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The World Factbook (1990)/Uruguay



World Factbook (1990) Uruguay.jpg

See regional map IV


Total area: 176,220 km²; land area: 173,620 km²

Comparative area: slightly smaller than Washington State

Land boundaries: 1,564 km total; Argentina 579 km, Brazil 985 km

Coastline: 660 km

Maritime claims:

Continental shelf: 200 meters or to depth of exploitation
Territorial sea: 200 nm (overflight and navigation permitted beyond 12 nm)

Disputes: short section of boundary with Argentina is in dispute; two short sections of the boundary with Brazil are in dispute (Arroyo de la Invernada area of the Rio Quarai and the islands at the confluence of the Rio Quarai and the Uruguay)

Climate: warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown

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

Natural resources: soil, hydropower potential, minor minerals

Land use: 8% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 78% meadows and pastures; 4% forest and woodland; 10% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: subject to seasonally high winds, droughts, floods


Population: 3,036,660 (July 1990), growth rate 0.6% (1990)

Birth rate: 17 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 10 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -2 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 22 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 70 years male, 76 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 2.4 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Uruguayan(s); adjective—Uruguayan

Ethnic divisions: 88% white, 8% mestizo, 4% black

Religion: 66% Roman Catholic (less than half adult population attends church regularly), 2% Protestant, 2% Jewish, 30% nonprofessing or other

Language: Spanish

Literacy: 94%

Labor force: 1,300,000; 25% government, 19% manufacturing, 11% agriculture, 12% commerce, 12% utilities, construction, transport, and communications, 21% other services (1988 est.)

Organized labor: Interunion Workers' Assembly/National Workers' Confederation (PIT/CNT) Labor Federation


Long-form name: Oriental Republic of Uruguay

Type: republic

Capital: Montevideo

Administrative divisions: 19 departments (departamentos, singular—departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandú, Río Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San José, Soriano, Tacuarembó, Treinta y Tres

Independence: 25 August 1828 (from Brazil)

Constitution: 27 November 1966, effective February 1967, suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980

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

National holiday: Independence Day, 25 August (1828)

Executive branch: president, vice president, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: bicameral Congress (Congreso) consists of an upper chamber or Senate (Senado) and a lower chamber or Chamber of Deputies (Camera del Diputados)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State and Head of Government—President Luis Alberto LACALLE (since 1 March 1990); Vice President Gonzalo AGUIRRE (since 1 March 1990)

Political parties and leaders: National (Blanco) Party, Roberto Rubio; Colorado Party; Broad Front Coalition, Liber Seregni includes Communist Party led by Jaime Perez and National Liberation Movement (MLN) or Tupamaros led by Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro; New Space Coalition consists of the Party of the Government of the People (PGP) led by Hugo Batalla, Christian Democratic Party (PDC), and Civic Union led by Humberto Ciganda

Suffrage: universal and compulsory at age 18

Elections: President—last held 26 November 1989 (next to be held November 1994); results—Luis Lacalle (Blanco) 37%, Jorge Batlle (Colorado) 29%, Liber Seregni (Broad Front) 20%;

Senate—last held 26 November 1989 (next to be held November 1994); results—Blanco 40%, Colorado 30%, Broad Front 23% New Space 7%; seats—(30 total) Blanco 12, Colorado 9, Broad Front 7, New Space 2;

Chamber of Deputies—last held NA November 1989 (next to be held November 1994); results—Blanco 39%, Colorado 30%, Broad Front 22%, New Space 8%, others 1%; seats—(99 total) number of seats by party NA

Communists: 50,000


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Juan Podesta PINON; Chancery at 1918 F Street NW, Washington DC 20006; telephone (202) 331-1313 through 1316; there are Uruguayan Consulates General in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, and a Consulate in New Orleans; US—Ambassador Malcolm R. WILKEY; Embassy at Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo (mailing address is APO Miami 34035); telephone [598](2) 40-90-51

Flag: 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


Overview: The economy is slowly recovering from the deep recession of 1981-84. In 1986 real GDP grew by 6.6% and in 1987 by 4.9%. The recovery was led by growth in the agriculture and fishing sectors, agriculture alone contributing 20% to GDP, employing about 11% of the labor force, and generating a large proportion of export earnings. Raising livestock, particularly cattle and sheep, is the major agricultural activity. In 1988, despite healthy exports and an improved current account, domestic growth slowed because of government concentration on the external sector, adverse weather conditions, and prolonged strikes. High inflation rates of about 80%, a large domestic debt, and frequent strikes remain major economic problems for the government.

GDP: $8.8 billion, per capita $2,950; real growth rate 1% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 80% (1989 est.)

Unemployment rate: 9.0% (1989 est.)

Budget: revenues $1.2 billion; expenditures $1.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $165 million (1988)

Exports: $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities—hides and leather goods 17%, beef 10%, wool 9%, fish 7%, rice 4%; partners—Brazil 17%, US 15%, FRG 10%, Argentina 10% (1987)

Imports: $1.1 billion (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities—fuels and lubricants 15%, metals, machinery, transportation equipment, industrial chemicals; partners—Brazil 24%, Argentina 14%, US 8%, FRG 8% (1987)

External debt: $6 billion (1988)

Industrial production: growth rate -2.9% (1988 est.)

Electricity: 1,950,000 kW capacity; 4,330 million kWh produced, 1,450 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: meat processing, wool and hides, sugar, textiles, footwear, leather apparel, tires, cement, fishing, petroleum refining, wine

Agriculture: large areas devoted to extensive livestock grazing; wheat, rice, corn, sorghum; self-sufficient in most basic foodstuffs

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $105 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $263 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $69 million

Currency: new Uruguayan peso (plural—pesos); 1 new Uruguayan peso (N$Ur) = 100 centésimos

Exchange rates: new Uruguayan pesos (N$Ur) per US$1—832.62 (January 1990), 605.62 (1989), 359.44 (1988), 226.67 (1987), 151.99 (1986), 101.43 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 3,000 km, all 1.435-meter standard gauge and government owned

Highways: 49,900 km total; 6,700 km paved, 3,000 km gravel, 40,200 km earth

Inland waterways: 1,600 km; used by coastal and shallow-draft river craft

Ports: Montevideo, Punta del Este

Merchant marine: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 65,212 GRT/116,613 DWT; includes 2 cargo, 1 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker, 1 container

Civil air: 14 major transport aircraft

Airports: 92 total, 87 usable; 16 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 17 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide radio relay network; 337,000 telephones; stations—99 AM, no FM, 26 TV, 9 shortwave; 2 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth stations

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force

Military manpower: males 15-49, 71 1,700; 580,898 fit for military service; no conscription

Defense expenditures: 2.5% of GDP (1986)