Like other countries in Latin America, Uruguay was in a relatively good situation when the financial crisis of 2008 struck. The country’s economy continued to grow and its poverty and indigence rates improved considerably thanks to social policies, which in the more prosperous years had been given priority over macroeconomic objectives (2010). Nevertheless, there are still problems to be tackled, such as high poverty and indigence rates among people of African descent and the fact that more and more heads of households at the very poorest level are women. To remedy these situations, combating inequities of gender and/or race should be an integral part of economic policy.


This debt with triple function have occurred in the absence of consent of the population – the lack of benefit for this population – Creditors know this. It was under the military junta of 1973-1985 Uruguay’s debt began. Amounted in 2010 to USD 10 billion. According to the World Bank, Uruguay’s debt would amount to almost 47% of national GDP.






In the Constitution, this right is incorporated in 1934 in the Art. No. 45, which states “Every inhabitant of the Republic has the right to a decent home. The law encourages ensure hygienic and affordable housing, facilitating their acquisition and stimulating investment of private capital for this purpose. “Understanding how decent housing or adequate housing, the right to” have a place adequate privacy if desired, adequate space, ax “.

The Uruguayan government ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1970 and the Protocol of San Salvador, thus recognizing the right to adequate or decent housing not only nationally.


Law No. 15,056 : HOLIDAY – THE CURRENT SYSTEM OF LEASES, EVICTION AND RELEASES: Law 15,056 – http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/leyes/AccesoTextoLey.asp?Ley=15056&Anchor=

Videos about evictions from the Movement “Another Urugay is possible”: Videos : http://pelusaradical.blogspot.be/2011/02/uruguay-desalojos-en-neptunia-videos-no.html



Article 47 of the Constitution : “The protection of the environment is of general interest. People should refrain from any act that causes degradation, destruction or serious environmental pollution. The regulatory law is available and may provide for penalties for offenders. Water is an essential natural resource for life. Access to clean water and access to sanitation are fundamental human rights. Any authorization, license or permit in any way violate the above provisions shall be rescinded. “



The emergence of projects metalliferous opencast mining on a large scale in a country of agropastoral economy where there are no deposits of high concentrations or large volumes and where social and environmental impacts of mining activity would be of great magnitude, it has generated a social resistance movement unprecedented in Uruguay, which is developing a new concept of citizenship. According to official sources, in mid-2011 were requested 3.5 million hectares for prospecting and mineral exploration, with the intention of developing opencast iron and gold sky. If we add the occupation in the past two decades, two million hectares of soy monocultures and large-scale, with prospects to grow even more-it’s more than a third of the surface of Uruguay, in almost its whole is suitable for farming.

This new reality, coinciding with a process of concentration and foreign ownership of land never been before, has been explained by the Frente Amplio government as a policy of greater diversification and industrialization. However, in country projects do not go beyond the production of raw materials such as wood and paper, iron ore and gold bullion with a view to supplying industrial enclaves that dominate the world economy. With the advancement of megaprojects (they are called so because they handle the millions of investment and production), communities are forced to defend their livelihoods to be threatened water and land on which they depend. The phenomenon has been increasing throughout the region and, through assemblies, marches, referendums and other forms of participation and action, expressing a movement of territorial base, like projects, and great social diversity, as are the populations affected.

As it was disseminating information and critical analysis of the project, through lectures in small groups and in public places -a volanteadas early 2011, the press did not report on the proposal Aratirí-, sectors of society initially were affected by the conflict perceived that it was a matter of national interest and joined the mobilization. Thus the first national march was conceived in Defense of Land and Natural Heritage, on May 13, 2011 in Montevideo.




Social and economic aspects




Irregular land occupations have always existed in Uruguay: one could argue that when the country comes to independent living, one of the most important tasks was to regularize land tenure. The creation of cities, in turn, came from informal settlements around “grocery stores” or stops carts or errands. The great task of the Topographic Commission was created in 1831 to found cities that met established standards, in places where there were already hamlets. (4)

Therefore there is profuse legislation that aims to resolve factual situations: the requirement of public land, ridding the public use of streets by individuals, condominium law created in rural areas of Montevideo in the late sixties and early seventies, are clear signs that the issue of irregularities in land tenure always existed and that the government and the legislature sought individual solutions for cases that arose. (4)

In the nineties, with neoliberal policies implemented by governments in the country, deindustrialization, thereby increasing unemployment, job insecurity, the non-functioning of the Wages Councils and lack of social policies that met the most disadvantaged sectors, pushed large sectors of society to the periphery, which had to settle irregularly derelict land without basic services and infrastructure. Thus the census conducted by the National Statistics Institute (INE) in agreement with the Program Integration of Irregular Settlements (PIAI) in 2006, showed that the country had 676 settlements, 412 of them in Montevideo and the remaining 264 inside the country. (4)

All existing regularization programs or integration of settlements are for those who have developed on public lands, which leaves out all settlements on private lands that are a similar number and therefore very important. (4)


The Interior Ministry prepared a program (2012) coexistence under the supervision of sociologist Gustavo Leal that aims both evicting occupants abandoned farms, and destitute who sleep in streets, squares and public spaces. The government seems obsessed (2010) with the homeless. He sold the public buildings in the southeast of the country, to build social housing there. He donate part of his salary to feed end government housing plan, called “Together”.

Ownership of collective ownership as a form of social housing (4)

Uruguayan law, both the National Housing Act (Law 13,728, of 12.17.1968) and the General Law on Cooperatives (Law 18,407, 24.10.2008), which condensed and consolidated all existing legislation on cooperatives, has established regulatory provisions for housing cooperatives, which encouraged and promoted the development of them in seeking legislation for social housing. (4)

This legal framework includes provisions concerning the principles of cooperation, but also creates a figure of novelty and would say essential for the development of the movement, namely the allocation of housing in use and enjoyment to a collaborator. That is, alongside the traditional “co-owners” in the constructed houses are allocated in condominiums, a new form (the “user cooperatives’) appears, in which the system of allocation of housing about transforming the propietarista mentality of aspiring social housing that prevails in society. (4)

The Uruguayan law provides, in general, two types of ownership: private and public, and from the point of view of the strict qualification, cooperatives are governed by legislation on private property. But the award scheme use and enjoyment of the housing cooperative and the cooperative statute and legislation jointly establish a new concept of collective ownership of private property. (4)

The status of each cooperative, reflecting the law and pertinent regulations in their entirety regulates the administration of the cooperative, based on cooperative principles, and to establish a special form of housing tenure by the partner, creates a collective type system with great advantages for social housing. (4)

To face some difficulties in cooperatives, civil society actors propose a possible alternative:

The neighborhood cooperatives (4)

How could implement this? One idea would be to create neighborhood cooperatives, built by families of the settlement. The neighborhood cooperative would own the property or have its concession if the property belongs to the state, and he would award by means of a contract the use and enjoyment, each lot to the family occupying it similarly to what is done in cooperatives Housing Act. (4) To know more about this alternative, read the book “The house, between the right and the good: the forms of ownership in Latin America”.

Cultural aspects – Religious – Symbolic

Environmental aspects

Bibliography & Sitography

  1. V. Bacchetta “A new social movement” EcoPortal website – Magazine “do not forget”, No. 13, Year III, November 2012 – http://www.ecoportal.net/Temas-Especiales/Mineria/Uruguay_Un_nuevo_movimiento_social
  2. Social Watch, Report 2010 – http://www.socialwatch.org/node/543
  3. CADTM – Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt, debt figures for 2012 – http://cadtm.org/IMG/pdf/chiffresdeladette_2012.pdf
  4. Housing, between the right and the good : the forms of property in Latin America, ed. TRILCE – WE EFFECT, Uruguay, 2014.




  • CENTRO COOPERATIVISTA URUGUAYO – CCU : In 1965, three years before the adoption of the National Housing Act, the Cooperative Centre Uruguayan, decided to create a team of architects, engineers and social workers to the effects started tackling research and development project interdisciplinary team cooperative housing programs which try solutions to housing problems facing the country, in particular those related to low-income sectors. Since then the institution sought to join two forms of action: a nonexistent in the country as was the case of cooperative housing, and other incipient: building mutual aid. http://www.ccu.org.uy/
  • FEDERACIÓN URUGUYAYA DE COOPERATIVAS POR AYUDA MUTUA – FUCVAM : The largest cooperative housing and Uruguay’s oldest working on issues of housing and urban development. The Uruguayan Federation of Housing Cooperatives Co (FUCVAM) is the oldest, largest and most active social movement working on issues of housing and urban development in Uruguay. Their values of solidarity, democratic participation, self-management, mutual support and collective ownership. http://www.fucvam.org.uy/
  • MOVIMIENTO POR UN URUGUAY SUSTENABLE – MOVUS  : are Uruguayans, inhabitants of a territory at risk of expiration. From the countryside, the sea, the city, people on foot and horseback, young and old, women and men. They are individuals and organizations, convened by political flags. They are residents and visitors to the coast, across the country farmers, organizations defending the environment, water, life. Labor unions, development committees, groups autoconvocados neighbors. http://movusuruguay.org/
  • SOCIAL WATCH URUGUAY : Alternatives to austerity programs do exist, Civil Society Organizations and close up commercial networks from around the world met in Montevideo That, convened by Social Watch to discuss Strategies to face the multiple crises overall. http://www.socialwatch.org/node/543

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