Karina Núñez Rodríguez was only 12 when she was forced into prostitution. Now age 50 and a mother of six, she is an outspoken fighter against sexual exploitation of children and teenagers in Uruguay, a country reluctant to recognise this growing scourge.
In the summery afternoon of a beachside neighbourhood not far from the Uruguayan capital, nothing could sound more unusual than the Muslim call to prayer chanted by Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Ourgy, a few days after being freed from the United States military prison in Guantánamo, Cuba.
Uruguayan President José Mujica bought time for his plan to host six prisoners of Guantánamo, handing over the decision to the winner of the incoming elections. But time is a scarce resource for the inmates of this United States military prison on Cuban soil.
While this week's BRICS summit might have been off the radar of Western powers, the leaders of its five member countries launched a financial system to rival Bretton Woods institutions and held an unprecedented meeting with the governments of South America.
The visit by United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Uruguay, Paraguay and Peru brings to an end 10 days of unusually intense diplomatic activity by the Gulf nation in Latin America.
The Uruguayan government has made a controversial move to regulate the production and sale of cannabis. The government believes that this will help in the fight against drug-related crime and in dealing with public health issues.
Uruguay, about to become the first country in the world where the state will fully regulate production, sale and distribution of marijuana, will spend the next few months selecting a good quality strain of the crop that can be sold at a price similar to current illegal prices.
The Uruguayan government, which recently passed a law on large-scale mining, does not actually have a clear idea of the country’s mineral wealth and has only just now proposed a geological study to find out.
The small South American country of Uruguay could become a major logistics hub in the Southern Cone due to the deepwater port that the government is planning to build in a tourist area on the Atlantic ocean.
“We have come together to join forces, to be heard, because we want to speak for ourselves,” said Ernestina Ochoa, a Peruvian domestic worker, at the close of the founding congress of the International Domestic Workers Federation in the Uruguayan capital.
In Latin America, where marijuana is the most widely consumed illegal drug, there is basically no home-grown research into its effects and properties. But possible legalisation in Uruguay and the Mexican capital could open the door to new studies.
The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday issued surprise guidance directing its attorneys not to sue states that have moved to decriminalise the recreational use of marijuana, so long as those states implement strict regulatory regimes.
A bill that would regulate large-scale mining operations is making its way through Uruguay’s two houses of parliament, despite a lack of political consensus and vocal opposition from environmental organisations and other sectors of civil society.
Shortcomings in the educational system in Latin America and the Caribbean fuel inequalities that remain hurdles to access to the labour market and safe sex for a large part of the region’s youth.
Latin American governments have increasingly been working to lessen inequality in the region, but new data suggests their efforts vary widely in quality and impact.