- This small country, sandwiched between the twin powerhouses of
Argentina and Brazil, has
managed to avoid all of the tribulations that have affected the rest of
the continent thanks to the shelter provided by it's larger neighbours.
It has developed into a stable and relatively wealthy country but as it
lacks significant resources it has done this without the corporate
entanglements common elsewhere.
Armed Forces of Uruguay
Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian
frontier), English, French, German,
88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
Sheep and cattle are raised on it's hills and plains and cereal crops
are grown on it's fertile coastland. Whilst these are exported it's
main income comes from the tourism. Thanks to immigration during the
1800s as well as an almost complete lack of native amerindians means
that almost 95% of the population is of European descent and this lends
the country a European air that attracts wealthy Brazilians and
Argentinians eager for some culture but unwilling to meet the travel
costs and visa requirements of the real Europe.
Uruguay's economy has developed to cater to this crowd, offering
nightclubs and casinos where anything goes. Alongside this, Uruguay has
also developed itself as a duty free zone. With Buenos Aries only 2 1/2
hours away by hydrofoil the capital, Montevideo, has become a mecca for
the Argentinian middle classes seeking some bargain electronics or
perfumes. It is rumoured that almost anything is available under the
counter as long as you know who to ask, but don't cause trouble as the
police are quick to respond and as European as the country feels, this
is still South America.
Politically, Uruguay is one of the most progressive countries on the
continent, with a representative democracy and multi-party system,
although as none of the parties are willing to rock the boat there is
very little to choose between them. There is a large and well
established middle class here as well as established civil and workers
rights and a constitution that allows the ordinary citizens to
challenge laws via a referendum. This last right has been used several
times to overturn laws that would have given Corporations undue
influence in the country. It's army is small and mainly concerned with
border patrols, looking to keep out unwanted migrants.
The future looks good for this tiny country (one of the smallest on the
continent) but it's fate is closely tied to those of it's neighbours,
and any problems in their markets will also be felt here.
by Bookwyrm with assistance from Mike Van Atta.)