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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Le Frente Amplio en marche vers un second mandat

by Laurie Fachaux

The Frente Amplio on the March Toward a Second Term

Translated Sunday 25 October 2009, by Henry Crapo and reviewed by Derek Hanson

After five years in power, the left coalition of La Frente Amplio [1] has marked up a positive social record. Former guerilla and great favorite in Sunday’s presidential election, their candidate, Pepe Mujica, hopes to continue the policies of the present government.

Montevideo, Uruguay, from our correspondent

The Frente Amplio, which gathered a crowd of 300,000 to 400,000 persons in Montevideo on Wednesday, is betting on continuity at the head of state on the eve of Sunday’s elections. Pepe Mujica, former guerilla and candidate of the coalition of the Left, now in power, in Sunday’s presidential election, emphasizes the advances in social policy made by the present government, and counts on being able to continue.

Many Uruguayans have Escaped from Poverty

Social measures and aid plans have been put in place these last four years. Le Panes, a social emergency plan, has permitted many Uruguayans to emerge from poverty. Between 2005 and 2007, more than 80,000 households received 46 euros a month as "citizen’s income", according to the minister of social development. In the same period, hundreds of jobs were created thanks to the program "Work for Uruguay". Among the beneficiaries, 10137 persons received dental care — for free.

Because to get care in Uruguay, it is expensive. Between 2000 and 3000 dollars for a cataract operation. In June 2008 the government inaugurated an "eye hospital" in the San Jose department. It is in that hospital that, henceforth, persons with an income of less than 580 euros a month can benefit from that operation without spending a cent.

Another objective of "Pepe" Mujica, started by the present government, consists of redistributing the wealth. A modification of the fiscal regime has already brought about an increase in income for the most modest households.

Another Priority of the Former Guerillas: Education

The average income per household has increased from 15,871 pesos (517€) per month at the beginning of the year 2006 to 23,296 pesos (760€), at the end of the year 2008. Another priority for the former guerillas, education. The candidate of the Frente Amplio, well ahead in the final polls (40% of those intending to vote) has no small pride in the plan Ceibal, which he describes as a "small miracle". All the students in primary school have received a portable computer equipped with an internet connection. Almost 175,000 have been distributed in all. A first, worldwide!

[1The Broad Front

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