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Visiting the Mercosur HQ in Montevideo, Uruguay

Published August 20, 2020 in Personal Stories & Opinions , Uruguay - 0 Comments

Waking up in the early morning of another day living in Buenos Aires, Argentina…

I roll over in my bed thinking “god damn it, I don’t want to get up.”

But alas, it had to be done.

Get up and get my shit together…

Find my wallet, my phone, my passport…

The essentials.

And get ready for a trip to another country.

Before I do though, I walk on over to buy some empanadas from some nearby vendor down the street to start the day off.

Then I get looking for any taxi that I can find in the street….

However, one taxi after another passes by me as most of them are full of other people.

“Probably people just leaving a bar or nightclub” I think as Buenos Aires is known for having its nightlife go on until the morning basically…

Well, anyway, a taxi eventually passes my way that is available.

I open the side door and ask about the price or if he uses the meter…

All good with that so I get in.

Coming from around Palermo area of Buenos Aires…

The taxi is meant to take me to the area of Buenos Aires that has boat trips across the Rio de la Plata to where Montevideo, Uruguay is.

On that day, I was traveling to Montevideo, Uruguay to visit the Mercosur HQ.

Mercosur is a trading bloc in South America that, in that time, consists of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.

With other South American countries having some type of affiliation with the trading bloc.

Anyway, we had been traveling around other areas of the Mercosur trading bloc…

As you can read about here in Brazil…

Or as you can read about here in Paraguay…

Either way, we were now headed to Uruguay to visit the actual HQ of this trading bloc.

We get on the boat that was to take us to Montevideo, Uruguay after I arrive to the area where the boat departs from.

And it was a nice ride overall.

About a 2 hour ride more or less from what I remember.

And comfortable as well.

Either way, we show up…

And given that we had some extra time on our hands…

We decided to explore the city as well…

Exploring Montevideo

Here I will post just some basic photos of our time running around Montevideo, Uruguay before our eventual trip to the Mercosur HQ.

For example, we ended up visiting this afro-uruguayan cultural house that had some musical performances for us to enjoy.

As you can see here below…

Then we as well visited some of the usual touristy spots…

And also for those interested…

Here are some photos here of the general city that we got to see in Montevideo..

Before finally walking around this beach here was that in front of the Mercosur HQ.

Perhaps not a beach as nice as what you usually see in a place like Colombia or Cuba for example..

But it was nice nonetheless.

Either way, that ended our fun running around Montevideo with the little bit of free time that we had…

Before ending up in the Mercosur HQ…

Visiting the Mercosur HQ

As our previous trips to some nearby countries like Paraguay or Brazil had mostly to do with looking into some of the inequality of the trading bloc…

Especially in regards to how it neglects to a degree the living conditions of normal workers in the countries involved in the trading bloc.

Here, the trip to the Mercosur HQ was a little bit different.

Instead of looking at the inequality..

We were here mostly to listen to some representatives of Mercosur explain the purpose of the trading bloc..

And also some of the positives and the challenges of it also.

In short, the meeting lasted probably about 3 to 4 hours if my memory serves right.

With a bunch of questions asked regarding different aspects of Mercosur…

From the future they perceive it having….

To how it will work with other trade blocs in the region in the present and in the future…

Such as the Pacific Alliance as you can read about here

To also their concerns and efforts to be made regarding some of the inequality in the region.

There were some observations I have considered about Mercosur myself after this experience and after my experience in some of the other countries that are members of it also…

Reflections

On one hand, I get the need for Mercosur…

To create a trading bloc that can make this area of South America more competitive and to encourage more commerce and trade within the region.

All the while supporting the national industries of each of the countries involved.

And to strengthen the economies of the countries involved and to be less dependent on foreign trade in general.

Such as what we see with other trading blocks like ALBA for example as you can see here.

However, there is a truth to the statement that the poorer communities in these countries are still often neglected from the trading negotiatons involved.

As said groups don’t really have much representation above in the meetings of Mercosur or elsewhere necessarily….

And that it would make sense that larger corporations and wealthier individuals would have more representation in such trading blocs given the more influence they carry.

Either way, it represents another example of how…

On one hand, these trading blocs do represent increased economic growth and commerce…

More competitiveness and economic innovation as well…

With businesses expanding their operations regionally with more investment in nearby countries…

Which, overall, can improve the economies of the countries involved.

But, at the same time, represents the reality that poorer communities, as shown here, are still often neglected and need better representation in issues regarding opening up borders for more trade and investment.

Especially, as we have seen in Latin American history, that severe inequality can often lead to significant social issues…

Political strife and civil conflict as well…

And that it is important to not neglect those at the bottom of the society while looking for ways to improve the economy overall.

Either way, that’s just my opinion on the matter.

And some of the observations I am looking at in my notes of when I visited the Mercosur HQ.

Of course, I could write more on the subject but that is really another article for another day given how much could be said….

In a way, it represents progress in my opinion but still leaves much to be desired in terms of issues that need fixing on a regional level.

Issues such as inequality.

Though if you have your own opinion on the matter, let me know in the comment section below.

And follow me on Twitter here.

Thanks.

Best regards,

Matt

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