This July 28, Peru celebrates the bicentennial of its independence and its birth as a republic. Although the first cry of liberty was given in 1811, by Francisco de Zela, who led a revolution in Tacna, in southern Peru, and in 1814 a Government Junta was installed in Cusco, the center of Spanish power in South America was in Peru and from there departed the royalist forces opposed to the libertarian efforts, also threatening the advances that were made in the other nascent countries.
When the Army of the Andes, under the command of Argentine General José de San Martin, disembarked in Peru, in December 1820, Trujillo, the important and extensive intendancy of northern Peru, proclaimed its independence. On July 28, 1821, from the Plaza de Armas of the capital of the viceroyalty, the independence of Lima was proclaimed, tracing the path that consolidated, three years later, with the battles of Junín and Ayacucho under the leadership of the Venezuelan Simon Bolívar, the definitive freedom of these new republics. This feat was therefore the result of the sacrifice, efforts and wills of Peruvian and Latin American patriots who fought together for a common cause.
Throughout these two hundred years, Peru has been building its life as a republic, a process that still continues, trying to preserve the ideals of justice, freedom and equality with which it was founded and increasingly aware that what unites us and makes us strong is our diversity and multiculturalism, which is the product of a millenary past together with the contribution from Spain along with its Arab and African components, and subsequent Asian and European ones.
As part of the bicentennial celebrations, we have carried out a program of activities internally, with the launching of emblematic and key infrastructure works and other activities, but also promoting a national mobilization around the values necessary to build a better society. This celebration coincides with an unprecedented pandemic in history, which has generated a crisis of great impact on the health, economy, and employment of our citizens and which has also revealed large social gaps.
On the bicentennial we also inaugurate a new government. Precisely today, July 28, president Pedro Castillo assumes official functions before a Parliament that is also newly elected. In this sense, based on a profound reflection on how far we have come in these two hundred years, the Peru of the bicentennial takes the opportunity to renew its commitment to work towards the achievement of a modern country, open to the world and that offers opportunities for the development and well-being of its entire population, without poverty and inequalities and within the framework of a strengthened democracy.
Thus far, in the sanitary field, the national vaccination program is advancing at a good pace and we hope that the entire population will be vaccinated in the course of this year. Also, the inclusion of all Peruvians in the Comprehensive Health System, which was being done progressively, has been completed, so that no one is left out of the provision of health services, fully financed by the state. As for the Peruvian economy, which was among those that suffered the most in the region due to the effects of the pandemic, it has already recovered all what it lost last year, anticipating that, by the end of 2021, the GDP will grow around 10%, leading once again the economic expansion of the region.
If there is a lesson that we can draw from this pandemic, which has inflicted so many human and material losses on the entire world and has affected its political and economic order as well, it is the need to act together to deal with the great challenges of today, to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
As Ambassador of Peru in this country, it has been rewarding to witness Romania’s commitment to finding solutions, in the worst moments of the pandemic, through European and international coordination bodies or initiatives, being also very active in cooperation with its neighbors and with other countries, including Peru.
Reaffirming the importance of the continuation of our bilateral political dialogue, on May 26 Peru and Romania held the V Meeting of the Mechanism of Political Consultation. We addressed matters related to the efforts to confront the Covid-19, the ways to continue promoting our economic and commercial relations, where, in 2020, Romania stood out as one of our “dynamic” markets, with a notable increase in bilateral trade despite the pandemic. Romanian business visits to Peru have also resumed as we organize activities for our exporters of superfoods, high-quality textiles and other products.
In the field of cooperation in emergencies and disasters, the National Institute of Civil Defense of Peru and the Romanian Department of Emergency Situations will sign a Memorandum of Understanding in the coming days. Likewise, we have evaluated the possibilities of cooperation in cybersecurity, science, technology and innovation. In the education and academic fields, we have ready for signature an Executive Program on cooperation in education, culture, science, youth and sport, and Peruvian universities are presenting new cooperation projects to their Romanian peers. Considering the valuable contribution of parliamentary diplomacy to the enrichment of bilateral relations, we salute the recent establishment of the Peru-Romania Parliamentary Friendship Group and look forward to the coming creation of its Peruvian counterpart.
As for the cultural field, an important axis of our bilateral relations, we want to highlight the dialogue between the writers Mircea Cartarescu and Fernando Iwasaki on national literatures and their role in the formation of a national identity that took place as part of the Embassy’s bicentennial program, as well as the recital that will also take place today, where the renowned Romanian pianist, Ilinca Dumitrescu, will perform pieces by Alfonso De Silva, Carlos Sánchez Málaga and Theodoro Valcarcel, three well known Peruvian composers from the twentieth century.
This July 28 2021, day of the Bicentennial of the Independence of Peru, we renew our vows of national unity and our promise to work for the common welfare, together with our partners especially with Romania, with whom we share Latin roots, common values and a commitment with the defense of democracy and of the rule of law, and with multilateral institutions as tools for solving complex global problems as well as platforms for cooperation.