By Edmond Y. Azadian
Armenians who have visited the country of Uruguay have an understanding of the status of the Armenian community in that country. Most of the settlers in that hospitable South American country were Genocide survivors with a bitter baggage of traumatic experiences and memories. Yet through their diligence, hard work and the appreciation of that host country’s hospitality and culture, they have integrated wisely into the fabric of the society, without assimilating.
Their contributions to the development of Uruguay have been well over what their numbers warrant. Consequently, their impact as well, is more profound than a community of that size would generate elsewhere.
A major thoroughfare in the capital city of Montevideo is called Armenian Boulevard and the main square is called Plaza Armenia. The prestige that the community enjoys in Uruguay has helped both the families and the larger Armenian society in their development. This mutually-beneficial relationship with Uruguay’s population has yielded dividends far beyond the country’s borders, as the government of Uruguay was the first nation to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Since Armenia’s emancipation from Soviet rule, the relationship has helped also the general Armenian cause, whereby becoming the diasporan extension of Armenia’s foreign policy.
In theory, any community in a particular country must strive to play that role by introducing the Armenian issues in that country’s foreign policy agenda. We have that opportunity in the US if we can harness our resources wisely and politicize large masses within the community.
Recent developments have demonstrated that Uruguay has come forth to play an essential political role in the Caucasus checkerboard of diplomacy.