President Jose Mujica anticipated that the Argentine economy can’t remain ‘closed for much more time’ (protectionist) and forecasted that 2013 will be a ‘clear year’ for Uruguay regarding economic issues.
“We might have economic difficulties with Argentina. They currently have a much closed project but the Argentine economy can’t remain locked in for much longer” insisted president Mujica in an interview with the government financed daily La Republica.
Mujica also referred to the other major neighbour of Uruguay and Mercosur member, Brazil and underlined the “significant political determination” of President Dilma Rousseff’ administration “to favour and promote integration” with Uruguay.
Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are full members of Mercosur the regional customs block which also includes Venezuela incorporated last July, and Paraguay that remains suspended following the Senate impeachment and removal of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by President Federico Franco.
“We must acknowledge that when we needed help, because of economic difficulties, the Brazilian government has always stood up for us”, added Mujica.
As to Venezuela and the health of President Hugo Chavez, allegedly recovering in Havana from his fourth cancer surgery, Mujica admitted “yes we have a degree of uncertainty and a question mark as to the future” if the re-elected president can’t take office next January 10.
Former guerrilla Mujica has a long standing friendship with Chavez and sent him a personal letter wishing him a quick recovery. He also announced the intention of flying to Havana to visit him in hospital.
Finally Mujica said that Uruguay has managed to diversify markets for its overseas sales and this despite the fact “the world has become a difficult place, I still am reasonably optimistic about the future of the economy”.
The Uruguayan economy according to official data expanded 3% in the third quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2011. Uruguay has been growing sustainedly since 2003.