Tabare Vazquez has once again become Uruguay’s president, defeating his rival Luis Lacalle Pou by a margin of about 10% of the vote. In his victory speech, Vazquez, who previously served as president from 2005 to 2010, vowed to beef up internal security and invest more money in health and education.
Uruguay’s economy is not in crisis like that of its neighbor Argentina, but, it is struggling with high inflation and a dramatic drop in agriculture prices.
Meat and agriculture products make up almost 50% of Uruguay’s exports. According to reports, prices of agricultural commodities alone have fallen by 30-40% in the past three years.
Uruguay’s economic growth has fallen from 6% a decade ago to just 3%. Analysts are forecasting less than 3% growth for the next four years.
Thanks to low wages and an educated workforce, Uruguay has made considerable headway in outsourcing and it is home to the Latin American headquarters of Indian outsourcing giant Tata Consultancy Services.
Uruguay’s Zonamerica Business and Technology Park houses several information technology firms including De Larrobla & Asociados, Greycon and Quanam.
Under current President Jose Mujica, broadband penetration accelerated and high-speed Internet service is now accessible to most of the country’s population.
Upon assuming office, Vazquez’s attention will also have to deal with the issue of marijuana. Uruguay is the first country in the world to have legalized production and distribution of marijuana, but it is not clear if, Vazquez, who is a doctor by profession, will retain or repeal this controversial law.