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The Economist’s Country of the Year Is ...

Uruguay
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2013 12:06 PM CST
The Economist ’s Country of the Year Is ...
View from the lighthouse of a historic neighborhood in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Congratulations, Uruguay. The South American nation is the winner of the first-ever "country of the year" honor bestowed by the Economist. Uruguay? The editors explain that they eschewed focusing on things such as GDP or having a dominant world leader and instead looked for a country with "path-breaking reforms that do not merely improve a single nation but, if emulated, might benefit the world." Uruguay hits the mark on two counts, by legalizing not only gay marriage but the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana.

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Instead of a Putin-style swaggering leader, Uruguay has the "admirably self-effacing" Jose Mujica as president. "He lives in a humble cottage, drives himself to work in a Volkswagen Beetle and flies economy class," they write. And he leads a country that is "modest yet bold, liberal and fun-loving." See the full article for the also-rans, which include Ireland and Somaliland. (Read more Uruguay stories.)

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