Political and economic uncertainly continue to plague the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. Queues for passports?
Political and economic uncertainly continue to plague the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. Queues for passports outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have lengthened daily as more and more Uruguayans have sought to leave the country.
The present crisis began in June when President Juan Maria Bordaberry dissolved the Uruguayan parliament, which he hoped to replace with a Council of State. The President claimed that this move was necessary in order to prevent the parliament from further violating the country's constitution.
The suspension of parliament led to mass protest strikes which have in turn led to economic uncertainty and the present emigration. Uruguay's longer-term economic problems have stemmed from three causes. Firstly the world fall in the price of wool, secondly an annual rate of inflation of between 30 and 40 per cent and thirdly the widespread practice of corruption by top business and government leaders.
The political instability has been heightened by the refusal of men of national standing to serve on the President's Council of State. Only last week the Uruguayan Vice-President Jorge Sapelli became the latest politician to refuse. If the Council fails to establish itself then the military, who have until now played a secondary role on the political stage, might decide that the time has come for them to intervene more directly.
SYNOPSIS: Montevideo -- capital of Uruguay. For the past month the country has been in a state of political and economic uncertainty.
At the end of June President Juan Maria Bordaberry dissolved the Uruguayan parliament in order to replace it with a Council of State. Now the present instability is driving many Uruguayans abroad. Queues for passports outside the Ministry for Foreign Affairs lengthen daily.
The Uruguayan problems were initially economic. As world wool prices fell the country's trade deficit grew larger and this, combined with an annual rate of inflation of 30-40 per cent, represented a very real decline in the nation's standard of living.
Additionally there has been evidence of corruption practised on a very large scale by too businessman and government leaders.
One result of the mass migrations has been that buildings, such as the new Palace of Justice, stand unfinished -- there are just not enough men left to finish the work.
Factories also stand closed. The combination of political strikes against President Bordaberry, economic uncertainty and emigration have brought Montevideo to a total stop.
In contrast the airport at Carrasco is a hive of activity. Many Uruguayans have been heading for Brazil with its relatively stable military government.
The future political stability of Uruguay hangs in the balance. Much will depend on whether President Bordaberry can persuade sufficient figures of national standing to serve on the Council of State. If he fails then the army might well intervene. In that situation the trickle of people leaving Uruguay will turn into a torrent--unless the Government clamps down.