Last Tuesday was Independence Day in the United States but US Ambassador Marc Stanley brought ahead the celebrations by almost a week to June 29 for perhaps the most massive Embassy reception yet – over 1,500 guests showed up in response to the more than 2,000 invitations issued. And that despite the notable absence of politicians on the campaign trail with none of the presidential hopefuls turning up.
The absence was partly countered by the presence of numerous judges (including at least eight in the limelight with the current rash of high-profile trials) along with Stanley’s ambassadorial colleagues and many businessmen.
The most important of the VIPs was First Lady Fabiola Yáñez, named in person as the first words of the Texan envoy when the time came to address his guests.
The real talk of the night, however, was football superstar Lionel Messi ahead of his yet-to-be-confirmed debut for MLS side Inter Miami later this month – even if he wasn’t actually in the room.
After greeting his guests in their various categories and thanking everybody making the event possible, Stanley started his speech (which he made a point of delivering in Spanish) by describing July 4 as a time for “barbecues, fireworks, concerts and quality time with family and friends” but rather more than that.
“It is also important to use this day to reflect on values like democracy, liberty and our civic responsibilities. I believe I’m very lucky to represent my country in Argentina, a nation which shares these values as we have throughout the 200 years of bilateral relations and friendship which we are celebrating this year,” continued the envoy.
“We can see the fruits of those 200 years at work in many areas: educational exchanges, the protection of human and labour rights, the reinforcement of democratic institutions, the innovations in health, agriculture, space exploration, energy and technology. We cooperate in many interesting projects and I want to thank everybody for making them possible,” said the ambassador.
“[US] President [Joe] Biden said at his White House meeting with President [Alberto] Fernández that the US government is committed to a long-term relationship. We believe in the power and potential of our links and we seek to make them grow every day, as remains clear from all the high-level visits and daily work in the Embassy,” said Stanley, before referencing the war in Ukraine.
“In my travels throughout the country I have been a witness of the talented human capital, the natural resources and the productive capacity of Argentina, as well as the ingenuity, generosity and pride of its people. That’s why I believe that, among many other things, we can help to alleviate the global challenges created by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine, supplying food and fuel to the world,” argued the ambassador.
“Tonight is a happy night but I cannot help mentioning the suffering of the Ukrainian people. We will continue working with Argentina and other nations of the world to end the aggression and human rights violations by the Russian forces.
“Argentina and the United States have done great things together and we can still do more. You will all be part of the next 200 years of friendship between countries and thus create a safer and more prosperous world,” he concluded.
This prepared text was concluded by a spontaneous celebration of Messi’s imminent début in Miami – the ambassador’s words were given liquid substance by the “Messi in Miami” cocktail at the generously supplied and well-attended bar, created especially for this occasion together with The NYC, El Gaucho and La Chicana alongside the standard range of cocktails. But there was also ample food, including huge hamburgers, to ensure nobody was drinking on an empty stomach.
The live musical entertainment was provided by Alaska-born local star Kevin Johansen with tunes from Bizarrap and others among those tempting the crowd onto the dancefloor.