MONTEVIDEO – After 10 years of government by the left, emigration is no longer a “structural phenomenon” in Uruguay and young people do not feel they must leave the country in search of opportunity, President Jose Mujica says.
Mujica, 79, makes the observation in the prologue he wrote for “Los juegos de poder” (Power Games), a book by political scientist Oscar Bottinelli.
The prologue, posted in essay form on the presidential Web site, reflects on changes in the country since 2005, when Tabare Vazquez became Uruguay’s first leftist president.
A decade ago, Mujica wrote, the “immense majority” of young Uruguayans aspired to emigrate.
“This was a deeply rooted sentiment, the result of decades of problems, disappointments and failures and hence, very difficult to change,” according to Mujica, who leaves office March 1 and will be succeeded by Vazquez.
Ten years of rule by the Broad Front coalition has changed the social environment and brought a halt to mass emigration, the president said.
Not only have increasing numbers of young people chosen to stay in the country, thousands of Uruguayan expatriates around the world dream of returning, he said.
Mujica wrote that young scientists and researchers now find opportunities at home, while “the level of investment in Uruguay, by foreigners but also by compatriots, has almost doubled.”
“The reality seems to show that we have closed a chapter of stagnation, national frustration, defeats and suffering, and we have opened a new one in which social and economic development, hopes for a better collective future and the personal development of every member (of society) appears as a possible prospect,” he said.