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Uruguayans who profess a religion are almost exclusively Roman Catholic, but the Church and state are officially separate. Other religions have made small inroads: There is a small Jewish community in Montevideo, several evangelical Protestant groups and traces of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. Uruguayans are voracious meat eaters and the parrillada (beef platter) is a national standard. Another standard is chivito, a tasty and substantial steak sandwich with all the trimmings. Typical snacks include olímpicos (club sandwiches) and húngaros (spicy sausage wrapped in a hot dog roll). Tea or mate is quaffed in enormous quantities. Clericó, a mixture of white wine and fruit juice, and medio y medio, part sparkling wine and part white wine, are popular, and the beer is pretty good. Uruguay - the smallest Hispanic country in South America - is boxed into the eastern coast of South America by Brazil to the north and Argentina to the west. To the south is the wide estuary of the Río de la Plata, while the Atlantic Ocean washes its eastern shore. For the most part, the country's undulating topography is an extension of that in southern Brazil, and includes two lowly ranges - the Cuchilla de Haedo and the Cuchilla Grande. The terrain levels out west of Montevideo, while east of the capital are impressive beaches, dunes and headlands. Five rivers flow westward across the country and drain into the Río Uruguay. The country's flora consists mostly of grasslands, with little forest except on the banks of its rivers and streams. In the southeast, along the Brazilian border, are lingering traces of palm savanna. Wild animals are scarce, although rhea (a bird-like ostrich) can still be seen in areas near major tributaries. Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, relatively even income distribution, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually in 1996-98, in 1999 the economy...
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