Argentine businessman awarded an OBE for helping with Falklands/Malvinas humanitarian project
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An Argentine businessman, president of one of the country’s largest corporations, has been awarded the Order of the British Empire, OBE, for “his services to relations between the United Kingdom and Argentina.”
At the ceremony in the Argentine embassy in Buenos Aires, Eduardo Eurnekian was informed by Ambassador Mark Kent CMG of the honour, the highest awarded to a non-British citizen.
Mr. Eurnekian, who is an outstanding entrepreneur as head of the Corporacion America, which among other assets holds the concession of all Argentine international airports, plus others in Uruguay and Italy, will be receiving the medal in coming months.
The honor bestowed on the descendent of Armenian immigrants relates to his work and commitment to the humanitarian project for the identification of Argentine soldiers remains buried in the Falklands/Malvinas Islands following the 1982 South Atlantic conflict and which only had a black marble plaque which said, “Argentine soldier, only known to God.”
The success of the humanitarian project undertaken in 2017, on an agreement between the UK and Argentina, plus Falklands’ consent and leadership of the International Committee of the Red Cross has meant that 115 of the unnamed graves have now been totally identified. Only seven remain to be identified and the government of president Alberto Fernandez has signed for the second chapter of the continued identification process.
But Mr. Eurnekian commitment has not only been limited to the ongoing identification process, but also to the remodeling of the Argentine military cemetery at Darwin in the Falklands. In 2004 he entirely financed the new cemetery, in coordination with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which until then included 230 graves of which 122 unidentified. The remains of the Argentine combatants were collected and in meticulous order were buried by British colonel Geoffrey Cardozo at the end of the conflict.
The new cemetery included a cenotaph with the named of all 649 Argentines fallen during the 1982 conflict.
However Mr. Eurnekian contribution did not end then, rather the contrary: he is a patron of the Malvinas Families Commission, pays for the upkeep of the cemetery and was responsible for the trip to the Falklands of the next of kin, on the day the graves of ninety unidentified Argentine soldiers recovered full names in engraved stones.
Besides Eurnekian financed the transport of the remains of Argentine captain, Luis Castagnari, to Cordoba, who on leaving for the South Atlantic in 1982 asked his wife for an only wish. If he did not return, “make sure I am buried next to our three year old son Gustavito, who died of cancer.”
In December 2018, Eurnekian and his team travelled to the Falklands to thank the Islanders for all their support with the Humanitarian Project and the respect and warmth with which Argentine next of kin were treated.
He also delivered two plaques commemorating the occasion, which read, “Our gratitude for helping the families of our fallen heroes finding their peace.”
At the time the plaques were recognized as witnesses of the “closeness and reconciliation of Argentina and Great Britain.”
Among other Argentines distinguished with an OBE are Jorge Luis Borges, Andrew Graham-Yool and Patricio Orozco considered one of the world’s leading experts in William Shakespeare.
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Post available in: English