Arts & Entertainment

Bolivia rushes to protect traditional dances, angered by Peru declaration

La Paz, May 12 (EFE).- Bolivia is rushing to safeguard its traditional dances such as the morenada and the caporal, and is preparing demonstrations and festivals to preserve their national identity after Peru declared the morenada as cultural heritage of its city of Puno.

Bolivia’s minister of cultures, decolonization and depatriarchalization, Sabina Orellana, on Wednesday summoned local governments, universities, experts, associations of dancers, musicians and other sectors to meet to form a committee to safeguard the country’s heritage.

“We call to unite to defend our identity and our cultures, especially the morenada and the caporal,” said the minister at a press conference.

Demonstrations of the morenada and caporales will take place on May 18 in commemoration of the inclusion on Unesco’s Intangible Heritage of Humanity list of Oruro Carnival, where both dances are performed, Orellana reported.

The national government will also develop an “inter-ministerial” festival to perform these dances, and also to commemorate their origin, their meanings and the costumes.

Orellana indicated that Unesco will also be consulted for “the protection” of the dances.

Earlier, the mayor’s office of La Paz met with the governor of the department to coordinate a plan of joint actions such as seminars and conferences on the morenada.

The authorities then went to the Plaza San Francisco, in the center of La Paz, where a group of dancers wore the elaborate costumes and performed while waving Bolivian flags.

These actions took place after Peru’s Ministry of Culture declared the morenada, rey moreno and rey caporal of Puno as national cultural heritage.

The move generated anger in Bolivia and a series of reactions from municipal authorities and representatives of dancers demanding that it be recognized that the morenada originated in Bolivia.

Even Bolivian president Luis Arce on Twitter said: “We vindicate the Declarations of the @UNESCO_es and cultural organizations from around the world in recognition of the Bolivian origin of the Gran Poder Festival, the Carnival of #Oruro and our dances such as the morenada, the caporal or the diablada.”

Peru’s Ministry of Culture clarified that its heritage declaration does not mean that it has the exclusivity of that dance and that it conforms to Unesco’s Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The declaration was promoted by 17 dance associations in the cities of Puno and Juliaca, located on the border with Bolivia. EFE


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