Uruguay

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Overview

Located on the eastern coast of South America, between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay was first colonized by the Spanish in 1516. But resistance from local Indians, combined with a lack of silver and gold, kept the Spanish from settling much of the region until the 18th century, when Portugal’s plans to expand Brazil’s borders led to the establishment of Montevideo as a military stronghold. British, Spanish and Portuguese forces continued to shape Uruguay’s history throughout the 19th century, and Brazil succeeded in annexing Uruguay in 1821. However, Uruguay quickly declared independence, aligning itself with Argentina in a regional federation. Brazil was defeated after a three-year war, and Uruguay became independent in 1828.

 
In the early 1900’s, Uruguay experienced rapid modernization and simultaneously witnessed a steady influx of European immigrants. Nevertheless, by 1966 political and social difficulties led to turmoil with the Uruguayan armed forces. This led to the elimination of the Congress and the establishment of a civilian-military regime in 1973. Repression and human rights abuses abounded, and it was not until 1984 that the military regime returned the country to civilian rule. Julio Maria Sanguinetti won the presidency that year, and took on the tasks of reforming the economy and putting the country on a path toward reconciliation. Subsequent leaders have struggled with Uruguay’s economic troubles. Most notably, President Batlle’s wrestled with the country’s largest economic crisis in recent history. His administration has largely been able to address the problem by increasing trade, attracting foreign investment, and resolving reconciliation issues from the days of Uruguay’s military regime. Additionally, recent controversies with the United States have included the US Treasury’s freezing of FARC assets in Uruguay, and the signing of a controversial trade pact between the US and Uruguay, over the objections of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Uruguay is situated on the eastern coast of South America, between Brazil and Argentina. There are no navigable rivers within its boundaries, although the Río de la Plata forms its border with Argentina. The climate is dependably pleasant and temperate, ideal for agriculture.

 
Population: 3.36 million (July 2010)
 
Religions: Catholic 50.4%, Protestant 14.3%, Jewish 1.2%, Baha’i 0.2%, Spiritist 0.1%, non-religious 33.7%.
 
Ethnic Groups: White 88%, Mestizo 8%, Black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent).
 
Languages: Spanish (official) 88.2%.
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History

Before the arrival of Guaraní Indians of Paraguay, the Charrúa Indians were the original inhabitants of Uruguay.

 
In 1516, a Spanish fleet led by Juan Díaz de Solís mistakenly arrived at Río de la Plata, a river in present-day Uruguay. Solís’ fleet was immediately attacked by the Charrúa Indians. This pattern continued throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Additionally, a lack of gold and silver allowed the Spanish to postpone settlements.
 
In 1603, the Spanish introduced cattle and horses into the well-irrigated territory, which quickly became a standard of evaluating wealth. The Charrúas learned horsemanship and continued to resist the Spanish until large sums of Argentines and Brazilians migrated to pursue the livestock.
 
As Portugal colonized nearby Brazil and sought to expand its borders, Spanish colonization in Uruguay increased to limit this expansion. In the 18th century, the Spanish constructed Fuerte de San José in present-day Montevideo as a military stronghold and San Felipe de Montevideo as a port for the Spanish fleet. In time, its natural harbor developed into a commercial center capable of competing with Buenos Aires.
 
During the 19th century, Uruguay was shaped by competing interests in the area, particularly the Spanish, Portuguese, and British forces. In 1806, the British invaded Río de la Plata and captured Montevideo by 1807, but were defeated in Buenos Aires. In 1811, José Gervasio Artigas, leader of the Spanish-made rural patrol force Blandengues Corps, revolted against Javier Elío, military commander for Spain. Artigas defeated Spain and become Uruguay’s national hero. He formed Banda Oriental’s (a territory in present-day Uruguay) first autonomous government in 1815. However, by January 1817, Portuguese troops took Montevideo, which forced Artigas to flee to Paraguay. Then in 1821, the Provincia Oriental del Río de la Plata (a territory in present-day Uruguay) was annexed to Brazil by Portugal.
 
Nonetheless, it quickly declared independence from Brazil on August 25, 1825, after a series of revolts, and became part of a regional federation with Argentina.
 
This regional federation was able to defeat Brazil after a three-year war, and the 1828 Treaty of Montevideo, which was fostered by the United Kingdom, allowed Uruguay to become independent while protecting British trading interests in the region.
 
The new nation adopted its first constitution on July 18, 1830, and began to see not just political change, but a rapid influx of immigrants from neighboring states and Europe. The constitution was also ratified by Argentina and Brazil. It also created the República Oriental del Uruguay (Oriental Republic of Uruguay).
 
Thirteen years after the adoption of the Constitution, the Guerra Grande (The Great War) erupted in Uruguay. There two opposing parties, the conservative Blancos (led by Fructuoso Rivera) and the liberal Colorados (led by Muel Oribe), fought between business interests and agricultural interests respectively. The war was tied to Argentina and involved French and British forces as well.
 
In February 1843, Oribe laid siege to Montevideo with the help of Argentinian forces led by the dictator Manuel de Rosas. In 1845, the British and French forces allied against Rosas for economic purposes. In 1849, Rosas made a peace deal with Britain and the following year with France. The agreements required each side to remove forces from Uruguay.
 
Despite the withdrawal of forces, Oribe and Rosas both retained control of Montevideo. However with Brazilian intervention on behalf of the Colorados in 1851 and the fall of Rosa’s dictatorship in 1852, Montevideo was freed. Brazil’s intervention was rewarded with five treaties of alliance which gave Brazil great control in Uruguay’s internal affairs and economics.
 
From 1903-1907 and 1911-1915, President José Batlle y Ordóñez began the process of modernizing Uruguay, establishing political, social and economic reforms, such as a welfare program, and increasing government participation in the economy.
 
By 1966, economic, political, and social difficulties led to new constitutional amendments. A new constitution was adopted in 1967, but by 1973 political turmoil led an armed takeover of the government and the full-fledged establishment of a civilian-military regime. All the while, repression and widespread human rights abuses became common under such military rule.
 
During a November 1980 plebiscite, the military rejected a proposed new constitution. Soon afterwards, the military announced plans to return to civilian rule, and national elections were held in 1984. Colorado Party leader, Julio María Sanguinetti, won the presidency, and served from 1985 to 1990. Throughout this administration, both economic and democratic reforms moved the country towards greater stability. Sanguinetti also sought national reconciliation by offering general amnesty for military leaders, who had been accused of committing human rights violations under the military regime.
 
The 1989 presidential election resulted in the National Party’s Luis Alberto Lacalle winning the presidency. Serving from 1990 to 1995, Lacalle implemented major economic reforms and pursued further trade liberalizing policies. One such example of this liberalization of trade was witnessed when Uruguay became a founding member of MERCOSUR in 1991 (the Southern Cone Common Market, which includes Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay).
 
In the 1994 elections, former President Sanguinetti returned to power, serving as president from 1995 until March 2000. No one party held a majority in the General Assembly, so the National Party joined with the Colorado Party to form a coalition government. This coalition was able to improve the electoral system, social security, education, and public safety within Uruguay. The nation’s economy continued to grow until the late 1990s, when a recession began and perpetuated until 2003.
 
The 1999 national elections were held under a new electoral system, which was established by constitutional amendment. Not a single candidate emerged with a clear victory. Therefore, a runoff was held in November, which resulted in the Colorado Party candidate, Jorge Batlle Ibáñez, officially becoming the President. Yet, Batlle’s legislative coalition of the Colorado and National parties ended in November 2002, when the Blancos withdrew their ministers from the cabinet.
 
Throughout most of his administration, President Batlle had to handle Uruguay’s largest economic crisis in recent history, which caused greater poverty and led to increased emigration. Nevertheless, his administration was able to increase trade and attract foreign investment.
 
Over the past few years, the National and Colorado Parties have declined in membership and voting. Frente Amplio, a coalition of various leftist parties, has continued to rise. In the October 2004 elections, Tabaré Vázquez of the Socialist Broad Front won with 50.5% of the vote, marking the first victory for Uruguay’s left-wing. His party also achieved a parliamentary majority.
 
During its first three years in power, the Vázquez administration kept its word concerning its campaign promise to re-examine the human rights abuses committed during the period of military dictatorship. This resulted in the uncovering of important forensic evidence. Additionally, bilateral relations between Uruguay and Argentina have been strained by a dispute over the construction of a large wood pulp mill on a shared river.
 
According to Raul Garces’ October 22, 2009 article in Breaking News 24/7, “Vazquez has made human rights prosecutions a priority, and emboldened courts have detained a number of suspects in recent years for the purpose of clarifying Uruguay’s past. Among the detainees are Gregorio Álvarez, Uruguay’s last dictator, and Juan Maria Bordaberry, the first chief of the military-dominated government.
 
Álvarez, was sentenced on October 19, 2009 to 25 years in prison for 37 homicides during the nation's 1973-1985 military regime, when dissidents disappeared in a region-wide crackdown on leftists called "Operation Condor."
 
Additionally, Navy Capt. Juan Larcebeau was sentenced to 20 years in prison for 29 homicides related to clandestine prisoner transfers in 1978,” while in February 2010, Former President Juan Maria Bordaberry was given a 30-year sentence for murder and violation of the constitution.”
 
In March 2010, Jose Mujica was elected president and stated that he wanted to focus on energy, environment, education, and security during his term.
 
A Country Study: Uruguay (Library of Congress)
History of Uruguay (Wikipedia)
 
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Uruguay's Newspapers

Uruguay’s Newspapers

Bpp-color (Montevideo)
Brecha (by Subscription)
Diario de Punta Del Este (Maldonado, Punta del Este) [In Spanish]
Diario El Corresponsal (Canelones) [In Spanish]
Diario La Noticia (Artigas) [In Spanish]
Diario La República (Registration required)
Diario Norte (Rivera)
Diario Tiempo (Canelones) [In Spanish]
Durazno Digital (Durazno) [In Spanish] 
El Avisador (Tacuarembó)
El Guichonense (Guichón, Paysandú) [In Spanish]
El Pais (Montevideo)
La Colonia (Colonia) [In Spanish]
MercoPress [In English]
Observa [In Spanish]
Primera Hora (San José, Departamento de San José) [In Spanish] 
Realidad (Maldonado) [In Spanish]
San José Noticias (San José) [In Spanish]
Tres Puntos (Paysandú) [In Spanish]
Uruguay News [In English]
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History of U.S. Relations with Uruguay

The United States established diplomatic relations with Uruguay in 1867, when Alexander Asboth was accredited as ambassador to both Argentina and Uruguay.

 
In March 1870, John L. Stevens was the first ambassador accredited to Paraguay and Uruguay, with residence in Montevideo. He served until 1873.
 
During the World War I, Uruguay allied with the US in October 1917 and recognized the “justice and nobility” of the United States. During the World War II, President Alfredo Baldomir permitted US naval and air bases to be built in Uruguay. When Uruguay broke relations with the Axis, the US gave additional loans and continued training and supplying Uruguayan armed forces.
 
In 1947, the two nations signed the Rio Treaty, which created a mutual defense system.
 
Around 10% of Uruguay’s population emigrated between 1963 and 1985, driven by economic uncertainty in the 1960s and 1970s and by the oppressive military regime of the 1980s. Most, however, fled to neighboring Argentina, which shared a language and similar culture.
 
The largest Uruguayan communities in the US are in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Washington DC.
 
The United States, which had expressed deep concern about the human rights situation beginning with the administration of Jimmy Carter, strongly supported Uruguay’s transition to democracy. In March 1985, Secretary of State George P. Shultz attended Julio Maria Sanguinetti’s presidential inauguration. As a member of the Contadora Support Group, Uruguay participated in meetings in which it fought against the US support for Nicaragua’s anti-Sandinisita resistance between 1985 and 1986. The Sanguinetti government opposed American aid to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, arguing that it obstructed peace in Central America. It also opposed the presence of US troops in Honduras.
 
Despite his government’s criticism of American actions in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Libya, Sanguinetti received a warm welcome at the White House during an official five-day state visit to the US in June 1986. This was the first official state visit by a Uruguayan president in more than thirty years. During the visit, Sanguinetti criticized American protectionist policies, such as the decision to subsidize grain exports to the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, he ended the visit satisfied that the administration of President Ronald Reagan had increased its flexibility toward its policy on Uruguayan exports. On August 5, 1988, Shultz traveled to Uruguay for talks with Sanguinetti and several opposition leaders about trade issues.
 
Although Uruguay’s relations with Panama at the time of the US military intervention there in December 1989 were at their lowest possible level, Sanguinetti was again critical of the United States. He characterized the American military operation as a “step backward.”
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Current U.S. Relations with Uruguay

Noted Uruguayan-Americans

Tab Ramos played for the national soccer team from 1988-2000. His family emigrated from Uruguay to the United States when he was 11 years old.
Enrique Graf is a classical pianist from Uruguay, who has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, and many other musical halls within the United States. He is now a United States citizen.
 
From 1999 through early 2003, the Visa Waiver Program allowed Uruguayan citizens to enter the US without visas. This exemption was withdrawn on April 16, 2003, due to an influx of Uruguayans and alleged security concerns.
 
In April 2002, Uruguay broke ties with Cuba after Castro stated that Uruguay was a US “lackey.”
 
In 2002, Uruguay and the US created a Joint Commission on Trade and Investment (JCTI) to exchange ideas on a variety of economic topics. In August of the same year, the Bush administration granted up to $1.5 billion in short-term loans to bolster Uruguayan banks.
 
In March 2003, the JCTI identified six areas of concentration until the eventual signing of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA): customs issues, intellectual property protection, investment, labor, environment, and trade in goods.
 
In late 2004, the two nations signed an Open Skies Agreement, which was ratified two years later. In November 2005, they signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which became effective on November 1, 2006. A Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was signed in January 2007. In April 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Foreign Minister Fernandez to sign a science and technology agreement.
 
Uruguay and the United States have also cooperated on law enforcement matters such as fighting drug trafficking, terrorism and human rights abuses.
 
On March 1, 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended President Mujica’s inauguration.
 
In December 2010, Uruguay announced that it would recognize Palestine as an independent state, a move against US policy.
 
In the 2000 US census, 18,804 people identified themselves as being of Uruguayan ancestry.
 
In 2006, 62,834 Americans visited Uruguay. More Americans have traveled to Uruguay every year since 2002, when 25,809 Americans went to Uruguay.
 
In 2006, 30,329 Uruguayans visited the US. The total number of Uruguayans tourists to the US declined drastically from 2002 (47,316) to 2004 (28,197), but has leveled off since then.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

US imports from Uruguay totaled $239.2 million in 2009, while US exports to Uruguay totaled $745.1 million in the same year.

 
Leading US imports from Uruguay in 2009 were led by meat products and poultry at $104.4 million, unmanufactured leather and furs at $11.6 million, and plywood and veneers at $10.5 million,
 
Leading US exports to Uruguay in 2009 were led by computer accessories at $54.1 million, toiletries and cosmetics at $43.1 million, computers at $37.9 million, medical equipment at $36.6 million, and plastic materials at $35.7 million.
 
US aid to Uruguay is aimed at strengthening Uruguay’s peacekeeping forces and disaster response abilities, increasing aid to law enforcement and fighting terrorism and trafficking of drugs and people.
 
About $1.1 million dollars will be directed towards stabilization operations and security sector reform for FY2011. The US will help integrate Uruguay internationally through training and education programs, which target at maritime issues, and equipping necessary materials, which focus on improving Uruguay’s peacekeeping operations.
 
Through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, mid-to-senior grade officers and government officials are militarily educated. The US government hopes that this will lead to a spillover effect so that Uruguay will become a regional leader in peacekeeping operations.
 
Through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, the US provides financial aid for military search-and rescue equipment (particularly a tropospheric scatter microwave radio terminal system for communication) and to modernize and maintain other US-provided equipment.
 
 
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Controversies

Uruguay to Recognize Palestine in 2011

Foreign Minister Luis Almagro announced that Uruguay would recognize Palestine in March 2011. Uruguay made this statement in hopes that peace talks would restart between Israel and Palestine. Foreign Minister Luis Almagro did not mention the status of Jerusalem or which borders may be recognized. Almagro hopes to maintain relations with Israel despite future recognition of Palestine. Uruguay is one of the two last South American countries to recognize Palestine. Although the US has not made an official statement on Uruguay’s move, the US has stated that Brazil’s decision of recognition is “severely misguided” and “regrettable.”
 
 
FARC Members in Uruguay have Assets Frozen by US Treasury
In September 2008, the US Treasury moved to freeze the assets of eight members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which it has labeled as a terrorist group. Because of this designation, US citizens are prohibited from doing business with FARC. The eight members represented FARC in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico and Canada. One was arrested for planning the assassinations of South American officials in Uruguay and other countries
 
Uruguay and the US Sign Controversial Trade Pact
In January 2007, the US signed a controversial trade pact with Uruguay, despite opposition from the rest of the members of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc. The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) drew sharp criticism because it went around the regional bloc in favor of trade parameters affecting just Uruguay. The move was supposed to promote healthy trade between the two nations, but critics said such agreements were lopsided and favored US companies trying to get their goods into South American markets.
URUGUAY-US: A Trade Agreement, After All (by Raúl Pierri, Inter Press Service)
 
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Human Rights

The State Department reported that as of 2009, “The government generally respected the rights of its citizens. Prison conditions continued to be poor. Instances of violence against women and discrimination against some societal group continued to challenge government policies of nondiscrimination. Some trafficking in persons occurred.”

 
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison conditions remain poor due to a lack of maintaining facilities. Overcrowding is prevalent with a population density of 137 percent of the capacity.
 
Prisoners depend on visitors for food, while medical and dental care remain insufficient. In 2008, there were 85 cases of tuberculosis according to the Honorary Anti-Tuberculosis Commission.
 
Ministry officials reported that there were no complaints of police abuse in prisons; however, “the prison ombudsman received unofficial reports of maltreatment.”
 
Prisoner-on-prisoner violence is a daily problem due to close quarters for violent criminals. There were 22 deaths in prisons in 2009.
 
The Uruguayan Institute for Adolescents and Children (INAU) stated that in November 2009, 250 juveniles were incarcerated for committing serious crimes. Facilities for juvenile detention provide educational and vocational opportunities, but conditions of facilities resemble their adult counterparts.
 
The government hopes to decrease chronic overcrowding by doubling funding for prison improvements. A series of projects to create 1,500 to 1,600 additional places in the prisons has said to be completed by late 2010.
 
Women
Uruguayan law criminalizes rape (including spousal rape) and sentences violators to between two to 12 years’ imprisonment. In 2009, the Ministry of Interior reported 302 cases of rape and 13,712 cases of domestic violence (a 10 percent increase from 2008).
 
Montevideo’s municipal government funds a free nationwide hotline for victims of domestic violence while the Ministry of Social Development in cooperation with INAU and NGOs operate shelters for abused women and their families.
 
The law respects gender equality; however, women continue to face discrimination stemming from cultural traditions. Thus, gender discrimination cases have not been put to trial. The government created several agencies to support women in 2009 including the National Institute for Women.
 
Women constitute nearly half the workforce but receive lower paying jobs or lower salaries in comparison to their male counterparts.
 
Trafficking in Persons
The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, Uruguay remains a source, transit point, and, occasionally, a destination for trafficking. Most victims were women, girls, and some boys within the country for sexual exploitation, and sometimes for forced labor. Commercial sexual exploitation often occurs along Uruguay’s borders with Argentina and Brazil.
 
Two courts were established in 2009 for the specific purpose of enforcing rights law related to trafficking, child prostitution, and child pornography.
 
The Institute of Children and Adolescents in Uruguay (INAU) is actively involved in the situation and has begun a large-scale information campaign. INAU also participates in the informal interagency committee along with members of ministries and civil society groups which aims to improve the government’s response in such situations.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Alexander Asboth
Appointment: Apr 5, 1867
Presentation of Credentials: [Oct 2, 1867]
Termination of Mission: Died at Buenos Aires, Jan 21, 1868
Note: Also accredited to Argentina; resident at Buenos Aires. Officially recognized on Oct 2, 1867.

 
H.G. Worthington
Appointment: Jul 25, 1868
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 24, 1868
Termination of Mission: Notified Government of Uruguay by note from Buenos Aires Jul 10, 1869, that his successor had been appointed
Note: Also accredited to Argentina; resident at Buenos Aires.
 
Robert C. Kirk
Appointment: [May 11, 1869]
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1869
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 6, 1870
Note: Commission (issued during a recess of the Senate) was not of record, but enclosed with an instruction of this date. Although later confirmed by the Senate, Kirk was apparently not recommissioned after confirmation. Also accredited to Argentina; resident at Buenos Aires.
 
John L. Stevens
Appointment: Mar 25, 1870
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 6, 1870
Termination of Mission: Left post May 19, 1873
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
John C. Caldwell
Appointment: Jan 8, 1874
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 7, 1874
Termination of Mission: Recommissioned as Chargé d’Affaires
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
John C. Caldwell
Appointment: Aug 15, 1876
Presentation of Credentials: [Oct 6, 1876]
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 10, 1882
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo. Acknowledged receipt of his commission on Oct 6, 1876; no record found of presentation of credentials.
 
Lewis Wallace
Note: Not commissioned; nomination to be Chargé d’Affaires to Paraguay and Uruguay withdrawn before the Senate acted upon it.
Jeremiah M. Rusk
Appointment: May 19, 1881
Note: Declined appointment as Chargé d’Affaires to Paraguay and Uruguay.
 
William Williams
Appointment: Apr 12, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 10, 1882
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 21, 1885
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
John E. Bacon
Appointment: Apr 28, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 21, 1885
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Minister Resident
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 13, 1886.
John E. Bacon
Appointment: Aug 10, 1886
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 8, 1888
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 26-28, 1888
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
George Maney
Appointment: Jun 20, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 8, 1889
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate. Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
George Maney
Appointment: Sep 23, 1890
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1890
Termination of Mission: Left post about Jun 30, 1894
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Granville Stuart
Appointment: Mar 1, 1894
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1894
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jan 4, 1898
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
William R. Finch
Appointment: Oct 2, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 4, 1898
Termination of Mission: Transmitted recall by note, May 29, 1905
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 18, 1897. Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Edward C. O’Brien
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 2, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 11, 1909
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Edwin V. Morgan
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 31, 1910
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 8, 1911
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Nicolay A. Grevstad
Appointment: Jun 30, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 9, 1911
Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 19, 1914
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
John L. de Saulles
Appointment: Mar 27, 1914
Note: Took oath of office, but did not proceed to post.
 
Robert Emmett Jeffery
Appointment: Feb 3, 1915
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 4, 1915
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 9, 1921
 
Hoffman Philip
Appointment: Mar 23, 1922
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 19, 1922
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 10, 1925
 
Ulysses Grant-Smith
Appointment: Mar 18, 1925
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 13, 1925
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 11, 1929
 
Leland Harrison 
Appointment: Oct 16, 1929
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 11, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 9, 1930
 
J. Butler Wright
Appointment: Sep 29, 1930
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 9, 1931
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 10, 1934
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 16, 1930.
 
George S. Messersmith
Appointment: Mar 9, 1934
Note: Did not serve under this appointment.
 
Julius G. Lay
Appointment: Dec 14, 1934
Note: Did not serve under this appointment.
Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
Julius G. Lay
Appointment: Jan 22, 1935
Presentation of Credentials: May 20, 1935
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 31, 1937
 
William Dawson
Appointment: Aug 31, 1937
Note: Did not serve under this appointment.
William Dawson
Appointment: Dec 1, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 10, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 6, 1939
 
Edwin C. Wilson
Appointment: Jun 22, 1939
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 27, 1939
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 5, 1941
 
William Dawson
Appointment: Feb 11, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 12, 1941
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 6, 1946
 
Joseph F. McGurk
Appointment: Jul 12, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1946
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Apr 15, 1947
 
Williamson S. Howell, Jr.
Appointment: Apr 10, 1947
Note: Took oath of office, but died in the United States before proceeding to post.
 
Ellis O. Briggs
Appointment: Jul 3, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 21, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 6, 1949
 
Christian M. Ravndal
Appointment: Jun 24, 1949
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 9, 1949
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 8, 1951
 
Edward L. Rodden
Appointment: Sep 19, 1951
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 27, 1951
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 12, 1953
 
Dempster McIntosh
Appointment: Sep 26, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 12, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 3, 1956
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 26, 1954.
 
Jefferson Patterson
Appointment: Mar 28, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: May 2, 1956
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 18, 1958
 
Robert F. Woodward
Appointment: Mar 26, 1958
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 21, 1958
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 29, 1961
 
Edward J. Sparks
Appointment: Apr 27, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 24, 1961
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, May 15, 1962
 
Wymberley De R. Coerr 
Appointment: Jun 7, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 27, 1962
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 22, 1965
 
Henry A. Hoyt
Appointment: May 6, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 14, 1965
Termination of Mission: Died at post Dec 16, 1967
 
Robert M. Sayre
Appointment: Jul 24, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 27, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 19, 1969
 
Charles W. Adair, Jr.
Appointment: Sep 15, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 13, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 28, 1972
 
Ernest V. Siracusa
Appointment: Jul 16, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 22, 1977
 
Lawrence Pezzulo
Appointment: Jul 14, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 10, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post May 29, 1979
 
Lyle Franklin Lane
Appointment: Sep 20, 1979
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 17, 1979
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 22, 1980
 
Robert S. Gershenson
Note: Nomination of Jul 10, 1980, not acted upon by the Senate.
Note: N. Shaw Smith served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Jul 1980-Nov 1981.
 
Thomas Aranda, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 1, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 5, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 14, 1985
 
Malcolm Richard Wilkey
Appointment: Oct 28, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post May 10, 1990
 
Richard C. Brown
Appointment: Oct 22, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 19, 1990
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 19, 1993
 
Thomas J. Dodd
Appointment: Aug 2, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 23, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 1, 1997
 
Christopher C. Ashby
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Nov. 26, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Martin J. Silverstein
Appointment: Aug 7, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 17, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post, July 6, 2005
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Uruguay's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Pita, Carlos

The South American nation of Uruguay, officially called the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, sent a new ambassador to Washington in September 2012, a physician who served 20 years as a national legislator. Succeeding Carlos Gianelli, who served from 2005 to 2012, Carlos Pita Alvarez presented his diplomatic credentials to President Obama on September 19, 2012.

 

Born in Montevideo in 1951, the son of Américo Pita Parodi, Carlos Pita Alvariza earned his medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, where he was a leader of the Student Association of Medicine and the Federation of University Students of Uruguay. He later earned a Certificate of International Relations at the University Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile.

 

He began his political activism in 1968, a year of mass popular protests worldwide, supporting Uruguay’s National Party, although normal politics was largely suspended when President Jorge Pacheco declared a state of emergency in 1968, followed by an additional suspension of civil liberties in 1972 and a military coup d’état in 1973.

 

During the years of the military dictatorship from 1973 to 1984, when many Uruguayans were tortured or “disappeared,” Pita joined in forming the opposition group Popular Nationalist Current. During the 1984 restoration of democracy, Pita was elected to Uruguay’s national legislature, called the Chamber of Deputies, for Montevideo on the minor party list “Movement for the Fatherland,” part of the right of center coalition known as the National Party.

 

When the National Party pushed through a 1986 amnesty law protecting officials who participated in torture and murder under the military regime, however, Pita formed the People’s Current and joined the Frente Amplio (Broad Front), Uruguay’s left of center political coalition. He was reelected three times, in 1989, 1994 and 1999, always as part of the Broad Front.

 

In the Chamber, Pita served as head of several special committees, including ones on labor legislation, on the assassinations of deputies Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz and Zelmar Michelini, and on amnesty for political prisoners. In 2002, he was also president of the Committee on International Affairs, of which he’d been a member for fourteen years.

 

After leaving the Chamber of Deputies in 2004, Pita was named ambassador to Chile, where he served from 2005 to 2010. In January 2011, Pita began service as ambassador to Spain.

 

He is married to Mariella Mora, and they have four daughters.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Biography

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Uruguay's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay

Reynoso, Julissa
ambassador-image

On October 17, 2011, President Barack Obama chose a political appointee who strongly supported his 2008 rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to serve as the ambassador to the South American nation of Uruguay. In 2008, calling herself a “ferocious Hillary [Clinton] supporter,” Manhattan attorney Julissa Reynoso donated the maximum to Clinton’s presidential campaign and actively worked on it before joining the campaign of Barack Obama. She was rewarded soon after the election, as she was tapped to become Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean in the State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs as of November 16, 2009. The Senate confirmed her as ambassador to Uruguay on March 29, 2012.

 
Born in January 1975 in Salcedo, Dominican Republic, Reynoso emigrated with her family to the United States in 1982, living in the South Bronx in New York City and attending Catholic schools, where she learned English and picked up a nickname: Shortie. Encouraged by a high school guidance counselor to apply to top schools, Reynoso earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard in 1997, an M. Phil. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. in 1998, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2001.
 
After law school, she clerked for Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 2001 to 2003, was a fellow at Columbia Law School in 2005, and practiced international arbitration and antitrust law at the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett from 2006 to 2009. She served as Deputy Director of the Office of Accountability at the New York City Department of Education in 2006, and was a part-time legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law from August 2008 through July 2009, when she received her first State Department appointment.
 
Reynoso has published widely in both Spanish and English on a range of issues including regulatory reform, community organizing, housing reform, immigration policy, and Latin American politics for both popular press and academic journals. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. A lifelong Democrat, Reynoso contributed $500 to Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, $460 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 New York Senate campaign, $6,900 to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, $1,000 to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and made a few small donations to local candidates and PACs.
 
Julissa. Being Latina at Harvard and Beyond (by Julissa Reynoso, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences)
Julissa Reynoso on The Perez Notes (audio file)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay

Nelson, David
ambassador-image

David D. Nelson was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the Uruguay on December 24, 2009, and was sworn in five days later. As ambassador, he returned to the site of his first Foreign Service posting.

 
Born in Minnesota, Nelson grew up on White Bear Lake, north of St. Paul. He attended Macalester College in St. Paul before transferring to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. He added a Masters degree in Economics at the University of Maryland.
 
Joining the Foreign Service in 1979, his first overseas posting, in 1982, was as a junior political officer in Montevideo, Uruguay, with the portfolio of covering human rights developments at a time when Uruguay was ruled by a military dictatorship. He remained in Uruguay until 1984. He later held posts in Berlin, Madrid, Bonn, Quito, and Mérida.
 
Nelson was the National Security Council’s Senior Coordinator for the Sea Island G-8 Summit. He also served as Director of the Office of Monetary Affairs, Director of the Iraq Reconstruction Task Force, Director of the Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions, Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.
 
In June 2008, Nelson joined Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB) as its Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, in charge of International Finance and Development. He advanced to the position of EEB’s Acting Assistant Secretary on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated, overseeing a staff of about 200 that was responsible for providing international economic advice to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton.
 
He and his wife, Gloria, who met when both were posted to Montevideo in 1982, have one son. Nelson speaks Spanish and German.
 
 
 
 

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Overview

Located on the eastern coast of South America, between Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay was first colonized by the Spanish in 1516. But resistance from local Indians, combined with a lack of silver and gold, kept the Spanish from settling much of the region until the 18th century, when Portugal’s plans to expand Brazil’s borders led to the establishment of Montevideo as a military stronghold. British, Spanish and Portuguese forces continued to shape Uruguay’s history throughout the 19th century, and Brazil succeeded in annexing Uruguay in 1821. However, Uruguay quickly declared independence, aligning itself with Argentina in a regional federation. Brazil was defeated after a three-year war, and Uruguay became independent in 1828.

 
In the early 1900’s, Uruguay experienced rapid modernization and simultaneously witnessed a steady influx of European immigrants. Nevertheless, by 1966 political and social difficulties led to turmoil with the Uruguayan armed forces. This led to the elimination of the Congress and the establishment of a civilian-military regime in 1973. Repression and human rights abuses abounded, and it was not until 1984 that the military regime returned the country to civilian rule. Julio Maria Sanguinetti won the presidency that year, and took on the tasks of reforming the economy and putting the country on a path toward reconciliation. Subsequent leaders have struggled with Uruguay’s economic troubles. Most notably, President Batlle’s wrestled with the country’s largest economic crisis in recent history. His administration has largely been able to address the problem by increasing trade, attracting foreign investment, and resolving reconciliation issues from the days of Uruguay’s military regime. Additionally, recent controversies with the United States have included the US Treasury’s freezing of FARC assets in Uruguay, and the signing of a controversial trade pact between the US and Uruguay, over the objections of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Uruguay is situated on the eastern coast of South America, between Brazil and Argentina. There are no navigable rivers within its boundaries, although the Río de la Plata forms its border with Argentina. The climate is dependably pleasant and temperate, ideal for agriculture.

 
Population: 3.36 million (July 2010)
 
Religions: Catholic 50.4%, Protestant 14.3%, Jewish 1.2%, Baha’i 0.2%, Spiritist 0.1%, non-religious 33.7%.
 
Ethnic Groups: White 88%, Mestizo 8%, Black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent).
 
Languages: Spanish (official) 88.2%.
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History

Before the arrival of Guaraní Indians of Paraguay, the Charrúa Indians were the original inhabitants of Uruguay.

 
In 1516, a Spanish fleet led by Juan Díaz de Solís mistakenly arrived at Río de la Plata, a river in present-day Uruguay. Solís’ fleet was immediately attacked by the Charrúa Indians. This pattern continued throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Additionally, a lack of gold and silver allowed the Spanish to postpone settlements.
 
In 1603, the Spanish introduced cattle and horses into the well-irrigated territory, which quickly became a standard of evaluating wealth. The Charrúas learned horsemanship and continued to resist the Spanish until large sums of Argentines and Brazilians migrated to pursue the livestock.
 
As Portugal colonized nearby Brazil and sought to expand its borders, Spanish colonization in Uruguay increased to limit this expansion. In the 18th century, the Spanish constructed Fuerte de San José in present-day Montevideo as a military stronghold and San Felipe de Montevideo as a port for the Spanish fleet. In time, its natural harbor developed into a commercial center capable of competing with Buenos Aires.
 
During the 19th century, Uruguay was shaped by competing interests in the area, particularly the Spanish, Portuguese, and British forces. In 1806, the British invaded Río de la Plata and captured Montevideo by 1807, but were defeated in Buenos Aires. In 1811, José Gervasio Artigas, leader of the Spanish-made rural patrol force Blandengues Corps, revolted against Javier Elío, military commander for Spain. Artigas defeated Spain and become Uruguay’s national hero. He formed Banda Oriental’s (a territory in present-day Uruguay) first autonomous government in 1815. However, by January 1817, Portuguese troops took Montevideo, which forced Artigas to flee to Paraguay. Then in 1821, the Provincia Oriental del Río de la Plata (a territory in present-day Uruguay) was annexed to Brazil by Portugal.
 
Nonetheless, it quickly declared independence from Brazil on August 25, 1825, after a series of revolts, and became part of a regional federation with Argentina.
 
This regional federation was able to defeat Brazil after a three-year war, and the 1828 Treaty of Montevideo, which was fostered by the United Kingdom, allowed Uruguay to become independent while protecting British trading interests in the region.
 
The new nation adopted its first constitution on July 18, 1830, and began to see not just political change, but a rapid influx of immigrants from neighboring states and Europe. The constitution was also ratified by Argentina and Brazil. It also created the República Oriental del Uruguay (Oriental Republic of Uruguay).
 
Thirteen years after the adoption of the Constitution, the Guerra Grande (The Great War) erupted in Uruguay. There two opposing parties, the conservative Blancos (led by Fructuoso Rivera) and the liberal Colorados (led by Muel Oribe), fought between business interests and agricultural interests respectively. The war was tied to Argentina and involved French and British forces as well.
 
In February 1843, Oribe laid siege to Montevideo with the help of Argentinian forces led by the dictator Manuel de Rosas. In 1845, the British and French forces allied against Rosas for economic purposes. In 1849, Rosas made a peace deal with Britain and the following year with France. The agreements required each side to remove forces from Uruguay.
 
Despite the withdrawal of forces, Oribe and Rosas both retained control of Montevideo. However with Brazilian intervention on behalf of the Colorados in 1851 and the fall of Rosa’s dictatorship in 1852, Montevideo was freed. Brazil’s intervention was rewarded with five treaties of alliance which gave Brazil great control in Uruguay’s internal affairs and economics.
 
From 1903-1907 and 1911-1915, President José Batlle y Ordóñez began the process of modernizing Uruguay, establishing political, social and economic reforms, such as a welfare program, and increasing government participation in the economy.
 
By 1966, economic, political, and social difficulties led to new constitutional amendments. A new constitution was adopted in 1967, but by 1973 political turmoil led an armed takeover of the government and the full-fledged establishment of a civilian-military regime. All the while, repression and widespread human rights abuses became common under such military rule.
 
During a November 1980 plebiscite, the military rejected a proposed new constitution. Soon afterwards, the military announced plans to return to civilian rule, and national elections were held in 1984. Colorado Party leader, Julio María Sanguinetti, won the presidency, and served from 1985 to 1990. Throughout this administration, both economic and democratic reforms moved the country towards greater stability. Sanguinetti also sought national reconciliation by offering general amnesty for military leaders, who had been accused of committing human rights violations under the military regime.
 
The 1989 presidential election resulted in the National Party’s Luis Alberto Lacalle winning the presidency. Serving from 1990 to 1995, Lacalle implemented major economic reforms and pursued further trade liberalizing policies. One such example of this liberalization of trade was witnessed when Uruguay became a founding member of MERCOSUR in 1991 (the Southern Cone Common Market, which includes Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay).
 
In the 1994 elections, former President Sanguinetti returned to power, serving as president from 1995 until March 2000. No one party held a majority in the General Assembly, so the National Party joined with the Colorado Party to form a coalition government. This coalition was able to improve the electoral system, social security, education, and public safety within Uruguay. The nation’s economy continued to grow until the late 1990s, when a recession began and perpetuated until 2003.
 
The 1999 national elections were held under a new electoral system, which was established by constitutional amendment. Not a single candidate emerged with a clear victory. Therefore, a runoff was held in November, which resulted in the Colorado Party candidate, Jorge Batlle Ibáñez, officially becoming the President. Yet, Batlle’s legislative coalition of the Colorado and National parties ended in November 2002, when the Blancos withdrew their ministers from the cabinet.
 
Throughout most of his administration, President Batlle had to handle Uruguay’s largest economic crisis in recent history, which caused greater poverty and led to increased emigration. Nevertheless, his administration was able to increase trade and attract foreign investment.
 
Over the past few years, the National and Colorado Parties have declined in membership and voting. Frente Amplio, a coalition of various leftist parties, has continued to rise. In the October 2004 elections, Tabaré Vázquez of the Socialist Broad Front won with 50.5% of the vote, marking the first victory for Uruguay’s left-wing. His party also achieved a parliamentary majority.
 
During its first three years in power, the Vázquez administration kept its word concerning its campaign promise to re-examine the human rights abuses committed during the period of military dictatorship. This resulted in the uncovering of important forensic evidence. Additionally, bilateral relations between Uruguay and Argentina have been strained by a dispute over the construction of a large wood pulp mill on a shared river.
 
According to Raul Garces’ October 22, 2009 article in Breaking News 24/7, “Vazquez has made human rights prosecutions a priority, and emboldened courts have detained a number of suspects in recent years for the purpose of clarifying Uruguay’s past. Among the detainees are Gregorio Álvarez, Uruguay’s last dictator, and Juan Maria Bordaberry, the first chief of the military-dominated government.
 
Álvarez, was sentenced on October 19, 2009 to 25 years in prison for 37 homicides during the nation's 1973-1985 military regime, when dissidents disappeared in a region-wide crackdown on leftists called "Operation Condor."
 
Additionally, Navy Capt. Juan Larcebeau was sentenced to 20 years in prison for 29 homicides related to clandestine prisoner transfers in 1978,” while in February 2010, Former President Juan Maria Bordaberry was given a 30-year sentence for murder and violation of the constitution.”
 
In March 2010, Jose Mujica was elected president and stated that he wanted to focus on energy, environment, education, and security during his term.
 
A Country Study: Uruguay (Library of Congress)
History of Uruguay (Wikipedia)
 
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Uruguay's Newspapers

Uruguay’s Newspapers

Bpp-color (Montevideo)
Brecha (by Subscription)
Diario de Punta Del Este (Maldonado, Punta del Este) [In Spanish]
Diario El Corresponsal (Canelones) [In Spanish]
Diario La Noticia (Artigas) [In Spanish]
Diario La República (Registration required)
Diario Norte (Rivera)
Diario Tiempo (Canelones) [In Spanish]
Durazno Digital (Durazno) [In Spanish] 
El Avisador (Tacuarembó)
El Guichonense (Guichón, Paysandú) [In Spanish]
El Pais (Montevideo)
La Colonia (Colonia) [In Spanish]
MercoPress [In English]
Observa [In Spanish]
Primera Hora (San José, Departamento de San José) [In Spanish] 
Realidad (Maldonado) [In Spanish]
San José Noticias (San José) [In Spanish]
Tres Puntos (Paysandú) [In Spanish]
Uruguay News [In English]
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History of U.S. Relations with Uruguay

The United States established diplomatic relations with Uruguay in 1867, when Alexander Asboth was accredited as ambassador to both Argentina and Uruguay.

 
In March 1870, John L. Stevens was the first ambassador accredited to Paraguay and Uruguay, with residence in Montevideo. He served until 1873.
 
During the World War I, Uruguay allied with the US in October 1917 and recognized the “justice and nobility” of the United States. During the World War II, President Alfredo Baldomir permitted US naval and air bases to be built in Uruguay. When Uruguay broke relations with the Axis, the US gave additional loans and continued training and supplying Uruguayan armed forces.
 
In 1947, the two nations signed the Rio Treaty, which created a mutual defense system.
 
Around 10% of Uruguay’s population emigrated between 1963 and 1985, driven by economic uncertainty in the 1960s and 1970s and by the oppressive military regime of the 1980s. Most, however, fled to neighboring Argentina, which shared a language and similar culture.
 
The largest Uruguayan communities in the US are in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Washington DC.
 
The United States, which had expressed deep concern about the human rights situation beginning with the administration of Jimmy Carter, strongly supported Uruguay’s transition to democracy. In March 1985, Secretary of State George P. Shultz attended Julio Maria Sanguinetti’s presidential inauguration. As a member of the Contadora Support Group, Uruguay participated in meetings in which it fought against the US support for Nicaragua’s anti-Sandinisita resistance between 1985 and 1986. The Sanguinetti government opposed American aid to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, arguing that it obstructed peace in Central America. It also opposed the presence of US troops in Honduras.
 
Despite his government’s criticism of American actions in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Libya, Sanguinetti received a warm welcome at the White House during an official five-day state visit to the US in June 1986. This was the first official state visit by a Uruguayan president in more than thirty years. During the visit, Sanguinetti criticized American protectionist policies, such as the decision to subsidize grain exports to the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, he ended the visit satisfied that the administration of President Ronald Reagan had increased its flexibility toward its policy on Uruguayan exports. On August 5, 1988, Shultz traveled to Uruguay for talks with Sanguinetti and several opposition leaders about trade issues.
 
Although Uruguay’s relations with Panama at the time of the US military intervention there in December 1989 were at their lowest possible level, Sanguinetti was again critical of the United States. He characterized the American military operation as a “step backward.”
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Current U.S. Relations with Uruguay

Noted Uruguayan-Americans

Tab Ramos played for the national soccer team from 1988-2000. His family emigrated from Uruguay to the United States when he was 11 years old.
Enrique Graf is a classical pianist from Uruguay, who has performed at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, and many other musical halls within the United States. He is now a United States citizen.
 
From 1999 through early 2003, the Visa Waiver Program allowed Uruguayan citizens to enter the US without visas. This exemption was withdrawn on April 16, 2003, due to an influx of Uruguayans and alleged security concerns.
 
In April 2002, Uruguay broke ties with Cuba after Castro stated that Uruguay was a US “lackey.”
 
In 2002, Uruguay and the US created a Joint Commission on Trade and Investment (JCTI) to exchange ideas on a variety of economic topics. In August of the same year, the Bush administration granted up to $1.5 billion in short-term loans to bolster Uruguayan banks.
 
In March 2003, the JCTI identified six areas of concentration until the eventual signing of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA): customs issues, intellectual property protection, investment, labor, environment, and trade in goods.
 
In late 2004, the two nations signed an Open Skies Agreement, which was ratified two years later. In November 2005, they signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which became effective on November 1, 2006. A Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was signed in January 2007. In April 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Foreign Minister Fernandez to sign a science and technology agreement.
 
Uruguay and the United States have also cooperated on law enforcement matters such as fighting drug trafficking, terrorism and human rights abuses.
 
On March 1, 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended President Mujica’s inauguration.
 
In December 2010, Uruguay announced that it would recognize Palestine as an independent state, a move against US policy.
 
In the 2000 US census, 18,804 people identified themselves as being of Uruguayan ancestry.
 
In 2006, 62,834 Americans visited Uruguay. More Americans have traveled to Uruguay every year since 2002, when 25,809 Americans went to Uruguay.
 
In 2006, 30,329 Uruguayans visited the US. The total number of Uruguayans tourists to the US declined drastically from 2002 (47,316) to 2004 (28,197), but has leveled off since then.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

US imports from Uruguay totaled $239.2 million in 2009, while US exports to Uruguay totaled $745.1 million in the same year.

 
Leading US imports from Uruguay in 2009 were led by meat products and poultry at $104.4 million, unmanufactured leather and furs at $11.6 million, and plywood and veneers at $10.5 million,
 
Leading US exports to Uruguay in 2009 were led by computer accessories at $54.1 million, toiletries and cosmetics at $43.1 million, computers at $37.9 million, medical equipment at $36.6 million, and plastic materials at $35.7 million.
 
US aid to Uruguay is aimed at strengthening Uruguay’s peacekeeping forces and disaster response abilities, increasing aid to law enforcement and fighting terrorism and trafficking of drugs and people.
 
About $1.1 million dollars will be directed towards stabilization operations and security sector reform for FY2011. The US will help integrate Uruguay internationally through training and education programs, which target at maritime issues, and equipping necessary materials, which focus on improving Uruguay’s peacekeeping operations.
 
Through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, mid-to-senior grade officers and government officials are militarily educated. The US government hopes that this will lead to a spillover effect so that Uruguay will become a regional leader in peacekeeping operations.
 
Through the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program, the US provides financial aid for military search-and rescue equipment (particularly a tropospheric scatter microwave radio terminal system for communication) and to modernize and maintain other US-provided equipment.
 
 
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Controversies

Uruguay to Recognize Palestine in 2011

Foreign Minister Luis Almagro announced that Uruguay would recognize Palestine in March 2011. Uruguay made this statement in hopes that peace talks would restart between Israel and Palestine. Foreign Minister Luis Almagro did not mention the status of Jerusalem or which borders may be recognized. Almagro hopes to maintain relations with Israel despite future recognition of Palestine. Uruguay is one of the two last South American countries to recognize Palestine. Although the US has not made an official statement on Uruguay’s move, the US has stated that Brazil’s decision of recognition is “severely misguided” and “regrettable.”
 
 
FARC Members in Uruguay have Assets Frozen by US Treasury
In September 2008, the US Treasury moved to freeze the assets of eight members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which it has labeled as a terrorist group. Because of this designation, US citizens are prohibited from doing business with FARC. The eight members represented FARC in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico and Canada. One was arrested for planning the assassinations of South American officials in Uruguay and other countries
 
Uruguay and the US Sign Controversial Trade Pact
In January 2007, the US signed a controversial trade pact with Uruguay, despite opposition from the rest of the members of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc. The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) drew sharp criticism because it went around the regional bloc in favor of trade parameters affecting just Uruguay. The move was supposed to promote healthy trade between the two nations, but critics said such agreements were lopsided and favored US companies trying to get their goods into South American markets.
URUGUAY-US: A Trade Agreement, After All (by Raúl Pierri, Inter Press Service)
 
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Human Rights

The State Department reported that as of 2009, “The government generally respected the rights of its citizens. Prison conditions continued to be poor. Instances of violence against women and discrimination against some societal group continued to challenge government policies of nondiscrimination. Some trafficking in persons occurred.”

 
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Prison conditions remain poor due to a lack of maintaining facilities. Overcrowding is prevalent with a population density of 137 percent of the capacity.
 
Prisoners depend on visitors for food, while medical and dental care remain insufficient. In 2008, there were 85 cases of tuberculosis according to the Honorary Anti-Tuberculosis Commission.
 
Ministry officials reported that there were no complaints of police abuse in prisons; however, “the prison ombudsman received unofficial reports of maltreatment.”
 
Prisoner-on-prisoner violence is a daily problem due to close quarters for violent criminals. There were 22 deaths in prisons in 2009.
 
The Uruguayan Institute for Adolescents and Children (INAU) stated that in November 2009, 250 juveniles were incarcerated for committing serious crimes. Facilities for juvenile detention provide educational and vocational opportunities, but conditions of facilities resemble their adult counterparts.
 
The government hopes to decrease chronic overcrowding by doubling funding for prison improvements. A series of projects to create 1,500 to 1,600 additional places in the prisons has said to be completed by late 2010.
 
Women
Uruguayan law criminalizes rape (including spousal rape) and sentences violators to between two to 12 years’ imprisonment. In 2009, the Ministry of Interior reported 302 cases of rape and 13,712 cases of domestic violence (a 10 percent increase from 2008).
 
Montevideo’s municipal government funds a free nationwide hotline for victims of domestic violence while the Ministry of Social Development in cooperation with INAU and NGOs operate shelters for abused women and their families.
 
The law respects gender equality; however, women continue to face discrimination stemming from cultural traditions. Thus, gender discrimination cases have not been put to trial. The government created several agencies to support women in 2009 including the National Institute for Women.
 
Women constitute nearly half the workforce but receive lower paying jobs or lower salaries in comparison to their male counterparts.
 
Trafficking in Persons
The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, Uruguay remains a source, transit point, and, occasionally, a destination for trafficking. Most victims were women, girls, and some boys within the country for sexual exploitation, and sometimes for forced labor. Commercial sexual exploitation often occurs along Uruguay’s borders with Argentina and Brazil.
 
Two courts were established in 2009 for the specific purpose of enforcing rights law related to trafficking, child prostitution, and child pornography.
 
The Institute of Children and Adolescents in Uruguay (INAU) is actively involved in the situation and has begun a large-scale information campaign. INAU also participates in the informal interagency committee along with members of ministries and civil society groups which aims to improve the government’s response in such situations.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Alexander Asboth
Appointment: Apr 5, 1867
Presentation of Credentials: [Oct 2, 1867]
Termination of Mission: Died at Buenos Aires, Jan 21, 1868
Note: Also accredited to Argentina; resident at Buenos Aires. Officially recognized on Oct 2, 1867.

 
H.G. Worthington
Appointment: Jul 25, 1868
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 24, 1868
Termination of Mission: Notified Government of Uruguay by note from Buenos Aires Jul 10, 1869, that his successor had been appointed
Note: Also accredited to Argentina; resident at Buenos Aires.
 
Robert C. Kirk
Appointment: [May 11, 1869]
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1869
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 6, 1870
Note: Commission (issued during a recess of the Senate) was not of record, but enclosed with an instruction of this date. Although later confirmed by the Senate, Kirk was apparently not recommissioned after confirmation. Also accredited to Argentina; resident at Buenos Aires.
 
John L. Stevens
Appointment: Mar 25, 1870
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 6, 1870
Termination of Mission: Left post May 19, 1873
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
John C. Caldwell
Appointment: Jan 8, 1874
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 7, 1874
Termination of Mission: Recommissioned as Chargé d’Affaires
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
John C. Caldwell
Appointment: Aug 15, 1876
Presentation of Credentials: [Oct 6, 1876]
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 10, 1882
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo. Acknowledged receipt of his commission on Oct 6, 1876; no record found of presentation of credentials.
 
Lewis Wallace
Note: Not commissioned; nomination to be Chargé d’Affaires to Paraguay and Uruguay withdrawn before the Senate acted upon it.
Jeremiah M. Rusk
Appointment: May 19, 1881
Note: Declined appointment as Chargé d’Affaires to Paraguay and Uruguay.
 
William Williams
Appointment: Apr 12, 1882
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 10, 1882
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 21, 1885
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
John E. Bacon
Appointment: Apr 28, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 21, 1885
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Minister Resident
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 13, 1886.
John E. Bacon
Appointment: Aug 10, 1886
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 8, 1888
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 26-28, 1888
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
George Maney
Appointment: Jun 20, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 8, 1889
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate. Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
George Maney
Appointment: Sep 23, 1890
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1890
Termination of Mission: Left post about Jun 30, 1894
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Granville Stuart
Appointment: Mar 1, 1894
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 2, 1894
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jan 4, 1898
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
William R. Finch
Appointment: Oct 2, 1897
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 4, 1898
Termination of Mission: Transmitted recall by note, May 29, 1905
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 18, 1897. Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Edward C. O’Brien
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 2, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 11, 1909
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Edwin V. Morgan
Appointment: Dec 21, 1909
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 31, 1910
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 8, 1911
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
Nicolay A. Grevstad
Appointment: Jun 30, 1911
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 9, 1911
Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 19, 1914
Note: Also accredited to Paraguay; resident at Montevideo.
 
John L. de Saulles
Appointment: Mar 27, 1914
Note: Took oath of office, but did not proceed to post.
 
Robert Emmett Jeffery
Appointment: Feb 3, 1915
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 4, 1915
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 9, 1921
 
Hoffman Philip
Appointment: Mar 23, 1922
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 19, 1922
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 10, 1925
 
Ulysses Grant-Smith
Appointment: Mar 18, 1925
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 13, 1925
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 11, 1929
 
Leland Harrison 
Appointment: Oct 16, 1929
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 11, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 9, 1930
 
J. Butler Wright
Appointment: Sep 29, 1930
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 9, 1931
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 10, 1934
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 16, 1930.
 
George S. Messersmith
Appointment: Mar 9, 1934
Note: Did not serve under this appointment.
 
Julius G. Lay
Appointment: Dec 14, 1934
Note: Did not serve under this appointment.
Commissioned during a recess of the Senate.
Julius G. Lay
Appointment: Jan 22, 1935
Presentation of Credentials: May 20, 1935
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 31, 1937
 
William Dawson
Appointment: Aug 31, 1937
Note: Did not serve under this appointment.
William Dawson
Appointment: Dec 1, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 10, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 6, 1939
 
Edwin C. Wilson
Appointment: Jun 22, 1939
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 27, 1939
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 5, 1941
 
William Dawson
Appointment: Feb 11, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 12, 1941
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 6, 1946
 
Joseph F. McGurk
Appointment: Jul 12, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1946
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Apr 15, 1947
 
Williamson S. Howell, Jr.
Appointment: Apr 10, 1947
Note: Took oath of office, but died in the United States before proceeding to post.
 
Ellis O. Briggs
Appointment: Jul 3, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 21, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 6, 1949
 
Christian M. Ravndal
Appointment: Jun 24, 1949
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 9, 1949
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 8, 1951
 
Edward L. Rodden
Appointment: Sep 19, 1951
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 27, 1951
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 12, 1953
 
Dempster McIntosh
Appointment: Sep 26, 1953
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 12, 1953
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 3, 1956
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 26, 1954.
 
Jefferson Patterson
Appointment: Mar 28, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: May 2, 1956
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 18, 1958
 
Robert F. Woodward
Appointment: Mar 26, 1958
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 21, 1958
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 29, 1961
 
Edward J. Sparks
Appointment: Apr 27, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 24, 1961
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, May 15, 1962
 
Wymberley De R. Coerr 
Appointment: Jun 7, 1962
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 27, 1962
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 22, 1965
 
Henry A. Hoyt
Appointment: May 6, 1965
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 14, 1965
Termination of Mission: Died at post Dec 16, 1967
 
Robert M. Sayre
Appointment: Jul 24, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 27, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 19, 1969
 
Charles W. Adair, Jr.
Appointment: Sep 15, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 13, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 28, 1972
 
Ernest V. Siracusa
Appointment: Jul 16, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 25, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 22, 1977
 
Lawrence Pezzulo
Appointment: Jul 14, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 10, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post May 29, 1979
 
Lyle Franklin Lane
Appointment: Sep 20, 1979
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 17, 1979
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 22, 1980
 
Robert S. Gershenson
Note: Nomination of Jul 10, 1980, not acted upon by the Senate.
Note: N. Shaw Smith served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Jul 1980-Nov 1981.
 
Thomas Aranda, Jr.
Appointment: Oct 1, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 5, 1981
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 14, 1985
 
Malcolm Richard Wilkey
Appointment: Oct 28, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 28, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post May 10, 1990
 
Richard C. Brown
Appointment: Oct 22, 1990
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 19, 1990
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 19, 1993
 
Thomas J. Dodd
Appointment: Aug 2, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 23, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 1, 1997
 
Christopher C. Ashby
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Nov. 26, 1997
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 2001
 
Martin J. Silverstein
Appointment: Aug 7, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 17, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post, July 6, 2005
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Uruguay's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Pita, Carlos

The South American nation of Uruguay, officially called the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, sent a new ambassador to Washington in September 2012, a physician who served 20 years as a national legislator. Succeeding Carlos Gianelli, who served from 2005 to 2012, Carlos Pita Alvarez presented his diplomatic credentials to President Obama on September 19, 2012.

 

Born in Montevideo in 1951, the son of Américo Pita Parodi, Carlos Pita Alvariza earned his medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, where he was a leader of the Student Association of Medicine and the Federation of University Students of Uruguay. He later earned a Certificate of International Relations at the University Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile.

 

He began his political activism in 1968, a year of mass popular protests worldwide, supporting Uruguay’s National Party, although normal politics was largely suspended when President Jorge Pacheco declared a state of emergency in 1968, followed by an additional suspension of civil liberties in 1972 and a military coup d’état in 1973.

 

During the years of the military dictatorship from 1973 to 1984, when many Uruguayans were tortured or “disappeared,” Pita joined in forming the opposition group Popular Nationalist Current. During the 1984 restoration of democracy, Pita was elected to Uruguay’s national legislature, called the Chamber of Deputies, for Montevideo on the minor party list “Movement for the Fatherland,” part of the right of center coalition known as the National Party.

 

When the National Party pushed through a 1986 amnesty law protecting officials who participated in torture and murder under the military regime, however, Pita formed the People’s Current and joined the Frente Amplio (Broad Front), Uruguay’s left of center political coalition. He was reelected three times, in 1989, 1994 and 1999, always as part of the Broad Front.

 

In the Chamber, Pita served as head of several special committees, including ones on labor legislation, on the assassinations of deputies Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz and Zelmar Michelini, and on amnesty for political prisoners. In 2002, he was also president of the Committee on International Affairs, of which he’d been a member for fourteen years.

 

After leaving the Chamber of Deputies in 2004, Pita was named ambassador to Chile, where he served from 2005 to 2010. In January 2011, Pita began service as ambassador to Spain.

 

He is married to Mariella Mora, and they have four daughters.

-Matt Bewig

 

Official Biography

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Uruguay's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay

Reynoso, Julissa
ambassador-image

On October 17, 2011, President Barack Obama chose a political appointee who strongly supported his 2008 rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to serve as the ambassador to the South American nation of Uruguay. In 2008, calling herself a “ferocious Hillary [Clinton] supporter,” Manhattan attorney Julissa Reynoso donated the maximum to Clinton’s presidential campaign and actively worked on it before joining the campaign of Barack Obama. She was rewarded soon after the election, as she was tapped to become Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean in the State Department Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs as of November 16, 2009. The Senate confirmed her as ambassador to Uruguay on March 29, 2012.

 
Born in January 1975 in Salcedo, Dominican Republic, Reynoso emigrated with her family to the United States in 1982, living in the South Bronx in New York City and attending Catholic schools, where she learned English and picked up a nickname: Shortie. Encouraged by a high school guidance counselor to apply to top schools, Reynoso earned a B.A. in Government from Harvard in 1997, an M. Phil. in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge in the U.K. in 1998, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2001.
 
After law school, she clerked for Federal Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from 2001 to 2003, was a fellow at Columbia Law School in 2005, and practiced international arbitration and antitrust law at the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett from 2006 to 2009. She served as Deputy Director of the Office of Accountability at the New York City Department of Education in 2006, and was a part-time legal fellow at the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law from August 2008 through July 2009, when she received her first State Department appointment.
 
Reynoso has published widely in both Spanish and English on a range of issues including regulatory reform, community organizing, housing reform, immigration policy, and Latin American politics for both popular press and academic journals. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. A lifelong Democrat, Reynoso contributed $500 to Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, $460 to Hillary Clinton’s 2006 New York Senate campaign, $6,900 to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, $1,000 to Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and made a few small donations to local candidates and PACs.
 
Julissa. Being Latina at Harvard and Beyond (by Julissa Reynoso, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences)
Julissa Reynoso on The Perez Notes (audio file)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay

Nelson, David
ambassador-image

David D. Nelson was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to the Uruguay on December 24, 2009, and was sworn in five days later. As ambassador, he returned to the site of his first Foreign Service posting.

 
Born in Minnesota, Nelson grew up on White Bear Lake, north of St. Paul. He attended Macalester College in St. Paul before transferring to the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree. He added a Masters degree in Economics at the University of Maryland.
 
Joining the Foreign Service in 1979, his first overseas posting, in 1982, was as a junior political officer in Montevideo, Uruguay, with the portfolio of covering human rights developments at a time when Uruguay was ruled by a military dictatorship. He remained in Uruguay until 1984. He later held posts in Berlin, Madrid, Bonn, Quito, and Mérida.
 
Nelson was the National Security Council’s Senior Coordinator for the Sea Island G-8 Summit. He also served as Director of the Office of Monetary Affairs, Director of the Iraq Reconstruction Task Force, Director of the Office of Terrorism Finance and Economic Sanctions, Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs.
 
In June 2008, Nelson joined Economic, Energy and Business Affairs (EEB) as its Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, in charge of International Finance and Development. He advanced to the position of EEB’s Acting Assistant Secretary on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated, overseeing a staff of about 200 that was responsible for providing international economic advice to Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton.
 
He and his wife, Gloria, who met when both were posted to Montevideo in 1982, have one son. Nelson speaks Spanish and German.
 
 
 
 

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