Source: Mercopress, TeleSUR
July 16 2015
The presidents of Argentina and Bolivia have unveiled a statue of Bolivian war of independence heroine Juana Azurduy. The 25-ton, 16-meter-high statue replaces a controversial statue of Christopher Columbus that was taken down in 2013 after ninety years.
A gift from Bolivia
The present from Bolivia was unveiled Wednesday behind Argentina’s presidential palace during an official visit by Bolivian President Evo Morales.
Juana Azurduy was an outstanding South American guerrilla military leader and critical figure in the South American struggle for independence while, to many, the arrival of Columbus in Latin America and the Caribbean heralded the beginning of genocide in the “New World”.
Festivities throughout the week will celebrate the monument’s inauguration as a symbol of “Patria Grande,” a term that roughly translates as “Big Homeland,” used in Latin America to refer to the integration process in the region.
The statue, which will be Argetina’s largest once officially revealed, was made by sculptor Andres Zerneri, who began working on the statue three years ago with the help of a team of 45 assistants. Zerneri said Azurduy led battles that were fundamental for South American independence and her legacy is part of the longstanding regional defense of Patria Grande. “Juana Azurduy statue will be the largest in Argentina.”
The Argentine and Bolivian leaders also signed border security and trade agreements, and praised the work carried out in both countries to reduce inequality and promote social inclusion.
Inclusion saves the most vulnerable and strengthens the internal market
“The inclusion process does not only save those most vulnerable, although that is the key to that process,” the Argentine leader explained next to Morales.
“Millions of people have been included as consumers and that also benefits small businesses which have been able to expand their commerce because there is a solid internal market.”
Cristina Fernandez underlined that the two countries “should not just see each other as clients, but also partners, that is the key to our closer relationship and integration”.
The president also thanked Morales for visiting Argentina and for donating the monument to Azurduy, and asked him to consolidate trade relations between the nation and Bolivia “so that ”resources stay in the region and feed our countries”.