|Uruguay Table of Contents
With the return of democratic government in 1985, Uruguay's foreign policy underwent an abrupt change. After taking office, Sanguinetti vowed to maintain and increase diplomatic relations with every nation "that respects the international rules of noninterference in the internal affairs of other countries." He carried out this policy by renewing relations with Cuba, Nicaragua, and China and by strengthening relations with the Soviet Union.
Sanguinetti's first foreign affairs minister, Enrique Iglesias, conducted an intensive and successful diplomatic offensive to restore his country's prestige. Once again, Uruguay began to host important international meetings, such as the September 1986 GATT conference and the second meeting of the presidents of the Group of Eight (the successor organization of the Contadora Support Group) in October 1988, at the seaside resort of Punta del Este. More world leaders visited Uruguay during the Sanguinetti administration than ever before in Uruguay's history.
An important element of the Sanguinetti government's foreign policy was the promotion of a more just world economy and of a more free and open trade system. Guided by Iglesias, Sanguinetti reintegrated Uruguay into the region, renewed and strengthened diplomatic and commercial relations with countries that were ignored for ideological reasons during the "military diplomacy" period, negotiated new markets for Uruguayan products, instigated a new round of negotiations in GATT, and designed a new Latin American strategy for dealing with the foreign debt. In April 1988, after Iglesias's election as president of the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), Luis A. Barrios Tassano became Sanguinetti's second foreign affairs minister. Barrios described Uruguayan foreign policy as "pluralist, multifaceted, nationalist, and flexible."
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Source: U.S. Library of Congress