Uruguay. The most talked about event in both Uruguay and
internationally during the year was congressional approval
in August of a law that legalizes the cultivation and sale
of cannabis and puts everything under state control.
Consumption was already legal. The government argued that
the law was primarily a health policy measure intended to
help rather than punish drug addicts.
Countryaah, Uruguay had already, as the first Latin American country,
banned tobacco smoking in public places. While a majority of
the people's opinion in the country was opposed to the law
change, it was viewed with interest by other countries'
governments in Latin America, who have problems with crime
linked to drugs.
In early October, President José Mujica announced that
the finely owned UPM-Kymmene company would be allowed to
increase its pulp production at its plant on the Uruguay
River. The announcement came shortly after Mujica's visit to
neighboring Argentina, where the protests against the pulp
mill have been loud for a long period of years.
Argentina's Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman accused
Uruguay of acting unilaterally and against current
agreements. The case will therefore, on Argentina's
initiative, be reported again to the International Court of
Justice in The Hague, where it has been open for negotiation
several times before.
In February 2011, Uruguay supported the establishment of
UNASUR and was itself included in Latin American
In March, Uruguay became the 7th Latin American country
to recognize Palestine as a state.
In November 2011, the Senate legalized abortion. Until
then, women had been punished with 3-12 months imprisonment
for having an abortion, and those who performed the abortion
were punished with 6-24 months imprisonment.
In June 2012, Uruguay legalized state cannabis sales,
while Mujica urged the rest of the world's states to do the
same. The purpose was to weaken the drug cartels, get a
better overview of the users and be better able to use
preventive measures to combat abuse. In December, same-sex
marriage was legalized. The proposal had been fiercely
opposed by the deeply conservative Catholic Church.
In September 2013, Mujica gave a landmark speech at the
UN General Assembly dedicated to humanism and globalization.
In his speech, he called on the international community to
step up efforts to preserve the planet for future
generations. At the same time, he drew attention to the
power of financial capital and the consequences of its
crises for ordinary people. He called for a purer and
simpler way of life based on human relationships, love,
friendship, adventure, solidarity and family, rather than
life subject to the tyranny of market and capital.
In 2013, The Economist named Uruguay the "Country of the
Year". In the continent, it is in first place in terms of
democracy, peace, absence of corruption, quality of life,
freedom of the press, extent of interlayer, prosperity,
security and e-Government. Per capita, it is the country in
the world that contributes the most troops to the UN
The October/November 2014 presidential election was won
by former President Tabaré Vázquez. The constitution does
not allow the re-election of a sitting president who would
otherwise have secured the popular Pepe Mujica re-election.
Except Mujica would rather be a pensioner. Already in the
first round, Frente Amplio got candidate Tabaré 49.5% of the
vote, while his main counterpart, the conservative Alberto
Lacalle had to settle for 32%. In the second round, Tabaré
gained 56.6%. He was elected president in March 2015. The
turnout was 90.5% and thus twice as high as the turnout in
the US presidential election. In the first round,
parliamentary elections were also held, giving Frente Amplio
50 out of the 99 seats of the Chamber of Deputies and 15 out
of the Senate's 30. Of the 15 seats of the FA, 6 went to the
left in the Movimiento de Participacion Popular (MPP).
In June 2015, the government announced that it would
continue its program of receiving refugees from the war in
Syria. By 2014, the country had welcomed 5 Syrian refugees.
In October, the country was elected a member of the UN
Security Council in 2016-17. 50 years after it had last held
a seat on the Council.