Return to homeUruguay is about the size of Washington state.
Spanish colonists dealt harshly with the native Charrua and Uruguay
was left as the only South American country with no indigenous
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F6)
Travel Docs: http://www.traveldocs.com/uy/index.htm
USLC: http://www.loc.gov/collections/country-studies/?q=uruguay4Mil BC In 2008
Paleontologists reported the skull of a giant rodent of this time
found in a broken boulder on Kiyu Beach on the coast of Uruguay's
River Plate region. It was estimated to have weighed an average of
1,008 kilos (1.008 tons, 2,217 pounds) and was dubbed
Josephoartigasia monesi, in honor of Alvaro Mones, a Uruguayan
paleontologist who specialized in South American rodents.
1680 Portuguese founded Colonia
del Sacramento (Uruguay) for smuggling contraband across the Rio de
la Plata to Spanish-controlled Argentina.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F7)
1726 Montevideo, the capital
city of Uruguay, was founded.
(Hem., 2/96, p.23)
1750 The first African slaves
arrived in Montevideo. They brought along what was later recognized
as Candombe music.
(SFC, 8/17/00, p.A18)
1775 Mar 19, Portuguese fleet
was repulsed in attack on Montevideo, Uruguay.
1800-1900 Wealthy Argentineans vacationed in Punta
Del Este during January, the peak of summer.
(WSJ, 2/4/97, p.A1)
1825 Aug 25, Uruguay declared
its independence from Brazil.
1828 May 18, The Battle of Las
Piedras, ended the conflict between Uruguay and Brazil.
1828 Uruguay, created as a
buffer state between Argentina and Brazil, declared its
(Hem., 2/96, p.26)
1830 Jul 18, Uruguay adopted a
1833 Nov 20, Charles Darwin
reached Punta Gorda and saw Rio Uruguay.
1833 Nov 28, Charles Darwin
rode through Las Pietras while returning to Montevideo.
1836 In Uruguay the Colorado
party and the National Party were formed.
(Econ, 10/24/09, p.44)
1841 Italian revolutionary
Garibaldi moved to Montevideo, Uruguay, with Anita Ribeiro.
(ON, 10/06, p.5)
1842 Italian revolutionary
Garibaldi married Anita Ribeiro and joined the Uruguayan navy in a
war against Argentina. They returned to Italy in 1848.
(ON, 10/06, p.5)
1856 In Uruguay the Teatro
Solis was built in Montevideo. A multi-million restoration was
completed in 2004.
(SSFC, 9/19/04, p.D7)
1862 Swiss immigrants settled
in Montevideo and formed an agricultural community known as the
(Hem., 2/96, p.26)
1864 Brazil under Emperor Pedro
II invaded Uruguay. In response Paraguay’s Pres. Francisco Solano
Lopez attacked Brazil’s province of Matto Grosso.
(Econ, 12/22/12, p.46)
1865-1870 South America’s War of the Triple
Alliance saw Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay aligned against Paraguay.
The Triple Alliance believed Paraguay was undermining the region’s
political stability. The war ended in crushing defeat of Paraguay
with as much as 90% of its adult male population killed.
(WSJ, 4/10/00, p.A1)(Econ, 12/22/12, p.45)
1868 In Montevideo, Uruguay,
the Mercado del Puerto, a wrought-iron prefab shipped from England,
was erected to feed stevedores and other laborers.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F6)
1869 Aug 12, In
Piribebuy, Paraguay, 1,600 poorly armed men, many of them mere
children, spent 5 hours resisting the assault of 20,000 allied
Brazilian, Argentine and Uruguayan forces intent on conquest, before
finally being overwhelmed. At the end of the battle, in which the
Hospital de Sangre was burnt down, along with all the wounded
inside, many prisoners were decapitated.
1869 Paraguay’s army
surrendered to the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Pres. Lopez refused to surrender.
(Econ, 12/22/12, p.46)
1881 In Montevideo, Uruguay,
the central fountain of Ciudad Vieja was built by Italians.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F6)
1896-1897 A mansion was built in Montevideo,
Uruguay, that was restored in 1985 by the Banco de la Republica to
house the Museo de la Moneda y del Gaucho.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F6)
1908 In Montevideo, Uruguay,
the neoclassical Palacio Legislativo was built to house the national
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F6)
1911 Mar 1, Jose Ordonez was
elected the president of Uruguay.
1913 The Plaza Fuerte Hotel, at
Bartolome Mitre 1361, in the Old City of Montevideo was built. It
had gone to disrepair but has been recently turned into a work of
(Hem., 2/96, p.26)
1922 In Montevideo, Uruguay,
the 26-story Palacio Salvo hotel, designed by Architect Mario
Palanti, became the tallest building in South America.
(SSFC, 10/30/05, p.F6)
1925 Aug. 25, Uruguay became
(HFA, '96, p.36)
1928 Uruguay became the first
country in the world to give a public subsidy to political parties.
(Econ, 3/4/17, p.27)
1930 The first soccer World Cup
was held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The American team lost in a
semi-final round. Uruguay won the first World Cup. Uruguay hosted
the first competition for the Jules Rimet Trophy, the World Cup's
original name in honor of the FIFA president who had done so much to
make the tournament a reality. Only four teams from Europe made the
trip to Montevideo.
(Hem., 2/96, p.26)(WSJ, 5/15/98, p.W7)(WSJ,
1/11/99, p.R34)(AP, 5/14/18)
1933 Dec 7, President Roosevelt
adopted a "good neighbor" policy toward Latin America and announced
a policy of nonintervention in Latin American affairs at the
December 7th International American Conference at Montevideo,
1934 A law was enacted that
made it illegal to attack a foreign head of state.
(SFC, 7/5/96, p.A12)
1939 Dec 13, In the Battle at
La Plata three British cruisers fought the German "pocket
battleship," Graf Spee, which limped into Montevideo's harbor. It
had prowled the South Atlantic and sank several Allied merchant
ships before warships from Britain and New Zealand tracked it down.
1939 Dec 18, The Graf Spee was
scuttled. The German captain Hans Langsdorf, later killed himself.
On Dec. 13th, the heavily the armed German ship held off the three
vessels for three hours, sustaining some damage, and then fled into
the harbor of Montevideo, Uruguay. Over the next few days the
British tricked the Germans into believing that a large British
fleet had them trapped.
1939 Tabare Vazquez was born in
La Teja, Uruguay. He later became an oncologist and then mayor of
Montevideo in 1989.
(SSFC, 10/31/04, p.A16)
1949 Aug 8, Joaquin
Torres-Garcia (b.1874), Uruguayan artist, died. As a theoretician he
published "more than one hundred and fifty books, essays and
articles written in Catalan, Spanish, French, English.
1950 Jul 16, Brazil, host for
soccer’s World Cup, lost the final game to Uruguay 2-1. Uruguay’s
goals came in 13 minutes late in the second half. Alcides Ghiggia
(1926-2015) scored the winning goal.
1962 Jan 31, At the Eighth
Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the OAS,
held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, ministers suspended Cuba’s
1963-1972 Jose Mujica was a leader of the leftist
Tupamaro guerrillas who fought Uruguay's governments during this
period. In 2009 Mujica was elected president.
1965 Feb 23, Mossad agents in
Uruguay assassinated Herbert Cukurs, a former deputy to the leader
of the Latvian Arajs Commando, an auxiliary police unit formed after
German forces captured Latvia. The unit had played a central role in
the near annihilation of Latvia's Jewish community.
1970 May 7, Carlos Estrada
(b.1909), Uruguayan composer, died.
1970 Aug 10, Dan Mitrione
(b.1920), a former Indiana police officer and FBI agent who had been
advising Latin American governments, including Uruguay's, on
techniques for interrogating suspects, was killed by Tupamaro
guerrillas. He had been kidnapped on July 31. In 2010 diplomatic
cables revealed that President Richard Nixon wanted the Uruguayan
government to threaten to kill leftist prisoners in an attempt to
save the life of Mitrione.
1971 Sep 6, In Montevideo,
Uruguay, a hundred Tupamaro guerrillas escaped from prison.
(WUD, 1994, p.
1971 Nov 28, In Uruguay
the Colorado candidate, Juan María Bordaberry, and the Blanco
candidate were virtually tied. In February 1972 the Electoral Court
proclaimed Bordaberry president, and he began a five-year term on
1971 Eduardo Galeano,
Uruguayan journalist, authored "Open Veins of Latin America: Five
Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent." In 2014 he said that
he would find the book today unreadable.
(AP, 4/19/09)(Econ, 6/14/14, p.32)
1972 Oct 13, A Uruguay to Chile
Fairchild FH-227 turboprop carrying 45 people crashed in the Andes
Mountains. The event was concluded by December 23, 1972 when the
last of 16 survivors were rescued. The group survived by
collectively making a decision to eat flesh from the bodies of their
dead comrades. The book “Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors,"
published two years after their rescue, was written by Piers Paul
Read, who interviewed the survivors and their families.
1972 Dec 23, 16 plane crash
victims (Oct 13 flight from Uruguay to Chile) were rescued from the
Andes after 70 died. The group survived by collectively making a
decision to eat flesh from the bodies of their dead comrades.
1972 In Uruguay Juan Maria
Bordaberry dissolved Congress and banned political parties at the
behest of military leaders.
1973 Feb, In Uruguay Gen. Juan
Jose Zorrilla (1921-2012) refused to go along when other armed
forces staged a rebellion. He ordered his sailors to seal off the
port and offered refuge to Pres. Jose Maria Bordaberry. The
president turned him down and agreed to the rebels' demands. Several
months later, Bordaberry gave up entirely, handing over power in a
self-coup to a dictatorship that ruled until 1985.
1973 Jun 27, In Uruguay armed
forces overthrew the democratic government and established a brutal
dictatorship presided by Pres. Juan Maria Bordaberry.
1973-1985 In Uruguay a dictatorship during this
period resulted in least 30 victims disappearing. In 2009 Uruguay's
ruling party planned to pay $17.4 million in reparations to victims
of state oppression during this period.
(AP, 8/13/09)(AP, 12/2/11)
1974 Jun 29, In Uruguay Lt.
Miguel Dalmao (23) was in charge of the jail where Nibia
Sabalsagaray, a literature professor (24) and communist activist,
was taken from her Montevideo apartment. Hours later, she was dead.
In 2013 Gen. Dalmao was convicted of human rights violations.
1976 Apr 9, Vega Ceballos had
been detained in Buenos Aires, along with his pregnant Argentine
wife Laura Gladis Romero. His body was ashore later in the year off
the coast of Uruguay, but was not identified until 2012. Her body
has never been found. Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo later
believed she was among hundreds of dissidents killed after giving
birth in captivity, and whose babies were raised by military or
1976 May 18, Zelmar Michelini
and Hector Gutierrez, prominent Uruguayan lawmakers, were seized
from their homes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their bullet-riddled
bodies were found days later along with those of suspected rebels
suspected guerrillas William Whitelaw and Rosario Barredo.
1976 Aug 24, In Buenos Aires a
government task force kidnapped Marcelo Gelman (20) and his pregnant
wife Maria Claudia Garcia Irureta (19). Marcelo was shot and killed
2 months later and packed in cement in an oil drum. His wife
disappeared after giving birth in a military hospital in Uruguay.
Juan Gelman, the poet father of Marcelo, later campaigned in search
of his grandchild and authored the book "Not Even God's Feeble
Pardon." In 2008 the granddaughter of Argentine poet Juan Gelman
urged Uruguayan courts to reopen a probe into the 1976 disappearance
of her dissident mother, weeks before her grandfather was scheduled
to receive the Spanish-speaking world's most prestigious literary
(SFC, 12/9/99, p.A16)(AP, 2/27/08)
1976 Jun 12, In Uruguay the
military ousted Pres. Juan Maria Bordaberry (b.1928). Uruguay
remained under the control of a right-wing dictatorship until 1985.
In 2006 Bordaberry was arrested for the murder of opposition leaders
1976 Sep 16, Secretary of state
Henry Kissinger sent a cable canceling a US warning against carrying
out international political assassinations that was to have gone to
Chile, Argentina and Uruguay just days before a former ambassador
was killed by Chilean agents on Washington's Embassy Row. The
document was not made public until 2010.
1977 Aug 1, In Uruguay teacher
Julio Castro disappeared. His remains were identified in 2011 using
1979 Jan 9, The Act of
Montevideo was signed in Uruguay pledging Argentina and Chile to a
peaceful solution and a return to the military situation of early
1977. Cardinal Antonio Samore (1905-1983), Vatican representative,
mediated the Beagle conflict.
1980 Aug 12, The Latin American
Integration Association (ALADI) was created by the 1980 Montevideo
Treaty, replacing the Latin American Free Trade Association (LAFTA /
ALALC). Cuba joined the 11 founding members in 1999 and Panama
joined in 2011.
1980 Uruguay voted for a return
to democracy in a referendum. General Álvarez forced the Consejo de
Seguridad Nacional to name him president on September 1, 1981.
1981 Sep 1, In Uruguay Gregorio
Alvarez (b.1926), commander-in-chief of the army (1978-1979), became
the country’s de facto president and continued until Feb 12, 1985.
1984 Nov, In Uruguay Julio
María Sanguinetti of the Colorado Party won the presidential
election. Pres. Gregorio Alvarez resigned on February 12, 1985.
1984 Uruguay‘s military
dictatorship locked up an opposition leader.
(Econ, 11/14/15, p.36)
1984 In Uruguay the military
(SFC, 8/17/00, p.A18)
1986 Sep 15-1986 Sep 20, In
Punta del Este, Uruguay, the Ministers of ninety-two nations agreed
to a new round of multilateral trade negotiations (Uruguay Round).
1987 Argentina legalized
divorce. Prior to this Argentinians went to Uruguay for divorces and
continued to go there for legal abortions.
(WSJ, 5/16/02, p.A14)
1988 Enrique Iglesias, former
Uruguayan foreign minister, became head of IDB, the Inter-American
Development Bank. In 2005 he was named head of the Ibero-American
(Econ, 6/4/05, p.37)
1988 China and Uruguay
established diplomatic ties.
1989 Uruguay voters approved a
referendum on amnesty to military officials accused of murders,
disappearances and other human rights violations during the
country's 1973-85 dictatorship.
(Econ, 3/23/13, p.39)
1989 Tabare Vazquez, oncologist
and president of the Progreso soccer team, won the mayoral election
in Montevideo, Uruguay.
(SSFC, 10/31/04, p.A16)
1989-1993 Pres. Luis Lacalle led the country and
stumped for freer markets and a smaller government.
(WSJ, 2/13/96, p.A14)
1990 Mar 1, Luis Alberto
Lacelle was sworn in as President of Uruguay.
1991 Mar 26, The Treaty of
Asuncion established the southern common market: (Mercado Comun del
Sur) Mercosur, between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. They
were later joined by associate members Chile (1996), Bolivia (1997),
Peru (2001) and Venezuela (2004). Mexico was granted observer status
1993 Pres. Julio Maria
Sanguinetti of the Colorado Party was elected.
(WSJ, 2/13/96, p.A14)
1994 Apr 15, Ministers from 109
countries signed a 26,000-page world trade agreement known as the
"Uruguay Round" accords in Marrakesh, Morocco.
1995 Mar 1, Julio Maria
Sanguinetti was sworn in as President of Uruguay.
1996 Jul, The Fasano brothers,
editor and publisher of the daily La Republica, were jailed for 15
days for printing a story that Paraguay’s president Wasmosy took
payments from a hydroelectric project.
(SFC, 7/5/96, p.A12)
1996 The "Manual of the Perfect
Latin American Idiot" by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Carlos Alberto
Montaner (Cuban novelist) and Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza was published
and became a best seller in Latin America. Chapter 3 was dedicated
to explaining the importance of Uruguayan Marxist Eduardo Galeano’s
book “Open Veins of Latin America" (1971).
(WSJ, 1/3/97, p.A9)(WSJ, 4/27/09, p.A13)
1998 Sep 9, The UN General
Assembly elected Uruguay’s foreign minister as president for its
53rd session. Didier Opertiti replaced Hennadiy Udovenko of Ukraine.
(SFC, 9/10/98, p.C2)
1999 Oct 31, In Uruguay Tabare
Vazquez, the former mayor of Montevideo, led the presidential vote
with 38% against 31% for Jorge Batlle of the ruling Colorado Party.
A runoff Nov 28 runoff was planned.
(SFC, 11/1/99, p.A13)
1999 Nov 28, In Uruguay Jorge
Batlle, candidate for the Colorado Party, won the presidency with a
52% vote over socialist Tabare Vazquez.
(SFC, 11/29/99, p.A16)
2001 Mar 29, UN troops from
Uruguay began to set up camp on Lake Tanganyika for their mission to
help end the Congo civil war.
(SFC, 3/30/01, p.D4)
2001-2004 An economic crises caused up to 15% of
Uruguay’s population to leave the country in search of work.
(SSFC, 9/19/04, p.D7)
2002 Jul 31, Uruguay prepared
to keep banks closed for a second day in an attempt to stanch the
flow of capital in the midst of a growing financial crisis.
2002 Aug 2, In Uruguay the
government sent thousands of police to guard shopping districts, a
day after looters hit stores and supermarkets as the national
economic crisis deepened.
2002 Aug 4, US Treasury Sec.
Paul O'Neill arrived in Uruguay and announced a $1.5 billion
temporary loan to stabilize the financial crises.
(SFC, 8/5/02, p.A10)
2002 Oct 29, In Uruguay 4
ministers in President Jorge Batlle's Cabinet have resigned to
protest his handling of the economy, escalating a crisis in his
2002 Dec 27, Uruguay's Congress
approved a plan to merge 3 major banks verging on insolvency amid
the country's economic crisis.
2003 Dec, Uruguay voters agreed
60-35% to keep a state monopoly over the oil industry.
(Econ, 12/13/03, p.8)
2004 Oct 31, In Uruguay
elections socialist Tabare Vazquez (65), a cancer specialist and
former mayor of Montevideo, won Uruguay's presidential election,
becoming the nation's first leftist leader. Voters also called for
all water resources to be put under state administration. Some 20%
of the country’s work force was employed by the state.
(AP, 10/31/04)(SFC, 11/1/04, p.A2)(WSJ, 11/5/04,
2004 The official poverty rate
in Uruguay was 31%.
(SSFC, 10/31/04, p.A16)
2005 Mar 1, Dr. Tabare Vazquez
(65) took office as Uruguay's first socialist president, joining the
ranks of left-leaning leaders in Latin America, now six in all,
governing a majority of the region's people with a cautious approach
to U.S.-backed free-market policies. In one of his first official
acts, he restored full diplomatic ties with communist Cuba, more
than two years after a diplomatic row divided the countries.
2005 Apr, Metsa-Botnia, a
Finnish company, began building a cellulose plant in Uruguay on the
Uruguay River bordering Argentina.
(Econ, 10/8/05, p.47)
2005 Jun 23, In Uruguay
firefighters recovered the badly burned remains of eleven men killed
aboard a Ukrainian-flagged fishing vessel that caught fire in
Montevideo. The "Simeiz," carrying a crew of 39, caught fire before
dawn the previous day.
2005 Aug 24, Strong
thunderstorms rolled through Argentina and Uruguay, slowing air
traffic, felling trees and leaving at least eight people dead.
2005 Oct, Spain’s ENCE planned
to start a cellulose plant in Uruguay on the Uruguay River bordering
(Econ, 10/8/05, p.47)
2005 Nov 7, Uruguay launched a
set of tax overhauls aimed to make it harder for neighboring
Argentines and other foreigners to use the country as a tax haven.
It was hoped to have the structure for a modern tax system in place
(WSJ, 11/9/05, p.A14)
2005 Dec 6, The UN top election
official, Carina Perelli of Uruguay, vowed to fight her dismissal
over sexual harassment charges, which she rejected as false and
complained that she was being denied due process.
2006 Feb 24, It was reported
that Uruguay’s Pres. Tabare Vazquez backed two enormous plants that
would produce the raw material for paper on Uruguay's border with
Argentina while protesters, worried about the plants' impact on
Argentina's environment, have repeatedly blockaded border bridges,
stalling crucial truck and tourist traffic.
2006 Mar 17, In Uruguay 7
residents of Young were killed when they were run over by a train
they were pushing as part of a reality television show aimed at
raising funds for a local hospital.
2006 Mar 28, Spain’s ENCE said
it will suspend construction of a controversial pulp mill in Uruguay
to allow Argentina and Uruguay to resolve their differences over the
environmental impact of the project. In October ENCE announced that
it was abandoning the project.
(FT, 3/29/06, p.8)(Econ, 10/7/06, p.46)
2006 Mar 30, Uruguay said it
will repay $630 million to the IMF ahead of schedule, clearing all
its 2006 obligations to the agency in a sign of the country's
improving economic health.
2006 May 8, Argentina requested
the extradition of five former Uruguayan military officers and a
former police officer wanted in the 1976 disappearance of Maria
Claudia Garcia, the missing daughter-in-law of poet Juan Gelman.
2006 Jul 28, Danilo Astori,
Uruguay’s Finance Minister, said Uruguay will make an early debt
payment of $900 million to the IMF due in 2007. The move will save
about $40 million in interest payments. This would cancel about half
its entire debt to the IMF.
(WSJ, 7/31/06, p.A6)
2006 Sep 5, Police in Uruguay
arrested 27 people suspected of trafficking drugs to Europe and
seized a record 770 pounds of cocaine.
2006 Sep 11, Uruguay arrested 7
former army and police officers in an investigation of dissidents
who disappeared during the South American country's military rule in
2006 Oct 23, In Uruguay
thousands of taxi and truck drivers went on strike to demand lower
fuel prices in a challenge to the center-left government. The strike
ended later in the day.
2006 Nov 3, In Uruguay UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised leaders at the 16th annual
Iberoamerican summit for resolving to make progress on growing
illegal immigration in an increasingly mobile world community.
2006 Nov 16, In Uruguay a judge
ordered the arrest of former president-turned-dictator Juan Maria
Bordaberry and his foreign minister in connection with four
political killings in 1976.
2007 Jan 25, Uruguay’s
left-wing government under Pres. Tabare Vazquez signed a trade and
investment “framework agreement" with the US.
(Econ, 2/3/07, p.39)
2007 Feb 26, Coordinated
international efforts led to the capture in Brazil of Manuel Juan
Cordero (67) a retired Uruguayan colonel wanted in "dirty war"
probes in both Argentina and Uruguay. He was detained in Santana do
Livramento, a town near the Uruguayan border where he was living.
2007 Mar 10, President Bush in
Uruguay said the FBI has addressed the problems that led to illegal
prying into personal information on people in the US, but "there's
more work to be done." Bush with President Tabare Vazquez who said
he wanted to expand trade with the United States and increase
scientific, technical and cultural exchanges. Bush also asked
Congress for $3.2 billion to pay for 8,200 more U.S. troops needed
in Afghanistan and Iraq on top of the 21,500-troop buildup he had
announced in January 2007.
(AP, 3/10/07)(AP, 3/10/08)
2007 Jun 29, Mercosur, South
America’s biggest trade block (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay,
Uruguay), held a presidential summit in Asuncion, Paraguay.
(Econ, 7/7/07, p.40)
2007 Aug 8, Venezuela's
socialist President Hugo Chavez took a campaign of petrodollar
diplomacy to Uruguay, seeking stronger political ties while offering
energy aid from one of the world's largest oil producers.
2007 Nov 10, Some 20,000
demonstrators marched to Argentina's river border with Uruguay to
protest the impending startup of a paper pulp plant they fear will
pollute the environment. The cellulose mill in Fray Bentos was built
by Metsa-Botnia, a Finnish company, at a cost of $1.2 billion.
Construction was completed in October and Uruguay’s Pres. Vazquez
ordered it opened in November despite protests from Argentina.
(AP, 11/10/07)(Econ, 12/8/07, p.44)
2007 Dec 17, Uruguay's last
military dictator, Gregorio Alvarez, was charged with the forced
disappearance of political prisoners, cheering human rights
activists who have long campaigned for his prosecution.
2008 Feb 11, Uruguay President
Tabare Vazquez ousted his ministers of defense, foreign affairs and
industry, saying he was seeking a better team for his final two
years in office.
2008 May 23, In Brazil 12 South
American leaders gathered in Brasilia to set up the Union of South
American Nations. UNASUR was expected to replace the South American
Community, declared in 2004, and unite the Mercosur and Andean
Community free trade areas. Members included Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname,
Uruguay and Venezuela.
2008 Jun 4, An undetermined
amount of fuel oil was released after the Greece-registered Syros
slammed against the Malta-registered Sea Bird near Montevideo,
2008 Nov 11, Uruguay's Senate
voted depenalize abortion during the first trimester, a rare step in
a Latin American nation. President Tabare Vasquez vetoed the measure
on Nov 14.
(AP, 11/11/08)(AP, 11/14/08)
2009 Feb 11, Officials in
Uruguay said a Cuban long-distance runner and track coach have
disappeared and apparently intend to defect. Aguelmis Rojas and
Rafael Diaz had arrived in January on a sports exchange program in
2009 May 13, In Uruguay the
defense ministry confirmed that Minister Jose Bayardi had signed a
decree lifting a ban on people with “open sexual deviations," that
had been imposed by the military dictatorship (1973-1985). The new
decree stated that sexual orientation will no longer be considered a
reason to prevent people from entering military service.
(SFC, 5/14/09, p.A2)
2009 May 17, Mario Benedetti
(b.1920), a prolific Uruguayan writer, died. His novels and poems
reflect the idiosyncrasies of Montevideo's middle class and a social
commitment forged by years in exile from a military dictatorship.
Benedetti's 1960 novel "The Truce" was translated into 19 languages
and along with "Thank You for the Fire" (1965), heralded his
inclusion in the Latin American literary boom in the 1960s. In 1973
he joined thousands of other Uruguayans fleeing the nation's
military dictatorship, spending 12 years in exile in Havana, Madrid,
Lima and Buenos Aires.
2009 Aug 16, In Uruguay some 20
dead Fraser's dolphins turned up this weekend on the Punta Negra
beach in Piriapolis outside Montevideo. Experts theorized the
tropical dolphins became disoriented or were carried there by
changing water currents.
2009 Aug 27, Uruguay lawmakers
approved a bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt. The
99-seat Chamber or Representatives passed the bill 40-13, with the
remaining members absent. The law, still needing Senate approval,
was supported by socialist President Tabare Vazquez's Broad Front
coalition, which has already legalized gay civil unions and ended a
ban on homosexuals in the armed forces.
2009 Sep 9, Uruguay’s Senate
gave final approval for gay and lesbian couples to adopt children,
making it the first country in Latin America to do so. The executive
branch will decide when the law takes effect.
(SFC, 9/10/09, p.A2)
2009 Sep 30, The 24 members of
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee of Intangible Heritage granted
the tango dance and its music protected cultural status at its
meeting in Abu Dhabi. The designation may make Argentina and
Uruguay, which both claim to be tango's birthplace, eligible to
receive financial assistance from a specialized fund for
safeguarding cultural traditions.
2009 Sep, Most of Uruguay’s
380,000 primary-school pupils had received an XO laptop, developed
by the One Laptop Per Child, an NGO based in Massachusetts. The
scheme at $260 per machine cost less than 5% of the country’s
education budget. Internet connection was still limited.
(Econ, 10/3/09, p.46)
2009 Oct 9, In Haiti 11 UN
peacekeepers were killed when a CASA C-212 surveillance flight
slammed into a mountain. The victims were Uruguayan and Jordanian
troops serving with the 9,000-strong UN peacekeeping force that has
been in Haiti since 2004.
2009 Oct 19, Uruguay's Supreme
Court declared unconstitutional a law that has provided amnesty to
military officials accused of murders, disappearances and other
human rights violations during the country's dictatorship.
2009 Oct 22, Uruguay's last
dictator, Gregorio Alvarez (83), was sentenced to 25 years in prison
for 37 homicides during the 1973-1985 military regime, when
dissidents disappeared in a region-wide crackdown on leftists called
"Operation Condor." Alvarez was commander-in-chief of the army
(1978-1979) and de facto president from 1981 until Feb 12, 1985.
Navy Capt. Juan Larcebeau was also sentenced to 20 years in prison
for 29 homicides related to clandestine prisoner transfers in 1978.
2009 Oct 25, Uruguay held
presidential elections. Voters faced a stark choice between: Jose
"Pepe" Mujica (74), an ex-rebel who yearns to create enduring
socialism or Luis Alberto Lacalle (69), a former center-right
president (1990-1995) who privatized government services and wants
to pull away from alliances with Latin American leftists. Mujica,
the candidate of the governing leftist Broad Front coalition, got
47.5% of the votes, just below the majority needed to win outright.
Conservative ex-president Luis Alberto LaCalle got 28.5%, and Pedro
Bordaberry of the Colorado Party 17%.
(AP, 10/25/09)(AP, 10/26/09)(Econ, 10/24/09,
2009 Nov 25, Officials said
flooding from heavy rains has killed 12 people in Argentina, Brazil
and Uruguay and forced more than 20,000 to flee their homes. Most of
the dead were in southern Brazil, including eight in Rio Grande do
2009 Nov 28, A South Korean
fishing vessel burned and sank in the port of Uruguay's capital.
Navy officials said all 38 crew members are safe.
2009 Nov 29, Uruguay held
elections. Jose Mujica (74), a plain-talking socialist, won the
presidential run-off keeping the center-left coalition in power for
another 5 years. He once led an armed revolutionary movement but now
rejected the ideologies of the 1970s. Mujica won 53% of the vote, to
43% for Luis A. Lacalle, with 97% of the vote counted.
(AP, 11/29/09)(AP, 11/30/09)
2009 Dec, Police in Uruguay
seized a large amount of cocaine from an anchored yacht as part of
an operation dubbed “Balkan Warrior." 2.7 tons were seized in the
operation. In 2010 Serbia indicted Darko Saric, a Serb citizen from
Montenegro, and 19 associates of smuggling drugs from South America
to Europe. Saric disappeared but financial documents linked him to
companies registered in the Marshall Islands and Delaware via the
Bank of Cyprus and an Austrian bank in Montenegro, a branch of Hypo
(Econ, 5/8/10, p.56)(Econ, 9/11/10, p.63)
2010 Jan 6, A Malaysian court
charged an air force sergeant and a businessman with stealing two
fighter jet engines. The engines, each worth 50 million ringgit ($14
million), were stolen while they were undergoing repairs and were
allegedly shipped toward Argentina before being offloaded to another
vessel bound for Uruguay.
2010 Jan 23, Brazil extradited
Manuel Juan Cordero Piacentini, a retired Uruguayan military
officer, to Argentina to face charges of human rights abuses
allegedly committed more than 30 years ago. Under "Operation
Condor," the military dictatorships that ruled much of South America
in the 1970s and 1980s secretly cooperated in the torture and
disappearances of each others' citizens.
2010 Feb 10, In Uruguay former
dictator Juan Maria Bordaberry, in office from 1971 to 1976, was
sentenced to 30 years in prison for violating the constitution when
he led a 1973 coup that began 12 years of dictatorship.
2010 Mar 1, In Uruguay Jose
Mujica (74) took the presidential oath of office.
(SFC, 3/2/10, p.A2)
2010 Apr 8, Uruguay's La
Republica newspaper reported that a Catholic priest who fled home to
Uruguay and was defrocked after a nun accused him of raping three
children in Bolivia has been living with his family for more than a
year, with the full knowledge of Uruguayan church officials, despite
an Interpol warrant for his arrest. Juan Jose Santana has been a
fugitive from justice since being charged in May 2008 with raping
three children ages 12 to 17.
2010 Apr 20, A UN court
delivered a long-awaited ruling rejecting Argentina's claim that a
Uruguayan pulp mill pollutes their shared river. Both sides said the
decision by the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands
gave them what they need to resolve their differences, with
Argentina taking heart from a part of the ruling that said Uruguay
did not properly inform it about the project. Argentine activists
were still blocking the main bridge across the river and refused to
give up their fight. Activists in June voted to lift their four-year
(AP, 4/21/10)(AP, 6/17/10)
2010 Jul 6, Britain's Queen
Elizabeth (84) addressed the UN for the first time since1957. The
queen's 10-minute speech to a special session of the General
Assembly was finished before Netherlands and Uruguay returned to
their soccer match in Cape Town. Netherlands moved to the finals
after beating Uruguay 3-2.
2010 Jul 8, In Uruguay 12
inmates burned to death in an overcrowded prison, just as the
country’s congress debated a law to put the army in charge of prison
security and relieve the pressure on civilian prisons by moving some
inmates into military installations.
2010 Jul 28, Argentina and
Uruguay held a signing ceremony in Buenos Aires on an agreement to a
joint environmental monitoring program along the shared Uruguay
River, ending a seven-year pollution controversy over a Finnish
paper mill on the Uruguayan side.
2010 Nov 1, Uruguay's Supreme
Court said an amnesty given for any crimes committed by the
country's 12-year dictatorship (1973-1985) is unconstitutional. The
ruling meant that about 20 murders in a case against former dictator
Juan Maria Bordaberry can be investigated.
2010 Nov 8, In Uruguay Gen.
Miguel Dalmao was convicted of murder and sent to prison, becoming
the first active member of Uruguay's military to be jailed for human
rights violations committed during the country's 1973-85
dictatorship. Also imprisoned was Col. Jose Chialanza, who like
Dalmao was convicted of "especially aggravated homicide" in the 1974
death of Nibia Sabalsagaray. Sabalsagaray was found hanged in her
cell shortly after being captured.
2010 Dec 5, In Uruguay Maria
Esther Gatti de Islas (92), a human rights activist, died. She
helped found Uruguay's organization of relatives of people who
disappeared during South America's "dirty wars."
2011 Mar 15, Uruguay said it
has joined a string of South American nations in recognizing an
independent Palestinian state.
2011 Mar 24, The Inter-American
Human Rights Court ruled that Uruguay must remove obstacles to
prosecuting human rights abuses during its “dirty war" in the 1970s.
(SFC, 3/25/11, p.A2)
2011 Apr 12, Uruguay's senate
annulled an amnesty for crimes against humanity committed during the
1973-85 dictatorship, overturning the view of voters who upheld the
law in two referendums. The measure passed 16-15 after a 12-hour
debate and went to the lower house for minor changes.
2011 Jun 7, Authorities in
Uruguay remained puzzled by the fact that more than 600 dead
penguins had washed up on the shores at La Paloma and Piriapolils
since the weekend. Marine biologists were trying to determine why
such a large number of penguins were found dead.
2011 Jun 27, Uruguay’s
government said it will remove obstacles to human rights
prosecutions against some 80 cases of officials of the past military
(SFC, 6/28/11, p.A2)
2011 Jul 17, In Uruguay Juan
Maria Bordaberry (b.1928), former President-turned-dictator, died at
home, where he was serving a 30-year sentence for killings and
disappearances during his country's war against so-called
2011 Jul 20, In Haiti a man
(18) was sexually assaulted by peacekeepers from Uruguay on a UN
base along the southern coast. The alleged attack only became public
in late August when a video taken by cell phone was circulated and
the UN announced an investigation. The six Uruguayan marines were
expelled from Haiti in September and jailed at home while military
and civilian prosecutors investigated allegations. The former
peacekeepers were freed in January, 2012, pending a military trial
on charges of violating rules against fraternizing with civilians
inside military bases.
(AP, 9/6/11)(AP, 1/9/12)
2011 Sep 4, Haitian President
Michel Martelly "vigorously condemned" an alleged sexual assault by
UN troops against an 18-year-old man. The incident aggravated
mistrust between Haitians and the peacekeeping mission. The UN was
investigating allegations that five Uruguayan naval personnel at a
UN base in the south sexually molested an 18-year-old man in an
attack reportedly captured by a cell phone camera.
2011 Oct 27, Uruguay's Congress
approved a measure revoking amnesty for officials charged with human
rights abuses during a period of military dictatorship. Uruguay's
Supreme Court will decide whether lifting the amnesty is
2011 Nov 26, In Uruguay Silvia
Martinez (61), the wife of national soccer coach Oscar Tabarez, was
attacked with a corrosive liquid that burned her face and arms.
Several days ago authorities released a former female employee of
Tabarez who was arrested in December for allegedly swindling
$500,000 from the coach.
2011 Dec 20, Palestinian
foreign affairs minister Riyad Al Maliki signed a free trade
agreement with the Mercosur trade group during the organization's
presidential summit in Uruguay.
2011 Dec 20, In Uruguay a hotel
maid found the body of Ivan Heyn (34), Argentina’s deputy foreign
commerce secretary. He was there for the Mercosur summit.
2011 Dec 20, The South American
trading bloc Mercosur -- which includes Brazil, Argentina and
Uruguay -- agreed to close its ports to ships flying the flag of the
British-controlled Falkland Islands.
2012 Jan 24, Uruguay's
president approved a $513,000 payment to Macarena Gelman, who was
illegally adopted during the dictatorship after her mother was
tortured and disappeared.
2012 Mar 3, In Uruguay a South
Korean fishing vessel caught fire in the Montevideo port. Two bodies
were found near the machine room of the Jung Woo 3 as firefighters
continued to extinguish the fire.
2012 Mar 18, In Uruguay murder
charges were filed against two male nurses and a female nurse was
charged with covering up a crime in a case involving more than a
dozen deaths at two hospitals in Montevideo.
2012 Jun 20, Uruguay announced
plans to have its government sell marijuana to take drug profits out
of the hands of dealers. The defense minister said Uruguayan farmers
would plant the marijuana.
2012 Jun 22, Chinese Premier
Wen Jiabao arrived in Uruguay, his first stop on a multi-nation
visit to South America.
2012 Sep 25, Uruguay
legislators just before midnight voted 50-49 to legalize abortion.
On Oct 17 Uruguay’s Senate approved a bill allowing abortions during
the first trimester for any reason. Pres. Jose Mujica has vowed to
sign the bill.
(AP, 9/26/12)(SFC, 10/18/12, p.A2)
2013 Feb, Uruguay’s Supreme
Court ruled that a 2011 law annulling amnesty for crimes against
humanity committed during the 1973-85 dictatorship was
unconstitutional because it was retroactive.
(Econ, 3/23/13, p.39)
2013 May 8, Uruguay convicted
Gen. Miguel Dalmao for dictatorship-era human rights violations. He
was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the death of a communist
2013 Aug 5, In Uruguay a gay
couple became the first to register under the country’s new marriage
(SFC, 8/6/13, p.A2)
2013 Sep 9, Chilean press
reported that the US has spied on communications from Brazil,
Colombia, Venezuela and Uruguay from the island of Ascension
according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
(SSFC, 9/15/13, p.A6)
2013 Dec 10, Uruguay gave
congressional approval for the legalization of marijuana. President
Jose Mujica was expected to sign it.
2013 Dec 23, President Jose
Mujica of Uruguay quietly signed into law the government's plan to
create a regulated, legal market for marijuana. Bureaucrats now have
until April 9 to write the fine print for regulating every aspect of
the marijuana market, from growing to selling in a network of
2014 Feb 7, In central and
southern Uruguay flooding caused by torrential rains forced the
evacuation of thousands of people from their homes.
2014 Feb 24, In Uruguay Carlos
Paez Vilaro (90), a self-trained painter, sculptor, screenwriter,
musician and architect, died. He championed Afro-Uruguayan Candombe
music and dance, created colorful murals in dozens of cities around
the world, and built a huge "living sculpture" that became an iconic
2014 Mar 28, Uruguay’s drug
czar said every legal marijuana plant in the country will be
registered and tracked using radio frequency tags.
(SFC, 3/29/14, p.A2)
2014 May 2, Uruguay released
its rules for the legal marijuana market, detailing how the
government plans to get very involved in every aspect of the
business. The regulations will take effect May 6.
2014 May 6, Uruguay said
citizens will be allowed to buy enough marijuana to roll about 20
joints a week at a price well below the black market rate, as the
government detailed a new law legalizing the cannabis trade.
2014 May 13, Pres. Obama met
with Uruguay’s Pres. Jose Mujica and lauded trade and commercial
ties between the two countries.
(SFC, 5/13/14, p.A2)
2014 May 19, Uruguay said it
will exempt marijuana production and sales from taxes in a bid to
ensure prices remain low enough to undercut competition from black
market pot smuggled in from Paraguay.
2014 Jun 26, FIFA banned
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez from all football activities for four
months for biting an opponent at the World Cup in Brazil.
2014 Oct 26, Uruguay held
elections for a new president in a contest that could also determine
the future of the country's pioneering marijuana law. Left-leaning
former Pres. Tabare Vazquez (74) won the most votes, but fell short
of the majority needed to avoid a Nov 30 runoff. He will face
center-right challenger Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou (41) of the
(AP, 10/26/14)(SFC, 10/27/14, p.A2)
2014 Nov 30, Uruguay held
runoff elections. Former left-leaning Pres. Tabare Vasquez, a
74-year-old oncologist who was president from 2005 to 2010, topped
center-right rival Luis Lacalle Pou of the National Party 53 percent
to 40 percent.
2014 Dec 8, Uruguay said six
Guantanamo Bay prisoners sent to there to be resettled as refugees
underwent medical checkups before being released to begin new lives.
2015 Mar 1, In Uruguay Tabare
Vazquez (75) was sworn in as president, returning to office a decade
after first leading the left to power and drawing a curtain on
folksy farmer Jose Mujica's colorful rule.
2015 Mar 19, In eastern Uruguay
10 people were killed when their plane plummeted into Laguna del
Sauce in Maldonado province. Of the eight passengers and two crew
members aboard the flight, nine were Argentines and one was
2015 Apr 13, Uruguayan author
Eduardo Galeano (74) died in Montevideo. His work included "The Open
Veins of Latin America," a classic of leftist literature.
2015 Apr 25, Some airlines
cancelled flights to the capitals of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay as
ash from the Chilean volcano Calbuco, which erupted without warning
this week, reached as far as southern Brazil.
2015 Oct 15, Egypt, Japan,
Senegal, Ukraine and Uruguay were elected to the UN Security Council
during an uncontested vote for the non-permanent seats.
2015 Dec 22, Uruguayan
authorities said flooding caused by heavy rains has killed at least
two people and forced nearly 1,000 from their homes.
2015 Dec 24, Argentina
authorities said that 10,000 people were evacuated in Entre Rios
province after rains swelled the Uruguay River to its highest level
in nearly a century. Flooding caused by heavy rains also has led to
the evacuation of an estimated 100,000 people in Paraguay and more
than 4,000 in Uruguay.
2016 Jan 13, FIFA fined
Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay for anti-gay chants by
their national team's fans.
2016 Apr 15, In Uruguay a
powerful tornado swept over the small city of Dolores, ripping up
houses, hurling cars into the air and killing at least four people.
2016 May 1, Pacific Alliance
members (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay
and Venezuela) eliminated tariffs on 92% of their trade with each
other and planned to phase out the rest over 17 years.
(Econ, 5/14/16, p.26)
2016 Aug 5, In Uruguay defense
minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro (74), one of the founders of
the Tupamaro rebels, died.
2016 Dec 28, Uruguay's last
military dictator, General Gregorio "El Goyo" Alvarez (91), died of
heart failure. He was serving a 25-year prison sentence for human
rights violations committed during his 1981-1985 dictatorship.
2017 Mar 20, Uruguay's Pres.
Tabare Vazquez said his country is pulling its soldiers out of a UN
peacekeeping mission in Haiti, where they have served since 2004.
The mission will end this month and the roughly 250 soldiers will
return home in early April.
2017 May 2, Uruguay announced
the launch of a registry of people who want to legally buy marijuana
at pharmacies as part of the world's first government-regulated
national marketplace for pot. Marijuana will cost about $1.30 per
gram. Companies that won the government bid to grow it will charge
about $.90. The rest will be split between pharmacies and the
2017 Jul 19, In Uruguay
marijuana went on sale at 16 pharmacies, the final step in applying
a 2013 law that made the South American nation the first to legalize
a pot market covering the entire chain from plants to purchase. The
marijuana was produced by ICC and Symbiosis, the only two firms
licensed by the government to grow cannabis for recreational use.
Initial sales were in 5 gram packets priced at $1.30 a gram.
(Econ 5/6/17, p.32)(AP, 7/19/17)
2017 Sep 3, In Uruguay
Rocco Morabito (51), a top crime syndicate boss convicted of drug
trafficking and on the run from Italy since 1994, was arrested in
Montevideo. He was living in a luxury villa in a seaside resort town
under an alias and using a false Brazilian passport.
2017 Oct 18, In Uruguay Tedros
Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization's new chief, announced
the appointment of Zimbabwe’s leader Robert Mugabe (93) as a
"goodwill ambassador" for the WHO.
2018 Nov 17, In Peru former
Pres. Alan Garcia sought diplomatic asylum in Uruguay's mission in
Lima hours after a judge retained his passport as part of a
(SFC, 11/19/18, p.A2)
2018 Dec 3, It was reported
that Uruguay has rejected an asylum request by former Peruvian
President Alan Garcia, who sought protection in the country's
consulate after a judge retained his passport as part of a
2018 Uruguay recorded a record
number of murders this year, with a 35 percent increase to 382.
2019 Feb 7, In Uruguay European
and Latin American leaders gathered in Montevideo to discuss a plan
to solve the deepening crisis in Venezuela, while urging the global
community to back away from direct intervention.
2019 Jun 16, Argentina and
Uruguay were working frantically to return power, after a massive
power failure left large swaths of the South American countries in
2019 Jun 28, The EU signed a
historic trade agreement with the four-nation South American bloc
known as Mercosur. The agreement creates a market of 780 million
people with the EU.
2019 Jun 30, Uruguay's
conservative opposition posted a big win in presidential primaries,
firing a warning at the ruling coalition ahead of national elections
in October as the South American nation grapples to revive economic
2019 Jul 2, France said it was
"not ready" to ratify a huge trade deal agreed by the European Union
and the four South American countries of Mercosur (Argentina,
Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), as farmers and environmentalists step
up their resistance to the accord.
2019 Oct 27, Uruguayans headed
out to vote in the South American country's general election, with
the liberal coalition that has ruled for more than 14 years facing
its toughest challenge yet from a resurgent conservative right.
Neither candidate managed an outright win. Daniel Martinez of the
ruling Broad Front had 37.5% support and Luis Lacalle Pou of the
National Party had 29% support.
(Reuters, 10/27/19)(SFC, 10/29/19, p.A2)
2019 Nov 24, Uruguayans headed
to the polls to elect a new president in a second round run-off
vote. Some 2.7 million Uruguayan voters chose between Lacalle Pou of
the center-right National Party and Daniel Martínez of the ruling
Broad Front party.
2019 Dec 24, Uruguay Naval and
Customs officers seized more than four tons of cocaine this week at
a seaport in the capital Montevideo, with an estimated street value
of nearly $1.3 billion.
(The Independent, 12/28/19)