Ambassador of Guatemala to France, dear Anaisabel PreraFlores,Excellencies,Dear Friends,

I would like to begin by thanking the Maison de
Latin America and the Ambassador of Guatemala to France, Mrs
Anaisabel Prera Flores, for this invitation to lunch. While you
many are celebrating the bicentennial of your
independence, today we have a great opportunity to discuss
together the Latinity we share.
This latinity is, of course, the common cultural soil that has united us since
the first globalization, that of the sixteenth century, when our two
continents have begun the great adventure of their shift. It is
over the past two hundred years, this complex set of values has
built since the emergence, for example, of the Bolivarian republic,
while Europe was struggling with the Napoleonic adventure, until
the recognition of syncretism and diversity in which our two
continents look at each other in a mirror. This is probably one of the
this latinity, in the same way as that which preceded it long before, in the fifth
century of our era: based on the disintegration of empires.
From this first globalization that is constitutive to us, we have
also shares the long history of triangular trade. It is also
the link that makes France today an integral part of space
Latin American, through the West Indies, through Guyana. Aimé’s joint work
Césaire, by Léon Gontran Damas and Léopold Sédar Senghor on the
notion of negatritude is there to remind us that the horizon of our
imaginations that we have built together will forever inscribe on our
three continents.
No need to go back with you on the intensity of the links that artists have
woven between us, since the dawn of your independence, in the image of the painter
Jean-Baptiste Debret, David’s cousin, who will bring to the Court
the natural and social realities of a world
I am thinking of the long list of the most
great figures of world literature that Latin America has produced,
and whose trajectories have almost always passed through France to a
time or another.
The quality of these links has I think definitely taken precedence over the memory
of the disastrous and sometimes burlesque enterprises that France was able to
in Latin America. I am thinking of course of the company of the
Antarctic France, where French Protestants tore apart some
years in the bay of Rio on the background of theological quarrel and alliances
tupinamba lapel; to the Barcelonnets and to the risky adventure
of Napoleon III; or at Ferdinand de Lesseps in
It was the time of predation, of which Joseph Conrad left us a
great testimony in Nostromo and its imaginary geopolitics of the
Republic of Costaguana, where British entrepreneurs cross a
French Bonapartist in their attempts to take down the
resources of this end of the Far West. These times are
happily gone, and now feed our literary imagination.
If I insist on this long nineteenth century that we share, it is
of course because I would like to pay tribute to the work
remarkable achievement by your embassies throughout this year
the celebration of independence. Ecuador and Bolivia
celebrated their bicentennial last year; this year, it is
Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, to which
join Paraguay and Uruguay in 2011.
This memorial moment, France, through the involvement of the
Culture and Communication and Communication and Business
and European has wished to celebrate it with you. I would like to
highlight here the role of French cities, which have mobilized widely
for this year. Boulogne-Sur-Mer and Saint Tropez celebrate the
Argentina’s bicentennial with a multidisciplinary program on
the whole year. Clamart exhibits the sculptures of the Colombian artist
Edgardo Carmona Vergara. In Avignon, Contraluz organized a
week of the Americas. La Rochelle organizes exhibitions and symposia
around Aimé Bonpland in collaboration with the city of Corrientes in
The public institutions of my Ministry have also strongly
involved in this year of celebration. I am thinking of the
festival les Belles Étrangères, which this year dedicates part of its
programming in Colombia; at the Île-de-France Festival, which
its opening day at the Château de Villarceaux in Argentina, or
the Imaginary Festival of the House of World Cultures, which
Three Latin American projects: the exhibition Paraguay
Esquivo», a concert by the Mexican Silvia Maria, or a concert
Chacarera and Zamba with Argentine violinist Nestor Garnica.
I also remember the action of the French Embassies in America
involved in the event, including the Latin American
all-round programming of our establishments in Argentina around
the Bicentenary. In Mexico, major exhibitions are planned, with
Pierre Soulages, Peter Bramsen and Pierre Alechinsky, Annette Messager,
Daniel Buren… The Bicentennial will also be an opportunity for artist Xavier
of Richemont to create, in September, a monumental fresco of
light for the Cathedral of Mexico. It is also, in Colombia,
the occasion of a beautiful event: the opening of an urn containing
documents dating from the first centenary of the independence of the
Colombia but no one knows the content, inventory and
keys that have been lost.
200 projects and more than 350 events in France and
Latin America that testify to the great vitality of Latin American culture,
whose cinema is one of the most striking examples.
For several years now, Latin American films have come from
on the French screens and are regularly
awards at major international festivals. This success
quality and reflects a renewal of the
Latin American cinematography. Some of these films may have been
European aid, the Southern Fund, the European Development Fund and the
agreements that France has signed with some of your countries: I think by
example to the Peruvian film «Fausta» (La teta asustada), Golden Bear in Berlin
in 2009; in the Argentine film "In His Eyes" (El secreto de sus ojos),
Oscar for best foreign film; Brazilian film Mutum, by Sandra
Kogut; at the 2010 Mexican Gold Camera at the Cannes Film Festival,
Leap Year (Ano bisiesto); or the first film
Paraguayan for 30 years, shot in the Guarani language, Hamaca
Paraguaya», in 2006. I take advantage of this mention of a film from the only
officially bilingual country of Spanish speaking America for you
recall that at the end of 2011 we are organizing the States General of
multilingualism overseas in Cayenne, and that we will be very eager, in
as neighbours, to be able to benefit from your looks and your expertise
in this field so essential for integration and recognition
social, educational and cultural aspects of our ultramarine communities.
We have talked about cinema, I would also like to talk about museums
and major heritage exhibitions. For example, I would
take a look at the great popular success of the exhibition
“Teotihuacan”, held from October 2009 to the end of January 2010
at the Quai Branly Museum, which gathered about 450 exceptional pieces
the culture of Teotihuacan, the great city of Old Mexico,
that recent discoveries have made it possible to know better.
The Maya exhibition, also planned at the Quai Branly Museum from June to
October 2011, will once again highlight the richness of the
culture of Guatemala. This exhibition, which will focus on the Maya culture
from dawn to dusk in Guatemalan archaeology», se
will consist of approximately 150 pieces, a majority of which will come from the site
pre-classical archaeological site of El Mirador, cradle of Mayan civilization
(peak between 300 BC and 150 AD).
The Year of Mexico in France, organized throughout France in 2011, in
the initiative of the Presidents of the French and Mexican Republic will be a
once again the opportunity for the French to better know the wealth
and the dynamism of the creation of a Latin American country.
Finally, allow me to have a very special thought for Haiti.
As you know, this country has been hard hit by
natural disasters in recent months, and I deeply believe that the
culture is a major asset for its recasting. That is why the
Ministry of Culture and Communication has invested a great deal in
for the reconstruction of this country, through donations of works by
the National Library of France, the reception in residence of artists
translation of French literature into Creole,
the “Le Triomphe” film theatre reconstruction project, or
our support for the Haitian media.
I want to assure you that you will always find in me a
committed interlocutor, eager to realize concrete projects of
cooperation, and to welcome creation in all its forms. You
will always find in me a fierce defender of the notion of diversity
which is our strength and the foundation of our cultural
We have plans to organize on the occasion of the Presidency
G20 cultural summit, in less than a year, whose theme
will be “investing in culture”, and I hope we will have the opportunity to
benefit from your commitment and participation. It would be
It is a pity that we are losing sight of the new
takes away the thread of our meetings and the greyness of our
that so singular bond that unites us, and in which your
intimate knowledge of syncretism and hybridity, for example,
to bring us. In Hundred years of solitude, the gypsies and the prophet
Melquiades passed periodically to Macondo, to upset, the
time of a visit, imagination and wonder: we can, I am
Of course, being more than Melquiades to each other.
Thank you.