YEREVAN (ARF Press Office)–During his working visit to Argentina–Brazil and Uruguay–ARF Bureau Chairman Hrant Markarian–along with ARF Bureau representative Mario Nalbandian and Chairman of the Central Committee of ARF-South America Haroutiun Ohannesian made a two-day visit to San Paulo–Brazil.
The state of San Paulo–with its capital San Paulo–is the largest state and city in Brazil. It is considered the largest and most economically stable city in Latin America. Twenty minority communities exist in San Paulo; all maintain their cultural traditions and customs. One of the minority groups is the Armenian community which settled in San Paulo in the last decade of the 19th century. As a result of the Armenian genocide–the Armenian community there grew rapidly in the 1920s. Throughout the years–the Armenian community has become a majority-force with Armenia’s establishing themselves in all realms of the work-force. Armenia’s enjoy very close ties not only with the rest of the population–but also with the government. Simon Khrimian–a member of the ARF Dro committee of San Paulo–represents Armenia’s in the state parliament’s minority committee.
The ARF delegation visited the Armenian genocide memorial located by "Armenia" Plaza–near three Armenian churches. After laying a wreath at the memorial–Markarian and the delegation went to St. Kevork church–and were greeted by Dr. Antranig Manisajian and the spiritual leader of the church. At the Prelacy–the delegation met with Archbishop Datev Gharibian. The delegation also toured the Tourian Armenian School.
On the occasion of the Armenian delegation’s visit to the state parliament–the Armenian tricolors greeted the delegation at the entrance of the parliament building. There the delegation met with the President of the State Parliament–Walter Feldman–accompanied by a close friend of Armenia’s–State Representative Wadih Helou. Feldman expressed his pleasure in meeting with the representatives of–as he stated–"the most traditional and one of the biggest Armenian political parties in the Diaspora and Armenia." He praised the friendship of the Armenian people as well as the accomplishmen’s of the independent government of Armenia–and noted his visit in May with President Kocharian. Markarian spoke about ARF’s undertakings in Armenia and throughout the Diaspora. The meeting in its entirety was broadcast on the Parliament’s television station later that day.
Later that evening–Markarian met with organization and community representatives. He spoke about Artsakh–Armenia and Javakhk and stressed the importance of the Armenia-Diaspora relationship. He later addressed questions. Markarian also met with representatives of the ARF Dro committee of San Paulo.
Visiting the state capitol of San Paulo–Markarian met with the Governor’s deputy on political matters–Representative Rubens Laray. The two discussed the importance of strengthening political–economic and cultural ties between Armenia and Brazil–the role of the Armenian community of Brazil in this matter–and Hai Tahd activities. Laray commented that the Armenian genocide must be formally recognized by Brazil–and–in order for justice to be upheld–the perpetrators must be held accountable.
Markarian and the ARF delegation also visited the San Paulo City Hall to meet with the director of foreign relations Jorge Mateos. They discussed ARF activity and the role of the Armenian community. Mateos noted that in 1998–San Paulo and Yerevan became sister cities.
The Ambassador from Armenia to San Paulo–Ashot Yeghiazarian was a part of the ARF delegation visiting state officials–and participated in the meetings.
Markarian also presented a public lecture at the Armenian Center; the lecture was consecutively translated into Portuguese. He spoke about Armenia–Artshakh and Javakhk–and the situation in the Diaspora–at the same time–revealing the role the ARF plays and the responsibility it has to the people and to Armenia.
ARF Bureau Chairman Hrant Markarian arrived in Montevideo August 31 accompanied by ARF Bureau Member Mario Nalbandian and Chairman of the Central Committee of ARF-South America Haroutiun Ohannesian.
The delegation visited the ARF "Vramian" club for an official reception. Markarian first met with the ARF "Armenia" Youth Organization where an extensive question and answer session was held. Later that day he met with board members of the ARS "Rubina" chapter and visited the Nerssisian Armenian School.
On Sunday Markarian attended services at the St. Nerses Shnorhali Church and later–accompanied by the community’s spiritual leader Der Hagop Klnjian–he laid a wreath at the Genocide memorial located near the church. The ceremony continued in the community cultural hall.
Sunday night–Margarian lectured at the "Vramian" club hall about the present situation in Armenia–Karabagh–Javakhk–and about ARF activities.
On September 2–Markarian met with various officials–among them Uruguay’s Colorado party leader and ex-President Julio Mara Sanguinetti Coirolo–National party leader and ex-President Luis Alberto Lacalle–the "Wide Front" leader of the Socialist Party–Guillermo Alvarez–the Speaker of the Parliament–and Rafael Michellini–the "Nuebo Espasio" Socialist Party chairman.
During the meetings–the leaders of all these parties expressed their support for Hai Tahd activities and promised to cooperate in favor of Armenia and the Armenian Cause. Markarian ensured them that the Armenian Revolutionary Federation is ready to collaborate with Uruguay’s political groups.