ahead of the current leader which is Denmark. 45% of the electricity is hydro generated and 15% comes from biomass.
Meanwhile, Uruguay has become the second nation in Latin America and the 12th in the world to legalize same sex marriage while also updating the rest of the marriage laws. Up until now, only men could file for divorce without cause. Women can now do the same. Uruguay is also the first Latin American country to have legalized abortion, and it also permits the mother's name to be chosen for children instead of only the father's name in the Hispanic naming procedures. (This was an offshoot of the same-sex marriage law which would have complicated such things for obvious reasons.)
The latest plan in Uruguay is to legalize marijuana, but this is facing more hurdles than the other stuff.
In any case, I think that we have all overlooked Uruguay long enough!