Compromise – Uruguay (Part 12)

Emblem tranpoзиция by Andrea da Silva Escandell

I live in one of the smallest countries in Latin America: Uruguay. My country is inhabited by only around 3 millones de personas who share many traits, preferencias y tradiciones: drinking mate, playing fútbol, practicing traditional candombe, going camping in autumn and enjoying the beach in summer. Most of us are pacíficos, tranquilos, amables y educados. We are very proud of our famous soccer players like Suarez, Cavani and Forlán and many others. We are all fans of our musicians and bands like La vela puerca, No te va a gustar, or El cuarteto de nos. We have renowned writers like Galeano or Benedetti and dancers, too, like Maria Noel Riccetto. Many of us love dancing tango or candombe, as well.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 1

Not long ago, we had one of the highest levels of education on the continent, and the crime rate was very low. Around 2000, however, things changed dramatically. La región (mainly our big neighbors Brazil y Argentina) underwent major economic crises that affected us tremendously in many different ways. The government also didn’t work intelligently. Poverty spread throughout society, leaving half our kids born poor and many of the elderly suffering from hunger; employment fell dramatically; banks closed; investors decided to depart; owners lost their properties, and those who had taken out loans suffered complete losses. This was a real moment of uncertainty. The first I experienced en mi vida.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 2

Uncertainty: no matter how much you had worked, no matter how much you had studied, no matter how high your qualifications were – you could be fired from your trabajo; you could lose all your life’s savings if un banco closed; your debts could rise by a factor of 4 or 5 as the value of our currency dropped overnight.

Uncertainty: your family could split up, as muchas personas decided to leave the country and start a new life in Europe or the US. Even your spouse or your children would emigrate if they had the chance.

Uncertainty: the reality of being controlled by outside forces, where your vida is at the mercy of decisions made by others, where you cannot control your own destiny or even foresee your own futuro because it totally depends on external facts.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 3

Some años later, there was a change in government. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Small things started to happen, and we could sense some esperanza again. Some measures importantes were taken, especially in regard to health and salaries, and the poorest people started to receive economic aid as well as educational programs aimed at preparing them for work.

Unfortunately, it was already too late; the damage had been done. Those receiving economic support were the same ones who had suffered from hunger and extreme poverty when they were kids. They were the “kids who ate grass” literally when they were children. That experiencia could not be forgotten. They had been rejected and left out for so long that they felt angry at the rest.

El resultado: our peaceful society changed forever. Violence sprouted everywhere; there was no way back.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 4

Those same personas receiving government aid are the ones facing the worst actos de violencia, in the streets with robbery, at home with kids and violencia doméstica, at fútbol matches in the form of fights, etc. Furthermore, most of the drug dealers live in their areas and earn their income from that business. So, ¿por qué would they even think about working when they can earn much more with their actividades ilícitas?

Moreover, the more kids you have, the more social benefits you receive. So the poorest mothers want to have many kids. Kids who are brought up in this environment, learning that you can live well without working, without making any effort or devoting time to studying or productive labor. What is worse, many of these parents are addicted to las drogas o el alcohol. Many mothers take drugs during pregnancy. So, the kids are affected by narcotics and alcohol while growing in the womb. Later en la vida, these children will certainly show different types of learning disorders, behavioral problems en la escuela and so on.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 5

As a result, this part of the population is growing up without any values humano, work habits and with tons de violencia. Many of them suffer sexual abuse from their own parents, older siblings or neighbors in addition to these hardships. They also learn from these experiences.

Uncertainty again. This feeling of being unable to find a way out. La sociedad starts breaking up into two grupos. Can we blame the unfortunate? They are a product of our own culture; it isn’t really their fault.

Another consequence is that hard working people, the other group, who devote their lives to studying and working, trying to teach their kids morals and ethics, find themselves discriminating, sometimes aggressively, against those who live on government aid, as they find these personas responsable for our society’s decay.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 6

As far as I can see, this very tangled situación brings us that same sense of uncertainty. Everything seems to be entirely out of control. No simple solution appears to help.

Perhaps, this problema social multifacético we are all living through needs a complex solution that can be summarized in one word: compromise. Compromise by society as a whole.

Compromiso by individuals who should stop pointing and blaming others and try to assume their role of protecting children and helping them whenever they have the chance: in the street, on the autobús, at school, in the parque, every day, everywhere, all the time.

Compromiso by teachers who are in touch with children y adolescentes who need support from adults and cannot count on their parents, so they can picture a better life for themselves.

Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 7

Compromiso by the government: feeding those kids, giving them una buena educación en la escuela, but mainly drafting laws that protect their human rights, returning their right to dream, to have hope en el futuro and to plan their destiny on their own.

Uncertainty will be the state of mind in my country as long as things remain unchanged. And since we are all parte de la sociedad, we are all part of the problem, but we should also be able to see that each of us plays an essential role in finding la solución.

Andrea da Silva Escandell

Credits

Photo 1: Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay – On the street – Fotoember

Photo 2: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 1 – danflcreativo

Photo 3: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 2 – danflcreativo

Photo 4: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 3 – danflcreativo

Photo 5: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 4 – danflcreativo

Photo 6: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 5 – danflcreativo

Photo 7: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 6 – danflcreativo

Photo 8: Montevideo, Uruguay – In the park – 7 – danflcreativo

Locations

Real: Postcard emblems in The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed and The Anthology of Global Instability Transposed on display at 1080

Virtual: www.perypatetik.net

Social: Cinemblem (cine emblem) at www.facebook.com/Perypatetik

The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed

Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.

Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.

Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.

Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.

Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018

Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.

Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.

Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.

Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.

Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.

Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.

Forthcoming

Translators and writers from Italy, Russia, Paraguay, Argentina, Germany, Romania, Spain, America, Britain, and more…

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