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Uruguay Flag

Country Profile

Local Time: UTC -3h

Capital City: Montevideo (est. pop. 1.4 million)

Other Cities: Maldonado

Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil.
Area: 176 000 sq. km. (68 000 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Plains and low hills; 84% agricultural.

Border countries
: Argentina, Brazil

Climate: Temperate.

Type: Constitutional Republic.
Independence: 25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
Constitution: First 1830, current 1967, most recently amended December 1996.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Uruguayan(s).
Population): 3.4 million.
Ethnic groups (est.): European descent 93%, African descent 5%, mestizo 1%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent).
Religions: Roman Catholic 52%, Protestant and other Christian 16%, Jewish 2%, non-professing or other 30%.
Languages: Spanish.
Literacy: 97%.


Currency: Uruguayan Peso (UYU)

Natural resources: Arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries.

Agriculture products: Rice, wheat, corn, barley; livestock; fish.

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

Exports partners:
Brazil 19.4%, USA 18%, Germany 6.6%, Argentina 6.4% (2004)

Imports partners: Argentina 21.3%, Brazil 17.1%, USA 12.3%, China 6.9%, Russia 5.1% (2004)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Uruguay

República Oriental del Uruguay

Presidencia de la República Oriental del Uruguay

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

Diplomatic Missions
Misión Permanente de Uruguay ante las Naciones Unidas

Embassy of Uruguay

Uruguay's Diplomatic Missions Abroad

Foreign Diplomatic Missions

Instituto Nacional de Estadistica

Map of Uruguay

Map of South America



Background:  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 the end of the year 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

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

Geographic coordinates:  33 00 S, 56 00 W

Map references:  South America

Area:  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

Coastline:  660 km

Maritime claims:  contiguous zone: 24 NM territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation exclusive
economic zone: 200 NM

Climate:  warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

Terrain:  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% permanent crops: 0% other: 93% (1998 est.)

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: 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

Population:  3,386,575 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 24.4% (male 422,826; female 402,324) 15-64
years: 62.6% (male 1,047,740; female 1,072,032) 65 years and over: 13%
(male 181,522; female 260,131) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.79% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  17.28 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  9 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.05
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.7 male(s)/female total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  14.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   79.17 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  2.35 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.33% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  6,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  150 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Uruguayan(s) adjective: Uruguayan

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

Religions:  Roman Catholic 66% (less than half of the adult population
attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, nonprofessing or
other 31%

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

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 97.3% male: 96.9% female: 97.7% (1995 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

Capital:  Montevideo

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

Independence:  25 August 1825 (from Brazil)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 25 August (1825)

Constitution:  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

Suffrage:  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:  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 1999,
with runoff election on 28 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Jorge BATLLE Ibanez elected president; percent of vote -
Jorge BATLLE Ibanez 52% in a runoff against Tabare VAZQUEZ 44%

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 NA 2004);
Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held
NA 2004) election results:  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:  NA

International organization participation:  CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB,

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) 410-0022

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 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 in 1996-98, in 1999-2001 the economy suffered from lower
demand in Argentina and Brazil, which together account for nearly
half of Uruguay's exports. Despite the severity of the trade shocks,
Uruguay's financial indicators remained more stable than those of its
neighbors, a reflection of its solid reputation among investors and its
investment-grade sovereign bond rating - one of only two in South America.
Challenges for the government of President Jorge BATLLE include reducing
the budget deficit, expanding Uruguay's trade ties beyond its Mercosur
trade partners, and reducing the costs of public services. GDP fell by
1.3% in 2000 and by 1.5% in 2001.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $31 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  -1.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $9,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 6% industry: 29% services: 65%

Population below poverty line:  6% (1997)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 3.7%
highest 10%: 25.8% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  42.3 (1989)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  3.6% (2001)

Labor force:  1.2 million (2001)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 14%, industry 16%, services 70%

Unemployment rate:  15.2% (2001)

Budget:  revenues: $3.7 billion expenditures: $4.6 billion, including
capital expenditures of $500 million (2000)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  -2.4% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  7.527 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 6.64% hydro: 92.83%
other: 0.53% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  7.35 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  950 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  1.3 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  rice, wheat, corn, barley; livestock; fish

Exports:  $2.24 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Exports - partners:  Mercosur partners 40%, EU 20%, US 8% (2001 est.)

Imports:  $2.9 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, crude

Imports - partners:  Mercosur partners 44%, EU 18%, US 9% (2001 est.)

Debt - external:  $7.7 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  Uruguayan peso (UYU)

Currency code:  UYU

Exchange rates:  Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 14.3325 (January 2002),
13.3191 (2001), 12.0996 (2000), 11.3393 (1999), 10.4719 (1998), 9.4418

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Uruguay

Telephones - main lines in use:  929,141 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  350,000 (2001)

Telephone system:  general assessment: fully digitalized domestic: most
modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave
radio relay network international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat
(Atlantic Ocean) (2002)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 91, FM 149, shortwave 7 (2001)

Radios:  1.97 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  20 (2001)

Televisions:  782,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .uy

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  14 (2001)

Internet users:  370,000 (2001)

Transportation Uruguay

Railways:  total: 2,993 km standard gauge: 2,993 km 1.435-m gauge note:
of the total route length, 461 km have been taken out of service and
460 km are in only partial use; moreover, not all lines offer passenger
service (2001)

Highways:  total: 8,764 km paved: 7,800 km unpaved: 964 km (2001)

Waterways:  1,600 km (used by coastal and shallow-draft river craft)

Ports and harbors:  Colonia, Fray Bentos, Juan La Caze, La Paloma,
Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este, Piriapolis

Merchant marine:  total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,752
GRT/5,228 DWT note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as
a flag of convenience: Argentina 4, Greece 1 (2002 est.)  ships by type:
petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1

Airports:  64 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:   5 914 to 1,523 m: Airports - with unpaved
runways:  total: 49 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to 1,523 m: 16 under 914 m:
31 (2001)

Military Uruguay

Military branches:  Army, Navy (including Naval Air Arm, Coast Guard,
Marines), Air Force, Police (Coracero Guard, Grenadier Guard)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 824,395 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 666,880
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $250 million (1999)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.1% (2000)

Transnational Issues Uruguay

Disputes - international:  uncontested dispute with Brazil over islands
in the Rio Quarai (Rio Cuareim) and the Arroio Invernada (Arroyo de
la Invernada)

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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