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Uruguay’s election – final week campaign color

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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 »

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

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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 »

Crime increasing in Uruguay, expect electoral consequences

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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 »

Uruguay Politics

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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.

Get personal advice on Uruguay living and travel – Now at Plansify!

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We at Uruguay Expat Life & Uruguay For Me enjoy sharing our experiences, creating internet communities where other folks considering life in Uruguay gather to chat, and meeting and conversing with other expats, immigrants, slow travelers, who may be wondering if Uruguay is for them. That’s why we created and offer so many different free options for online community, like all the ones in our menu up top. Including the very popular Uruguay Expat Life Community on the Google social platform. We will continue to curate and encourage these communities, post our own observations here at the heart of our site network and on our social media sites, and encourage everyone to contribute. Lisa Mercer and I also get a lot of emails, private messages, and contact form responses, and we’re happy to give some quick info.

Sometimes what you need is more than just public social media and blog discussions, more than a short general reply to an email. When it comes to asking “Is Uruguay for me?”, that requires research, perspective, advice, and on-the-ground knowledge. Same with figuring out all the various travel alternatives and ways to maximize frequent flyer programs and schemes to afford the multiple trips you really should do before committing to live here. Now we have a way to help you with those details, via Plansify.

Plansify text logo

I (Mark Mercer) am thrilled and honored to have been invited by famous travel blogger / entrepreneur “Wandering Earl” to be one of the Travel Advisors at Plansify.com, and it’s now live! You can book your consultation with me right now. Continue reading »

UK expats losing their Barclaycards. Plus tax hassles! – reblog from ExpatsBlog.com with our take on it.

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Image of Barclaycard Platinum Visa card

Keep Calm and Kiss This Card Goodbye

Reblogging this financial bad news from ExpatsBlog.com, for the benefit of our many readers who are from the United Kingdom. Uruguay’s largest contingent of English-speaking expats most likely are from USA, but UK is right up there near the top. Usually the bad financial news, in terms of home-country-induced major inconvenience, is hitting the US folks. FATCA, FBAR, and being fired as a customer from every bank in Uruguay except for BROU. Along with some reports of US-based banks closing accounts for US citizens who moved here. (Fortunately has not happened to us, but we do have a US address too.)

This time it’s you Brits who are suffering. Well, along with the Scots, at least till the referendum, the Welsh, and the Irish in Northern Ireland, who have moved here or elsewhere. Barclays is closing your credit cards: Continue reading »

A Lovely Fall Day Wrapping Up Tourism Week

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Beautiful Saturday of the weekend wrapping up Tourism Week. That’s what secular Uruguay calls Holy Week, because we actually have full separation of religion from government here.

Edit: more context on Uruguay as secular nation. Which means all are free to worship, or not, as they see fit. None may impose on others, especially not the government and the general culture. Our friends at the relatively new and excellent blog Guru’guay explain why Uruguay calls it Tourism Week.

Even with our country being secular, the Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Mormon Churches will be full of Easter celebrants. Whilst not making agnostics, atheists, pagans, nontheistic faith believers such as Buddhists and Taoists, or followers of other branches of the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths uncomfortable from pushing a majority culture onto them. Uruguay does have small but active Jewish, Islamic, and Bahá’í Faith communities, which are the other three major parts of the Abrahamic monotheistic faith traditions in addition to the various flavors of Christianity. A Buddhist temple in the interior. Not to forget the many worshipers of Iemanja, goddess of the sea. Seems eminently respectful and downright “love thy neighbor” to me, to keep things officially secular. Everyone gets to choose.

We still have flowers on some of the lovely decorative trees and bushes in the neighborhood. The weather here in coastal Uruguay has been a bit chilly at night (enough with the “It’s not Chile, it’s Uruguay” bit, Lisa!) – as low as 8C, but about 15-20 days still. Think mid-60s during the day, if you’re from Fahrenheit-ville. The seasons are definitely changing, but it’s still lovely most of the time.

Edit: Added a few more pix that I had on my phone. The phone’s WordPress app is a little bit skittish about multi-photo posts. Added them from the computer. In the gallery after the break. Continue reading »

Fall punctuated by rainbow

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Autumn is definitely here in Uruguay. Sun setting early evening and light at low angle by mid-afternoon. Chilly at night and sometimes by day. I used the Supergas-fired estufa, large non-electric space heater, for the first time this year today when I got up, to take the chill off the living room. We’ve had the split aire acondicionado on in mild heating “Auto” mode the last few nights.

But sometimes there is beauty in the onset of the darkness. Continue reading »

Sausage! As in Expats find many ways to start businesses in Uruguay

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Image of their price list

“J and M Sausage” product list.

Some of us start web and social media businesses, some of us write books, some run hotels, some have farms. Some make sausage! A Costa de Oro region expat business near Atlántida Uruguay, “J and M Sausage”, does exactly that. More about them at our new regional AtlantidaExpats.com site.

Another site launch – AtlantidaExpats.com

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Technically a re-launch, because we launched AtlantidaExpats.com last August as a gift to the informal but fairly big “Atlántida English Speakers” get-together. They’d been talking for years about wanting a website, so one day before one of the lunches I spent a couple of hours and whipped one up for them, offering it to them for free.

After all the “we want a website, somebody might do one” for years, when I presented it to them, the person who handles communications said “I don’t have time”. Then I asked again, that time in an email. Ignored.  So, after a couple of months wasted re-copying their Gmail-sent newsletter out of the goodness of my heart while redacting overly private info in it, I gave up on the idea. Clearly, they really did not want a website, and clearly, I’m getting too old for this “stuff” of doing things for people who don’t appreciate it!

AtlantidaExpats

Relaunching AtlantidaExpats.com now with the editorial voice of Uruguay Expat Life, Continue reading »

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