It is said that Latin America is a region with inequalities and a lot of instability, both political and social. seems to be one of its endemic ills. But on that map, Uruguay appears as one of the three best democracies in Latin America and the Caribbean, that is, a stable country.
Of course, Uruguayan democracy has seen better and worse times and has also lived through terrible dictatorships and periods of great insecurity during the XNUMXth century. Anyway, in general terms, in the continent of dictatorships, Uruguay is a full democracy.
Why? What makes Uruguay so different from the rest of the region?
At the beginning of the 1900th century, Uruguay had quite favorable economic structural conditions to consolidate democracy. In XNUMX, Uruguay was no longer a poor country, what's more, its GDP per capita was similar to that of Belgium or Denmark.
On the other hand, experts admit that the homogeneity of the population favors democracy and Uruguay clearly complies with this condition, which gives its population a sense of unity.
But beyond these conditions, the key to Uruguayan stability seems to be that its political system has made a systematic effort to learn and improve its practices. Intellectuals and experts have been crucial in questioning the successes and errors of the policies.
Uruguayan democracy learned early to solve delicate political problems, such as the distribution of power between the majority and the minority. The first step was the agreement between the two great historical parties (the Colorado Party and the National Party) to find peaceful ways of distributing power, leaving behind decades of civil wars. The balance between the government and the opposition has been key to the establishment of democracy and Uruguay has found formulas that work and that ensure that the system never falters more than necessary. In addition, the political parties in Uruguay are stable and even the new formations are integrated into the old structures and coexist peacefully.
Another of the great lessons of Uruguayan politics is that it achieved a good balance between politics and technique once democracy was restored, in 1985. The best democracies are those that manage to balance sensitivity and responsibility, the urgent with the important, the clamor citizen with the warnings of specialists, and Uruguay seems to have learned to do it very well.
Finally, something else that can help to understand the success of Uruguayan democracy is that direct democracy complements representative democracy in such a way that citizens feel that they really decide. The use of direct democracy mechanisms helps to channel the discontent that can, and usually exists, with respect to government decisions, public policies or specific situations.
Although Uruguayan democracy is far from perfect and there are many challenges ahead, what does seem certain is that it is willing to face those challenges and has understood that stability and change are not opposites but rather complementary principles.
If you are looking for a quiet and stable place, this is it. your country.