Tags / Mujica
An aerial view of Uruguay at night.
Three Spanish workers arrive at Dolce Vita Hostel in Montevideo. They have come to Uruguay for 6 months of temporary work. They left their families in Spain after the financial crisis to take on temporary jobs around the world.
Women escaping domestic violence, drug addiction and crime in a shelter and rehab center in Montevideo make dust rags. Domestic violence is widespread across Latin America including in this small, mostly rural country with an average of 68 reports of gender based violence made daily in Montevideo.
Stella, 32, comes from the Uruguayan countryside (Tacuarembo area). She and her autistic son were beaten and abused by her husband for 4 years. Since her husband was jailed for attempting to kill her, Stella lives with her son in a shelter for women escaping violence and addiction.
Aniceto, his daughter Andrea and his grandchildren pose in a small fishing village called Santiago Vasquez just 30 minutes from Montevideo. Aniceto's family is part of the Afro-Uruguayan community (more then 10% of Uruguay's population). Andrea is a medium who practices Umbanda an Afro-Brazilian religion originating in Nigeria and Benin that blends African religion with Catholicism, Spiritism, black magic and indigenous lore. Umbanda has spread across southern Brazil and parts of neighboring countries like Uruguay and Argentina.
Andrea is a medium who practices Umbanda, a syncretic religion that incorporates Catholicism, spiritism from African religions and Indigenous lore.
Franco's family is part of the Afro-Uruguayan community that makes up more then 10% of Uruguay's population. One third of this community live in Montevideo.
A family has a picnic beneath the bridge in the capital's outskirts. In Montevideo the most popular forms of relaxation are family trips to the Atlantic beaches or picnics in the countryside, where they roast meat over open fires and drink beers.
A woman carries an idol of Yemanja at Playa Ramirez, Montevideo. On February 2nd of each year, thousands walk from the beaches to the sea to honor Yemanja, Goddess of the Sea. Yemanja is an Orisha, representing the ocean and is believed the essence of motherhood and a fierce protector of children.
The sun sets over a cattle farm. Uruguay was founded on cattle industry, and is one of the world's biggest "meat economies" with 3 cows per person, so roughly 9 million cattle. It comes as no surprise that 75% of the country's exports are agriculture related.
Route 5 from Montevideo to Tacuarembo. In rural Uruguay almost 100 thousand people (gauchos, laborers and farmers) share the environment with animals. Their cattle and horses are raised in the open air, under natural conditions with a mild climate, fertile land and abundant water.
Two Uruguayan gauchos, father and son, are build their new family-home at Curtina, a rural village located deep in the Uruguayan countryside. However, the majority of the country's population (approximately 80%) live in urban areas, mostly in Montevideo.
An abandoned bus sits alongside route 5 between Tacuarembo with Montevideo. The national route, passing clear across the country, is one of the most important highways for the meat economy in Uruguay.
V. (41) works in a small rural bakery near Tacuarembo. She is proud of her daughter who works for an International Company. "Luckly, my daughter will be able to travel around the world, discovering places and beauty, far from this rural reality!" she said.
Robert Da Silva is a Gaucho, storyteller and researcher on rural education. He started to study Uruguayan traditions and rural anthropology after 30 years as Gaucho, working with cattle and horses. With the help of his friend and anthropologist Mr. Diaz, Robert wrote two books on rural legends and traditions. Nowadays he is a trainer in several "Escuelas rurales," or rural schools.
Carlos, a mechanic, poses with his sons for a portrait in Tacuarembo. Of African descent, his roots in Uruguay trace back to the slave trade. In the late 18th century, Montevideo became a major arrival port for slaves, mostly bound for Spanish colonies, like the endless fields of Uruguay.
Uruguayan anthropologist Walter Diaz (66) drinks YerbaMate and takes a rest with Don Ulisse Gonzalez (80), an old gaucho. Mr. Diaz works on a rural education development and training program with the Uruguayan "Escuelas Rurales" (rural schools).
A closed "quilombo" or "prostibulo" alongside route 5 to Tacuarembo. "Quilombo" originally meant "brothel" in Lunfardo, a form of slang popularized by criminals in the early 20th century. Prostitution in Uruguay is legal for persons over the age of 18. It is commonly practiced in major cities, tourist resorts and rural communities.
Argentina, 57, works in a kiosk at a bus stop. She lives in a rural village near Tacuarembo, the heart of Uruguay, with her husband. Her daughter (15) "is a good student with big dreams," she said. "She's got dreams too big for this small village where people live with cattle and horses, hoping to sell the land to some land grabber, a soy company for instance, and move to the capital." She added, "I voted Mujica hoping for a better future for my daughter."
Two men talk through a window at Bar Iberia in Montevideo. 50 years ago Russian and Polish sailors returning from fishing squid and sunfish in the South Atlantic popularized the bar, leaving behind their stories of the sea. Now "Iberia" remains a place where locals talk politics and football all the time, among them trade unionists, activists, workers and sailors. Wine, beer, empanadas and socialism.
Franco (18) and Helena Maria (2) came from poor rural families to be adopted by Daniel M. (52) and Walter MA (38), activists in the LGBT community who have been adopting underprivileged children at the biological parents' behest.
Daniel M. (52) and Walter MA (38) have the biggest homosexual family in Latin America. After 20 years as a couple, they have adopted four children: Franco, Mayara, Maria Pia and Helena Maria. The children arrived from poor families where they couldn't survive. In these last 20 years, desperate mothers have asked to Walter and Daniel to adopt their children. "They're not Desaparecidos!" Daniel says, "they have constant contact with their biological families". Daniel and Walter have been active in the LGBT community in Latin America for 25 years. Today, adoption by same-sex couples is legal in 16 countries, including Uruguay.
"La Murga" is a musical dance theater genre performed in Uruguay during the Carnival season. It comes from a spanish tradition brought to Latin America hundreds of years ago. The main themes revolve around the salient events of the year, a source of strong political and social criticism. With a carnivalesque-mood, "La Murga" espouses protest and freedom through satire and humorous mockery of power.
Night falls in downtown Montevideo.
Carlos, 39 is union glass worker at Envidrio (Cristaleria del Uruguay). The plant produces about 180,000 bottles a day and exports them in Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil.
After a long struggle, with the help of Hugo Chavez and Pepe Mujica workers from "Cristaleras del Uruguay" have set up their own business, taken over control of the factory in which they had worked before bankruptcy, and have set up the only glass bottle factory in the country, Envidrio. Inspired by "fabricas recuperadas movement," Envidrio emerged in response to Argentina's 2001 economic crisis. It's now the most significant "workers' self-management" phenomenon in Uruguay.
Barra de Valizas, known as Valizas by locals, is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the Rocha Department of southeastern Uruguay. Well renowned for its beaches, Valizas has attracted trendy surfers and vacation seekers that are slowly changing the lifestyle here from a rustic one to one defined by tourism and the habits of the global leisure class.
People ride on horseback down the beach from Valizas to Cabo Polonio, a remote and completely sustainable village between the Atlantic and a desert landscape of shifting sand dunes. The village is a bohemian outpost just south of the Brazilian border, where squatters have been developing a "green-village" without electricity or running water since the 60s.
Tourists relax in the "green-village" at Cabo Polonio.