South America :: Uruguay

Introduction ::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.

Geography ::Uruguay

    Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
    33 00 S, 56 00 W
    total: 176,215 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 91
    land: 175,015 sq km
    water: 1,200 sq km
    slightly smaller than the state of Washington
    total: 1,648 km
    border countries: Argentina 580 km, Brazil 1,068 km
    660 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or edge of continental margin
    warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
    mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m
    arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fish
    arable land: 10.25%
    permanent crops: 0.22%
    other: 89.52% (2011)
    1,810 sq km (2003)
    139 cu km (2011)
    total: 3.66 cu km/yr (11%/2%/87%)
    per capita: 1,101 cu m/yr (2000)
    seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind that blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts
    water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
    party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation
    second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising

People and Society ::Uruguay

    noun: Uruguayan(s)
    adjective: Uruguayan
    white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
    Spanish (official), Portunol, Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
    Roman Catholic 47.1%, non-Catholic Christians 11.1%, nondenominational 23.2%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17.2%, other 1.1% (2006)
    Uruguay rates high for most development indicators and is known for its secularism, liberal social laws, and well-developed social security, health, and educational systems. It is one of the few countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where the entire population has access to clean water. Uruguay's provision of free primary through university education has contributed to the country's high levels of literacy and educational attainment. However, the emigration of human capital has diminished the state's return on its investment in education. Remittances from the roughly 18% of Uruguayans abroad amount to less than 1 percent of national GDP. The emigration of young adults and a low birth rate are causing Uruguay's population to age rapidly.
    In the 1960s, Uruguayans for the first time emigrated en masse - primarily to Argentina and Brazil - because of economic decline and the onset of more than a decade of military dictatorship. Economic crises in the early 1980s and 2002 also triggered waves of emigration, but since 2002 more than 70% of Uruguayan emigrants have selected the US and Spain as destinations because of better job prospects. Uruguay had a tiny population upon its independence in 1828 and welcomed thousands of predominantly Italian and Spanish immigrants, but the country has not experienced large influxes of new arrivals since the aftermath of World War II. More recent immigrants include Peruvians and Arabs.
    3,324,460 (July 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 134
    0-14 years: 21.4% (male 361,589/female 349,257)
    15-24 years: 16% (male 269,649/female 262,582)
    25-54 years: 38.8% (male 635,252/female 655,518)
    55-64 years: 9.9% (male 155,192/female 174,976)
    65 years and over: 13.9% (male 183,450/female 276,995) (2013 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 56.2 %
    youth dependency ratio: 34.1 %
    elderly dependency ratio: 22 %
    potential support ratio: 4.5 (2013)
    total: 34.1 years
    male: 32.4 years
    female: 35.7 years (2013 est.)
    0.25% (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    13.28 births/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    9.52 deaths/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    -1.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    urban population: 92% of total population (2010)
    rate of urbanization: 0.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    MONTEVIDEO (capital) 1.633 million (2009)
    at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.89 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2013 est.)
    29 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 125
    total: 9.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    country comparison to the world: 149
    male: 10.2 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 8.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total population: 76.61 years
    country comparison to the world: 73
    male: 73.47 years
    female: 79.86 years (2013 est.)
    1.86 children born/woman (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    77%
    note: percent of women aged 15-50 (2004)
    8.4% of GDP (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 54
    3.74 physicians/1,000 population (2008)
    1.2 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    improved:
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 100% of population
    total: 100% of population (2010 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 100% of population
    rural: 99% of population
    total: 100% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 0% of population
    rural: 1% of population
    total: 0% of population (2010 est.)
    0.5% (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 67
    9,900 (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    NA
    24.8% (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    6% (2004)
    country comparison to the world: 82
    2.9% of GDP (2006)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 98.1%
    male: 97.6%
    female: 98.5% (2010 est.)
    total: 16 years
    male: 14 years
    female: 17 years (2010)
    total number: 51,879
    percentage: 7 % (2006 est.)
    total: 17.4%
    country comparison to the world: 75
    male: 14.4%
    female: 21.7% (2011)

Government ::Uruguay

    conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
    conventional short form: Uruguay
    local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
    local short form: Uruguay
    former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province
    constitutional republic
    name: Montevideo
    geographic coordinates: 34 51 S, 56 10 W
    time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March
    19 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres
    25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
    Independence Day, 25 August (1825)
    27 November 1966; effective 15 February 1967; suspended 27 June 1973; revised 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997
    civil law system based on the Spanish civil code
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    18 years of age; universal and compulsory
    chief of state: President Jose "Pepe" MUJICA Cordano (since 1 March 2010); Vice President Danilo ASTORI Saragoza (since 1 March 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Jose "Pepe" MUJICA Cordano (since 1 March 2010); Vice President Danilo ASTORI Saragoza (since 1 March 2010)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 29 November 2009 (next to be held in October 2014)
    election results: Jose "Pepe" MUJICA Cordano elected president; percent of vote - Jose "Pepe" MUJICA Cordano 54.8%, Luis Alberto LACALLE 45.2%
    bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; vice president has one vote in the Senate) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: Chamber of Senators - last held on 25 October 2009 (next to be held in October 2014); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 25 October 2009 (next to be held in October 2014)
    election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Frente Amplio 16, Blanco 9, Colorado Party 5; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Frente Amplio 50, Blanco 30, Colorado Party 17, Independent Party 2
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 5 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and appointed in joint conference of the General Assembly; judges appointed for 10-year terms, with re-election after a lapse of 5 years following the previous term
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; District Courts (Juzagados Letrados); Peace Courts (Juzagados de Paz); Rural Courts (Juzgados Rurales)
    Broad Front (Frente Amplio) - formerly known as the Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or EP-FA [Monica XAVIER] (a broad governing coalition that includes Popular Participation Movement (MPP), New Space Party (Nuevo Espacio) [Rafael MICHELINI], Progressive Alliance (Alianza Progresista) [Rodolfo NIN NOVOA], Socialist Party [vacant], Communist Party [Eduardo LORIER], Uruguayan Assembly (Asamblea Uruguay) [Danilo ASTORI Saragoza], and Vertiente Artiguista [Enrique RUBIO])
    Colorado Party (Vamos Uruguay) [Martha MONTANER]
    Independent Party [Pablo MIERES]
    National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto HEBER]
    Chamber of Commerce and Export of Agriproducts
    Chamber of Industries (manufacturer's association)
    Exporters Union of Uruguay
    National Chamber of Commerce and Services
    PIT/CNT (powerful federation of Uruguayan Unions - umbrella labor organization)
    Rural Association of Uruguay (rancher's association)
    Uruguayan Network of Political Women
    other: B'nai Brith; Catholic Church; students
    CAN (associate), CD, CELAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNISFA, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Alberto GIANELLI Derois
    chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
    telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
    FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
    consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Thomas H. LLOYD
    embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
    mailing address: APO AA 34035
    telephone: [598] (2) 1770-2000
    FAX: [598] (2) 1770-2128
    nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy; the stripes represent the nine original departments of Uruguay; the sun symbol evokes the legend of the sun breaking through the clouds on 25 May 1810 as independence was first declared from Spain (Uruguay subsequently won its independence from Brazil)
    note: the banner was inspired by the national colors of Argentina and by the design of the US flag
    Sun of May (a sun-with-face symbol)
    name: "Himno Nacional" (National Anthem of Uruguay)

    lyrics/music: Francisco Esteban ACUNA de Figueroa/Francisco Jose DEBALI
    note: adopted 1848; the anthem is also known as "Orientales, la Patria o la tumba!" ("Uruguayans, the Fatherland or Death!"); it is the world's longest national anthem in terms of music (105 bars; almost five minutes); generally only the first verse and chorus are sung

Economy ::Uruguay

    Uruguay has a free market economy characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. Following financial difficulties in the late 1990s and early 2000s, economic growth for Uruguay averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay's vigorous growth, which decelerated to 2.6% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment, and GDP growth reached 8.9% in 2010 but fell to about 3.5% in 2012, the result of a renewed slowdown in the global economy and in Uruguay's main trade partners and Common Market of the South (Mercosur) counterparts, Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay has sought to expand trade within Mercosur and with non-Mercosur members. Uruguay''s total merchandise trade with Mercosur since 2006 has increased by nearly 70% to more than $5 billion while its total trade with the world has almost doubled to roughly $20 billion.
    $54.67 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    $52.67 billion (2011 est.)
    $49.83 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $49.4 billion (2012 est.)
    3.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    5.7% (2011 est.)
    8.9% (2010 est.)
    $16,200 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 83
    $15,600 (2011 est.)
    $14,800 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    16.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 93
    16.3% of GDP (2011 est.)
    16.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 68.5%
    government consumption: 12.9%
    investment in fixed capital: 21.4%
    investment in inventories: 0.4%
    exports of goods and services: 26.1%
    imports of goods and services: -29.4%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 8.2%
    industry: 21.6%
    services: 70.3% (2012 est.)
    soybeans, rice, wheat; beef, dairy products; fish; lumber, cellulose
    food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
    3.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    1.691 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    agriculture: 13%
    industry: 14%
    services: 73% (2010 est.)
    6.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 63
    6% (2011 est.)
    18.6% (2010 est.)
    lowest 10%: 1.9%
    highest 10%: 34.4% (2010 est.)
    45.3 (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    44.8 (1999)
    revenues: $14.25 billion
    expenditures: $15.63 billion (2012 est.)
    28.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    -2.8% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    58.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 51
    59.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    note: data cover general government debt, and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions.
    calendar year
    8.1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    8.1% (2011 est.)
    9% (31 December 2012)
    country comparison to the world: 29
    8.75% (31 December 2011)
    note: Uruguay's central bank uses the benchmark interest rate, rather than the discount rate, to conduct monetary policy; the rates shown here are the benchmark rates
    11.2% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    9.78% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $5.32 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    $4.749 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $16.97 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 92
    $14.22 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    $16.63 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    $13.67 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $231 million (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    $238 million (31 December 2010)
    $219 million (31 December 2009)
    -$1.189 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 119
    -$875.9 million (2011 est.)
    $9.907 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    $9.276 billion (2011 est.)
    beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products; wool
    Brazil 18.5%, China 17.9%, Argentina 6.8%, Germany 4.3% (2012)
    $12.22 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    $10.7 billion (2011 est.)
    refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones
    China 16.1%, Argentina 15.8%, Brazil 14.6%, US 8.9%, Paraguay 7.6% (2012)
    $13.6 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $10.3 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $21.07 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $14.35 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $15.2 billion (31 December 2011)
    country comparison to the world: 78
    $14.8 billion (31 December 2010)
    $345 million (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $300 million (31 December 2009 est.)
    Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar -
    20.311 (2012 est.)
    19.314 (2011 est.)
    20.059 (2010 est.)
    22.568 (2009)
    20.936 (2008)

Energy ::Uruguay

Communications ::Uruguay

    964,900 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    4.757 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    general assessment: fully digitalized
    domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; nationwide microwave radio relay network; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity has reached 170 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 598; the UNISOR submarine cable system provides direct connectivity to Brazil and Argentina; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
    mixture of privately owned and state-run broadcast media; more than 100 commercial radio stations and about 20 TV channels; cable TV is available; many community radio and TV stations; adopted the hybrid Japanese/Brazilian HDTV standard (ISDB-T) in December 2010 (2010)
    .uy
    1.036 million (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    1.405 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 86

Transportation ::Uruguay

    133 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    total: 11
    over 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
    914 to 1,523 m: 4
    under 914 m: 2 (2013)
    total: 122
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
    914 to 1,523 m: 40
    under 914 m:
    79 (2013)
    gas 257 km; oil 160 km (2013)
    total: 1,641 km
    country comparison to the world: 77
    standard gauge: 1,641 km 1.435-m gauge (1,200 km operational) (2010)
    total: 77,732 km
    country comparison to the world: 63
    paved: 7,743 km
    unpaved: 69,989 km (2010)
    1,600 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    total: 16
    country comparison to the world: 100
    by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2, chemical tanker 3, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 1
    foreign-owned: 8 (Argentina 1, Denmark 1, Greece 1, Spain 5)
    registered in other countries: 1 (Liberia 1) (2010)
    Montevideo

Military ::Uruguay

Transnational Issues ::Uruguay

    in 2010, the ICJ ruled in favor of Uruguay's operation of two paper mills on the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina; the two countries formed a joint pollution monitoring regime; uncontested boundary dispute between Brazil and Uruguay over Braziliera/Brasiliera Island in the Quarai/Cuareim River leaves the tripoint with Argentina in question; smuggling of firearms and narcotics continues to be an issue along the Uruguay-Brazil border
    current situation: Uruguay is a source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and, to a lesser extent, a destination country for men, women, and children exploited in forced labor; most victims are women and girls exploited in sex trafficking; some Uruguayan women lured by fraudulent employment offers in Spain, Italy, and Argentina are forced into prostitution; foreign workers in domestic service and agriculture are vulnerable to forced labor in Uruguay; some human trafficking cases are reportedly linked to crime rings
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Uruguay does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government investigated and prosecuted several trafficking cases during 2012 but reported no convictions; authorities have increased funding and staffing for the national women's institute unit that is focused on sex trafficking and domestic violence, but specialized services remain inadequate and victim care services outside the capital are uneven; officials lack formal procedures for identifying trafficking victims (2013)
    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