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 change.
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 society.
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.