Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I was surprised to find the principal street of the city closed down last week for a political rally. The street was blocked off to vehicles and a large stage was set up in the middle of the road. Imagine the one of the major parties in the US shutting down the main road of a city. Ha. No way. There would be a public outrage. I asked a man from Uruguay about the practice of blocking off the streets and he said, well look at who is in control of the government. The Frente Amplio is in power now, so if the Frente Amplio wants to have a rally in the middle of the street, why not?
In June, primary elections are going to take place in Uruguay known as the internas. This election will decide which candidate is going to represent each party in the general election. The candidates seem to be out in full force campaigning.
The front runner for the far left, Frente Amplio party, Jose Pepe Mujica, made an appearance at the rally in Salto and gave a rather lengthy speech. I was impressed that he spoke without a teleprompter, podium, or notes. Not many politicians can do that in our day and age.
I found it interesting when Mujica shared his stance on English language education in Uruguay. He is a firm proponent of promoting English acquisition because it is the language of technology, and if Uruguayans want to excel in technology, they must learn English. I don't think everyone feels that way, but obviously, most, if not all of the people I work with support English language education--it's more or less my purpose for being here--to promote mutual understanding among cultures and to support English language instruction in Uruguayan educational institutions.
I am excited to follow the elections in Uruguay, although its much more difficult having to understand the process first, get caught up on the issues, figure out the Spanish, and follow the reports. Nonetheless, there is nothing like coming off an election in the US, only to experience another one without the usual four years wait.