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Issue #1921      June 29, 2020

Uruguayans back the streets over looming Neoliberal Reform Bill

The 502-article bill includes the privatisation of public enterprises and the criminalisation of social demonstrations.

Uruguay’s Montevideo Secondary Education Teacher’s Association (ADES) has called for a 24-hour national strike on 2nd July, against the Urgent Consideration Law (LUC) that is currently under debate in the national congress.

On 22nd January, the right-wing National Party of Uruguay, whose candidate Luis Lacalle Pou won the November 2019 presidential election, submitted the LUC. The bill has been opposed by workers and union leaders as it unravels neoliberal measures regarding health, education, housing, and security, among other topics.

Uruguay’s Constitution allows the President to propose urgent laws that pass automatically if not rejected or substituted after an abbreviated debate of no more than ninety days in the legislature.

Politicians from opposition parties and civil society have stressed that the urgency imposed on such a broad package of legislation curtails democratic debate. As the ninety days gap shortens, representatives from the Broad Front stated that “it is an affectation of democratic guarantees to pretend to discuss more than 500 articles covering the most diverse topics in just seventy-five days”.

The LUC has already been rejected by Uruguayans who took to the streets on 4th June, to demonstrate against a law that “dismantles policies that have been carried out for the benefit of the entire population” as remarked by the President of the left-wing Broad Front Javier Miranda.

The project, which includes over 500 articles, includes the privatisation of public enterprises, the criminalisation of social demonstrations, and reinforces the role of representatives of private education. It also lacks specific articles to address gender violence.

The decision to call the national strike came after the Council of Secondary Education banned the use of masks with the phrase, “To educate. Not to profit.”

The President of ADES Javier Iglesias said that the decision by the Council will be denounced before the National Human Rights institution since the aim of the government moving forward with the law is to suppress freedom of expression and workers’ rights.

The strike on 2nd July will be the third in recent days. Back on 14th May, opposition groups protested against the Urgent Consideration Law (LUC) in front of the Parliament despite social isolation recommendations in the context of COVID-19.

teleSUR

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