Former Uruguayan President Jose Mujica told attendees at the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) in Buenos Aires, on Friday, that "fighting for democracy" is "fighting for, in a utopian sense, civilization."
"Fighting for democracy is not only to fight to vote from time to time and choose a leader. From the point of view of human progress it is to fight, in a utopian sense, for civilization, because if we improve the distribution, if we were absolutely equitable but follow the spiral of progress that is being proposed by capitalism, we will remain the same,” said the Uruguayan senator.
During an open debate organized by the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) and the Metropolitan University for Education and Labour (UMET) on the "Challenges of the People's Ground and the Left in the Context of Democratic Crisis," Mujica advocated a "critical" and "creative" vision that helps to transform current public policies and international affairs.
The 83-year-old politician explained that Uruguay had served as a model for different social policies. He said pioneer laws that he proposed and passed are now beginning debated in other Latin American countries.
"There are many Catholics, but we are laymen, tremendously lay, perhaps the most secular country in Latin America, and that gives us a degree of freedom to face things that do not work in other places," he said.
Manuela D'Ávila of the Communist Party of Brazil and presidential candidate was also in attendance at the event. She explained that she was born when democracy was established in Brazil after the military dictatorship and that her generation promotes "the right of the people to choose."
"We want Brazil to be free to build its destiny as the great nation it can be... but for that, we have to fight for (former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio) Lula (da Silva) to be free," she said, explaining that there must be full participation for democracy to thrive.
Also in attendance was Nicolas Trotta, dean of the Metropolitan University of Education and Labor in Argentina. While presenting his book “Latin America Thinks,” he said that despite the current political atmosphere, there was previously “a rebellious Latin America that encouraged itself to invent a different path."