A little thanks goes a long way

LAST week’s Herald story about a family’s Covid-19 experience in Uruguay (“Thanks, Uruguay,” May 16, 2020) was quite a hit with the South Americans.

The country’s biggest selling daily newspaper El Pais covered our story about former Fremantle Ports chief engineer Jesz Fleming’s stay at the Brittanica Hospital in Montevideo in its 100,000 circulation Sunday edition.

Uruguay’s popular foreign affairs minister Ernesto Talvi also re-Tweeted a picture of Mr Fleming’s grandchildren holding up a copy of the Herald, though we’re not sure that Google’s translation of his Tweet, which had Mr Fleming’s daughter Claire Leong “rescue the enormous humanity of the Uruguayans”, quite captured his sentiment.

A small non-government organisation called Audele reached out to the paper this week after seeing the story to let us know that Uruguay would have its arms open to Sandgropers once our international borders are re-opened.

Audele organises cultural, volunteer and study exchanges, ostensibly with the aim of lifting Uruguay’s profile and promoting it as a tourism destination.

But as spokesperson Sylvia Malinger noted in the email, they’re the second-smallest country on the continent and are up against bucket list destinations like Machu Pichu or the Iguazu Falls.

Ms Malinger says their “quaint, friendly” branding of “Uruguay Natural” sums up what they’ve got to offer well.

“Uruguay stands out for being an egalitarian society, with a complete absence of extreme poverty,” Ms Malinger said.

“It is the safest country in South America, known for its verdant interior (with more sheep and cows than inhabitants), its beach-lined coast, its vast wine industry and its its gastronomy associated with the Gaucho tradition.”

The Herald’s resident Uruguayophile concurred, saying their steaks out-flavour the more famous offerings of their Argentinian neighbours.

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