Catalan president finishes South American trip by honoring former Chilean president with award
Pere Aragonès to travel to Madrid for European mission on Pegasus spyware following week in Latin America
Catalan president Pere Aragonès has finished his South American trip with a meeting with members of the Chilean government as well as the former president of the country, Michelle Bachelet.
Prior to meeting the former head of state, Aragonès was welcomed by the minister of finance, Mario Marcel, and the minister of economy, promotion and tourism, Nicolás Grau.
After convening at the department of finance building in the capital city of Santiago, he met with the former president Michelle Bachelet at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.
Aragonès presented Bachelet with the 20th Joan Alsina Human Rights Award, awarded by Casa América Catalunya, in recognition of her long and prolific career in defense of human rights. Bachelet said the honor award was a "magnificent honor."
Over the weekend, the Catalan leader praised the Chilean singer-songwriter Víctor Jara in the stadium where the artist was tortured and killed in September 1973. Aragonès visited the facilities of the Chile stadium, today known as the Victor Jara Stadium, alongside Amanda Jara, the daughter of the protest songwriter.
Aragonès announced that for the 2023 La Mercè festival, Jara will be honored with the '1,000 guitars' concert on the 50th anniversary of his murder.
The ERC figurehead has been in South America for the past week, meeting with officials and representatives from various countries.
In Colombia, he praised the work done by the missing persons' group 'Unidad de Búsqueda de Personas Desaparecidas' (UBPD). Aragonès met with the UBPD in the Colombian town of Villavicencio and expressed "Catalan admiration for their brave risk-taking to speak out for the essential demand for justice and memory" during a ceremony honoring the victims of the armed conflict in the municipality.
During his speech, Aragonès said that missing people is also a problem in Catalonia, as during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), 20,000 people disappeared.
He was also due to meet with the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, but that meeting was postponed.
The Catalan president and foreign minister, Meritxell Serret, met with the former president of Uruguay, Pepe Mujica, who said he dreamed of a "more federal" Spain.
In Argentina, the leader of Catalonia signed a memorandum of understanding with the Buenos Aires Province governor Axel Kicillof. The agreement seeks to foster cooperation between both governments relating to matters including social and cultural affairs, education, gender, the 2030 Agenda, intelligent cities, sustainability, and more.
It also aims to create a "stable and lasting relationship" between Catalonia and the Buenos Aires Province, the country's most populous as it includes the capital's greater metropolitan area. To do so, the territories will create a joint cooperation committee that will meet every two years.
He later met with the head of the ministers of the government of Argentina, Agustín Oscar Rossi, at the Casa Rosada government headquarters building in Buenos Aires.
Aragonès and Rossi spoke about the relations between Argentina and Catalonia, and the cultural, social and economic ties they share.
The head of the Catalan executive will travel to Madrid on Tuesday to attend the European parliament committee mission on the Pegasus spyware case.