A billboard with the image of the old 1930’s cartoon character El bobo de Abela (“the village idiot”) seems to welcome those who stand around at the town square transport stop after getting out of a private truck (apparently the most effective means of transportation to and from the capital).
I appreciated the encounter with the caricature and the memory of those past years of struggle against one of our tyrants*.
A place called “El Paso del Soldado” was the meeting point of several community activists in San Antonio. This was where they had planned to hold the first “ArtEco” (Art, Ecology and Community) cultural festival throughout that day.
But the festival didn’t take place, despite its having been coordinated for a month with the Casa de Cultura of the municipality and being included in that cultural center’s plan of activities.
Posters advertising the event in the park were taken down at the behest of higher authorities, those who did so told the neighbors.
The organizers, the “La Rueda Collective,” were unable to set up the street fair or have participatory games for children. Nor were there any of the exhibitions of art or poetry that had been prepared with so much work.
The grounds were left without anyone cooking up a drum of caldosa (soup).
The festival had aimed to put on a big concert with a variety of musical styles: rap, rock, trova, and others. The city was left only with the hope that some reggaeton group might show up the next weekend.
Who gave the order?
Finally, the person who accepted responsibility was identified as being Jesus Ranos Dorado (the municipal director of Culture of San Antonio).
The festival was supposedly canceled out of misunderstandings. Apparently those people in charge of culture in the city didn’t understand that was is a performance or a public forum. Nor did they believe the young members of La Rueda had the authority to set up a booth where people could exchange used clothing and toys.
The organizers were called on the carpet — as we say around here — and asked what they meant by a sign reading “Support Your Community, Be a Part of Change.”
The authorities acted as if it wasn’t clear the La Rueda Collective was seeking to raise the issue of the ecological disaster that threatens the city and the Ariguanabo River, and address insufficient variety of cultural alternatives.
The culture center withdrew its authorization and the loan of the audio equipment. The activity therefore couldn’t get underway and the guest artists simply went back to their homes.
On December 4, singer-song writer Silvio Rodriguez performed in this city of his birth, and he wants cultural development in that community run smoothly.
However the troubadour avoids some important issues.
First: Aren’t rancid bureaucrats the ones who manage culture activities in San Antonio?
Second: Does one need authorization from superiors to put on a festival?
Unfortunately the answers, which are obvious, are not so apparent to some people.
Despite the accusations of the singer, the prohibitions and lack of support from those who represent the Ministry of Culture in San Antonio, the La Rueda activists are trying to continue their forward movement to provide the city with the ecological culture and entertainment that it deserves.
* Gerardo Machado y Morales (May 1925 – August 1933)