The president

The treasured pearl
of Latin America
Cornelius Granig
Austro-Uruguayan Society
May, 16th, 2011
1. Overview
2. History
3. Constitution
4. Political System
5. Challenges
A brief overview about Latin America
Definition: The region on the American continent in which Romance
languages are spoken (Spanish, Portugese)
20 sovereign countries with 600 Mio. inhabitants
North America:
Central America:
South America:
Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras,
Panama, Nicaragua
Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic
Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay,
Uruguay, Argentina, Chile; Brazil
Not part of Latin America are
Netherlands Antilles, Haiti, Belize, Surinam, Guayana, French Guayana,
other English or French speaking Carribean states
1. Sao Paulo (19.1 Mio. Inhabitants) – world rank 6
2. Mexico City (18.4)
3. Buenos Aires (12.3)
4. Rio de Janeiro (11.1)
5. Lima (7.7)
6. Bogota (7.4)
7. Santiao de Chile (5.6)
8. Belo Horizonte (4.6)
9. Guadelajara (4)
10. Caracas (2.6)
Data from 2008
Is the main language in 19 of the countries
(86 Mio. Mexico, 34 Mio. Colombia, 33 Mio. Argentina, 22 Venezuela, 20
Peru, 10 Cuba, 10 Ecuador, 3 Mio. Uruguay)
comparison: spoken in Spain by 28 Mio. people
spoken in Brazil by 163 Mio. people
comparison: spoken in Portugal by 10 Mio. people
Many indigenous languages
Quechua in Peru, Kichwa in Ecuador, Nahuatl and 62 other in Mexico, 58
in Colombia, Guarani in Paraguay, Mapudungun in Chile, Aymara in
Bolovia, Chile and Rapanui
International Organisations
OAS (Organization of American States)
HQ in Washington
35 members (all states on the American continent except Honduras)
Cubas suspension was revoked in 2009
Andean Pact (Communidad Andino – CAN)
HQ in Lima
4 members (Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia)
associated Argentina, Brayil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile
MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur)
HQ in Montevideo
5 members (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela)
associated Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
free trade partners: Egypt, Israel
What is special about most of the countries
Indigenous languages coexist with Spanish/Portugese
Almost all countries had a military government in the
Almost all countries saw a move to left-winged
governments in the last 10 years
Guerilla movements have dramatically decreased
Overview Uruguay
Where is the Eastern Republic of Uruguay?
In the north of Argentina (30 min. flight from Buenos Aires to Montevideo)
In the south of Brazil, on the Atlantic coast
20 hours from Kiev (due to 2 stops)
Very flat, small country
176.000 square km, capital Montevideo
3.5 Mio. inhabitants
Almost half in the capital
Very well developed country
Peso is the national currency
Best rated in life/human development in Latin America
2nd least corrupt country in Latin America (after Chile)
4 times soccer champion (1924-1928-1930-1950)
History of Uruguay
Colonel del Sacramento founded by
18th century Foundation of Montevideo by the Spanish
Independence after a struggle between
Argentina, Brayil and Spain
Josef Batlle y Ordonez president
1st WW
Uruguay in the war against Germany
2nd WW
Uruguay in the war against Germany – broke
diplomatic relations with them like 21 other
latin american countries (except Argentina)
History of Uruguay
The urban guerilla Tupamaros emerges
Jose Pacheco declares state of emergency
Juan Maria Bordaberry became president
and after 1973-1976 dictator
Aparicia Mendez leads the
civic-military government
Referendum to return to democracy
General Gregorio Conrado Alvarez de facto
president and military dictator
History of Uruguay
Julio Maria Sanguetti president
(second term 1995-2000)
Return to democracy
Jose Batlle Ibanez (junior) as Urugays
last president from the Colorados
Tabare Vazquez – first left winged
president (Frente Amplio)
José Mujica, a former Tupamaro
fighter, becomes president
Operation ”Condor”
A campaign of political repression involving assassination
and intelligence operations implemented in 1975 by the
right-winged dictators of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay,
Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil.
The US was most likely supervising that.
Uruguayans were kidnapped and brought to Brazil and
(and some to Argentina) – where they were tortured, and
some even killed.
300 people disappeared.
Constitution and country setup
Constitution from 1967 (based on 1930 version)
Presidential representative democratic republic
Centralized parliament
Two chambers of the General Assembly
Supreme court is the highest court
Judges elected for 10 years by the General Assembly
Direct Democracy
Changes of the constitution by referendum
The president
Since 2010 José Mujica
Elected by direct popular election
Is head of state and head of the government
5 years in office, without possible immediate re-election
Commander-In-Chief of the army
Has the right to veto against laws
Can declare the state of emergency
Prepares the state budget
President was 10 years in jail
better known as “El Pepe”
was a leader of the Tupamaros National Liberation Movement, a
revolutionary group that, like Robin Hood, robbed from rich
businesses and banks
drives by himself in a Volkswagen Beetle to the office
donates 87% of his salary to poor people
The vice president
Since 2010 Danilo Astori
- elected by the public together with the president
in case of the absence of the president, his office is exercised
Former minister of economy
He is the leader of the Asamblea Urugay party, which is a social
democratic party, and part of the ruling Frente Amplio
Relatively unimportant political
position with no big history
Since 1934 in the constitution
The parliament (Asamblea General)
Chamber of Deputies
99 members
Elected for 5 years
Proportional representation
Chamber of Senators
31 members
30 members elected for a 5 year term
and the vice president
The last election was in 2009.
Political parties
Broad Front (Frente Amplio) – left winged coalition
National Party (Blancos) – right-winged conservative party
Colorado Party (unites a conservative, moderate and social
democratic group of votes)
In the shadow of the Argentina crisis
2002 big economy crisis, after Argentina collapsed (-12% GDP)
Uruguayan beef is a worldwide brand
Uruguayan wine out of Tannat grapes is a best-seller
well educated workforce for IT offshore industry
Tourism is growing
Important trading partners
Exports: Brazil (20%), China 9.45, Argentina 8, Germany 5
Imports: Argentina (20%), Brazil 17, China 10, US 10
Financial system and currency
Peso Uruguayo is the national currency
No dollar fixing since 2002 (at this time the currency lost 90%)
dual system of national and offshore banks
Economic overview – MERCOSUR states
Mill. sq km
Latin America
19.949 sq km
Source: Inter-American Development Bank, 1990
(Mercosur members and associated states Chile and Bolivia)
Social welfare
“Switzerland” of South America
This dramatically changed after 2002 (e. g. poverty of children
increased between 1999 from 11% to 24% in 2002)
Social spending is still among the highest in the region
Economic crisis, and the fight against it
(Uruguay was almost bankrupt in 2002)
Conflicts with Argentina
Sellout of water-reserves of Montevideo (Guarani) and
other state-owned companies
Poor people, who live from waste collection
Punishment for the heads of the military dictatorship
How to enjoy Uruguay
The tango comes from Uruguay (the Argentinians deny it) – Milongas are
dancing events that start at midnight, all over the country.
Is the psychodelic drum music of the descendants of the slaves, that came
in the 18th century. Almost all over the year, people gather in Montevideo
and walk with their drums through the city.
Punta del Este
Is the “Marbella” of Latin America.
Mate tea
Is a “social” drink, that everybody has with
him on the street or on the beach.
Best known things
Dulce de lecche
A very thick caramel based spread.
Uruguayan beef
The best part of Asado.
Ruben Rada
“Quien VA A Cantar”.
NTVG (No te va gustar)
“Sólo De Noche”.
A team sport for horse lovers.
About me
Cornelius Granig
President of the Austro-Uruguayan Society
Political Science (University of Vienna)
e-Government and New Public Management (Danube University Krems)
Banking (Kiev)
Professional Experience
Started as radio and print journalist
Since 15 years manager in international companies
In Ukraine since 2008
Deputy Chairman of the Board of
Raiffeisen Bank Aval, Kiev
Contact details
Thank you!