ZAGREB, March 12, 2018 – Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Sunday arrived in Buenos Aires where she launched her Latin America tour by meeting with representatives of the Croat community in Argentina, the Office of the Croatian President said in a press release.
During the tour, which will last until 20 March, Grabar-Kitarović will also visit Chile and Brazil. She attended mass celebrated in Basilica de Lujan. “I am happy that my visit started with mass with the Croat community… I would like to thank all of you for trying to keep the Croatian language and traditions alive. Pass this on to your children, because in addition to the parental love, this is the greatest gift you can personally give them,”, Grabar-Kitarović told the Croats in Argentina.
“I hope many of you will return to Croatia because Croatia needs a new life. Unfortunately, Croatia is dying demographically and we must do a lot to revive it, primarily bring optimism and faith in ourselves, our people, our homeland, our future,” Grabar-Kitarović said.
The ethnic Croatian community in Argentina is estimated to have 200,000-250,000 members, and there is an ethnic Croat community of similar size in Chile. An estimated 30,000 ethnic Croats live in Brazil.
After the late President Franjo Tuđman’s visit to Buenos Aires in 1994, Grabar Kitarović will be the first Croatian head of state to visit that South American country. Before Grabar-Kitarović, Croatian President Stjepan Mesić visited Chile in 2005.
During her official visit to Argentina, Grabar-Kitarović will be received by President Mauricio Macri and Vice President Gabriela Michetti on Monday. In Buenos Aires, the Croatian head of state will be declared an honorary citizen. On Tuesday, she will attend the opening of an Argentine-Croatian business forum.
In La Plata, she will visit the “Juan Vucetich” police academy named after Ivan Vučetić, a Croatian-born Argentine anthropologist and police officer who pioneered the use of fingerprinting. In Rosario, she will open Croatia’s honorary consulate.
Grabar-Kitarović will travel to Chile on Thursday, 14 March, for an economic forum in Santiago de Chile. She will also attend the inauguration of President Sebastian Pinera on Sunday. Grabar-Kitarović is supposed to visit local Croats in Punta Arenas and Antofagasta.
On Monday, 19 March, she will start a working visit to Brazil, during which she will visit the Croat community in Sao Paulo.