Uruguay. Vice President Raúl Sendic became the first Vice President to resign on September 13. He was replaced by Lucía Topolansky, wife of former President José Mujica (2010-15) and the first woman in office. The reason for Sendic’s departure was alleged mismanagement of the indebted state oil company ANCAP and irregularities in his track record. In the short term, the departure was seen as a severe blow to the left government and the Breda front (Frente Amplio, FA), but in the long run Topolansky is believed to be an asset to current President Tabaré Vázquez.
According to Countryaah.com, the largest foreign direct investment in Uruguay’s history was completed in November after 17 months of negotiations with the Finnish pulp company UPM. The agreement involves the construction of a pulp mill somewhere along the beaches of Río Negro worth $ 4 billion. In connection with the agreement, Transport Minister Victor Rossi stated that a 273 kilometer long freight railway will be built between the capital Montevideo and Paso de los Toros in the Tacuarembo province. Some analysts considered the agreement much more advantageous for UPM than for Uruguay; among other things, the company is guaranteed a free trade zone around the factory.
Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi, who for several years has been accused by the opposition of failing to improve the general security situation in the country, was able to present figures at the beginning of the year which, on the contrary, showed that, in comparison with most Latin American countries, the already low murder rate in 2016 has fallen by almost 10%. Especially in the capital Montevideo, the crime of violence had gone down thanks to the introduction of special ambulatory police patrols. However, Bonomi’s main critic, right senator Pedro Bordaberry, was not satisfied, but claimed that the statistics were misleading and that the government was still far from reaching its own goals in the fight against crime.