CORDOBA, Argentina – Spain’s King Felipe VI, speaking at the 8th International Congress of the Spanish Language on Wednesday in Cordoba, Argentina, said that the conclave should be the “celebration of Spanish-American brotherhood” and a renewal of the commitment to integrate diversity.
“Long live our language! Long live our brotherhood!” were the words with which the Spanish monarch closed his address to open the congress, the second such event to be held in Argentina after the 2004 conclave in Rosario and which he attended together with Queen Letizia as well as Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his wife, Juliana Awada.
Felipe emphasized the importance of the Spanish language as a unifying link between peoples and stressed that the event in Cordoba where hundreds of experts have assembled to analyze the future of Spanish should be “a celebration of Spanish-American brotherhood.”
The king delivered his remarks amid the controversy sparked by the letter Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador recently sent to him asking Madrid to apologize for its conquest of the New World 500 years ago.
But Felipe made no explicit reference to this matter and the Royal Palace referred all queries to the answer provided by the Spanish government rejecting any such initiative.
In his speech, the king emphasized that 480 million people have Spanish as their mother tongue and emphasized its lengthy history, saying that one of the most delicate periods was while Madrid’s foreign territories were obtaining their independence.
He recalled that at that time there was no lack of voices that were also calling for independence in the realm of language, but he said that the voice of Venezuelan poet, humanist and politician Andres Bello was enough to reveal that Spanish was just as appropriate for the Americas as it was for Spain.
The king said that, paradoxically, Spanish achieved its greatest expansion with the birth and consolidation of the young American republics, and he emphasized that they found in the language an indispensable instrument of internal cohesion for each community and something that strengthened the links among them.
Felipe said that the future of Spanish is “a commitment by everyone, by the public and private institutions and by civil society.”
He mentioned author Jorge Luis Borges in saying that “the language is not only an instrument of expression and communication, but also a tradition and a destiny.”
The language congress inaugurated in Cordoba, just like earlier versions, is “wide open” to all of society, the monarch said.
He also said that the meeting constitutes “a renewed commitment to integrate diversity, to fight against poverty and to make our peoples, by means of the shared word, more educated, more prosperous and happier in freedom.”
In addition, Felipe praised the fact that the conference’s sessions will discuss the technological revolution that the Ibero-American community of nations needs to confront, a question that he said is essential to consider so that Spanish may also be a language of international communication in the scientific and business spheres.