In the midst of multiple expressions of rejection of the presence of President Gabriel Boric, and when the throes that left controversy raised by former Admiral Miguel Ángel Vergara at the meeting of the Chilean Maritime League are still felt, the traditional ceremony of commemoration of the Day of Naval Glories in the Plaza Sotomayor in Valparaíso. Accompanied by the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Admiral Juan Andrés de la Maza, the president paid tribute to the memory of the fallen, whose remains are found in the crypt of the monument to the Heroes of Iquique.
President Boric had to face the noisy demonstrations of rejection launched by some civilians who attended the event (mainly relatives of the military personnel), one that included, as every year, a military parade led by Navy officers and non-commissioned officers, as well as by delegations from the Army and the Air Force, as well as Carabineros. Another who was the target of these expressions was the president of the Senate, the socialist Álvaro Elizalde.
“Let them go!”, “Get out of here!”, “Boric, understand: the homeland is not for sale!” were the softest expressions that could be heard in the middle of the ceremony, which featured a speech by Admiral De la Maza, who made a call to honor the memory of the heroes of Iquique following the example of Arturo Prat, captain of the La Esmeralda, while highlighting, among other things, the need to preserve the country’s cultural heritage.
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“Under its protection we understand, from a young age, that life in community requires a fair balance between obligations and rights, and we learn to know, respect and love our country and its history. From its people it is nourished and obtains the sap that maintains the hope for which our heroes fought and died, from the rich base that its diversity offers, with virtues and defects our current crew is made up, which, in our main training schools they reinforce the former and guide the latter, thus consolidating our commitment of fidelity to Chile for which we have sworn to be willing to give our lives to protect it from any threat that affects its integrity or its sovereignty,” Commander-in-Chief said in his speech of the Navy.
This is the first appearance of De la Maza after The counter make known a video in which former admiral Miguel Ángel Vergara, current president of the Chilean Maritime League, pointed to an “internal threat” that puts the future of the country at risk, a situation that requires sailors to be willing to “approach”.
“We believe that the situation that our country is going through, where certain ideologies are determined to erase our traditions and rewrite history, makes it advisable to remember the spirit of sacrifice and the love of our heroes’ homeland,” said former Admiral Vergara.
“The Homeland may not only be threatened by external forces, but also, and perhaps more seriously, from within and in an underhanded manner. For this reason, sailors with a good heart, if necessary, must be prepared to jump to the boarding, leaving behind our comfort space, just as others who preceded us did, “added Vergara in his controversial speech.
After finishing the parade, President Boric highlighted the role of the Navy for the territorial protection of the country, while referring to its contribution in the work aimed at preventing violence in the central-southern area within the framework of the state of exception.
“I want you to know that the Navy is essential for the territorial continuity of our country. And in the difficult times we are experiencing, it seems important to me to say that we all have to make every effort to seek a meeting between those who inhabit our territory. And that is what this government is dedicated to, guaranteeing the safety of its inhabitants and also the longest-term processes that guarantee us the encounter between our peoples,” said the president.
The Navy does not believe in an internal enemy
The Navy published an official statement to clarify that Vergara’s expressions are not shared by the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Admiral Juan Andrés De La Maza Larraín, who was present at the traditional meeting of the Maritime League.
“In this regard, it is necessary to point out that neither the Commander-in-Chief nor the members of the Institution present at the activity were aware of the content of the speech delivered by Admiral (R) Miguel Ángel Vergara,” reads the statement.
Consequently, the statements expressed by Vergara “correspond to a personal opinion of said Admiral”, for which “the Navy makes it known that it works for all our compatriots and reiterates that it does not share the sayings of the existence of an internal enemy” .
Hertz asks to summon Admiral De la Maza and asks the Government to “take action”
Several parliamentarians came out to deplore former Admiral Vergara’s statements at the traditional meeting of the Chilean Maritime League. Deputy Carmen Hertz (PC) even announced that she will ask the president of the Defense Commission of the Lower House, Andrés Jouannet, to convene a special session to summon the Minister of Defense, Maya Fernández, and the Commander in Chief of the Navy, Juan Andres de la Maza.
“Undoubtedly, former Admiral Vergara’s statements in the presence of the Navy Commander-in-Chief and businessmen linked to the port sector are not only unacceptable, but also provocative and border on sedition,” stated Deputy Hertz. “It is necessary to invite the minister (Maya Fernández) and through the minister the Commander in Chief of the Navy to inform us about this serious situation. Next week is a district week, but we must call a special session just for this purpose,” she added.
Likewise, Hertz asked the Government “to determine the actions to be taken because undoubtedly this is a serious action by an admiral, even if he is retired”, not ruling out a lawsuit invoking the State Internal Security Law in the same way as Renewal. Nacional did it with the leader of the CAM, Héctor Llaitul, who called for armed resistance.
“Speaking of an internal threat and referring to the doctrine of national security that was the ideological underpinning of the dictatorship’s policy of extermination is not something that Chilean society is willing to accept and it does not do democracy any good to tolerate something like this,” he concluded.
After the publication of the news, the company Ocean decided to download the informative note that included an audiovisual record with Vergara’s speech.