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Andresito Guacurari and Artigas

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Andresito Guacurari and Artigas

In fact, this Guarani native, a native of the Jesuit reduction of Santo Tomé, today Corrientes, at that time belonging to the Governorate of Misiones, where he was born on November 30, 1778, was declared by Law VI number 155 of the province of Misiones on July 5, 2012 “missionary hero to the Commander General Andrés Guacurarí y Artigas”, for, by national law 27,116 of December 17, 2014, entitled “National Heroes”, “Declare post-mortem General Andrés Guacurarí, also known as Comandante Andresito or Andresito Artigas, a national hero, as a tribute and historical reparation for his contribution to the epic of the emancipation of the American continent” -article one-, at the same time that “the historical site, located in the city of Apóstoles, province of Misiones, is designated the national headquarters for the commemoration of the Battle of Apóstoles , and establish on July 2 of each year as the Day of Commemoration and Remembrance of Don Andrés Guacurarí” -second article-.

To this is added a curiosity, since the National Congress by law 27,117 of December 17, 2014, in its initial article establishes “that the date November 30 is taken as the “National Mate Day” in commemoration of the birth of Andrés Guacurarí and Artigas, in order to promote the permanent recognition of the customs of Argentina.”

For all of the above, both the province of Misiones and the province of Corrientes erected prominent allusive statues in their territories, while his name is remembered in countless spaces and public institutions. I hasten to clarify that his birth surname was Guacurarí and the addition “and Artigas” obeys his close relationship with José Gervasio de Artigas, who sponsored him and adopted him as his son, allowing him to add to his that of the oriental caudillo.

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His military life began at the end of 1810 when he was part of the political-military Expedition to Paraguay headed by Manuel Belgrano, accompanying him even until he was removed from the leadership of that military command and, thus, he joined the federal troops of Artigas, of whom he was one of his most fervent followers.

At his side he became one of the most prominent federal leaders, managing, in 1812, to evict the Paraguayan invader from a large part of the missionary territory, liberating Candelaria, the historical capital of that province, ruling between 1815 and 1819 the so-called “Great Province of the Guarani Missions”, during whose government he promoted, among other measures, an agrarian reform and enacting legislation aimed at freeing aboriginal and black slaves.

He repeated his epic in the context of the Luso-Brazilian attack, a war conflict in which he stood out for his courage and sharpness in military strategy, as well as his recognized leadership ability towards his troops, a gift surely matured from his military relationship with Belgrano and Artigas.

In March 1817 he founded and installed the capital of the missionary territory in the city of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción del Cambay.

In that same year 1817, already in the month of May, he recovered all the territory abandoned by the Portuguese and Paraguayans and later managed to defeat in Apóstoles, on July 2, 1817, the troops of das Chagas Santos, who had invaded Misiones again, a crucial battle for the entirety of the missionary land and date chosen by law 21,116 to honor him, as we explained above.

He returned to face the Portuguese-Brazilian aggression in mid-1919, being arrested and sent in deplorable conditions first to São Paulo and then to Rio de Janeiro, where, in the midst of torment and unhealthy conditions, he presumably died in 1820 in the infamous prison located on Isla de las Cobras.

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So far, in a tight synthesis the life of an exemplary compatriot, who put his existence at the service of national interests.

Let us honor him with our respectful memory and our vivid memory.

* Member of the Board of Historical Studies of Neuquén. President of the Center for Constitutional Studies of Comahue.

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