Uruguay. According to COUNTRYAAH, Uruguay has a population of 3.449 million (2018). Governments in both Uruguay and Argentina made an effort during the year to resolve the multi-year conflict over the environmental impact on the Río Uruguay border of a newly built pulp mill on the Uruguayan side. In mid-April, the International Court of Justice (ICC) in The Hague issued a statement that was interpreted as a victory for both sides. While it was established that Uruguay violated the 1975 agreement by not publishing its plans to build the factory in advance, the country is not forced by the court’s ruling to relocate the factory as Argentina previously demanded. Instead, the heads of state of both countries agreed to set up a joint commission to monitor the environmental impact on the river.
In the May 9 regional elections, just over two months after the winner of the 2009 presidential election, José Mujica swore to the presidential oath, the government coalition Frente Amplio (FA) won in three of the country’s provinces but lost in three others. All in all, the FA was considered to have weakened the elections as voter participation declined. Admittedly, the party won in the capital Montevideo, where nearly half of the country’s population lives, but at the same time the support for the party there declined for the first time in 39 years.
1992 No to privatizations
In December 92, the left gained another victory at the expense of the government. A commission set up by the national organization and representatives of several political parties utilized a provision of the constitution to collect signatures for holding a referendum. The purpose of the vote was to overturn an earlier resolution in Parliament on the privatization of state-owned enterprises. The necessary signatures were collected, the referendum was carried out and, with 72% of the vote, Parliament’s privatization law was rejected. Still, the government was trying to continue its efforts to privatize the national carrier, the gas company and the sugar plantations in the northern part of the country. The government’s decision triggered demonstrations of sugar cane workers for Montevideo as well as a series of demonstrations in the capital itself.
At the presidential, parliamentary and local elections on November 27, 94, Colorados, with Julio María Sanguinetti at the helm, won a narrow victory. Frente Amplio significantly increased its voter support and gained 43% of the vote in the capital. Nationwide, the election results revealed that the population was divided into 3 almost equal groups: Colorados got 31.2%, Blancos 30.03% and Encuentro Progresista got 29.82%. Frente Amplio played the lead role in the latter coalition.
In October 95, Cuba President Fidel Castro visited the country, but Sanguinetti rejected an invitation from Castro to visit Cuba in September 96. It was not opportune for the United States.
In mid-96, it was revealed that former President Lacalle’s wife and several of his closest associates had been involved in corruption during his presidential term. In the same year, a new social insurance system was introduced following the same principles that had already been introduced in Argentina and Chile.
After difficult political negotiations, Parliament sent a constitutional reform to a referendum. The main purpose of the reform was to enable the parties to form post-election alliances in order to influence the formation of the government and the election of the president. Previously, the largest party had automatically been given the presidential post and formed government. The reform was adopted with 50.6% of the vote.
The economic crisis continued in 96. Many industries had to close, unemployment reached 11%, rising to 12% in the middle of 97. Growth in 96 nevertheless reached 4.9% was primarily due to growth in the banking sector. The country’s liberal financial system had made it a favorite center for Latin American drug cartels in their laundering of drug dollars.