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Video celebrates the ties to Montevideo, Uruguay, its counterpart in Minnesota

MONTEVIDEO -- Every student in South America can identify Montevideo as the capital of Uruguay.

The way things are going, every student in South America will soon be able to identify Montevideo, Minn. It's all thanks to "Hola Montevideo,'' a YouTube video that celebrates the ties between the Uruguayan capital and its much smaller North American counterpart.

The video is fast on its way to going viral.

"It's not a high-tech thing,'' said the star of the Spanish language video, who is as surprised as anyone by the attention it's getting.

Anna Moore was interviewed over Skype by a Uruguayan television station about the video. She's lost count of the Facebook "friend'' requests she's been receiving from Spanish speaking countries in South America ever since.

Moore is a junior at St. Benedict's where she is majoring in Spanish. She was home in Montevideo at Christmas after a semester of study in Chile when her father, Patrick, called on her skills in Spanish.

The Montevideo Chamber of Commerce had received an email from a Uruguayan television station. It asked if there was a Spanish-speaking person in the community willing to be interviewed over Skype about the connections between the two Montevideo's.

The Chamber turned to Patrick Moore, who is a member of the board for the Minnesota-Uruguay Partners of the Americas.

The two Montevideo's have a sister city relationship that dates to 1905. A statue of South American liberator José Artigas stands over Montevideo's downtown, a 1949 gift from the school children of Uruguay. Montevideo's summer celebration is known as ''Fiesta Days' and highlights this long relationship.

Patrick Moore said that when he initially contacted the producer at the Uruguayan television station, she asked him if he could produce a short video on the relationship so she could pitch the idea.

Anna Moore recruited her younger brother Martin, and cousins Brendan and Andy Stermer to be featured in the video along with her. Her father held the Flip camera as they bounced around town to show the Uruguayan connections, everything from an art collection at City Hall to of course, that famous downtown statute.

The video is spontaneous and fun, and it's not just about the highbrow kinds of stuff. One segment features a playful shouting match with the emblems for Uruguay's rival soccer teams, Peñarol and Nacional. Anna Moore said the rivalry is akin to that between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings, "only a hundred times more intense.''

No doubt about it, judging by the hundreds of comments that have come flowing to the YouTube site. Many make note of the two soccer teams.

But many others come from people all over South America and Spain expressing an interest in Montevideo, Minn. Many also come from Uruguayan ex-patriot communities around the United States, and they too express an interest in seeing Montevideo, Minn.

A link to the video is found on the West Central Tribune website:

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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