The legislative council of Buenos Aires, Argentina, decided to discard a draft project to name a square in the neighborhood of Colegiales as “Republic of Azerbaijan” on Wednesday 10 September, Prensa Armenia reports.
The bill drew a lot of criticism within the Armenian community, as the grounds of the project said that Azerbaijan’s early years of independence “were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh War with neighboring Armenia,” while, in recent years, “Azerbaijan had not only succeeded in pacifying the region but also is making great efforts to open up to the world as part of various international organizations, achieving economic and political stability for its people.”
Carolina Karagueuzian, director of the Armenian National Committee of South America in Buenos Aires, was the first to raise her voice: “Within the apparent neutrality of the project there is a broader strategy hidden by the Azerbaijani authorities, who seek to clean up their image and conceal their constant violations of human rights. Azerbaijan’s embassy in Argentina was specifically opened to confront Argentine citizens of Armenian descent, who maintain an active struggle against impunity of crimes against humanity for nearly 100 years”.
“The project said that Azerbaijan managed to pacify the region, when in factAzerbaijan authorities boycott the mediations in the Karabakh issue and its president continuously threatens to resume the war. Moreover, Azerbaijani President declared on September 3 that Turkey and Azerbaijan will work together to ‘dispel the myth of the Armenian Genocide’ in 2015, the centenary of the Genocide. It is unacceptable for the City of Buenos Aires to grant a space for the Azeri lobby to continue disseminating their denialist propaganda, just when the city prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this crime against humanity”, added Karagueuzian.
Furthermore, Karagueuzian recalled that “the Azeri diplomacy attempted to carry out a similar project in Mexico City two years ago. Additionally, in 2010, through the action of the Armenian community the Buenos Aires City Government canceled the installation of a statue of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.”
After the news broke out, Deputy Alejandra Caballero, author of the project, made it clear that she would not submit it in the Legislature: “I feel very close to the beloved Armenian community, I accompany them in their pain, in living memory and the constant claim of the cruel Armenian Genocide 99 years ago,” said Caballero. “I signed the project mistakenly, among many, to name public spaces for other countries. I am sorry and I apologize to those who may have been affected and felt offended by my mistake and deeply thank my friends who alerted me of my carelessness,” she added.