BEIJING – Asia’s first monument to Uruguayan independence hero Jose Artigas (1764-1850) was inaugurated Wednesday at a popular park in the Chinese capital.
Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa presided over the unveiling of a bust of Artigas by sculptor Yuan Xikai, the creator of monuments to other Latin American historical icons, including Simon Bolivar, Jose de San Martin, Jose Marti and Eloy Alfaro, that occupy the same area of the park.
Artigas “is very important not only for Uruguay but for all the people in Mercosur,” Nin said. “He was the central figure in our independence wars and he forged a collective imaginary based on the well-being of everyone.”
In addition to the ceremony, Nin met with State Councilor Yang Jiechi – China’s top foreign affairs official – and agricultural authorities in pursuit of expanding Uruguayan food exports to China.
“We leave with five protocols almost ready covering sales of sorghum, blueberries, citrus, barley and rice, and most probably they will be signed during the visit” to China by President Tabare Vazquez, tentatively set for October, Nin said.
The minister also signed a memorandum confirming the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este as the venue for the 11th China-Latin America Business Summit in October 2017.