In a ceremony in the city centre of Athens on June 19th 2017, the Embassy of Uruguay and the Consulate of Uruguay in Thessaloniki celebrated the birth date of José Gervasio Artigas, the great Uruguayan revolutionary and liberator.
Her Excellency the Ambassador of Uruguay, Adriana Lissidini performed the festivities and delivered the oration of the Anniversary highlighting in her speech the acknowledgment of Artiga’s heritage to the Uruguayan people for freedom, equality and justice.
The ceremony was honoured by the presence of MP Christos Antoniou, who also serves as the Chairman of the Committee of Friendship of the Hellenic Parliament with the Uruguayan Parliament. Exalted guests, high ranking Greek officials and representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassadors, Consuls, Diplomats from Latin America and many other countries, as well as a large number of Uruguayan citizens who live in Greece were also present to extend the heartfelt respects.
The celebration took place in the new square named ‘Uruguay Square’ as this year’s ceremony bears a two-fold character: it simultaneously celebrated the birth of its Liberator and the nation of Uruguay itself through its Embassy in Athens and its Consulate in Thessaloniki and celebrated the inauguration of the new Square which bears the name of the country. During the proceedings, Ambassador Lissidini unveiled the nameplate of the Square, which was placed there following a donation by the Embassy and the Consulate in order to mark the day of June 19th 2017 and the day of the Uruguay Square Nomenclature ceremony.
The Ambassador spoke of the special importance that this event represents for her and her country and especially thanked the Mayor of Athens, George Kaminis and his associates, Mrs. Nana Spyropoulou and the Director, Legal Consultant Mr. Georgakarakos, who positively responded to the idea of creating ‘Uruguay Square’ and helping them realise their goals.
Her Excellency Adriana Lissidini especially thanked the Honorary Consul of Uruguay in Thessaloniki, Prof. Dr. Christos Kazantzis, who as she pointed out, although he was only recently appointed to this post, has showed great love for Uruguay and dedication and persistence in achieving the nomination to name a square after the country and by setting up the magnificent statue of Artigas.
In his address, the Hellenic Parliament spokesman, Christos Antoniou, welcomed Uruguay’s Memory Day and referred to the excellent relations between the two countries, expressing his desire that the opening ceremony of the new square as ‘Uruguay Square’ will offer joy and pride to the Uruguayan citizens who live in Greece and specially Athens.
The Ambassador, accompanied by the Consul of Uruguay, Dr. Jose Enrique Sienra and the Honorary Consul of Uruguay in Thessaloniki, Prof. Dr. Christos Kazantzis, then paid tribute to the great Liberator Artigas by laying a wreath at the foot of his statue. Likewise, a wreath was also laid by the Director of the Uruguayan Foundation ‘Maria Tsakos’, Mrs. Margarita Lariera, who was also in attendance at the ceremony.
The Athens Municipal Philharmonic Orchestra, which in addition to the National Anthems of the two countries of Uruguay and Greece, performed for the very first time a piece entitled ‘Tango’s ode’ by the Maestro Dimitris Mihas and performed under the Director Vasilis Vassilopoulos. It is a special adaptation of the most famous and recognisable tangos of all time, written 100 years ago – composed by the Uruguayan musician Gerardo Matos Rodríguez.
At the end of the event, Ambassador Lissidini was honoured for her contribution and work by the representative of the Parents’ Association of the Uruguay School in Athens, Mrs. Giannoulou.
The event was followed by a light cocktail at the Ilisia Hotel.
Her Excellency the Ambassador of Uruguay, Adriana Lissidini, accompanied by the Consul of Uruguay, Dr. Jose Enrique Sienra and the Honorary Consul of Uruguay in Thessaloniki, Prof. Dr. Christos Kazantzis, pay tribute to a national hero of Uruguay, José Gervasio Artigas, often referred to as ‘the father of Uruguayan nationhood’; addressing the many distinguished guests MP Christos Antoniou; Ambassador Lissidini, Dr. Sienra and Dr. Kazantzis pictured with diplomats (left); Consuls (above); and with members of the Uruguayan community in Greece (right).
“Freedom, Equality, Security be our worthy fruits”
José Gervasio Artigas (1764 – 1850)