URUGUAY: Hands Across the River

The President-elect of Uruguay's National Council and the acting Foreign Minister of Argentina held a secret meeting on the last day of 1954 aboard a yacht anchored in the broad River Plate, which separates the two countries. Purpose: to discuss ways and means of lifting, or at least puncturing, the so-called "tin curtain" between democratic Uruguay and the Argentina of Strongman Juan Perón.

In pre-Perón days, the Plate was more a thoroughfare than a barrier; some 300,000 Argentines and Uruguayans traveled back and forth across the river each year. After Perón took...

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