Uruguay Economy and Culture

Uruguay Economy and Culture


Once referred to as the “Switzerland of Latin America” ​​for the social achievements and relative prosperity that distinguished it (prosperity which began as early as the nineteenth century and lasted until the 1950s), Uruguay subsequently saw its institutions deteriorate and their own economic structures. At the origin of the crisis, which has become very serious, there has been a decades-long inaction of the productive organisms (not to mention the growing social inequalities), more and more dangerous in a country, like Uruguay, devoid of raw materials and whose only resources rested on cattle breeding, a country therefore forced to heavy imports of fuels and most industrial products. The contraction on foreign markets of the purchase of traditional Uruguayan livestock products caused the country’s economic ruin; the government responded with currency devaluation, wage freezes and a series of other restrictive measures. The new development model aimed at concentrating investments (largely provided by foreign capital) in industries, particularly in those destined for exports; the energy sector was also strongly strengthened and, as regards primary activities, fishing recorded extraordinary increases. At the beginning of the nineties, an austerity program was launched which envisages: an increase in the tax levy, a decrease in public spending and a restructuring of the social security system. Some positive results were obtained since the inflation, but the standard of living of the population was considerably affected. Further uncertainties for the future of the Uruguayan economy arose from the rejection (in 1992) of a referendum on a privatization project which was expected to be implemented immediately. The trend towards regional cooperation appears to be less contrasted than in the past: in 1995 (January) the MERCOSUR (Southern Cone Common Market), which also includes Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, which Uruguay joined in 1991. The 1999 recession, caused by the collapse of the Brazilian real, was aggravated by losses in the agricultural sector, due to the severe drought that hit Uruguay in early 2000. To protest the high unemployment rate, the unions have called several strikes. The recession was exacerbated by losses in the agricultural sector due to two episodes of foot and mouth disease that decimated herds in some areas of the country, significantly reducing meat exports. The financial crisis of 2002 brought about a new collapse of the economy; aid from the United States and the IMF they stemmed the crisis, but caused an increase in foreign debt. Very strict economic policies have made it possible to stop the crisis, but the country is still in a precarious situation. Unemployment is slightly down, inflation has dropped to 6.4% (2006) and the flow of migration to European countries has stopped. GDP began to grow, also thanks to the economic recovery of neighboring countries: in 2008 it was US $ 32,262 million, with a per capita GDP of US $ 10,082. Much of the economy is in private hands, but the state runs large companies such as railways, electricity and the airline.


According to petwithsupplies, there are few feature – length films (ten in all) in the silent and sonorous history of Uruguayan cinema, even if the frequency of spectators has often been among the highest in Latin America. Although the country hosted an international festival in the fifties in Punta del Este and Montevideo, where the theaters were centered, was the seat of a specialized institute and various clubs and amateur film initiatives, this cultural vivacity never corresponded to an increase in production. . On the other hand, the documentary, also on television, was developed and U. Ulive (who later moved to Venezuela) became one of the directors, with the neorealistic medium- length film Un vinten p’al Judas (1958; Un ventino per il Giuda), on the Christmas of poor children, and with the reportage Como el Uruguay no hay (1960), against the “Swiss” conception of the country. Militant filmmaker, dedicated to anti-imperialist and anti-olpist tercer cine, was in the second half of the 1960s M. Handler, whose short films of denunciation and struggle (Carlos, Elecciones, El Problem de la carne, the excellent Me gustan los estudiantes, Liber arce-Liberarse) cost him his expulsion from the Institute of Cinema in 1970. However, starting in 1979, on the initiative of the Cinemateca Uruguaya, and at the rate of one film a year, there has been a return to talk of national feature film and to fight for it. New directors enter the international limelight and collect interest and awards in festivals all over the world: Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll (Whiskey, 2003) and Diego Arsuaga (El Ultimo tren, 2002).


Hydrographically, most of the territory belongs to the Uruguay river basin, whose course is set precisely at the contact between the penepian and the platense depression. Uruguay is mostly navigable here, but hindered by the rapids of Salto Grande and Salto Chico: the Cuareim flows into it, whose course marks part of the border between Brazil, where it is called Quaraí, Arapey Grande and Queguay Large, whose length varies between 200 and 300 km, all coming from the Cuchilla de Haedo, and especially the Río Negro (750 km), which drains over a third of Uruguayan territory. The Río Negro originates just beyond the Brazilian border and crosses the middle belt of the country diagonally, receiving numerous tributaries; it was barred in the middle section of its course in several points giving rise to vast artificial lakes. Modest are the rivers that directly reach the sea such as the Santa Lucia, a tributary of the Río de la Plata; others flow into the Merín Lagoon, including the Yaguarón River, which for a large part of its course marks the border with Brazil.

Uruguay Economy