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Visiting Roosevelt Park, Ciudad de la Costa, Uruguay: 700,000 trees, remembering the visit of FDR to Uruguay in 1936
The United States and Uruguay: hemispheric Good Neighbours
Roosevelt Park (Spanish: Parque Roosevelt ) is located in Ciudad de la Costa, in Uruguay's Canelones department.
The name of the Park commemorates the visit of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to his Uruguayan counterpart Dr Gabriel Terra Leivas on December 3, 1936 at the country's capital, Montevideo. The Park was previously named National Park of Carrasco (Spanish: Parque Nacional de Carrasco ) and National Centenary Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional Centenario ), but following the major event of FDR's visit, it was felt appropriate that name change should make the Park a permanent commemoration of this distinguished US President for whose Administration good relations with Latin America were very important.
Landscape architect Carlos Racine began work on the Park in 1916. Considerable land drainage was carried out. Species of tree panted included pine, eucalyptus and acacia, comprising a total of some 700,000 (1).
The Park includes recreation and picnic areas. It is the venue for regular events; these include a gaucho horse-riding competition.
In the vicinity of Roosevelt Park, prominent local roads include Avenida de las Américas y Avenida Wilson Ferreira Aldunate (2), and Avenida Giannattasio .
President Roosevelt's presence in the region was prompted by the signing of the Chaco Peace Treaty, but also more broadly by his Administration's Good Neigbour Policy, by which FDR sought to bring relations among countries in the Americas onto a level of non-intervention and non-interference and promoting trade reciprocity. In his speech on December 3, 1936 (3) before Uruguayan President, Dr Terra, FDR also referred to the friendship between Uruguay's Independence-era leader, don José Gervasio Artigas and US President James Monroe. The latter's Monroe Doctrine has been widely interpreted as a statement that Latin America was in the United States's sphere of influence; thus, it is a matter for discussion whether FDR's Good Neighbor Policy was continuation of the Monroe Doctrine or else a new departure from it. In any case, the era of the Good Neighbor Policy underwent considerable modification during the Cold War period, when Hemispheric defence in the face of the Communist threat was regarded as paramount in US foreign policy.
August 13, 2012
(1) This is against the background that a vast program of tree planting was undertaken in Uruguay in the early 20th century — particularly in the south of the country —, a considerable proportion of which included imported pine and eucalyptus species.
(2) I remember this road by its former name, Camino Carrasco .
(3) See American Presidency Project , http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15241
Also worth seeing
In Ciudad de la Costa , the Bridge of the Americas is a striking structure built in the early 21st century.
In Montevideo itself, numerous visitor attractions include: the Legislative Palace; the Cerro Fortresss; the Cerrito; the Independence Building and the Salvo Palace facing Plaza Independencia ; the Artigas Mausoleum; Gateway to the Citadel (Spanish: Ciudadela ); the main building of the University of the Republic (UdelaR); the Obelisk; and many others.
How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . The Uruguayan airline PLUNA, which codeshares with VARIG, flies to a number of Latin American regional destinations. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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