SANTIAGO – Chile’s President Sebastian Piñera was joined by senior officials from Argentina on Thursday for a ceremony marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Maipu, which sealed Chile’s independence.
Piñera and Argentine Cabinet chief Marcos Peña unveiled a plaque commemorating the battle, as well as a 300-square meter (3,229.2 sq. ft.) mural entitled “The embrace of the people,” which was painted by Argentine and Chilean artists to express the friendship between the two neighboring countries and their commitment to peace.
After the event, Cardinal Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago led a religious ceremony at the Votive Temple of Maipu, erected at the battle site, which was followed by a military parade.
“Today, we can say that Chileans fulfilled their mission back then. However, there is still much to be done,” Piñera said.
Piñera spoke of the presence of Peña and Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Raul Aguad and also mentioned his planned visit to Buenos Aires, adding that these official visits were testament “of the legacy of the Embrace of Maipu.”
On April 5, 1818, the South American rebel army, led by Argentine general Jose de San Martin, defeated Spanish royalist forces in Maipu, southwest of Santiago.
The Embrace of Maipu refers to the moment San Martin greeted Chilean rebel leader Bernardo O’Higgins on the battle field, who arrived in Maipu to join the fight despite having been wounded in a previous battle.