By Courtney Mathos, OGTC Intern
It is estimated that 15,000-20,000 Argentines have moved to Uruguay since the start of the pandemic. That number represents about 0.6% of Uruguay’s population of 3.5 million. Why such an increase? Uruguay welcomes new residents with open arms. The government has lowered the minimum amount required to obtain tax residency from $1.7m to only $380,000. They also passed a new law offering arrivals a 10-year “tax holiday.”
Uruguay has seen fewer than 2,000 cases of COVID-19 and has had deaths only in the double digits. The government claims that its low caseload is due to the country’s small population. At the start of the pandemic, Uruguay also reached out to leading scientists for guidance and took their advice to heart, a move that earned the Uruguayan government respect. Citizens strictly followed social distancing guidelines, even before it was mandated.
Standing in stark contrast to its Catholic neighbors, Uruguay is the most secular nation in Latin America. This liberal country boasts legal marijuana, abortions, gay marriage, and atheism. Uruguay has even gone so far as to refer to Christmas and Easter as “Family Day” and “Tourism Week.” Unsurprisingly, Uruguay has the highest percentage of atheists in Latin America, with 53.4% of the population confirming they do not practice any religion.
Uruguayans are reveling in their safe haven status in Latin America. They have put their trust in themselves and in their government. But as Psalm 53:1 says, it is the fool that says in his heart, there is no God. Uruguay desperately needs Jesus. Uruguay needs Christians who won’t shy away from preaching the gospel boldly. Will you be the one to tell these very needy people about the Savior?