A news item published in the Banja Luka Nezavisne Novine on http://www.nezavisne.com/vijesti.php?vijest=10690&meni=2 states that the Bosnia-Herzegovina embassies in Argentina and South Africa, as well as the general consulate in Bonn are going to be closed.
The Bonn consulate serves some 40000 citizens of B-H who live in that area.
The embassy in South Africa serves to cover a good part of the vast African continent.
Finally, the Embassy located in Buenos Aires provides diplomatic and consular services for all of Latin America, from Mexico to the southern tip of the American continent.
In Argentina live many Croatians and a good number of them trace their roots to Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, there are not only Croatians –Catholics– but also Muslims and Orthodox, in lesser numbers.
Besides these personal and familiar relations between B-H and Latin America, there is not doubt that Medjugorje is the big connection. The Gospa at Medjugorje has a large number of devoted followers in these mostly Catholic Latin American countries.
After learning of the possible closing of the Embassy in Buenos Aires, a number of persons approached our Journal asking what could be done to prevent that closing.
So an action was initiated to collect signatures supporting the continuation of the Embassy in Argentina (see http://www.studiacroatica.org/bol2007/20070702_molimo.htm)
We received supporting messages coming from all the countries in Latin America, The United States, Canada, Spain, Sweden, Norway and some other European countries.
The people that signed up include people of Croatian, Muslim, and Serbian origin, as well as many people with no family connection with B-H or her neighbouring countries, but rather signed up because they are devoted to the Gospa in Medjugorje.
The group of signatories include persons that have not traveled yet to B-H, as well as people that went once, twice and three or more times.
Many of the messages that we received ask for the reasons for the announced closing: Why are they closing?, How are we going to get the visa to visit Medjugorje?
Why? We did not hear any official or any other kind of explanation. Usually the reasons given for these kind of closings are economic or rationalization, which amounts to the same thing.
But that reason, if given, cannot be the real reason for the threatened closing, considering the important number of people that go from Latin America to B-H, mainly to Medjugorje, who pay for their visas and spend their money in that country.
Some people believe that there are other – darker – reasons for the possible closing. And the reasons have also to do with Medjugorje. It appears to be the case that some groups in B-H want to reduce the importance of Medjugorje, to dwindle the flow of peregrines going there, and to dry the source of money going to Croatian hands in B-H.
It is a well known fact that the position of the Croatian nation in B-H is not easy at all. After the unjust peace signed at Dayton, we have seen a long and never ending series of moves threatening the position of Croatians in B-H: politically, economically (no jobs for Croatians), in education (no Croatian curricula at schools), culturally, in communications (no Croatian TV in B-H), and so on. And recently we have even witnessed the holding of constitutional talks without the presence of the Croatian part.
So they want to reduce the Croatian nation in B-H from being one of the constitutive nations to being a minority, a set of folklore troupes.
Given the above facts, it is very difficult to find a better explanation for the threatened closing of the B-H Embassy in Buenos Aires: it is an attempt to reduce even further the status of Croatians to being a minority, to become a small footnote to the history of Bosnia-Herzegovina