“It’s worth fighting for people to have a bit more food, a better roof over their heads, better health, better education, and be able to spend their days on this earth the best they can.” – José Mujica
You have a government with a former guerrilla who spouts philosophy and liberalizes marijuana but wants to mine, calls for marriage equality, yet has been the principal promoter of genetically modified cultivation in the country, talks like a man of the people, but at the same time the ballet is flourishing in Montevideo for the cultural élite. […]
Uruguay’s marijuana legalization law should be a wake up call to political leaders across the hemisphere stop applying the failed policies of the past, and instead address the structural changes that need to happen to end the drug war.
Under the Presidency of José “Pepe” Mujica, Uruguay has made a number of international headlines in recent years for progressive moves such as legalizing same sex marriage, abortion and marijuana cultivation and trade, as well as withdrawing its troops from Haiti. This week, Mujica offered to welcome detainees from the US’s detention center at its base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
A bill that would regulate large-scale mining operations is making its way through Uruguay’s two houses of parliament, despite a lack of political consensus and vocal opposition from environmental organisations and other sectors of civil society. The proposed legislation declares that large-scale mining would serve the “public interest”. But critics charge that the bill was drafted to serve the interests of the Aratirí project planned by the Indian mining group Zamin Ferrous, aimed at the production of 18 million tons of iron ore annually.
On February 24, 2011, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) made a historic ruling in the Gelman v. Uruguay case by holding Uruguay responsible for forced disappearances committed during the nation’s dictatorship which lasted from 1973-1985.
On March 7 one of Uruguay’s strongest myths was broken: trust in state enterprises. That day those who turned on their faucets were met with a foul smell and those who were drinking coffee or maté found a strange taste. The company in charge of the water supply, the State Sanitary Works (OSE), had to confess that there was “an episode” of algae contamination in the Santa Lucia River Basin, which supplies six out of ten Uruguayans.
On Aug. 8 the Uruguayan government sent legislation to the parliament containing only one article: “The state assumes control and regulation of the activities related to the importation, production, acquisition of any title, storage, commercialization, and distribution of marihuana and its associated products, in terms and conditions defined by the respective regulation.”
The Uruguayan Congress passed a law Wednesday decriminalising abortion, making it one of the few countries in the region where abortion is allowed in cases other than rape, incest, malformation of the fetus or danger to the mother’s life. But activists who backed the bill are not pleased with modifications introduced in the final version.