Uruguay. According to
countryaah, José Mujica of the coalition Frente Amplio (FA)
did not succeed in gaining his own majority in the first
round of the October 25 elections, but was forced into a
second round of 29 November against Luís Alberto Lacalle
(1990-1955) from the opposition party Partido Nacional.
November 29 election results were 53 percent for Mujica and
43 percent for Lacalle. In the congressional elections held
October 25, the FA won a majority in the Senate while in the
House of Representatives a minority position was obtained.
The government coalition won in 11 of the country's 19
provinces, including the six largest. Two referendums were
held on the same day. In one, voters voted no to repeal the
law that granted amnesty for military human rights
violations during the dictatorship 1973–85, in the other
they agreed that foreign-resident Uruguayans should be
allowed to vote in the country's elections.
In September, Uruguay became the first country in Latin
America to allow gay couples to adopt children and form
families when the House of Representatives approved a law
the month before it passed the Senate. Conservative circles,
led by Archbishop Nicolas Cotugno, opposed the longest law
On November 4, 2005, a large number of Montevideo social
organizations demonstrated against capitalism and
globalization. The occasion was the implementation of the US
Summit in Mar del Plata in neighboring Argentina, where the
US George Bush also participated. The demonstration ended
violently with broken shop windows and broken cars.
Subsequently, Judge Fernández Lecchini sentenced 4 of the
protesters to rebellion, relying on a section of the
Criminal Code drawn from Italian criminal law in the 1930's.
After extensive public criticism and debate, the 4 were
released a month later.
The construction of a cellulose plant at the mouth of the
Rio Uruguay River at the border between Argentina and
Uruguay led to widespread protests from the neighboring
Argentine city of Gualeguaychú and from the Argentine
government. In the peak season of tourism, January and
February 2006, the Argentines blocked the bridges over the
river, leading to significant economic losses in Uruguay.
The interruptions of connections continued on weekends
throughout the year until the bridges were closed
indefinitely in November.
In November 2006, former dictator Bordaberry and Foreign
Minister Juan Carlos Blanco were arrested and prosecuted for
the abduction and murder of four people in 1976. Other
senior military officers serving under the dictatorship were
prosecuted for similar crimes and put in a newly built
prison, created specifically for the purpose. In January
2007, Bordaberry was placed under house arrest because of
his serious health condition.
Finance Minister Danilo Astori implemented a tax reform
in 2007, where he introduced a tax on rent. That led to
harsh criticism, both from the opposition and from sectors
of the government. Astori, who already had a bad
relationship with the more leftist parts of Frente Amplio
due to his economic policy, argued that the reform would
create increased equality and would benefit the poorest of
In the period 2002-08, the center-left government managed
to reduce the number of poor people in the country from 33%
to 22%, and the number of Uruguayans living in extreme
poverty was reduced from 3.3% to 1.7%. In the period
2007-09, the country was also the only one in Latin America
that did not technically recession. On the contrary, growth
rates remained high. In the first half of 2010, economic
growth was over 10%. Its residents are generally well
educated, and in 2009 it became the first country in the
world to provide a PC to every elementary school student.
The November 2009 presidential election was won by José
«Pepe» Mujica of Frente Amplio with 52% of the vote against
the conservative Alberto Lacalles 43%. He was deployed to
the presidential post in March 2010. Mujica is a member of
Tupamaros, who was a guerrilla in the 1960's and 70's. In
the period 1973-85, he served in a military prison.
Including 2 years on the bottom of a well. A "technique" the
military used in its attempt to crack prisoners physically
and mentally. Mujica donates 90% of its $ 12,000 monthly
salary to poor and humanitarian projects.