One third of Uruguay's three-million population live in Montevideo, the capital. Although the country's economy?
One third of Uruguay's three-million population live in Montevideo, the capital. Although the country's economy relies mainly upon sheep farming and cattle breeding, most Uruguayans seem to cherish the ambition of living in the cities. Continuing his South American tour, VISNEWS cameraman Sepp Riff filmed in Montevideo recently.
A feature of Montevideo's water-front is a broad expanse of bathing beach, tall skyscraper blocks of flats, and the former German Ship 'Tacoma', World War Two supply ship to the pocket battleship "Graf von Spee", which scuttled itself in Montevideo harbour during an encounter with the British Royal Navy in 1939. The "Tacoma" was then taken over by Uruguay.
British interest in Uruguay dates back to 1828 when she settled a war of ownership between Argentina and Brazil. Montevideo railway station was built by a British company in 1868. It was sold to Uruguay in 1948.
Among the many statues that grace the tree-lined boulevards are those of Jose Gervasio Artigas, who led the war of independence from 1810; a covered wagon drawn by oxen in memory of the country's early pioneers; and a monument to four Uruguayan Indians who were taken to France by early explorers, and died there.
Uruguay - smallest Republic in South America (72,172 square miles) - is governed by a coalition of the Rural Federation led by Benito Nardone, and the rightist National (Blanco) Party led by 59-year old Eduardo Victor Haedo. In November 1958, this coalition deposed the Colorado Party that had ruled Uruguay for 94 years.
Together, the two men serve on a nine-man Council of Government, whose rotating chairman is Uruguay's equivalent to President--Haedo takes over from Nardone sometime this month. Faced with the threat of spiralling inflation, the Council has successfully pushed through a tough austerity programme which has stabilized the Uruguayan peso, slowed down the cost of living, brought home more than GBP20 million in private capital invested abroad, and enabled them to turn down a U.S. loan offer of fifteen million dollars.
Thanks to advanced social laws, the Uruguayan knows he cannot lose his job; can count on an early pension; his children avail themselves of compulsory free schooling; and his wife benefit herself of efficient maternity and child welfare clinics. With such a happy state of mind, who can blame him for taking a quiet nap beneath the trees and let the politicians plan his future.