Protocol of Ouro Preto

The 1994 Protocol of Ouro Preto was the continuation of economic policies setting up a customs union, as set forth four years earlier in the Treaty of Asunción by the four original Mercosur states. (Consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay)

Argentina

Argentina (Spanish: [aɾxenˈtina]), officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces (Spanish: provincias, singular provincia) and one autonomous city (ciudad autónoma), Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation (Spanish: Capital Federal) as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The earliest recorded human presence in modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The Inca Empire expanded to the northwest of the country in Pre-Columbian times. The country has its roots in Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. The country thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with several waves of European immigration, mainly Italians and Spaniards, radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook; 62.5% of the population has full or partial Italian ancestry, and the Argentine culture has significant connections to the Italian culture. The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest nation in the world by the early 20th century.Following the Great Depression in the 1930s, Argentina descended into political instability and economic decline that pushed it back into underdevelopment, though it remained among the fifteen richest countries for several decades. Following the death of President Juan Perón in 1974, his widow, Isabel Martínez de Perón, ascended to the presidency. She was overthrown in 1976 by a U.S.-backed coup which installed a right-wing military dictatorship. The military government persecuted and murdered numerous political critics, activists, and leftists in the Dirty War, a period of state terrorism that lasted until the election of Raúl Alfonsín as President in 1983. Several of the junta's leaders were later convicted of their crimes and sentenced to imprisonment.

Argentina is a prominent regional power in the Southern Cone and Latin America, and retains its historic status as a middle power in international affairs. Argentina has the second largest economy in South America, the third-largest in Latin America, and membership in the G-15 and G-20 major economies. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Mercosur, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States. Despite its history of economic instability, it ranks second highest in the Human Development Index in Latin America and it is classified as a World Bank middle income economy by the World Bank.

Bolivia

Bolivia ( (listen), Spanish: [boˈliβja] (listen); Guarani: Mborivia [ᵐboˈɾiʋja]; Quechua: Puliwya [pʊlɪwja]; Aymara: Wuliwya [wʊlɪwja]), officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia (Spanish: Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia Spanish pronunciation: [esˈtaðo pluɾinasjoˈnal de βoˈliβja] (listen)), is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The capital is Sucre, while the seat of government and financial center is located in La Paz. The largest city and principal industrial center is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located on the Llanos Orientales (tropical lowlands), a mostly flat region in the east of the country.

The sovereign state of Bolivia is a constitutionally unitary state, divided into nine departments. Its geography varies from the peaks of the Andes in the West, to the Eastern Lowlands, situated within the Amazon Basin. It is bordered to the north and east by Brazil, to the southeast by Paraguay, to the south by Argentina, to the southwest by Chile, and to the northwest by Peru. One-third of the country is within the Andean mountain range. With 1,098,581 km2 (424,164 sq mi) of area, Bolivia is the fifth largest country in South America, after Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Colombia (and alongside Paraguay, one of the only two landlocked countries in the Americas), the 27th largest in the world, the largest landlocked country in the Southern Hemisphere and the world's sixth largest landlocked country, after Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Chad, Niger and Mali.

The country's population, estimated at 11 million, is multiethnic, including Amerindians, Mestizos, Europeans, Asians and Africans. The racial and social segregation that arose from Spanish colonialism has continued to the modern era. Spanish is the official and predominant language, although 36 indigenous languages also have official status, of which the most commonly spoken are Guarani, Aymara and Quechua languages.

Before Spanish colonization, the Andean region of Bolivia was part of the Inca Empire, while the northern and eastern lowlands were inhabited by independent tribes. Spanish conquistadors arriving from Cuzco and Asunción took control of the region in the 16th century. During the Spanish colonial period Bolivia was administered by the Royal Audiencia of Charcas. Spain built its empire in large part upon the silver that was extracted from Bolivia's mines.

After the first call for independence in 1809, 16 years of war followed before the establishment of the Republic, named for Simón Bolívar. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th century Bolivia lost control of several peripheral territories to neighboring countries including the seizure of its coastline by Chile in 1879. Bolivia remained relatively politically stable until 1971, when Hugo Banzer led a coup d'état which replaced the socialist government of Juan José Torres with a military dictatorship headed by Banzer; Torres was murdered in Buenos Aires, Argentina by a right-wing death squad in 1976. Banzer's regime cracked down on leftist and socialist opposition and other forms of dissent, resulting in the torture and deaths of a number of Bolivian citizens. Banzer was ousted in 1978 and later returned as the democratically elected president of Bolivia from 1997 to 2001.

Modern Bolivia is a charter member of the UN, IMF, NAM, OAS, ACTO, Bank of the South, ALBA and USAN. For over a decade Bolivia has had one of the highest economic growth rates in Latin America; however, it remains the second poorest country in South America. It is a developing country, with a medium ranking in the Human Development Index, a poverty level of 38.6%, and one of the lowest crime rates in Latin America. Its main economic activities include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, and manufacturing goods such as textiles, clothing, refined metals, and refined petroleum. Bolivia is very rich in minerals, including tin, silver, and lithium.

Chile

Chile ( (listen), ; Spanish: [ˈtʃile]), officially the Republic of Chile (Spanish: República de Chile ), is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

The arid Atacama Desert in northern Chile contains great mineral wealth, principally copper and lithium. The relatively small central area dominates in terms of population and agricultural resources, and is the cultural and political center from which Chile expanded in the late 19th century when it incorporated its northern and southern regions. Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands, and features a string of volcanoes and lakes. The southern coast is a labyrinth of fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.Spain conquered and colonized the region in the mid-16th century, replacing Inca rule in the north and centre, but failing to conquer the independent Mapuche who inhabited what is now south-central Chile. After declaring its independence from Spain in 1818, Chile emerged in the 1830s as a relatively stable authoritarian republic. In the 19th century, Chile saw significant economic and territorial growth, ending Mapuche resistance in the 1880s and gaining its current northern territory in the War of the Pacific (1879–83) after defeating Peru and Bolivia. In the 1960s and 1970s, the country experienced severe left-right political polarization and turmoil. This development culminated with the 1973 Chilean coup d'état that overthrew Salvador Allende's democratically elected left-wing government and instituted a 16-year-long right-wing military dictatorship that left more than 3,000 people dead or missing. The regime, headed by Augusto Pinochet, ended in 1990 after it lost a referendum in 1988 and was succeeded by a center-left coalition which ruled through four presidencies until 2010.

The modern sovereign state of Chile is among South America's most economically and socially stable and prosperous nations, with a high-income economy and high living standards. It leads Latin American nations in rankings of human development, competitiveness, income per capita, globalization, state of peace, economic freedom, and low perception of corruption. It also ranks high regionally in sustainability of the state, and democratic development. Chile is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), joining in 2010. Currently it also has the lowest homicide rate in the Americas after Canada. Chile is a founding member of the United Nations, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the Pacific Alliance.

Citizenship of the Mercosur

Citizenship of the Mercosur is granted to eligible citizens of the Southern Common Market member states. It was approved in 2010 through the Citizenship Statute and should be fully implemented by the member countries in 2021, when the program will be transformed in an international treaty incorporated into the national legal system of the countries, under the concept of "Mercosur Citizen".Mercosur citizens have the right to free movement, residence and employment throughout the bloc and in the five associated countries. Citizens still have free transport of goods, services and money, as well as equality of rights, harmonization of social security systems and labor laws.

Colombia

Colombia ( (listen) kə-LUM-bee-ə, -⁠LOM-; Spanish: [koˈlombja] (listen)), officially the Republic of Colombia (Spanish: República de Colombia ), is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with land, and territories in North America. Colombia shares a border to the west with Panama, to the east with Brazil and Venezuela, and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogotá.

Colombia has been inhabited by various American Indian peoples since at least 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona, along with the Inca Empire that expanded to the southwest of the country. The Spanish arrived in 1499 and by the mid-16th century annexed part of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1819, but by 1830 the Gran Colombia Federation was dissolved, with what is now Colombia and Panama emerging as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903, leading to Colombia's present borders. Beginning in the 1960s, the country suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict and political violence, both of which escalated in the 1990s. Since 2005, there has been significant improvement in security, stability, and rule of law.Colombia is the most ethnically and linguistically diverse country per capita, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting influences by various Amerindian peoples, European settlement, forced African labor, and immigration from Europe and the greater Middle East. Urban centres are concentrated in the Andean highlands and the Caribbean coast.

Colombia is the most densely biodiverse country per square kilometer, and is part of the world's 17 megadiverse countries; its territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, deserts, islands and coastlines along both the Caribbean and Pacific.

Colombia is a transcontinental country and a regional power in the Americas. It is part of the CIVETS group of leading emerging markets and a member of the UN, the WTO, the OAS, the Pacific Alliance, and other international organizations. Colombia's diversified economy is the third largest in South America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects.

Economy of Brazil

The Economy of Brazil is the world's ninth largest economy by nominal GDP and eighth largest by purchasing power parity. The Brazilian economy is characterized by a mixed economy that relies on import substitution to achieve economic growth. Brazil has an estimated US$21.8 trillion worth of natural resources which includes vast amounts of gold, uranium, iron, and timber.As of late 2010, Brazil's economy is the largest of Latin America and the second largest in the Americas. From 2000 to 2012, Brazil was one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world, with an average annual GDP growth rate of over 5%, with its economy in 2012 surpassing that of the United Kingdom, temporarily making Brazil the world's sixth largest economy. However, Brazil's economy growth decelerated in 2013

and the country entered a recession in 2014. In 2017, however, the economy started to recover, with a 1% GDP growth in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the economy grew 0.3% compared to the same period of the previous year, officially exiting the recession.

Brazil's economy has a gross domestic product (GDP) of R$6.826 trillion, or US$1.868 trillion nominal, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), being ranked as the 9th largest economy in the world. It is the second largest in the American continent, only behind the United States' economy. Brazil is the 73rd country in the world in the ranking of GDP per capita, with a value of US$8,967 per inhabitant.According to the World Economic Forum, Brazil was the top country in upward evolution of competitiveness in 2009, gaining eight positions among other countries, overcoming Russia for the first time, and partially closing the competitiveness gap with India and China among the BRIC economies. Important steps taken since the 1990s toward fiscal sustainability, as well as measures taken to liberalize and open the economy, have significantly boosted the country's competitiveness fundamentals, providing a better environment for private-sector development.In 2016 Forbes ranked Brazil as having the 12th largest number of billionaires in the world. Brazil is a member of diverse economic organizations, such as Mercosur, Unasul, G8+5, G20, WTO, Paris Club and the Cairns Group.

In 2017, Brazil was the third most unequal country in Latin America after Honduras and Colombia. The economic crisis, the lack of public policies and corruption led to an increase in poverty in 2017. Many retired civil servants no longer received their pensions on time and some become homeless because they could not pay their rent. In 2017, the richest 5% of Brazilians hold as much wealth as the remaining 95%. Six billionaires alone are richer than the 100 million poorest Brazilians.According to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, extreme poverty increased by 11 per cent in 2017, while inequalities also increased again (the Gini index rose from 0.555 to 0.567). The reduction in the number of Bolsa Família beneficiaries decided by the government is the main cause, according to the study.

Ecuador

Ecuador ( (listen) EK-wə-dor; Spanish pronunciation: [ekwaˈðoɾ] (listen); Quechua: Ikwayur; Shuar: Ecuador or Ekuatur), officially the Republic of Ecuador (Spanish: República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: Ikwadur Ripuwlika; Shuar: Ekuatur Nunka), is a country in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. The capital city is Quito, which is also the largest city.What is now Ecuador was home to a variety of Amerindian groups that were gradually incorporated into the Inca Empire during the 15th century. The territory was colonized by Spain during the 16th century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. The legacy of both empires is reflected in Ecuador's ethnically diverse population, with most of its 16.4 million people being mestizos, followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants. Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though 13 Amerindian languages are also recognized, including Quichua and Shuar.

The sovereign state of Ecuador is a middle-income representative democratic republic with a developing economy that is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products. It is governed as a democratic presidential republic. One of 18 megadiverse countries in the world, Ecuador hosts many endemic plants and animals, such as those of the Galápagos Islands. In recognition of its unique ecological heritage, the new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights. It also has the fifth lowest homicide rate in the Americas. Between 2006 and 2016, poverty decreased from 36.7% to 22.5% and annual per capita GDP growth was 1.5 percent (as compared to 0.6 percent over the prior two decades). At the same time, inequalities, as measured by the Gini index, decreased from 0.55 to 0.47.

Gaucho (currency)

The Gaucho was the name of a currency intended to be used by Argentina and Brazil in the context of the Argentina-Brazil Integration and Economics Cooperation Program or PICE (Spanish: Programa de Integración y Cooperación Económica Argentina-Brasil) to make interregional payments. It was named after the gauchos typical of both Argentina and Southern Brazil.

After the signing of the Protocol Number 20, in 1987, no further action was ever taken by any of the countries to effectively put the currency into use. Mercosur, an economic bloc including Brazil and Argentina, establishing broader economic integration, was created in 1991, without any initial plans to establish a common currency. Later, in 1994, Brazil established the Brazilian real, still in use, putting an end to the frequent currency changes that took place in the country throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. On such panorama, the Gaucho plan has been virtually shelved.

Mercosur

Mercosur (in Spanish), Mercosul (in Portuguese), or Ñemby Ñemuha (in Guarani), officially Southern Common Market, is a South American trade bloc established by the Treaty of Asunción in 1991 and Protocol of Ouro Preto in 1994. Its full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Venezuela is a full member but has been suspended since December 1, 2016. Associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname. Observer countries are New Zealand and Mexico.Mercosur's purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. Since its foundation, Mercosur's functions have been updated and amended many times; it currently confines itself to a customs union, in which there is free intra-zone trade and a common trade policy between member countries. The official languages are Spanish, Portuguese, and Guarani.

Mercosur Cities Network

Mercosur Cities Network, or simply Mercocities, is a network that unites a group of municipalities of the countries that participate in the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), whether they are members or associates. This organization of cities aims to promote their integration on a regional scale and stimulate development and cooperation between them.

It currently comprises 181 municipalities of the following South American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Mercosur Parliament

The Mercosur Parliament (Spanish: Parlamento del Mercosur, Portuguese: Parlamento do Mercosul), known also as Parlasur, or Parlasul, is the parliamentary institution of the Mercosur trade bloc. It is composed of 81 MPs, 18 from each member states of the bloc – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – and 9 from applying member Venezuela. Associate members – Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – may also hold seats on the Parliament, but with no voting powers.

Paraguay

Paraguay (; Spanish pronunciation: [paɾaˈɣwaj] (listen); Guarani: Paraguái, [paɾaˈɰwaj]), officially the Republic of Paraguay (Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guarani: Tetã Paraguái), is a country of South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Although it is one of only two landlocked countries in South America (the other is Bolivia), the country has coasts, beaches and ports on the Paraguay and Paraná rivers that give exit to the Atlantic Ocean through the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de Sudamérica ("Heart of South America").Spanish conquistadores arrived in 1524 after navigating northwards from the Río de la Plata to the Paraná River, and finally up the Paraguay River. In 1537, they established the city of Asunción, which was the first capital of the Governorate of Paraguay and Río de la Plata. Paraguay was the epicenter of the Jesuit Missions, where the Guaraní people were educated and introduced to Christianity and European culture under the direction of the Society of Jesus in Jesuit reductions, mainly during the 17th century. However, after the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish territories in 1767, Paraguay increasingly became a peripheral colony, with few urban centers and settlers. Following independence from Spain at the beginning of the 19th century, Paraguay was ruled by a series of authoritarian governments who generally implemented nationalist, isolationist and protectionist policies. This period ended with the disastrous Paraguayan War, during which Paraguay lost at least 50% of its prewar population and around 25–33% of its territory to the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. In the 20th century, Paraguay faced another major international conflict – the Chaco War – against Bolivia, from which the Paraguayans emerged victorious. Afterwards, the country entered a period of military dictatorships, ending with the 35 year regime of Alfredo Stroessner that lasted until he was toppled in 1989 by an internal military coup. This marked the beginning of the "democratic era" of Paraguay.

With around 7 million inhabitants, Paraguay is a founding member of Mercosur, an original member of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Lima Group. Also, the city of Luque, in Asuncion's Metropolitan Area, is the seat of the CONMEBOL. The Guarani culture is very influential and more than 90% of the people speak different forms of the Guarani language in addition to Spanish. Paraguayans are known for being a very happy and easy-living people and many times the country has topped the "world's happiest place" charts because of the "positive experiences" lived and expressed by the population.

Peru

Peru ( (listen); Spanish: Perú [peˈɾu]; Quechua: Piruw Republika [pʰɪɾʊw]; Aymara: Piruw Suyu [pɪɾʊw]), officially the Republic of Peru (Spanish: República del Perú ), is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.Peruvian territory was home to several ancient cultures. Ranging from the Norte Chico civilization in the 32nd century BC, the oldest civilization in the Americas and one of the five cradles of civilization, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in pre-Columbian America, the territory now including Peru has one of the longest histories of civilization of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 4th millennia BCE.

The Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a viceroyalty that encompassed most of its South American colonies, with its capital in Lima. Peru formally proclaimed independence in 1821, and following the military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, and the decisive battle of Ayacucho, Peru secured independence in 1824. In the ensuing years, the country enjoyed relative economic and political stability, which ended shortly before the War of the Pacific with Chile. Throughout the 20th century, Peru endured armed territorial disputes, coups, social unrest, and internal conflicts, as well as periods of stability and economic upswing. Alberto Fujimori was elected to the presidency in 1990; his government was credited with economically stabilizing Peru and successfully ending the Shining Path insurgency, though he was widely accused of human rights violations and suppression of political dissent. Fujimori left the presidency in 2000 and was charged with human rights violations and imprisoned until his pardon by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2017. Even after the president's regime, Fujimori's followers, called Fujimoristas, have caused political turmoil for any opposing faction in power, even causing Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to resign in March 2018.

The sovereign state of Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is classified as an emerging market with a high level of human development and an upper middle income level with a poverty rate around 19 percent. It is one of the region's most prosperous economies with an average growth rate of 5.9% and it has one of the world's fastest industrial growth rates at an average of 9.6%. Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing; along with other growing sectors such as telecommunications and biotechnology. The country forms part of The Pacific Pumas, a political and economic grouping of countries along Latin America's Pacific coast that share common trends of positive growth, stable macroeconomic foundations, improved governance and an openness to global integration. Peru ranks high in social freedom; it is an active member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Alliance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the World Trade Organization; and is considered as a middle power.Peru has a population of 32 million, which includes Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians. The main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine, literature, and music.

Portuguese language

Portuguese (português or, in full, língua portuguesa) is a Western Romance language originating in the Iberian Peninsula. It is the sole official language of Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Angola, and São Tomé and Príncipe. It also has co-official language status in East Timor, Equatorial Guinea and Macau in China. As the result of expansion during colonial times, a cultural presence of Portuguese and Portuguese creole speakers are also found in Goa, Daman and Diu in India; in Batticaloa on the east coast of Sri Lanka; in the Indonesian island of Flores; in the Malacca state of Malaysia; and the ABC islands in the Caribbean where Papiamento is spoken, while Cape Verdean Creole is the most widely spoken Portuguese-based Creole. A Portuguese-speaking person or nation is referred to as "Lusophone" (Lusófono).

Portuguese is part of the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several dialects of Vulgar Latin in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia and the County of Portugal, and has kept some Celtic phonology and lexicon. With approximately 215 to 220 million native speakers and 250 million total speakers, Portuguese is usually listed as the sixth most natively spoken language in the world, the third-most spoken European language in the world in terms of native speakers, and the most spoken language in the Southern Hemisphere. It is also the most spoken language in South America and the second-most spoken in Latin America after Spanish, one of the 10 most spoken languages in Africa and is an official language of the European Union, Mercosur, OAS, ECOWAS and the African Union. The Community of Portuguese Language Countries is an international organization made up of all of the world's officially Lusophone nations.

Treaty of Asunción

The Treaty of Asunción was a treaty between the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed on March 26, 1991. The objective of the treaty, signed in Asunción, was to establish a common market among the participating countries, popularly called Mercosur (Southern Common Market). Later, the Treaty of Ouro Preto was signed to supplement the first treaty, establishing that the Treaty of Asunción was to be a legally and internationally recognized organization.

The treaty defined a program of gradual elimination of import/export fees that would reach a free commerce zone by the end of 1994. Even though the dates of the program were not followed and the free zone was not yet reached, the treaty established the bases for the "Mercado Común del Sur" (Mercosur).

Uruguay

Uruguay ( (listen); Spanish: [uɾuˈɣu̯ai] (listen)), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata (River of Silver) to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo. With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometers (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname.

Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrúa people for approximately 4,000 years before the Portuguese established Colonia del Sacramento in 1680; Uruguay was colonized by Europeans relatively late compared with neighboring countries. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Spain, Portugal, and later Argentina and Brazil. It remained subject to foreign influence and intervention throughout the 19th century, with the military playing a recurring role in domestic politics.

A series of economic crises put an end to a democratic period that had begun in the early 20th century, culminating in a 1973 coup, which established a civic-military dictatorship. The military government persecuted leftists, socialists, and political opponents, resulting in several deaths and numerous instances of torture by the military; the military relinquished power to a civilian government in 1985. Uruguay is today a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who serves as both head of state and head of government.

Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, low perception of corruption, e-government, and is first in South America when it comes to press freedom, size of the middle class and prosperity. On a per-capita basis, Uruguay contributes more troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions than any other country. It tops the rank of absence of terrorism, a unique position within South America. It ranks second in the region on economic freedom, income equality, per-capita income and inflows of FDI. Uruguay is the third-best country on the continent in terms of HDI, GDP growth, innovation and infrastructure. It is regarded as a high-income country by the UN. Uruguay was also ranked the third-best in the world in e-Participation in 2014.

Uruguay is an important global exporter of combed wool, rice, soybeans, frozen beef, malt and milk. Nearly 95% of Uruguay's electricity comes from renewable energy, mostly hydroelectric facilities and wind parks. Uruguay is a founding member of the United Nations, OAS, Mercosur, UNASUR and NAM.

Uruguay is regarded as one of the most socially advanced countries in Latin America. It ranks high on global measures of personal rights, tolerance, and inclusion issues. The Economist named Uruguay "country of the year" in 2013, acknowledging the policy of legalizing the production, sale and consumption of cannabis.

Vehicle registration plates of the Mercosur

Vehicle registration plates of the Mercosur are a system under implementation in the Mercosur member states, regional bloc and intergovernmental organization founded in 1991.

Visa policy of the Mercosur

Visa policy of Mercosur member states may refer to:

Visa policy of Argentina

Visa policy of Brazil

Visa policy of Paraguay

Visa policy of Venezuela

Visa policy of Uruguay

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