Amb. Valdez gets new Virgin Mary statue
By Kim Se-jeong
It appears to be a typical diplomatic function — one ambassador presenting a gift to a colleague to commemorate good bilateral ties.
During the celebration on Sept. 7, Honduran Ambassador to Korea Michel Idiaqeuz Baradat presented a copy of the Virgin of Suyapa, an iconic statue of the Virgin Mary venerated in Honduras, to his Paraguayan colleague Ceferino Valdez, commemorating what he called “excellent” relations between their two countries.
Yet, the statue was also a personal gift to Valdez’s family, who has been collecting statues of Virgin Mary from all over the world.
He obtains a statue in every country he visits or is posted to and has collected 107 so far.
The Virgin of Suyapa is a famous religious image in Honduras.
The original statue is kept in the Basilica de Suyapa in Suyapa, a town outside the capital Tegucigalpa, and tours around the country in early February, a commemoration day for when it was found, miraculously as many Hondurans believe, on Feb. 3, 1747.
The Honduran envoy was not available for a comment on the statue.
Valdez has obtained one statue from Korea called Our Lady of Korea dressed in Hanbok, traditional dress.
He also has statues from Angola, the Dominican Republic and Spain via colleagues and friends residing in Korea.