May 24, 2013
Ambassador Martínez toasts the birthday of US
By Pablo Toledo
Hundreds of diplomats, politicians, civil society leaders, high-ranking military officers and religious authorities gathered yesterday at the US Embassy for its traditional Independence Day reception, where Ambassador Vilma Martínez was a gracious host and delivered a speech in which she emphasized the cultural and historical bonds that tie the birth of Argentina and the US as democratic nations.
Attendants included several high-ranking members of the Buenos Aires City government, including Deputy Mayor María Eugenia Vidal and several ministers. Former president Fernando de la Rúa and politicians including Francisco de Narváez and Antonio Cafiero (but very few top-tier national government officials) joined the likes of Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo leader Estela Barnes de Carlotto, Sociedad Rural’s leader Hugo Luis Biolcati, writer Pacho O’Donnell and Herald former editor Andrew Graham-Yooll.
Pouring rain and cold threatened to dampen the mood of the party, but helpful and hardworking Embassy staff offered umbrellas and a helping hand as guests made their way to the canopy that connected the main gates with the doors of the residence, where a strings trio played classical pieces at a side of the impressive staircase that led to the first floor.
Music also marked the transition to the Ambassador’s speech, preceded by a tenor offering moving renditions of Argentina’s National Anthem and the Star Spangled Banner. In her address, Ambassador Martínez said that “236 years ago today, a group of pioneering men and women from all 13 colonies in our country chose freedom over tyranny, a government of the people and for the people over a government of one. These ideals live on to this day in the people of the US and feed from the conviction that this ‘more perfect Union’ that the Constitution speaks of is an ongoing effort to acknowledge that the democratic process based on peace, justice, freedom and shared prosperity is a never-ending road, not a final destination.”
She added that “the history of Argentina is also a history of a declaration of independence and the determination of a new, sovereign course. Thanks to the courage of Argentina’s founding fathers, national heroes like San Martín and Manuel Belgrano, and the determination of all the people, the Tucumán Congress declared independence in 1816. Thus started the creation of a nation guided by many of the same democratic principles that rule our country and which bind us in one heritage of democratic values.”
She ended her address thanking “my fellow citizens for the patriotism and tireless dedication to our nation, which turns 236 today; and our Argentine friends, for helping us strengthen the ties that bind us.”
On the way out, guests were treated to a coin in commemoration of the event and a recipe for Independence Day cupcakes, so many an elegant dress or dark suit must have got flour stains before the day was done. That’s the spirit!