In May 1851, Brazil intervened in a regional conflict on behalf of Uruguay. In return, Uruguay granted Brazil the right to intervene in her international affairs.
To this day, Uruguay is closely tied to the international politics of Argentina and Brazil. All are members of the powerful union Mercosur.
Owing to the Argentina’s persistent claims over the Falkland Islands, despite international recognition of the nationality of the islands, the Uruguayan coast guard found themselves tangled in an international maritime dispute with Spain.
Due to pressure from Argentina, the ports within Mercosur will not recognize the Falkland Islands, and therefore, any vessel flying its flag. On the 29th of December, 2011 a Spanish vessel was barred from entry to Punta del Este in Uruguay, because the vessel was flying the Falkland Islands flag.
Uruguay’s Foreign Affairs minister, Luis Almagro, had stated that the country recognizes international treaties, and all official flags recognized by the UN…except for the “illegal” Falkland Islands flag.
It is presumed the vessel was attempting to dock to resupply, or make repairs in the port.