Teacher on Demand

English Language Teaching in Brazilian settings

The unexpected in Uruguay

I could start this post by talking about how surprised I was to watch the following short film:

It’s about the city of Montevideo getting invaded by alien robots and its complete destruction. Seeing New York City under attack on screen wouldn’t be a surprise, but I didn’t expect to watch the places I’ve been to in Uruguay to be surrounded by CGI creatures and visual effects. That was cool.

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. Here’s the actual point:

As I flew over Uruguay on my way to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I noticed vast green areas with almost no sign of urbanization, except for a few scattered spots that seemed to be villages and small towns here and there, apart from each other by hundreds of kilometers. That is how Uruguay really looks.

Uruguay: from an aerial view, a vast green area with very few spots of urbanization.

Uruguay: from an aerial view, a vast green area with few spots of urbanization.

Judging from that view, I raised a few assumptions on how the people right below would lead their lives. Uruguaians are probably very religion-regulated – I thought. The prevailing small communities based on agriculture are likely to live under strict rules, ancient values, obscurantism and some Patriarch control – I assumed. Worse, education are not likely to be a priority down there.

After being for a few days in Argentina, I crossed Rio de la Plata to visit Colonia and Montevideo. In the Uruguaian capital, a big Christian cross and statues of Catholic Popes stand in central areas as monuments. Despite noticing that the people are very easy-going and warm-hearted, my assumptions while in the plane should be right.

I was definitely wrong, though.

Despite appearances and the Catholic majority, the Uruguaian people don’t relate religion to politics. That is what an article by Brazilian magazine Forum shows. As a matter of fact, the religious population has elected an atheist as government. President Mujica, who lives in a humble ranch and donates most of his income to charity, recently refused attending an Event with the new Pope in Vatican under the argument of being an atheist. His decision was supported by the Catholic Uruguaian people living in small communities over the vast green area. The Uruguaian democracy also includes women’s right to abortion, homossexual marriage and adoption.

Uruguay’s demonstration of clear thinking was definitely a good surprise I couldn’t tell from up in the air.


March 21, 2013 Posted by | Travelling | Leave a comment


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