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Commentary: Historic visit by the president of Chile
Published on August 31, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Dr Edsel Edmunds

I was pleased to read of the visit by President Michelle Bachelet of Chile to St Lucia, for our two countries worked very closely on Caribbean/Latin American affairs over several years throughout my 13 years as permanent representative of St Lucia to the Organization of American States, and as president of its Permanent Council on two occasions.

Dr Edsel Edmunds is a former Senior Research Fellow, UWI St Augustine Campus, former Senator, Ambassador of St Lucia to the UN, OAS, and US, Founder and Patron of the St Lucia National Research and Development Foundation and Pioneer in the conservation movement in St Lucia
I recall working assiduously with the then permanent representative of Chile, Dr Heraldo Munoz particularly in support for the establishment of democracy in that country.

In recognition of my support for democracy in Latin America and in particular St Lucia's commitment to the transition to democratic rule in that country, the government of Chile through Ambassador Munoz, awarded me the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins / Grand Cross award, the highest civilian honour awarded to non-Chilean citizens. Bernardo O'Higgins is revered as the Liberator of Chile, a national hero who dedicated himself to the cause of liberty. His remains lie in a monument called "The Alter of the Fatherland"

Interestingly it is the very Ambassador Munoz who is now the minister of foreign affairs of the government of that country, and also of note is the fact that our own present permanent representative to the OAS, Ambassador Anton Edmunds was present to witness this ceremony.

I recall having extensive discussions with Ambassador Munoz on possible areas of technical cooperation between our two countries and received the commitment of his Government to develop programmes which would redound to our mutual benefit, including in areas related to agriculture, tourism, and investment promotion.

I am confident that under the leadership and vision of our prime minister, the visit to St Lucia by President Bachelet of Chile will launch and cement functional cooperation in key areas of importance to our respective countries.
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