Uruguay: Truth, Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Uruguay

Introduction Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay’s president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay’s political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
History The inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization of the area were various tribes of hunter gatherer native Americans, the best known being the Charrúa Indians, a small tribe driven south by the Guaraní of Paraguay. The population is estimated at no more than 5,000 to 10,000.

Europeans arrived in the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1536, but the absence of gold and silver limited settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. Uruguay became a zone of contention between the Spanish and the Portuguese empires. In 1603, the Spanish began to introduce cattle, which became a source of wealth in the region. The first permanent settlement was founded by the Spanish in 1624 at Villa Soriano on the southwestern coast of the Río Negro. In 1680 the Portuguese built a fort at Colonia del Sacramento. Spanish colonization increased as Spain sought to limit Portugal’s expansion of Brazil’s frontiers.

Another segment of colonial Uruguay’s population consisted of people of African descent. Colonial Uruguay’s African community grew in number as its members escaped harsh treatment in Buenos Aires. Many relocated to Montevideo, which had a larger black community, seemed less hostile politically than Buenos Aires, and had a more favorable climate with lower humidity. Afro-Uruguayan is the term most often used to refer to Uruguayans of African ancestry.

As a province of the Viceroyalty of La Plata, colonial Uruguay was known as the Banda Oriental, or “Eastern Strip”, referring to its location east of the Rio Uruguay. The inhabitants called themselves Orientales (“Easterners”), a term they still commonly use.

Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo, was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold; its natural harbor soon developed into a commercial center competing with Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. Uruguay’s early 19th century history was shaped by ongoing conflicts between the British, Spanish, Portuguese, and colonial forces for dominance in the Argentina-Brazil-Uruguay region. In 1806 and 1807, the British army attempted to seize Buenos Aires as part of their war with Spain. As a result, at the beginning of 1807, Montevideo was occupied by a 10,000-strong British force who held it until the middle of the year when they left to attack Buenos Aires.

The Uruguayans’ road to independence was much longer than those of other countries in the Americas. Early efforts at attaining independence focused on the overthrow of Spanish rule, a process begun by Jose Gervasio Artigas in 1811 when he led his forces to victory against the Spanish in the Battle of Las Piedras on May 18, 1811. In 1816, Portuguese troops invaded present-day Uruguay, which led to its eventual annexation by Brazil in 1821 under the provincial name Provincia Cisplatina. On April 19, 1825, thirty-three Uruguayan exiles led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja returned from Buenos Aires to lead an insurrection in Uruguay. They were known as the Treinta y Tres Orientales. Their actions inspired representatives from Uruguay to meet in Florida, a town in the recently liberated area, where they declared independence from Brazil on August 25, 1825. Uruguayan independence was not recognized by its neighbors until 1828, after the Argentina-Brazil War, when Britain, in search of new commercial markets, brokered peace between Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. On August 27, 1828, Uruguay was formally proclaimed independent at the preliminary peace talks between Brazil and Argentina.

Geography Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
Geographic coordinates: 33 00 S, 56 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than the state of Washington
Land boundaries: total: 1,648 km
border countries: Argentina 580 km, Brazil 1,068 km
Coastline: 660 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or edge of continental margin
Climate: warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
Terrain: mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m
Natural resources: arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries
Land use: arable land: 7.77%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 91.99% (2005)
Irrigated land: 2,100 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 139 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 3.15 cu km/yr (2%/1%/96%)
per capita: 910 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind that blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts
Environment – current issues: water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Environment – international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising
Politics Uruguay’s politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Uruguay is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive branch is exercised by the government. Legislative branch is vested in both the government and the two chambers of the General Assembly of Uruguay. The Judiciary branch is independent of the executive and the legislature.

For most of Uruguay’s history, the Partido Colorado has been the government. The other “traditional” party of Uruguay, Partido Blanco has ruled only twice. The Partido Blanco has its roots in the countryside and the original settlers of Spanish origin and the cattle ranchers. The Partido Colorado has its roots in the port city of Montevideo, the new immigrants of Italian origin and the backing of foreign interests. The Partido Colorado built a welfare state financed by taxing the cattle revenue and giving state pickles and free services to the new urban immigrants which became dependent on the state. The elections of 2004, however, brought the Frente Amplio, a coalition of socialists, communists, former Tupamaros, former communists and social democrats among others to govern with majorities in both houses of parliament and the election of President Tabaré Vázquez by an absolute majority.

The Reporters Without Borders worldwide press freedom index has ranked Uruguay as 43rd of 173 reported countries in 2008. According to Freedom House, an American organization that tracks global trends in political freedom, Uruguay ranked twenty-seventh in its “Freedom in the World” index. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Uruguay scores a 8.08 on the Democracy Index, located in the 23rd position among the 30 countries considered to be Full Democracies in the world. The report looks at 60 indicators across five categories: Free elections, civil liberties, functioning government, political participation and political culture.

Uruguay ranks 28th in the World Corruption Perceptions Index composed by Transparency International.

The Uruguayan Constitution allows citizens to repeal laws or to change the constitution by referendum. During the last 15 years the method has been used several times; to confirm a law renouncing prosecution of members of the military who violated human rights during the military regime (1973-1985), to stop privatization of public utilities companies, to defend pensioners’ incomes, and to protect water resources.

People Population: 3,477,778 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.7% (male 401,209/female 388,315)
15-64 years: 64% (male 1,105,891/female 1,120,858)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 185,704/female 275,801) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 33.2 years
male: 31.8 years
female: 34.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.486% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 14.17 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 9.12 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.18 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.67 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 11.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 13.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.14 years
male: 72.89 years
female: 79.51 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.94 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 6,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan
Ethnic groups: white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
Religions: Roman Catholic 47.1%, non-Catholic Christians 11.1%, nondenominational 23.2%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17.2%, other 1.1% (2006)
Languages: Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 97.6%
female: 98.4% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 15 years
male: 14 years
female: 16 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 2.9% of GDP (2006)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
conventional short form: Uruguay
local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
local short form: Uruguay
former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province
Government type: constitutional republic
Capital: name: Montevideo
geographic coordinates: 34 53 S, 56 11 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March
Administrative divisions: 19 departments (departamentos, singular – departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres
Independence: 25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
National holiday: Independence Day, 25 August (1825)
Constitution: 27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967; suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980; two constitutional reforms approved by plebiscite 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997
Legal system: based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005); Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005); Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held in October 2009)
election results: Tabare VAZQUEZ elected president; percent of vote – Tabare VAZQUEZ 50.5%, Jorge LARRANAGA 35.1%, Guillermo STIRLING 10.3%; other 4.1%
Legislative branch: bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; vice president has one vote in the Senate) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators – last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009); Chamber of Representatives – last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: Chamber of Senators – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – EP-FA 16, Blanco 11, Colorado Party 3; Chamber of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – EP-FA 52, Blanco 36, Colorado Party 10, Independent Party 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly)
Political parties and leaders: Broad Front (Frente Amplio) – formerly known as the Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or EP-FA [Jorge BROVETTO] (a broad governing coalition that includes Movement of the Popular Participation or MPP [Jose MUJICA], New Space Party (Nuevo Espacio) [Rafael MICHELINI], Progressive Alliance (Alianza Progresista) [Rodolfo NIN NOVOA], Socialist Party [Eduardo FERNANDEZ], the Communist Party [Marina ARISMENDI], Uruguayan Assembly (Asamblea Uruguay) [Danilo ASTORI], and Vertiente Artiguista [Mariano ARANA]); Colorado Party (Foro Batllista) [Julio Maria SANGUINETTI]; National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto LACALLE and Jorge LARRANAGA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Architect’s Society of Uruguay (professional organization); Chamber of Uruguayan Industries (manufacturer’s association); Chemist and Pharmaceutical Association (professional organization); PIT/CNT (powerful federation of Uruguayan Unions – umbrella labor organization); Rural Association of Uruguay (rancher’s association); Uruguayan Construction League; Uruguayan Network of Political Women
other: Catholic Church; students
International organization participation: CAN (associate), FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Alberto GIANELLI Derois
chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Washington, DC
consulate(s): San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Frank E. BAXTER
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
mailing address: APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 418-7777
FAX: [598] (2) 418-8611
Flag description: nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy
Culture Uruguay has an impressive legacy of artistic and literary traditions, especially for its small size. The contribution of its alternating conquerors and diverse immigrants has resulted in native traditions that integrate this diversity. Uruguay has centuries old remains, fortresses of the colonial era. Its cities have a rich architectural heritage and an impressive number of writers, artists, and musicians. Uruguayan tango is the form of dance that originated in the neighborhoods of Montevideo, Uruguay towards the end of the 19th century. Tango, candombe, and murga are the three main styles of music.
Economy Economy – overview: Uruguay’s economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil. For instance, in 2001-02 Argentine citizens made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks after bank deposits in Argentina were frozen, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso, a banking crisis, and a sharp economic contraction. Real GDP fell in four years by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year. The unemployment rate rose, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Financial assistance from the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay restructured its external debt in 2003 without asking creditors to accept a reduction on the principal. The construction of a pulp mill in Fray Bentos – at $1.2 billion the largest foreign direct investment in Uruguay’s history – came online in November 2007, boosting GDP and exports. Other large projects in the pulp and paper industries also are planned. Economic growth for Uruguay averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $42.72 billion (2008 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $28.35 billion (2008 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 8.5% (2008 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $12,300 (2008 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 9.8%
industry: 32.8%
services: 57.4% (2008 est.)
Labor force: 1.641 million (2008 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 9%
industry: 15%
services: 76% (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate: 7.8% (2008 est.)
Population below poverty line: 27.4% of households (2006)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 34% (2003)
Distribution of family income – Gini index: 45.2 (2006)
Investment (gross fixed): 15.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Budget: revenues: $8.204 billion
expenditures: $8.526 billion (2008 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 62.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.5% (2008 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 10% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 8.94% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $2.145 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $7.919 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $6.396 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $159 million (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: rice, wheat, soybeans, barley; livestock, beef; fish; forestry
Industries: food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Electricity – production: 9.2 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity – consumption: 7.03 billion kWh (2007)
Electricity – exports: 995.4 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 788.4 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 0.7%
hydro: 99.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.3% (2001)
Oil – production: 935.7 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 33,400 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – exports: 4,410 bbl/day (2007)
Oil – imports: 43,670 bbl/day (2007)
Oil – proved reserves: NA
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 102.8 million cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 116.9 million cu m (2007)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$1 billion (2008 est.)
Exports: $7.596 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Exports – commodities: meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish, dairy products
Exports – partners: Brazil 15.5%, US 9.4%, Argentina 8.4%, Mexico 6.6%, China 6.1%, Germany 4.8% (2007)
Imports: $8.548 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)
Imports – commodities: crude petroleum and petroleum products, machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, paper, plastics
Imports – partners: Brazil 19.1%, Argentina 17.9%, US 9.5%, China 9.1%, Paraguay 7.7%, Nigeria 4.7% (2007)
Economic aid – recipient: $14.62 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $6.157 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Debt – external: $11.48 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $4.19 billion (2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $156 million (2007)
Currency (code): Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Currency code: UYU
Exchange rates: Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar – 20.438 (2008 est.), 23.947 (2007), 24.048 (2006), 24.479 (2005), 28.704 (2004)
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 965,200 (2007)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 3.004 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is 115 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code – 598; the UNISOR submarine cable system provides direct connectivity to Brazil and Argentina; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 93, FM 191, shortwave 7 (2005)
Radios: 1.97 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 62 (2005)
Televisions: 782,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .uy
Internet hosts: 480,593 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 14 (2001)
Internet users: 968,000 (2007)
Transportation Airports: 60 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 9
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 51
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 19
under 914 m: 29 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 257 km; oil 160 km (2007)
Railways: total: 2,073 km
standard gauge: 2,073 km 1.435-m gauge
note: 461 km have been taken out of service and 460 km are in partial use (2006)
Roadways: total: 77,732 km
paved: 7,743 km
unpaved: 69,989 km (2004)
Waterways: 1,600 km (2008)
Merchant marine: total: 17
by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 9, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 10 (Argentina 3, Greece 1, Spain 6)
registered in other countries: 3 (Liberia 3) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Montevideo
Military Military branches: Uruguayan Armed Forces: Army (Ejercito), Navy (Armada Nacional; includes naval air arm, Marines, Maritime Prefecture in wartime), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya, FAU) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2007)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 837,252
females age 16-49: 824,096 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 703,955
females age 16-49: 690,296 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 27,082
female: 26,075 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.6% of GDP (2006)
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: in Jan 2007, ICJ provisionally ruled Uruguay may begin construction of two paper mills on the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina, while the court examines further whether Argentina has the legal right to stop such construction with potential environmental implications to both countries; uncontested dispute with Brazil over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina
Illicit drugs: small-scale transit country for drugs mainly bound for Europe, often through sea-borne containers; law enforcement corruption; money laundering because of strict banking secrecy laws; weak border control along Brazilian frontier; increasing consumption of cocaine base and synthetic drugs

Italian mafia kingpin arrested in Uruguay after two decades

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Italian mafia kingpin arrested in Uruguay after two decades on the run

Rocco Morabito was arrested in Uruguay.

Story highlights

  • Rocco Morabito was convicted in Italy and sentenced to 30 years for drug trafficking
  • He fled Italy in the mid-1990s, was arrested in Uruguay on Friday

(CNN)A convicted drug kingpin in the Italian mafia has been arrested in Uruguay after being on the run for over 20 years, the Uruguayan Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Rocco Morabito — described by authorities as a prominent member of the Ndrangheta, or Calabrian Mafia — had been wanted since 1994. He was convicted in absentia for drug trafficking and organized-crime activities in Italy, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Italian authorities said that Morabito had been responsible for shipping drugs into Italy and arranging distribution in Milan.

View of the villa where Italian mafia fugitive Rocco Morabito lived in the resort town of Punta del Este, Uruguay.

The Uruguayan Interior Ministry said Morabito was arrested Friday in a hotel in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo. Italian police said the arrest followed “months of international cooperation and intelligence activity.”
Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti lauded Morabito’s arrest, saying he was “considered one of the sought-after members of the Ndrangheta”.
Uruguayan authorities said some months ago Morabito tried to enroll his daughter in a local school using his real name, and his fingerprints were confirmed by Italian authorities.
Interpol issued a red notice for Morabito — its highest-priority international arrest warrant — in 1995 following an arrest warrant issued by Italian prosecutors in Reggio Calabria.
Authorities said Morabito — one of Italy’s five most-wanted fugitives — entered Uruguay in 2001 using false Brazilian identification papers including a bogus birth certificate. For the last decade he lived in a comfortable rural villa near the town of Maldonado, adjacent to the resort city of Punta del Este.
When he was arrested, Morabito had 13 cell phones, an automatic pistol, 12 credit and debit cards, a large quantity of Uruguayan money and US $50,000 in cash, plus currency certificates worth US $100,000, the Uruguayan Interior Ministry said.
In a search of Morabito’s home in the town of Maldonado, authorities seized a 2015 Mercedes and a Portuguese passport in his false Brazilian name. His wife — an Angolan national with a Portuguese passport — was also arrested, authorities said.
According to the Uruguayan Interior Ministry, Morabito was indicted for three crimes of forgery and will remain in preventive detention for three months while extradition proceedings are underway Italian police say once extradited, Morabito will face the 30-year sentence handed down two decades ago.

Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau Submits Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(CNN) Will Canada be known for another kind of leaf — other than its iconic maple?

On Thursday, the Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled its plans to legalize recreational marijuana.
If the Cannabis Act passes Parliament, Canada would become the second nation in the world, after Uruguay, to regulate a legal marijuana market.
The government’s new policy had been expected for some time as Trudeau had endorsed legalizing marijuana on the campaign trail.
“It’s too easy for our kids to get marijuana. We’re going to change that,” according to a tweet from his official account.
The legislation “seeks to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis, and it will make Canada safer,” said Bill Blair, parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, on Thursday.
Here are five things to know about Canada’s proposed marijuana policy, which officials hope to have in place by July 2018.

1. Government regulates marijuana sales

The Canadian government would create a system to regulate marijuana production, distribution and sale. It would also collect licensing fees and taxes on marijuana sales, which officials say takes profits away from criminals and organized crime.
“Criminals pocket between $7 and $8 billion in illicit proceeds. We simply have to do better,” said Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
Producing or distributing marijuana outside the government regulation would be considered serious offenses, officials said.
The federal government will provide minimum conditions, but the provinces could set more rules about distribution and sale on top of those.
But many issues remain for government officials to figure out, including how much to charge for marijuana, reported CNN’s partner CBC.

2. Adults can have marijuana and grow them too

Adults would be able to have up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public and be permitted to grow up to four plants per household.
Under the Cannabis Act, Canadians would be able to buy marijuana at legal retail outlets or receive them through a licensed producer in the mail.
However, marijuana will remain illegal until the new law is approved and goes into effect.

3. But kids and teens can’t have marijuana

Teens and minors under the age of 18, would be prohibited from having or buying marijuana. Canadian provinces can raise that minimum age higher if they’d like.
Authorities envision regulating marijuana like alcohol.
“By providing a highly regulated system of distribution, we can be much more successful as we have been with alcohol,” Blair said. “It’s not an absolute guarantee that kids won’t get access to it, but it will be far more difficult for kids to get access to it when this new regime is in place than it is today.”
Officials lamented that the current policy of banning marijuana hasn’t deterred kids from drug use. Despite about $2-6 billion spent by the Canadian police to deal with marijuana use, Canadian teens are among “the heaviest users in the Western world,” Goodale said.
“If your objective is to protect public health and safety, and keep cannabis out of the hands of minors and stop the flow of illegal profits to organized crime, the law as it stands today, has been an abject failure,” Goodale said.
The new policy would create tougher criminal offenses for selling marijuana to a minor — punishable by as much as 14 years in prison.

4. No, you can’t drive while high

The bill would add new offenses prohibiting people from driving while they’re drunk or impaired by marijuana and other drugs.
It would create three new offenses and allow police to require saliva tests for drivers whom they suspect of being high, reported the CBC. A positive test could result to more testing including a blood test.

5. Don’t bring it over the border

Bringing marijuana across borders would remain a serious criminal offense — especially as marijuana laws differ depending on countries.
“Each country establishes its own rules,” Goodale said.
“The laws of the United States are the responsibilities of the United States. The laws of Canada are the responsibility of Canada.”