Uruguay recorded a record number of murders in 2018, with a 35 percent increase to 382, a study published on Thursday claimed.
That amounts to 11.2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the report by the Fundapro foundation, which has close ties to the opposition Colorado Party, which published in Thursday's edition of the El País newspaper.
In 2017, there were 283 murders, already an increase of 5.6 percent on the previous year.
The government blames a significant proportion of the increased murder rate on fighting between criminal gangs.
However, back in August the InSight Crime website, which studies organised crime in Latin America and the Caribbean, said "there are probably a variety of factors contributing to" the increase.
It also noted that Uruguay remains "one of Latin America's safest countries and often the country of choice for criminals searching for a safe haven rather than a battleground."
According to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank published in November, the murder rate across Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017 was 22 per 100,000 inhabitants, double that of Uruguay's a year later.
It comes at a time when Uruguay's unemployment (8.6 percent) and inflation (8.05) figures are on the rise.