Anniversaries with “round numbers” are usually used to commemorate events in an even more special way.  Ten years, 25, 50… are usually significant dates.  But among those special dates, centennials are perhaps those of the greatest value, especially if they refer to an event that still have a great deal of relevance and influence.

The centennial of the birth of Basque-Peruvian journalist Francisco “Paco” Igartua is one of those commemorations that deserves special attention, not only because of his work as journalist and director of Oiga! magazine, which defined an era of journalism in Peruvian society, but also, especially, because his vision of Peru, its society, and political class are still exceedingly relevant in the agitated and disconcerting present of this great country.  Given its people and their abilities, it could have been a role model on the world stage, but it now finds itself in an institutional, political, and social crisis whose only possible explanation is that its ruling and leading classes have been incapable of building an organized and structured state, where the rule of law, justice, and the development of society as a whole are the founding principles.  That is to say, these structures in the country have “expanded and improved” those features that Igartua denounced for decades. This is what led him to jail, exile, the closure of his life’s work, Oiga! magazine, and destitution.

To understand how, despite appearances, nothing has changed, we need only read the Oiga! editorials.  And after the closure of the magazine by the Fujimori dictatorship, Igartua’s Canta Claros continued to appear, in different media, until the day he died.

We, in collaboration with Oiga magazine and the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea, born of the initiative of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aranzazu in Lima, have decided to dedicate to his memory, to his legacy, a series of articles and activities over the next twelve months, from the 99th anniversary of his birth in the Huarochirí district of Lima province, to the 100th.

We’re doing so because alongside his Peruvian nationality and his unceasing love for his country, he kept his heart closely linked to the homeland of his forebears, the Basque Country, thereby maintaining a “double nationality” that many Peruvian-Basques share.  This love of this homeland led him to be deeply committed to it, to such a degree that he even played a leading role in the first to World Congresses of Basque Collectivities, to which he was expressly invited by the Lehendakari himself.

We started this series about Paco Igartua, which is joining the collection of articles that have made reference to him over the years, with a detailed and thorough article about his life and work written by someone who knew him well: Josu Legarreta Bilbao.  With a degree in Philosophy, Legarreta has held many responsible positions in the Basque administration’s international relations field, first as the director of Cooperation and Development, and then as the Director of Relations with the Basque Collectivities of the world.  This led him to start a relationship, and then a friendship, with Francisco Igartua, which was maintained over the decades, right up until Igartua passed away.

Today, we’re bringing it back because, on the occasion of the International Day of the Basque Diaspora, the four newspapers that make up the Basque news agency Grupo Noticias have, in two parts, published an extensive article by Legarreta about Igartua, which will help us understand the journalist’s personality and abilities.

We can’t confirm it, but we doubt any other journalist has received this kind of attention, to this extent, in any Basque media.

Deia – 8/9/2022 – Euskadi

Diáspora vasca: de Euskal Herria a Perú (1)

En estas fechas veraniegas renace de nuevo el orgullo de contar en más de cien países con muchos miles de vascos y descendientes que celebran el Día de la Diáspora con sentimientos de pertenencia al Pueblo Vasco. Sin entrar al debate sobre el sentido del concepto “diáspora”, ni siquiera tomar en cuenta de aquel comentario doblemente denigrante de José Luis Borges de “Los vascos me parecen más inservibles que los negros”, nos reafirmamos en nuestra conciencia colectiva y transnacional. Fue un acierto su constitución oficial, especialmente en estas épocas de tendencias globalizadoras, que nos demandarán una apertura de mente y de estrategias sociales para proseguir activos en la conversión de una sociedad pluricultural en intercultural.

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Deia – 9/9/2022 – Euskadi

Diáspora vasca: de Euskal Herria a Perú (y 2)

La profesionalidad de Paco Igartua traspasó los ámbitos nacionales de Perú: acudió a Cuba para presenciar la entrada victoriosa de los revolucionarios castristas a La Habana y llegó a lograr estrecha amistad con Fidel Castro, aunque, con su visión futurista de los acontecimientos, en 1961, llegó también a pronosticar el futuro de la revolución porque «Fidel Castro confundía a Cuba con su persona». Posteriormente, cuando fue desterrado a México, entabló relaciones con el presidente Echeverria y su hombre de confianza en cuestiones de prensa, Vicente Lazkuray, que fue «jefe de gudaris en la guerra española. Estas relaciones facilitaron su nombramiento de director del semanario del periódico El Sol, a pesar de que en la sociedad mexicana no estaba bien visto que un extranjero dirigiera un medio de comunicación de un millón de suscriptores

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