British ambassador in Buenos Aires Mark Kent underlined how much Argentine/UK relations have advanced lately and in a brief speech mentioned football, artificial intelligence and Falklands/Malvinas, areas in which so much is shared by the two countries and how good will and humanitarian values can bring people together and overcome minor interests.
The occasion was Wednesday evening when some 800 guests gathered at the British embassy in Buenos Aires to celebrate the 92nd birthday of Queen Elizabeth. Several Argentine top national and provincial government officials, congress members of different parties, leaders of industry and trade, diplomats, academia, artists, sports people, journalists attended the celebration which had several outstanding moments.
The presence of so many referents from Argentina's political, economic, social and cultural activities is a reflection of the enormous progress relations between our two countries have registered lately, said ambassador Kent, who also thanked the sponsors who made possible such a celebration.
Instead of making an inventory of all events and milestones which helped build the new bilateral relation during the last year, ambassador Kent said he would concentrate on three stories, which unite us, which are of success, and have names, a human face, examples of the close relations between the two countries.
The first referred to football, a shared love, and the fact that the Argentine and English teams will be competing in two months time in the World Cup next to another thirty countries. The human face of this story was Argentine player Jorge Burruchaga, a member of the Argentine team World Cup winner in Mexico 1986, who scored the last goal of that Cup, by kicking the ball and not with the help of the hand of God...
Ambassador Kent mentioned that Burruchaga has a daughter living in London, and thus travels often to UK. He added is was an honor to present one of the coaches of the Argentine national squad with a team shirt of England. The ambassador pointed out he would be cheering for England, hoping for a repeat of the 1966 World Cup, but if not he would support Argentina and Messi. However he refused to chant, if you don't jump, you're English, which is quite common among Argentine football followers.
The second reference was to a group of Argentines working in an artificial intelligence project since university, and were so successful that ended up setting the Eye Capital company, recently established in the UK. The six, Nicolás, Adrian, Juan Pablo, Alexis, Alejandra and Federico, guests at the celebration, are working from London which ambassador Kent described as the fintech capital of the world.
An academic project born in an Argentine university which finds a place in the UK to develop and grow, and according to Ambassador Kent is not the only example, more and more companies, small and big are realizing the benefits of investing in the UK, which is much easier and accessible than thought. We are looking ahead to many more Eye Capitals in the future.
Finally the most emotive of stories was that referred to the Falklands and the visit of Malvinas fallen relatives to the Argentine cemetery in Darwin a month ago. It must be pointed out that all along Ambassador Kent was very careful in avoiding the words Falklands and/or Malvinas.
After giving the background of the operation which took off with the agreement reached at the end of 2016 between Argentina, UK and the Red Cross for the identification of remains buried at the Argentine cemetery in Darwin, Ambassador Kent described the trip as most emotive, and had a special mention for two persons responsible for the logistics but also for the respect and care with which the visit was organized.
They are the UK defense attaché in Buenos Aires Commodore Robin Smith and Roberto Curilovic, from the America Corporation company, which belongs to Eduardo Eurnekian, who, generously, helped finance the trip.
It was really stimulating to see a Royal Air Force officer, as Robin, working shoulder to shoulder with a former pilot of the Argentine Air Force and veteran of the 1982 conflict, as Roberto, underlined ambassador Kent.
Great things can be achieved when there is good will and humanitarian values come before private interests, added the UK representative who ended showing a picture from the Argentine embassy in London where in the framework of the Two Roses for Peace initiative, the president of the Relatives of the fallen commission, Maria Fernanda Araujo embraces former British colonel Geoffrey Cardozo, who back in 1982 was responsible for burying the Argentine soldiers.
This photo does not cheat. Maria Fernanda embraces the man who gave her brother a dignified burial. Gratitude, genuine empathy among two human beings, the essence of all of us, Argentines and British alike.
This was followed by the Argentine and English anthems, played by the Argentine Air Force band and toasts to the Argentine president and Argentine people, and God save the Queen.