aerial view of the Amazon river

Fiestas

Spring 2014 | Volume XIII, Number 3

Table of Contents

Editor’s Letter →

by June Carolyn Erlick

Identity

Fiesta and Identity

Fiesta and Identity

English + Español
In Barranquilla the days of Carnival begin early. From the first hours of the day—already confused with the last hours of the night—the smells of celebration are in the air. The streets…

Whose Skin Is This, Anyway?

Whose Skin Is This, Anyway?

An African-American dresses as a Plains Indian, as if seen through the lens of Fellini, while Andean natives wear white masks and carry whips, pretending to be colonial overseers. Whites…

Bodies and God

Bodies and God

When watching the Festival des Divinités Noires in Togo in 2011 I was reminded of the images of samba school parades, which I’ve researched in Rio. Even…

Masks and Music

Masked Enigmas

Masked Enigmas

The brilliantly colored and captivatingly grotesque mask of the Vejigante remains enigmatic. The name derives from the Spanish vejiga or…

La Conga

La Conga

I was trying desperately to sleep, but it was too cold. It was July in Cuba, but the air conditioning on the cross-country Viazul bus had two settings—“freezing” and…

Resistance, Community and Politics

The Fiestas de San Pacho

The Fiestas de San Pacho

The Fiestas de San Pacho (St. Francis of Assisi) in Quibdó, El Chocó, Colombia, are sixteen days of barrio-based parades and religious observations (and, in fact, less well-known activities…

Colombian Devils

Colombian Devils

The devils from Europe and Africa arrived in Colombia and as soon as they encountered the indigenous devils, they happily got together to amuse themselves. They take advantage of any…

Pleasure is Power

Pleasure is Power

I was a little late to the parade called La Invasión (the invasion)—the largest street parade in the conga tradition of Santiago, Cuba. Then I heard this simple…

The Fiesta Must Go On

The Fiesta Must Go On

For more than 150 years, gold mining has been the life-blood of Segovia, a town in central Colombia that sits atop a labyrinth of underground tunnels where…

Nation, Nature and Patrimony

Patsa Puqun

Patsa Puqun

It was a chilly predawn morning in 1984. I enthusiastically joined my Quechua-speaking host family going to their field at the base of one of Peru’s highest…

Fiesta Politics

Fiesta Politics

Zaída García sat at a table in the middle of a small storefront facing the plaza of Ocumare de la Costa in Venezuela. She was busy working late at night, drawing…

Carnival Inc.

Carnival Inc.

In the rainy season, streams of water take over Barranquilla. Streets transform into abundant, improvised rivers. They stop traffic, spilling over onto the…

Celebrating Diaspora

Fiestas Madriguayas

Fiestas Madriguayas

English + Español
I’m writing this story from the neighborhood of Barrio Sur in Montevideo, Uruguay. The lively pulse of the candombe drum reaches me from the streets. This Afro-Uruguayan rhythm…

Bolivians in Argentina

Bolivians in Argentina

English + Español
In 2007, while living in Brazil, I decided to take a short trip to Argentina to attend the Festival of Independent Film (BAFICI) held every April in Buenos Aires. I looked forward to …

Death in L.A.

Death in L.A.

I was a Chicano boy growing up Apostolic-Pentecostal in Los Angeles. I never celebrated anything remotely Catholic like the feasts of All Souls nor All Saints…

Making a Difference

Book Talk

Enduring Violence

Enduring Violence

When I was a graduate student in Latin American history at Berkeley in the 1980s, the words “violence” and “Guatemala” seemed inextricably linked. We…

Derecho al Derecho

Derecho al Derecho

On March 23, 2011, a woman attacked by her partner, was denied a legal remedy under Puerto Rico’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention Law in a…