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Flag of Uruguay
Map of Uruguay
Introduction Uruguay
A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement, the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to agree to military control of his administration in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold throughout the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. 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
Geographic coordinates:
33 00 S, 56 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than the state of Washington
Land boundaries:
total: 1,564 km
border countries: Argentina 579 km, Brazil 985 km
660 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m
Natural resources:
arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries
Land use:
arable land: 7.43%
permanent crops: 0.23%
other: 92.34% (2001)
Irrigated land:
1,800 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which 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
Environment - current issues:
water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
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
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
People Uruguay
3,399,237 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.5% (male 406,500; female 392,497)
15-64 years: 63.4% (male 1,066,464; female 1,087,100)
65 years and over: 13.1% (male 182,654; female 264,022) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 32.2 years
male: 30.7 years
female: 33.7 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.51% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
14.44 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
9.07 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 12.31 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 13.67 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.92 years
male: 72.71 years
female: 79.24 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.96 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,300 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 500 (2001 est.)
noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan
Ethnic groups:
white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian, practically nonexistent
Roman Catholic 66% (less than half of the adult population attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, nonprofessing or other 31%
Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 97.6%
female: 98.4% (2003 est.)
Government Uruguay
Country name:
conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
conventional short form: Uruguay
local short form: Uruguay
former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province
local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
Government type:
constitutional republic
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
25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 August (1825)
27 November 1966, effective 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
Legal system:
based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jorge BATLLE Ibanez (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jorge BATLLE Ibanez (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
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; election last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: Tabare VAZQUEZ elected president; percent of vote - Tabare VAZQUEZ 50.7%, Jorge LARRANAGA 34.1%, Guillermo STIRLING 10.3%; note - VAZQUEZ will take office on 1 March 2005
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) 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 1999 (next to be held October 2004); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held October 2004)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 12, Colorado Party 10, Blanco 7, New Sector/Space Coalition 1; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 40, Colorado Party 33, Blanco 22, New Sector/Space Coalition 4
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Colorado Party [Jorge BATLLE Ibanez]; National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto LACALLE Herrera]; New Sector/Space Coalition or Nuevo Espacio [Rafael MICHELINI]; Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or Encuentro Progresista/Frente Amplio [Tabare VAZQUEZ]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hugo FERNANDEZ-FAINGOLD
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Martin J. SILVERSTEIN
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
mailing address: APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 418-7777
FAX: [598] (2) 418-8611
Flag description:
nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; there is a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May and 16 rays alternately triangular and wavy
Economy Uruguay
Economy - overview:
Uruguay's well-to-do economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, 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 massive withdrawals by Argentina of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks led to a plunge in the Uruguyan peso and a massive rise in unemployment. Total GDP in these four years dropped by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year due to the serious banking crisis. Unemployment rose to nearly 20% in 2002, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Cooperation with the IMF and the US has limited the damage. The debt swap with private creditors carried out in 2003, which extended the maturity dates on nearly half of Uruguay's $11.3 billion in public debt, substantially alleviated the country's amortization burden in the coming years and restored public confidence. The economy is expected to resume growth in 2004 (perhaps 4% or more) as a result of high commodity prices for Uruguayan exports, the weakness of the dollar against the euro, growth in the region, low international interest rates, and greater export competitiveness. On the negative side, in December 2003 the electorate voted to repeal the law permitting a cautious liberalization of the energy industry.
purchasing power parity - $43.67 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $12,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 7.4%
industry: 26.6%
services: 66% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
9.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
Population below poverty line:
23.7% (2002)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.7%
highest 10%: 25.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
44.8 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
19.4% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
1.56 million (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 14%, industry 16%, services 70%
Unemployment rate:
16% (2004 est.)
revenues: $2.934 billion
expenditures: $3.425 billion, including capital expenditures of $193 million (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
rice, wheat, corn, barley; livestock; fish
food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:
0.7% (2004 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.963 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.7%
hydro: 99.1%
other: 0.3% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
6.152 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
1.377 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
123 million kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
41,500 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
40 million cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
40 million cu m (2001 est.)
Current account balance:
$76 million (2004 est.)
$2.164 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish, dairy products
Exports - partners:
Brazil 21.4%, US 11.4%, Argentina 7.1%, Germany 6.6%, China 4.3%, Mexico 4.1%, Italy 4.1%, Canada 4% (2003)
$1.989 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, crude petroleum
Imports - partners:
Argentina 26.1%, Brazil 21%, Russia 11.7%, US 7.6% (2003)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$2.087 billion (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
$10.73 billion (2004 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 28.2091 (2003), 21.257 (2002), 13.3191 (2001), 12.0996 (2000), 11.3393 (1999)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Uruguay
Telephones - main lines in use:
946,500 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
652,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 598; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 91, FM 149, shortwave 7 (2001)
1.97 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
23 (2002)
782,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
87,630 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
14 (2001)
Internet users:
400,000 (2002)
Transportation Uruguay
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 (2003)
total: 8,983 km
paved: 8,081 km
unpaved: 902 km (1999 est.)
1,600 km (2002)
gas 192 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Colonia, Fray Bentos, Juan La Caze, La Paloma, Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este, Piriapolis
Merchant marine:
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 10,918 GRT/10,342 DWT
registered in other countries: 6 (2003 est.)
foreign-owned: Argentina 4, Greece 1
by type: chemical tanker 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
64 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 8
under 914 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 31 (2003 est.)
Military Uruguay
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes Naval Air Arm, Marines, Maritime Prefecture in wartime), Air Force
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 838,195 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 677,315 (2004 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$217.9 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2% (2003)
Transnational Issues Uruguay
Disputes - international:
uncontested dispute with Brazil over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina

This page was last updated on 30 November, 2004