National Day of Chile 2018
21 September 2018
Ambassador Francisco Berguño of Chile hosted a reception to celebrate the 208th anniversary of the establishment of the first autonomous government in Chile in 1810.
Addressing guests Ambassador Berguño said, "During these just over two hundred years, we have gone through different stages of development and integration into the international community. Today Chile is a vibrant economy, well connected to the world and fully committed to upholding the values of freedom, equality, non-discrimination, democracy and human rights. Perhaps it is fitting to recall that this year we will celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We have a longstanding friendship with South Africa that is based on these shared values and that stands on various strong pillars."
Speech by Ambassador Francisco Berguño
We are honoured that you have taken the time to join us today as we celebrate the 208th anniversary of the establishment of the first autonomous government in Chile in 1810. This date marks our first steps in a process that would eventually lead to our full independence in 1818.
During these just over two hundred years, we have gone through different stages of development and integration into the international community. Today Chile is a vibrant economy, well connected to the world and fully committed to upholding the values of freedom, equality, non-discrimination, democracy and human rights. Perhaps it is fitting to recall that this year we will celebrate 70 years since the adoption of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We have a longstanding friendship with South Africa that is based on these shared values and that stands on various strong pillars. I will not go into a detailed account of the excellent state of affairs between our two countries. But I would like to put on record that we are fully committed to continue building upon the wide array of bilateral instruments that we have established for this purpose.
During these past years, we have created a political dialogue mechanism, a joint commission on commerce and investment; we have signed multiple agreements including in the areas of avoidance of double taxation, Defense, exemption of visas for all passports, the fight against drug-trafficking and organized crime, cooperation in the field of mineral resources, as well as science, technology and Innovation, among others.
In late October this year the Joint Commission on Trade and Investment will meet in Santiago for its fifth meeting, with a view to bolster bilateral trade. We are discussing hosting later this year our political dialogue mechanism with South Africa, also in Santiago, which will provide an excellent opportunity to take stock of the state of our relations.
South – South cooperation and solidarity is also at the core of our relations with South Africa and indeed the African continent. We are perhaps not a wealthy country, but we understand that we must do our share. Chile has channeled through Unitaid over US$ 20 million since its inception in 2006 for health projects in Africa, including South Africa, in particular in the area of HIV treatment. The Nelson Mandela Scholarships created by the Chilean International Cooperation Agency (AGCI) and fully funded by the Chilean government, have benefitted over 70 students from Angola, Mozambique and South Africa since their creation in 2014, allowing these students to obtain a post graduate degree in Chilean universities. We have organized in Chile capacity building seminars for countries in Southern Africa as well as courses in the areas of public management and aquaculture, among others, always with the view of building bridges between our people.
As we commemorate the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu, we are reminded of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit to be held next week in New York. The Political Declaration to be adopted in this context is a welcome reminder of the importance of multilateralism and the need to continue to support the work of the United Nations. We are particularly pleased with the election of South Africa to the Security Council, a candidature that we fully supported. We also support the recognizing of the period 2019 to 2028 as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace and join the call to States to pursue international peace and security, development and human rights.
Before I finalize this intervention, I would like to ask you to bear with me for a moment as I address a few words in Spanish to my fellow compatriots.
Les agradezco muy especialmente que nos acompañen hoy en estas celebraciones de fiestas patrias, en particular aquellos que han venido de lejos o por primera vez. Es esa época del año en que inevitablemente nuestros corazones añoran nuestro país de origen y vuelven a la mente recuerdos de nuestro querido Chile.
La protección de las comunidades chilenas en el exterior es uno de los pilares de la política exterior chilena y, por lo tanto, una de nuestras preocupaciones permanentes. Ésta se materializa a través de una red de 140 oficinas consulares en el mundo, en nuestro caso a través del Consulado en Pretoria y los Consulados Honorarios en Ciudad del Cabo y en Durban, así como a través de la Dirección para las Comunidades Chilenas en el Exterior.
En ese sentido aprovecho esta ocasión para recordarles que las puertas de la Embajada y del Consulado en Pretoria siempre estarán abiertas.
Creo también apropiado recordar que en algunos días se cumplirán 45 años desde que nuestro segundo premio Nobel de Literatura, Pablo Neruda, falleció, dejándonos una obra de inmensa riqueza. Los invito a recordarlo a través de estos versos que vienen de su poema “celebraciones”:
Pongámonos los zapatos, la camisa listada,
el traje azul aunque ya brillen los codos,
pongámonos los fuegos de bengala y de
pongámonos vino y cerveza entre el cuello
y los pies,
porque debidamente debemos celebrar
este número inmenso que costó tanto
tantos años y días en paquetes,
tantas horas, tantos millones de minutos,
vamos a celebrar...
Muchas gracias, thank you.