Venezuela’s Chávez Attends Argentina’s Bicentennial Independence Celebrations

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez traveled to Argentina on Tuesday to partake in the country’s bicentennial independence-day celebrations.

By Michael Fox - Venezuelanalysis.com

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The Colón theatre in Buenos Aires during the celebrations (agencies)
The Colón theatre in Buenos Aires during the celebrations (agencies)
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Buenos Aires, May 27th 2010 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez traveled to Argentina on Tuesday to partake in the country’s bicentennial independence-day celebrations. 

Joining Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner were also the presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.  Manuel Zelaya—the Honduran president who was removed from office by a coup d’état last June—was also in attendance.

The Latin American dignitaries were present at the inauguration of Argentina’s new Latin American Patriot’s Gallery, with images of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Juan Domingo Perón, Evita, Salvador Allende, Jose Marti and more.  They then walked across the Plaza de Mayo to join a crowd of hundreds of thousands who came out to watch the massive parade of 2000 artists depicting countless scenes from Argentine history.

Due to the late start and the long performance, Chávez was the only leader to accept the invitation to the ceremonial dinner at the Argentine presidential palace, la Casa Rosada, which didn’t begin until shortly before midnight.

This May 25th celebration capped four days of festivities on the 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires.  The date marked two hundred years since Argentina’s May Revolution, in which the South American country took its first steps towards breaking from its colonial ruler, Spain. 

Argentina’s celebration came just over a month after Venezuela celebrated its bicentennial Independence Day celebrations in Caracas.  The Venezuelan festivities were attended by the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, as well as the prime ministers from various Caribbean nations. 

Argentine president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was the guest of honor at the celebrations, and spoke of a second Latin American independence marked by regional integration and the push for independence from U.S. domination.  

Before leaving Argentina on Wednesday, President Hugo Chávez reiterated the sentiment.

“Today there is a people’s hurricane,” said Chávez. “The people congregated in the streets” send “a very profound message. These millions of people, not just in quantity: each man, each woman, each youth that I saw, was worth a thousand…  A sea of people, a wave of patriotic emotion.  Yes, today we have a homeland, from Caracas to Patagonia.”

“Yesterday we saw a revolution,” he said.  “Don’t give it an ideological or political name.   It is a spiritual and moral revolution.  It is an awakening.”

This was President Chávez’ second trip to Argentina this month.  He was in Buenos Aires in early May for the latest meeting of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), where former Argentine President, Nestor Kirchner was voted in as the regional block’s first Secretary General.