Nelson C. Mondaca Ijalba
Today I allow myself to take a break from my usual column that deals with various political issues and others of local interest. There is a force within me that I cannot calm. It is about the values with which one grows as a person and develops throughout our short existence.
For this reason, with your permission and human nobility, I step aside to avoid dealing with the burning political issues of Chile today. There will be times to address them. Now, counting on the coming of the readers of this important communication medium, I’m going to mine.
May is a very special month for the people of Iquiqueños. Nor does it go unnoticed in the ephemeris of our national history. The Naval Combat of Iquique occurred on May 21, 1879, 144 years ago, in the northern roadstead of our city, the heroism of Commander Arturo Prat Prat and his noble crew aboard the Esmeralda was written, hour by hour.* 100007*
The “Huáscar”, a Peruvian armored ship, sank the wooden ship of the Chilean squadron the “Esmeralda”. In the middle of combat, Captain Arturo Prat jumps into boarding the “Huáscar” in reckless action; he falls dejected under the artillery and bullets, on the same deck of this ship commanded by Miguel Grau, winner of this fight.
Another part of this historic date for our country, took place further south of Iquique, in Punta Gruesa with Admiral Carlos Condell, in command of the corvette “Covadonga”. Here in this part of the Pacific Ocean, the victory went to the weak Chilean corvette “Covadonga”. The description of the story reminds us that the Peruvian armored ship “Independencia” in its direct pursuit of the Chilean ship ran aground on the reefs off the coast of Punta Gruesa. Stranded this Peruvian ship, the “Covadonga” shelled it until it surrendered.
In conclusion, final, we have a victory for Peru and another for Chile. However, the importance of these warlike confrontations at sea, in my opinion, can address two edges of decisive importance.
The first edge It lies in the power of the ships. It is relatively easier to win a battle or a war, if you have more modern infrastructure and the power of the weapons, it translates into doing the greatest possible damage to the enemy and destroying it, without having to suffer casualties, as far as possible. possible.
According to these facts of May 21, 1879, the victory of the “Huáscar” was an objective fact where this premise is fulfilled against the “Esmeralda”. But in the second case, the enunciation described is broken. The most armed and protected ship, such as the “Independence” ended up defeated and defeated by the weakest and most vulnerable ship, in this case the “Covadonga”.
These are things to learn and keep in mind. The most powerful do not always win. Logically, inequalities can be overcome. We can even by translation, in a healthy exercise in social science, take this example to our political reality and to daily life. It would not be unusual for us to come across other examples and cases that may surprise us. Well, if you have more time, I respectfully leave this commendable task to you.
Second edge. Over the years one gets older and has more experience. Perhaps, for this reason, the reckless action of jumping into Captain Prat’s boarding has a connotation that goes beyond the borders of time and stands as the ultimate example of the fulfillment of a duty. The sacrifice of life, the reckless courage that decides the course of faith, of love for a country, when there are no more resources and the burden of reason are in the midst of death, honor and example; Thus, the “Esmeralda” sank with the Chilean flag at the top.
The sailors of the “Esmeralda”, they went on to victory to be the Heroes of the Naval Combat of Iquique. Not because they won, but because they sacrificed their lives for their country. Some survived and others died. They are the results of the war. Honor and glory to each of our combatants on May 21, 1979, to the Chilean Navy in this 2023.
In this brief synthesis of the war events of the Naval Combat of Iquique, one who is born in these lands has to take a break from their daily activities.
Let us respect our traditions and historical memory. May the market stop killing our customs and culture.
All the commerce in our city this Sunday, May 21, almost until the end of the last century, kept its doors closed. There were no retail chains and no malls.The leaders of Tourism and the local Commerce union, such as Gloria Delucchi, Pablo Daud, Tomás Tusett, Rafael Montes and many others that I forget. In those times, notorious citizens also joined, many of them descendants of Chinese, French, Spanish, Croatian and Italian migrants, they were the first to respect this date, giving it a color committed to national identity and regional idiosyncrasy.
The city on this commemorative date of May 21 was another, it dressed up. The trade was closed, except for emergency activities. In short, their dependents/vendors were with their families and attended the Buoy, parades and massively visited the Unknown Sailor. Chilean flags flew in all our houses, businesses and buildings. It was almost a moral obligation, born from the soul to participate voluntarily in the activities programmed by the different Authorities; Likewise, through the Neighborhood Associations of the sector, in the different neighborhoods, they made us relive the heroic deed of the Naval Combat in the Iquique roadstead. So, it has a very deep meaning, when it is said “Being Chilean is a source of pride, but being from Iquiquía is a privilege.” For those who are not born on this earth, for them, the law of consumption comes first.
Finally, I would like to highlight in a special way, the parade of the “Anatiri” Kindergarten and Nursery, located in the northern sector of the city. They carried out a brilliant and very emotional tribute to the Heroes of Iquique. The most beautiful thing about this civic act was the deployment of the Instrumental Band of the Luis Cruz Martínez High School. A group of preschoolers and infants, parading to the sound of bugles, drum major, the chords of the drums and the young Guaripola, in the heart of the historic neighborhood of the Matadero, the Kindergarten and the Nursery Room were present with the Director, the professional, Jéssica Flores Escobar and her staff of Kindergarten Educators and Assistants. Plus all the Administrative staff and Specialty teachers, they gave us a great and pleasant morning of patriotic values.
Finally, we thank the Mayor, Mauricio Soria, the Councilors of the I.M.I., Marcos Calcagno and Rodrigo Oliva, for their efforts regarding this civic act. To the representatives of the Navy, the Carabineros and Zofri S.A., who provided a greater enhancement to this activity with their presence. Likewise, to the union leaders of Zofri, Bastián Mondaca and Melissa Gargano, who have carried out this wonderful, self-managed, non-profit preschool project since 1993. Long live the heroism of Prat and his Men!