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Monday 23 October 2017
Regional

Irma, Katia and earthquake victims remembered

Saluting the three nations are Fernando Schmidt, Ambassador of Chile from left, Jennifer Daniel, PS — Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, and Jesús López-Gonzáles, Ambassador of Mexico.

On the occasion of the joint celebration of the National Days of Chile and Mexico held at the residence of the Ambassador of Chile Fernando Schmidt last week, a moment’s silence was taken as a mark of respect for all the victims of hurricanes Irma and Katia, as well as from the earthquake that recently hit Mexico.

Schmidt in his welcome remarks stated: “We cannot miss a word of condolences for the victims of the earthquake that harshly hit the south of Mexico last week and a deep solidarity with all those who have lost their lives and properties by the devastating passage of hurricanes Harvey, Katia and Irma. Chile will assist the concerned governments in their reconstruction as it was stated by the President of the Republic, Michelle Bachelet.”

He then said spoke on the bilateral relation between Chile and TT in the past year, stating that it has been one characterised by a number of achievements, beginning with the historic official visit of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley and his delegation to his country on May 28 and 29, and of the political consultations that took place this year. He said: “Both represent the excellent level of compliment and commitment for continuing the process of improving our ties.”

In the area of trade, Schmidt spoke of the Partial Scope Trade Agreement that will be signed next month for a feasibility study to be done, and in terms of cooperation, he said several initiatives are in train on coastal erosion, senior public management and a new workshop on Search and Rescue to be held in Barbados.

In the social sphere, Schmidt is hoping an MOU will be signed, thus propelling the laying of the foundation for successful Chilean experiences in working with vulnerable youth, such as the Fútbol Más NGO in TT.

Chile will also participate in the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival with the movie entitled Neruda, accompanied by the President of the Association of Chilean Film Producers. Schmidt said: “Our goal is to encourage dialogue between the creative minds in both countries. We are also working with the National Steelpan Symphonic Orchestra on a musical production to pay tribute to Chilean artist Violeta Parra in the Centenary of her birth, and on launching a work of Chilean literature translated for young audiences in the English-speaking Caribbean.”

The Ambassador said all these activities aim to change this relationship into something vibrant, with a solid foundation enriched by several developments that will unite us even more in the future.

Schmidt concluded: “We want values to prevail — the values that have always underpinned our relationship, starting with strengthening representative democracy, and expanding the levels of participation and transparency of institutions.

Jesús López-Gonzáles, Ambassador of Mexico, briefly explained why the Ambassadors of Chile and Mexico decided to hold their countries’ most important annual celebration together. He said: “Mexico and Chile share a deep, mutual appreciation, which has been built through decades of friendship and solidarity among our countries and our peoples.”

He then spoke of the 1920s, when Mexico was recovering from its Civil War, Chile’s renowned poet and educator, Gabriela Mistral traveled to Mexico City to assist Mexico’s Minister of Education create what is today Mexico’s public education system. Then in the 1970’s, Mexico opened its arms to give refuge to hundreds of Chilean nationals seeking protection, many of whom stayed to contribute to Mexico’s development.

However in spite of the recent passage of hurricane Katia and an earthquake that took the lives of 96 people and caused considerable damage to infrastructure and homes, López-Gonzáles said: “Relief and reconstruction efforts are now underway, and fortunately our robust economy will allow for these efforts to be competed as soon as possible.”

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