Vázquez expressed his hopes during an exclusive interview with VOA while he was in Washington for meetings at the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He emphasized the good relations between his country and the U.S., and underscored his intention to not only strengthen them but to extend the relations to other countries.
"We want to expand our bilateral agreements with other countries, with other governments," not with loans, he said, but through "an open market." He added, "We are making great efforts to integrate ourselves, to become united, and that the great nation that is South America could become one region to better defend the interests of its people in the face of globalization."
Regional integration was a prominent feature of Vázquez's campaign for the presidency, which he won in October 2004. He was inaugurated in March 2005.
When asked about the apparent concern of the U.S. reaction to his left-leaning government and his closeness to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Vázquez said "no U.S. government official has expressed any specific concern to him on the subject."
The Uruguayan media picked up the interview and gave it extensive play. All of the country's major television stations, some 200 radio stations and major daily newspapers throughout the nation broadcast or covered the president's remarks.
VOA's live Spanish-language weekly public affairs program Foro Interamericano (Inter-American Forum) will air the interview on Friday, September 16th. It was also excerpted on the weekday Spanish television news program Desde Washington (From Washington). Programs are available at www.VOANews.com/Spanish.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in Spanish and 43 other languages, including English.