The President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, on April 24 participated in a commemoration of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide when a khatchkar (stone-cross monument) was erected in Montevideo’s Armenia Square. The ceremony was initiated by AGBU’s Montevideo Chapter, with the Social Democrat Hunchak party, the Armenian National Center, and the Commission of Armenia Square.
The head of the Uruguayan Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Archbishop Hakob Glnjian, consecrated the khatchkar, which was carved by artist Ruben Nalbandian in Armenia. Uruguay’s Education and Culture Minister, Ricardo Ehrlich, gave a speech remembering the Genocide. Uruguay’s Tourism Deputy Minister, Lilian Keshishian, thanked the government on behalf of the Armenian community for supporting the memorial.
President Mijica is the only Uruguayan president to have visited Armenia. Speaking afterwards to a newspaper, the Consul of Armenia to Uruguay, Ruben Aprahamian, called the presence of Uruguay’s president “very important,” and cited Uruguay as the first country to recognize the Armenian Genocide, in 1965.
The Consul went on to say that there is a commercial bond growing between the two countries, with a prospective trade in livestock forthcoming, pending negotiations. “It’s been 18 years since the Republic of Armenia became independent,” he said. “The country is already doing a lot of business with Asian countries, and we’d like to start the same in South America.”
The khatchkar was erected with the financial support of Uruguayan-Armenian benefactor Karlos Ketsoyan.
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 500,000 Armenians around the world.
For more information about AGBU and its worldwide programs, please visit www.agbu.org