A few days ago, Un Solo Uruguay released a document entitled: “Genocide of rural areas in Uruguay: a successful State policy.”
The report indicates that Uruguay leads the international ranking of countries that have one of the smallest rural populations at the international level, compared to its total population, with only 4%.
Un Solo Uruguay states that when observing the data of this process of displacement of the rural population, it can be seen that it has been an “uninterrupted” process, at least since 1960 when the rural population was 21%, and wild in terms of its dimensions, going from more than half a million people in 1960 to just 150 thousand people or perhaps even less today, according to the last national census in 2011”.
The movement assures that as in the case of suicides or the abandonment of secondary education by adolescents, “they are one of those rankings that it is embarrassing to lead.”
“As a society, one wonders why we do like the ostrich, and how can it be that we seem anesthetized and paralyzed in the face of these realities that eat away at us. Whatever these reasons may be and without going into the hackneyed explanations about multi-causal phenomena, which we like so much, especially to dilute responsibilities, it would seem clear that we should be acting at all the necessary levels to change our destiny effectively”, it is indicated. in the document.
A Solo Uruguay states that it is tired of repeating almost like a litany that “the process of rural depopulation is a world trend that is simply irreversible.”
“We could say that it has become a filler, that from being repeated so much it has been permeating the popular imagination, as if it were an absolute truth. For this reason, it is appropriate to analyze whether this is so”, he states.
Through the document it is recalled that at the beginning of the 19th century and with the impact of the Industrial Revolution on demographic issues, massive population migrations began to be seen from rural areas to large urban centers. “It was quite logical that this phenomenon would occur, since the rural inhabitants had extremely poor living conditions and the possibilities of improving their economic situation lay in being able to work in the factories, which began to demand workers intensively.”
But if you look at what happens in the countries that were the “cradle” of the Industrial Revolution, “the percentage of rural population they have today is much higher than that of Uruguay,” compared to Great Britain, which has 16% and Germany, 22. %.
It is indicated that Uruguay never had a great industrial development and that most of the industries that employed a significant number of workers were disappearing at the end of the last century (tanneries, footwear, textiles, among others).
Unlike what happened in Europe, the rural inhabitants of Uruguay have not migrated from rural areas to the cities to satisfy a demand for workers from the industrial sector, or other sectors of the economy, but “have been thickening belts of poverty and multiplying settlements”.
“Clearly it was not about internal migrations after better opportunities, but rather they are simply compatriots who were expelled from rural areas towards an uncertain future, which most of the time ended up being much worse than their past reality. On the other hand, it is evident that the greatest wealth that the country has had and has lies in agriculture and exports show that approximately 80% of what is exported has its origin in agricultural or agro-industrial chains”, it is indicated.
“It is also clear and distinguishes us from many other countries the fact that more than 90% of our territory has agricultural aptitude.”
Only Uruguay states that this contrasts with many countries that have important areas of their territory that are not suitable for agricultural use or to be inhabited.
“So surprising is that 4% of the rural population that we have in Uruguay, that in that environment of values, or lower, we only find Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Monaco, Macao, Kuwait, Singapore, Qatar or San Marino. Basically, it is about islands and cliffs where there is hardly room for a city, or deserts where you can only survive at some point where there is access to water”, is expressed in the document.
It is also indicated that in Spain, where the phenomenon of “emptying” and critical depopulation of rural Spain is discussed both in the public debate and in different media and social networks, trying to implement policies to reverse or at least stop said process , “they have an enviable 19% of rural population in relation to our meager 4%. And that Spain has important industries, including heavy, as well as a highly developed tourism sector and of great weight in its economy.
It is ensured that it is clear that the bestial rural depopulation that public policies have generated in Uruguay is a total abnormality, given that doing nothing about it is also a public policy in itself.
“The question that arises is what we should call the public, national or State policies that have been applied so successfully during the last decades, or what historians will call them in the future: Policies of exile of the rural population, of genocide of rurality, or perhaps active depopulation to be more politically correct?”, raises the movement.
They assure that: “It is imperative that we react right now as a society and begin to agree, design and apply new, radically different State policies that allow us to reverse the serious situation described. Life goes to the development of our nation. The specific proposals that Un Solo Uruguay has already made regarding access to land as a means of production and settlement of families in rural areas go in this direction”.