Facts about Uruguay
|Population||3,477,778 (July 2008 est.|
|Time zone||UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begin|
Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
General info about Uruguay
Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
What about drugs?
small-scale transit country for drugs mainly bound for Europe, often through sea-borne containers; law enforcement corruption; money laundering because of strict banking secrecy laws; weak border control along Brazilian frontier; increasing consumption of cocaine base and synthetic drugs
white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
HIV/AIDS prevalence rate
0.3% (2001 est.)
warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries
Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil. For instance, in 2001-02 Argentine citizens made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks after bank deposits in Argentina were frozen, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso, a banking crisis, and a sharp economic contraction. Real GDP fell in four years by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year. The unemployment rate rose, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Financial assistance from the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay restructured its external debt in 2003 without asking creditors to accept a reduction on the principal. The construction of a pulp mill in Fray Bentos - at $1.2 billion the largest foreign direct investment in Uruguay's history - came online in November 2007, boosting GDP and exports. Other large projects in the pulp and paper industries also are planned. Economic growth for Uruguay averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08.
water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Cities in Uruguayartigas bella union canelones carmelo chuy colonia delta del tigre dolores durazno florida fray bentos juan lacaze la paz las piedras maldonado melo mercedes minas montevideo nueva helvecia pando paso de carrasco paso de los toros paysandu progreso rio branco rivera rocha salto san carlos san jose santa lucia tacuarembo treinta y tres trinidad young