Our blog is full of stories of Basques who have been key figures in the development of the communities that took them in when they left the Basque Country in search of new opportunities or fleeing persecution.
Today, we bring you the extraordinary story of one of those leading Basques, as told to us by Elida Bustos in the Argentine daily La Nación.
The article recalls that special moment the protagonist of today’s story, Iñaki Unamuno, had and that very few ever get to enjoy. In 2019, he led the inauguration of the sculpture that the town of Macachín dedicated to him to thank him for his commitment and hard work to improving it and life there.
Remembering this homage, the Argentine daily tells us all the things that this Basque from Bergara did after leaving his homeland in 1957 to settle in the Argentine town. There, he found a new homeland, and it is there where he has carried out, and still does at the age of 85, the immense work for the community that took him in and in the defense of the survival of Basque culture.
We’ve spoken on many occasions about the importance and energy the Basque community of this Argentine town has, as it is where a large number of Basque descendants have come together, and indeed the whole town, around the Asociación Unión Basque Euzko Alkartasuna, which, for many reasons, is a role model among Basque centers.
Iñaki Unamuno, along with the rest of those who work hard at these centers, displayed the best principles of commitment to the community that so many Basques have contributed to their host communities.
The article in La Nación explains it very well:
“‘It wasn’t a place for 8 or 19 people to get together to play mus; we didn’t need a specific place for that.’ The idea of the club had to overcome, and not remain solely within the collective. What was needed was an institution with open doors, which covered more, which served everyone, where all could participate without having to pay. ‘Members without fees,’ Iñaki summarizes.”
This center is much more than a Basque Center, because by leaving that behind, it has become a meeting point for the whole community, a community-building tool.
Iñaki Unamuno has the honor of having become the model of those people that Lehendakari Aguirre asked all Basques to be when he traveled to Buenos Aires in 1955, just two years before Iñaki arrived in Argentina:
“be, in your new homelands, the best of all citizens”
La Nación – 12/2/2022 – Argentina
Quién es Iñaki Unamuno, el vasco que inauguró su propia estatua en la plaza de Macachín
Tiene un busto en la plaza del pueblo, el principal restaurante lleva su nombre, acaban de declararlo ciudadano ilustre, y todos hablan de él como “el” referente de Macachín y de los vascos de La Pampa. Iñaki Carmelo Unamuno, vasco de nacimiento y de alma, dice que los primeros meses en la Argentina lloró cada noche. Tal era el desarraigo y la tristeza de haber dejado atrás a sus padres, hermanos, amigos y su vida entera en el País Vasco.