Argentina’s Defense Minister Jorge Taiana Saturday bid farewell to the ARA Libertad on her 50th instruction journey for newly-graduated officers of two promotions of the Naval Academy (Escuela Naval).
Today is a day of great joy because we say goodbye to a great ambassador of Argentina, which is the Libertad Frigate. So are all the people who travel onboard, said Taiana during his speech.
During the five-month trip, the Libertad will call at Fortaleza (Brazil), Castries (St. Lucia), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Havana (Cuba), Veracruz (Mexico), Baltimore (United States), Dublin (Ireland), Saint Maló and Toulon (France), Cádiz (Spain) and Salvador de Bahía (Brazil).
Taiana explained that each port to be visited had been chosen taking into account the country’s interests. He underlined that “we have to strengthen relations with the Caribbean, in South America, we have great deficits with the whole process of independence of the Caribbean.
Most Caribbean countries have been British colonies and have always looked at our claims on Malvinas with a rather critical or distant position. We have to go and explain that the situation of our islands is not the same as theirs, he added.
When asked why Curacao had been removed from the list, while St. Lucia remained, Taiana argued that “Curaçao is a magnificent Dutch possession, first there was Spain, then Great Britain and finally it remained in the hands of Holland. Frankly speaking, we privilege the independent states because they are the ones with which we have a relationship and they are part of the international community and they are the ones that vote in the UN. So, if we want to have a more intense relationship with Holland, let's go to Amsterdam.
Regarding St Lucia, Taiana pointed out that it is an independent country with representation in the United Nations and that it is also a member of the International Decolonization Committee before which Argentina presents every year its claim for sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falklands) and other islands in the South Atlantic.
Taiana also explained that Dublin had been selected in recognition of the homeland of Argentina’s Naval hero Admiral Guillermo Brown, Saint Maló in France is where the maritime expedition that concluded with the first permanent settlement in Malvinas departed Sept. 15, 1763. It is also the root of the Spanish name for the Falkland Islands.
According to a press release from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Buenos Aires quoted by Infobae, “since 2010 Curaçao and Saint Maarten have become independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The government regime is unicameral parliamentary and parliamentarians are elected by universal suffrage every four years.”
King Wilhelm is represented by a governor who is not part of the cabinet, the Embassy also explained, before stressing there was no third country claiming sovereignty over the island of Curaçao.
After the pandemic years, two classes of newly graduated ensigns will be on this trip. Navy Chief, Admiral Julio Guardia explained that several measures had to be taken to adapt to the current sanitary situation: “There has been a complete swabbing of the entire crew before departure, all of them have a complete vaccination schedule and in each country where we arrive, we will comply with the sanitary measures established by the local authorities.”
While unable to make their customary graduation journey, officers from the 149th and 150th promotions “carried out a large number of internships in different units of the sea fleet and the rest of the Navy units, so they ended up having at this point a first early contact with what will later be their professional destinations,” Guardia explained.
During her 49 previous voyages, the Libertad has sailed 1,080,056 nautical miles, with 9,095 days at sea, during which 69 countries have been visited.
The ship has a length (length) of 104 meters, a beam (width) of 14.3 meters, and 2652 m2 of sail, its displacement is 3635 tons and the height of its mainmast is 50 meters.
The Libertad was fully built at the Río Santiago Shipyard in the province of Buenos Aires.
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