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  Uruguay   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 3.15 cu km/yr (2%/1%/96%)
per capita: 910 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
139 cu km (2000)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,648 km
border countries: Argentina 580 km, Brazil 1,068 km

Environment - international agreements:
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, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation

Climate:
warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

Map references:
South America

Geographic coordinates:
33 00 S, 56 00 W

Natural resources:
arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m

Terrain:
mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland

Geography - note:
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

Area:
total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km

Location:
Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil

Coastline:
660 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than the state of Washington

Irrigated land:
2,100 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or edge of continental margin

Natural hazards:
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

Land use:
arable land: 7.77%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 91.99% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.94 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,000 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.14 years
male: 72.89 years
female: 79.51 years (2008 est.)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 97.6%
female: 98.4% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)

Median age:
total: 33.2 years
male: 31.8 years
female: 34.6 years (2008 est.)

Population:
3,477,778 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
2.9% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
0.486% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)

Death rate:
9.12 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 11.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 500 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 16 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.7% (male 401,209/female 388,315)
15-64 years: 64% (male 1,105,891/female 1,120,858)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 185,704/female 275,801) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
14.17 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Roman Catholic 47.1%, non-Catholic Christians 11.1%, nondenominational 23.2%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17.2%, other 1.1% (2006)

Nationality:
noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Frank E. BAXTER
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
mailing address: APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 418-7777
FAX: [598] (2) 418-8611

National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 August (1825)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Government type:
constitutional republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Architect's Society of Uruguay (professional organization); Chamber of Uruguayan Industries (manufacturer's association); Chemist and Pharmaceutical Association (professional organization); PIT/CNT (powerful federation of Uruguayan Unions - umbrella labor organization); Rural Association of Uruguay (rancher's association); Uruguayan Construction League; Uruguayan Network of Political Women
other: Catholic Church; students

Diplomatic representation in the US:
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, Washington, DC
consulate(s): San Juan (Puerto Rico)

International organization participation:
CAN (associate), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members are 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 are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - EP-FA 16, Blanco 11, Colorado Party 3; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - EP-FA 52, Blanco 36, Colorado Party 10, Independent Party 1

Legal system:
based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
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

Independence:
25 August 1825 (from Brazil)

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
Broad Front (Frente Amplio) - formerly known as the Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or EP-FA [Jorge BROVETTO] (a broad governing coalition that includes Movement of the Popular Participation or MPP [Jose MUJICA], New Space Party (Nuevo Espacio) [Rafael MICHELINI], Progressive Alliance (Alianza Progresista) [Rodolfo NIN NOVOA], Socialist Party [Eduardo FERNANDEZ], the Communist Party [Marina ARISMENDI], Uruguayan Assembly (Asamblea Uruguay) [Danilo ASTORI], and Vertiente Artiguista [Mariano ARANA]); Colorado Party (Foro Batllista) [Julio Maria SANGUINETTI]; National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto LACALLE and Jorge LARRANAGA]

Capital:
name: Montevideo
geographic coordinates: 34 53 S, 56 11 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March

Constitution:
27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967; suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980; two constitutional reforms approved by plebiscite 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005); Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005); Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval
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 31 October 2004 (next to be held in October 2009)
election results: Tabare VAZQUEZ elected president; percent of vote - Tabare VAZQUEZ 50.5%, Jorge LARRANAGA 35.1%, Guillermo STIRLING 10.3%; other 4.1%

Administrative divisions:
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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Brazil 15.5%, US 9.4%, Argentina 8.4%, Mexico 6.6%, China 6.1%, Germany 4.8% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
7.03 billion kWh (2007)

Central bank discount rate:
10% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
788.4 million kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$1 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$11.48 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
7.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
4,410 bbl/day (2007)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$12,300 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
15.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$6.396 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$42.72 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$28.35 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
45.2 (2006)

Exchange rates:
Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar - 20.438 (2008 est.), 23.947 (2007), 24.048 (2006), 24.479 (2005), 28.704 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
8.5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$2.145 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
1.641 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Brazil 19.1%, Argentina 17.9%, US 9.5%, China 9.1%, Paraguay 7.7%, Nigeria 4.7% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
8.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9.8%
industry: 32.8%
services: 57.4% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
43,670 bbl/day (2007)

Exports:
$7.596 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
102.8 million cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Uruguayan peso (UYU)

Economy - overview:
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.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
crude petroleum and petroleum products, machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, paper, plastics

Industries:
food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages

Electricity - exports:
995.4 million kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
27.4% of households (2006)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8.94% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$7.919 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
9.2 billion kWh (2007)

Imports:
$8.548 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
NA

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 15%
services: 76% (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$6.157 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
33,400 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$156 million (2007)

Public debt:
62.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$4.19 billion (2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$159 million (31 December 2007)

Currency code:
UYU

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 34% (2003)

Exports - commodities:
meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish, dairy products

Economic aid - recipient:
$14.62 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.7%
hydro: 99.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.3% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
116.9 million cu m (2007)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $8.204 billion
expenditures: $8.526 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
935.7 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
968,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
965,200 (2007)

Televisions:
782,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.uy

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 93, FM 191, shortwave 7 (2005)

Radios:
1.97 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
3.004 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
62 (2005)

Telephone system:
general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is 115 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) (2002)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
14 (2001)

Internet hosts:
480,593 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Waterways:
1,600 km (2008)

Pipelines:
gas 257 km; oil 160 km (2007)

Railways:
total: 2,073 km
standard gauge: 2,073 km 1.435-m gauge
note: 461 km have been taken out of service and 460 km are in partial use (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Montevideo

Merchant marine:
total: 17
by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 10 (Argentina 3, Greece 1, Spain 6)
registered in other countries: 3 (Liberia 3) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 9
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 77,732 km
paved: 7,743 km
unpaved: 69,989 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 29 (2007)

Airports:
60 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 837,252
females age 16-49: 824,096 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 703,955
females age 16-49: 690,296 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Uruguayan Armed Forces: Army (Ejercito), Navy (Armada Nacional; includes naval air arm, Marines, Maritime Prefecture in wartime), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya, FAU) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 27,082
female: 26,075 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
1.6% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
in Jan 2007, ICJ provisionally ruled Uruguay may begin construction of two paper mills on the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina, while the court examines further whether Argentina has the legal right to stop such construction with potential environmental implications to both countries; uncontested dispute with Brazil over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina

Illicit 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

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