Monday, May 31, 2010

First Round Election Results

With 99.68% of the vote counted, here are the election results.

Juan Manuel Santos -- 46.56%

Antanas Mockus -- 21.5%

As these are the top 2 vote getters, so they will meet in the final election on June 20th.

Friday, May 28, 2010

El Sereno or El Chiflón

Today's post is brought to you by my culturally savvy husband -- thanks Esposo!

Noticeably absent in this blog is a warning about a ubiquitous health threat rampant in Colombia. Most illnesses acquired in the Country, especially colds, headaches and upper respiratory infections as well as many other ailments, and even the worsening of certain arthritis symptoms, can and should be traced back to EL SERENO.

While the exact nature of El Sereno remains a distinct medical mystery, any mother in Colombia knows that as the sun starts setting around 6 pm (although there have been reports of encounters with el sereno as early as 5 pm and earlier if it's raining) El Sereno begins roaming around in search for victims who, unaware of its dangers, haven't covered their mouths, noses, heads, shoulders and/or backs with several layers of clothing.

As Colombian mothers will tell you, El Sereno's favorite victims are children. This helps explain why Colombian kids look like astronauts stuffed inside their undershirt, shirt, sweater, jacket, coat, scarf, hat, earmuffs, mittens and blankets. Yet, El Sereno also freely attacks adults and does so with an added scourge: Any adult who has a had a couple of drinks on the way home from work, can blame the sorry state of drunkenness with which they arrive home to the fact that El Sereno compounds the effects of alcohol on the brain.

Some observers have pointed out that El Sereno is the moist, cold, foggy, air that engulfs mountains and plains at sunset. Nobody can completely escape from it, and there is no cure once you are exposed. So, Colombians have taken a page from epidemiologists, the best way to stay free from the effects of El Sereno is prevention.

Primary prevention is relatively easy and inexpensive, albeit quite uncomfortable. Preventive measures include covering children and adults with multi layered clothing as mentioned above. Of course, if you have been drinking, never walking outside uncovered, and never, ever, walk into el Sereno when you are "acalorado" (warm and sweaty).

Entrepreneurial minded Colombians, however, have harnessed the benign occult powers of El Sereno which remained untapped for years, perhaps millenia. Should you have a serious stain on your white shirt or any other piece of clothing for that matter, you can rub it with laundry soap and expose it to El Sereno overnight. In the morning, once sunlight has cleared any remaining Sereno you can go outside to find a stain that will wash away upon rinsing. Some people will dispute that a better method -- which also decreases a person's chance for exposure to El Sereno -- is to use "El Rey" soap, lemon juice, and sunlight, but that's for another day.

Finally, it is culturally appropriate to be mindful of El Sereno. Ahhs and oohs will be heard if you or your kids walk out in just your shirt at sunset. If in Bogotá or Boyacá, consider wearing the ultimate shield against El Sereno, a ruana. Furthermore, how good a parent you are might be judged on your ability to prepare your kids for El Sereno, or on how creative you get to avoid exposure. Hint: If you phone, page, call a taxi cab, wait inside. When the cab arrives one properly covered parent should run to open the back door closest to the house and get in the cab immediately. Then and only then will the other parent run, preferably carrying the kids not walking them, their heads completely wrapped in blankets, and promptly shove them inside the cab next to the first parent, then jump in the front seat making sure not to breathe in any Sereno.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friends of Colombian Orphans

Friends of Colombian Orphans is hosting another online auction to raise funds for their work with older children in Colombian Orphanages. If you are interested in supporting them please check out the auction.

Learn more about FOCO on their website:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Presidential Elections

On May 30, 2010, Colombians will vote for a new President. After 2 terms with Alvaro Uribe, the Colombian Constitution requires a change. There are many candidates and many parties in Colombia. However, there are typically 2 or 3 front runners. This year the candidates that seem to be leading the pack are (in alphabetical order according to party):
Partido Conserador (Convervative Party): Noemí Sanín -- a former Colombian embassador to the United Kingdom.
Partido Social de Unidad Nacional (Social Party of National Unity) aka (Partido de la U): Juan Manuel Santos -- ex-minister of defense under current president.
Partido Verde (Green Party): Antanas Mockus -- former mayor of Bogotá
The winner of the election is the person who receives an absolute majority of votes (more than half of all the votes cast). If neither candidate achieves an abolute majority a second round of elections (in which only the top two candidates from round one participate) will be held 3 weeks later on June 20.
As of May 9th, polls show the two leaders (Mockus and Santos) -- literally neck and neck. This weekend should be very interesting in Colombia. I'll report back on Monday (or Tuesday if results are not available) and let you know the results.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Important Colombian Greetings!

I have been practicing Colombian greetings with my two boys -- in preparation for our trip this summer. In doing so, I have remembered some very important expressions that you need to know if you plan on spending any time in Colombia. The first is a universal, and uniquely Colombian greeting:

¿Qué hubo? pronounced like one word (kyouboe)
While it literally means, "What happened?", the more frequent meaning is "How are you?" When I first went to Colombia, I recall wanted to tell people what I had been up to when asked this question. I would always respond with things like, "We went to see such and such today." After a few weeks, my husband looked at me one day and said, "You talk too much." What? I wasn't sure how to take this. Then, he said, "When someone says, '¿Qué hubo?' You just say, 'Bién.'" Okay, I could do that. So, now I will pass on this tip to you. If someone says ¿Qué Hubo? -- just answer BIEN. It's like saying, "I'm fine." in English.

Another unique Colombian expression is similar to the one above:
¿Qué más? pronounced (kay mahs)
It literally means "What more?", and like Qué hubo, people asking this question are not expecting any explanation of what you have been up to or what has happened to you. The answer to both questions is the same: BIEN.
Remember this tip and you can avoid being an overachieving talker.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Produce Alone is Worth the Trip -- Brazo de Reina

Today's post is brought to you by my Sister-in-law Kit. Thanks, Kit!

If you were to ask me what my favorite thing about Colombia would be, I would have to say the food. This may surprise some of the people that know me because at the same time that I loved the food, I was unprepared for the monotony of the meals. Although I did struggle a little, there are so many different dishes that I loved, and crave regularly.

I especially recall going to the market with my suegra. The open market was my most favorite experience. As a light haired American, I was instantly barraged with people offering their produce. The little children were sent to me from three rows over to insist that they have the freshest arvejas (in fact I was stalked by a little boy offering peas my entire time in the market, oh how he insisted. I caved. I couldn’t help it - he was so cute.).

My Mother-in-Law with a watchful eye distanced herself from me and continued shopping like she normally would. I could not resist some of the most enticing fruit I have ever seen in my life. Granadillas, platano, and maracuya were all piled up and waiting. I bought a few things for myself, and rejoined Maria. She had managed to haggle and dicker until she had a large sack full of mangos, vegetables, and squash. The total: about $12.

When spring hits North America, I always think about this. When all the fresh berries come on in April I buy! I can’t help it! It’s like the confines of winter are shaken off the moment I bite into the first Strawberry of the year. And my Husband asks for un Brazo de Reina. I think it’s called the Queens Arm because she was so fat.

Here is a recipe for you:


4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Confectioners' sugar for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10 x 15-inch jellyroll pan and line it with parchment paper, then grease the paper lining. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg yolks for about 1 minute until they lighten to a light lemony color. While beating yolks, add sugar slowly and beat until mixture is light and fluffy (1-2 minutes). Add almond extract.

**You can add orange extract with 1 teaspoon of orange zest in place of the almond if you prefer.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder and add dry ingredients to the batter.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff; gently fold them into the batter. Pour batter into prepared jellyroll pan and spread to the edges.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn the cake over onto a towel that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar. Remove the pan and parchment paper. Roll the cake up into the towel and let cake cool for 10 – 20 minutes on a wire rack. If preparing the cake for the next day put the rack and towel-rolled cake into the refrigerator.

Filling Ingredients:

2 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese.
1 Cup Un-whipped whipping cream
Sugar to taste
Whipped cream
Fresh Berries -- for this recipe I used raspberries, blackberries (moras), and strawberries (fresas)

Cream the cream cheese slowly adding the un-whipped whipping cream to smooth. Add sugar until desired sweetness achieved.

**100% maple syrup can be used in place of sugar for a healthier option, though this adds a more North American touch to the Brazo de Reina.

Unroll cake; remove towel and spread the cream cheese filling on entire cake leaving an inch of space on the top. Sprinkle on unsweetened berries and roll up again. Top with whipped cream and extra berries.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How are you celebrating the Día de la Afrocolombianidad?

Happy Día de la Afrocolombianidad!!!

I have asked the adoptive parents of Afrocolombianitos how they plan to celebrate today's holiday. Here is their response:

Johnsons -- USA

In honor of the Dia de Afrocolombianidad we'll be celebrating 2 things...we got our referral call for Ava on May 20th, just one day before el Día! So we're going to celebrate that call and Ava's heritage. :) Pete and I hope to learn so much more as our children grow older so that our celebration of Ava's unique heritage goes beyond just one day, but I have to say honestly, we don't know much about Afrocolombian history. Our goal this year is to create a timeline of the history of Africans in Colombia (mostly to keep my husband and I accountable to learn/research) and let the girls color it and talk briefly about Ava's country and heritage with both girls. We're taking them to a local park that has a LARGE map of the world painted on the ground with fountains to play in on top of it, so we'll play in the water and jump back and forth between Colombia and the US...silly sounding, but it's a game we play at home with a floor map that our oldest daughter loves and Ava loves to imitate her, so it'll be a fun outing for both of them while at the same time teaching them something! We also ordered the book you recommend for children on San Pedro Claver that we'll read. We're going to make a special dinner, too, using some of your recipes!

A Family who Preferred to Remain Anonymous -- Europe

Truthfully, we did not know that such a holiday occurs in Colombia. We adopted our children several years ago and we have never known about this holiday. I am glad you contacted me and now we are planning a small celebration. We will do something this year. My husband and I have talked and now we plan to make a special dinner -- we found some recipes on your blog and we will make some of them. It will also give us an opportunity to talk with our children about their Colombian heritage.

Public Service Anouncement you can see on Colombian TV all the month of May.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Afrocolombian Children's Book

In 1990, Colombia celebrated the Year of Culture. As part of the festivities, the government sponsored the creation of several children's books. Among them is a book entitled "Niños de Colombia Negra". It was written by Esmeralda Va Vliet.

It consists of several chapters:

#1 -- Del Congo al Magdalena -- This chapter discusses slavery and the arrival of the black slaves in Colombia at the port of Cartagena.

#2 -- Los caminos de la libertad -- Talks about Benkos (Domingo) Bioho, who founded the first freed slave city in the Americas and also mentions important dates in Afrocolombian history.

#3 -- Pueblos negros de Colombia -- Talks about the different regions where the majority of Afrocolombians live -- San Andrés, Costa Atlántica, Costa Pacífica, and the Valle Del Cauca.

The book is now out of print, but you can read it online here:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Racism in Colombia

In preparation for this week of official celebration of Afrocolombian culture, I have read a few books. One of them I will highlight today. It is rather interesting and offers insight in to Colombian culture in general. Anyone reading this book will walk away with a greater understanding of what living in Colombia would be like. It is far more than a book dealing with race relations. You will learn about Paisa culture, mestizaje, Antioquia, the Atlantic Coast and Choco.

The author challenges how the Colombian belief that the Afro population is adequately integrated into Colombian society. He questions Colombia's self proclaimed image as a "racial democracy", and offer several valid reasons as to why Afrocolombians are not truly "equal".

If learning about Afrocolombians and Colombian culture in general interests you. I highly recommend this read. It is not an easy read novel, but very enlightening nonetheless.

The title:

Blackness and Race Mixture: The Dynamics of Racial Identity in Colombia


Peter Wade

You can read some of it on google books

Or buy it at Amazon:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

San Basilio de Palenque

Here are a few other resources to learn more about San Basilio de Palenque. The Youtube piece is in English.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Benkos Bioho and the Cimarrones

When the Spanish began to bring slaves from Africa to Colombia, there were some who escaped and began to form free, outlaw communities. These escaped slaves were called Cimarrones, and their communities and their enclaves were known as Palenques.

Benkos (called Domingo by the Spanish) Bioho is the most famous of all Cimarrones. He arrived in Cartagena de Indias in 1599, where he became the slave of Juan Gómez. The historian Fray Pedro Simón (1574-1628) wrote Benkos Bioho's story in his epic work. According to Simón, the mistreatment of slaves by Gómez led Bioho to rebel and flee his master taking with him his wife, three other men and three other women. He also encouraged an additional 22 slaves, owned by Juan de Palacios, to rebel and flee with them. The group of 30 headed out into the swamps and camped near the village of Tolú -- around 50 miles away.

From there, Bioho organized the group into a guerrilla type movement, and for five years the group launched attacks on Spanish interests. The Governor of Cartagena tried everything to stop the group, but found it impossible to do so. Finally, in 1605, the Governor signed a peace treaty with the group and gave them a small section of territory -- what is today San Basilio de Palenque -- where they could establish themselves as free people.

Eventually, Benkos got the Governor of Cartagena to sign agreements that allowed his Cimarrones to freely go wherever they wanted (including Cartagena), carry arms both without and within the city limits, and be treated with respected by all Spanish authorities. Fray Pedro Simón reports that Benkos insisted that he dress, act, and be treated like a Spanish gentleman.

When a new governor arrived in 1621, he wrote to Spain that Bioho had established a Palenque (a walled city) where no Spanish were allowed to go, and that it was well fortified and protected by Bioho's soldiers. Apparently, the governor had sent troops to the area, but Bioho's men disarmed them and sent them back with a message that they were not to return.

As a result of this offense, the Governor sent more armed troops, Bioho was captured and hanged on 6 March 1621. This sparked an insurgent war that would last until 1691 when Domingo Criollo, a palenquero, asked the King of Spain to intervene. The decision of the King allowed all Palenqueros born in the Palenque their freedom and the right to live in freedom on the lands where the Palenques were located.

Below is the anthem of San Bailio de Palenque. It is an ode to Benkos Bioho.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Maíz pira -- Popcorn

As almost everyone knows a good movie can be made better with the addition of POPCORN. That delight, which can trace it's roots to the native peoples of the Americas, is more than just a movie snack in Colombia. Let me illustrate

My husband and I were married in the US, and less than 5 days later, we embarked on our extended honeymoon to Colombia. My third day in country found me sitting at the dinner table in his family's home. It was actually my second day in Sogamoso (located in the department of Boyacá). We had done some sightseeing during the day, which had included quite a bit of walking, and as dinner time rolled around I was feeling pretty hungry. I remembered that lunch was the big meal in Colombia, but I had hoped for some delicious lunch leftovers for dinner.

Strike one. My husband cheerfully pointed out that most Colombian families don't believe in giving leftovers to guests, unless they can be reworked into a new meal like CALENTADO (a story for another day).

With this new information, I assumed I would get to try another new big dish my mother-in-law would fix me.

Strike two. My hubby then informed me that NOTHING BIG or TIME CONSUMING to prepare is ever made for dinner -- except on New Years or Christmas Eve.

So, before I struck out completely, I went to the kitchen and asked if I could help make dinner. I was met with a smile and told it was already made. I looked around the room. There were no dirty dishes, no cutting boards, no tell tale signs that food had been prepared. I saw a pot on the stove with what looked like milk and a bowl of popcorn on the counter. I asked, "What's for dinner?"

Avena and maíz pira -- oatmeal and popcorn. Now, when I say oatmeal, I don't mean the thick goop we eat here in the States. Nope, I mean a thickened milk drink with an ever so slight hint of oatmeal flour. And when I say popcorn, I do not mean the fake yellow buttery stuff we get at Cinemark. I mean just popped corn with a little melted butter and salt -- like Mama used to make when I was a kid. And that, my friends, was dinner. Light -- well sort of -- and delicious.

It is also a perfect way to blend two cultures for your movie night.

Cultural note: While most textbooks will teach the phrase PALOMITAS DE MAÍZ for popcorn, most Colombians use MAÍZ PIRA. However, in the Pasto/Nariño region they say CRISPETAS.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Golpe de Estadio

In 1998, Colombian director, Sergio Cabrera, released this humorous movie -- Golpe de Estadio (Stadium Coup).

The plot:

A US petroleum company has established a base in a small village in Colombia from which they can conduct geologic investigations. This small base, nicknamed New Texas, becomes a target for the Colombian guerrilla. Unfortunately, the only television in the area is also located in the village with the Colombian soldiers, and the guerrilleros don't want to destroy it because it is the only place where they can see Colombia's team play against Argentina. What to do? I really don't want to destroy the ending.

Again, I have not seen it, but I suspect at the very least -- some shooting. And perhaps some dicey scenes and language. However, it is supposed to be a comedy.

You can see the entire movie on Youtube -- start here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Angel del Acordeón

Originally released in July 2008, and directed by María Camila Lizarazo, the movie Angel del Acordeón promoted itself as a movie for the "whole family". It looks really sweet.

Here is the synopsis:

On the Atlantic Coast of Colombia lives an 11 year old boy, Poncho Daza dreams of becoming a great vallenatero and winning the heart of the beautiful Sara María. Unfortuately, his family's economic problems keep him from achieving his dream -- at least at first. Eventually, he is able to become known as the legendary Angel of the Acordeón.

The official website for the movie:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

El Vuelco del Cangrejo

EL VUELCO DEL CANGREJO is a movie about race relations on the Pacific coast of Colombia. On a broader scale, it is a metaphor for the civil strife in Colombia. The movie was released in March 2010 in Colombia and won the International Federation of Film Critics Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2009.

The action occurs in La Barra, a remote village on the Pacific coast of Colombia. There a leader of the Afrocolombian community, called el Cerebro (the Brain), faces problems white man from Colombia's interior (el Paisa) moves in and starts changing things. He plans to build a hotel on the beach. There is conflict, an unusual stranger, and children in the movie. Here is the official trailer. I haven't figured out where I can see it yet -- might have to wait until I go to Colombia this summer. Or wait a few years and see if it shows up at our library -- maybe on DVD in a few months. Don't know, but it sounds good. I am going to keep it in mind.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Colombian Movie Week

As the summer movie season approaches, and I plan to spend time watching movies in English. I began to wonder what Colombia has to offer me by way of movies. I'll start by saying that the movies I am highlighting this week are all movies I have not seen yet, but that look interesting.

Colombia has not movie ratings, so I cannot address whether or not they are appropriate for you or your children. There are no content warnings. I can only read reviews and watch trailers. But, I admit that there are some that look interesting.

Like take today's choice. The movie is entitled:

Los Viajes del Viento
The Wind Journeys

It was written and directed by Ciro Guerra. It was Colombia's official selection for the 2010 Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Category. The reviews say the plot is not the best, but that the cinematography, music, and introduction to Colombian culture make it a must see.

You can find out where it is playing and when it will be released on DVD by following it on Facebook:

Here is the trailer:

Friday, May 07, 2010

Arrurru -- Colombian Lullaby

In honor of Mother's Day, I give you a post about the most motherly of all songs, the Lullaby...

"Quieres Arrurru?" My sister-in-law asks her toddler, and moments later her child goes down for a nap. What is the magic of Arrurru? It is the typical sleepy time lullaby sung my mothers in Colombia.

Here is how it goes, though I must add that many people only sing the first four lines rather than all eight:

Arrurru mi nino (nina)
Lull to sleep my son (daughter)

Que tengo que hacer.
I have stuff to do.

Lavar los panales
Wash the diapers

Y hacer de comer.
And make something to eat

Matar la gallina
Kill the hen

Y echarla a coser.
And put it to cook.

Llamarle a su padre
Call your father

Que venga a comer.
To come and eat.

I know of at least one family whose referral documents stated that the child, and I quote, "Loves to go to bed with a song. His favorite is Arrurru."


One other note, there are some variations on this song depending on the region of Colombia where your child is from. The word PANALES may be changed to COBIJAS, MANTILLAS, or CULEROS. Y HACER DE COMER can be substituted with Y PONERME A COSER, Y SENTARME A COSER, or PA'CER DE COMER. LLAMARLE A SU PADRE QUE VENGA A COMER can be changed to SACARLA EN UN PLATO Y SENTARME A COMER.

Clip art:

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Antonia Santos Plata

Antonia Santos Plata was born in Charalá (in what is today the department of Santander) in 1785. While little is known of her early life, she came to the forefront in 1819 during the time of the Independence movement. She helped to organize guerrilla operations from her family home in El Hatillo, where she helped to provide supplies, direct counter-attacks, and encourage others to join them. She was part of a group known as the Guerrillas of Coromoro (approximately 40 people most of whom were her relatives that she herself had organized).
The groups operations were designed to help Bolivar cross the Andes. Captain Pedro Agustín Vargas (of the Spanish army) arrived at El Hatillo and found Antonia Santos there with her 15 year old niece, Elena Santos. Together Antonia and Elna as well as their two slaves, Juan and Juana, were arrested and taken to Charalá on foot and imprisoned.
She was sentenced to death by the Viceroy Juan Sámano and was executed on July 28, 1819. According to witnesses, she was accompanied in death by her slaves who refused to denounce her.
Following her death, the people of Socorro were enraged. They armed themselves with sticks, knives, machetes, swords -- anything -- and sought to avenge Santos' death. The Royalists were forced to flee to Oíba for their own security.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Consuelo Araújo Noguera

Consuelo Araujo Noguera was born in Valledupar, on August 1, 1940. She was the youngest of nine children and she had to leave school at the age of 14 to work and help pay for the education of her older brothers. She would later claim that this event actually helped her to develop and independent spirit and an ability to look beyond what was typically expected of women.

For over 20 years, she wrote a regular column for the newspaper El Espectador. She also had a regular program on a Valledupar radio station.

She was best known as a tireless promoter of local folklore, and particularly Vallenato. In 1968, Consuelo Araujo helped to found the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata, which takes place in Valledupar every April.

Her father, Santander Araujo, was a local leader of the Liberal Party, and her political connections eventually secured her the Colombian consulship in Sevilla, Spain from 1974-78, under the Liberal presidency of Alfonso Lopez Michelsen. She was also a prominent political figure in Cesar, where she earned the nickname, La Cacica (ka SEE ca), which means the "Chief". The nickname reflected her personality and influence in the power structure.

In 1997, she ran for the governorship of the Department of Cesar, but she lost the election. However, in July 0f 2000, she was offered the job of Minister of Culture. She created quite a stir when she delcared that it was "not the job of the culture ministry to promote 'foreign' things such as opera, jazz and theatre festivals." She preferred to spend the public money on regional cultural events. She soon resigned, and went back to running the Vallenato Festival in Valledupar.

Months later while travelling outside of Valledupar, her car was stopped at a roadblock set up by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia). She was kidnapped by them and take to the mountains. When she collapsed and told her captors that she could walk no further, she was shot in the face and killed.

She wrote the following works:

"Vallenatologia, origenes y fundamentos de la musica Vallenata", (1973)

"Escalona, El hombre y el mito", (1998)
"Lixicon del Valle de Upar, voces, modismos, giros, interjecciones, locuciones, dichos, refranes y coplas del habla popular vallenata", (1994)

You can read more here in English:

Or here in Spanish:


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Ana María Martínez de Nisser

Last year, in the week proceeding Mother's Day, I did a special on famous women of Colombia. This year, I am adding a few more names to the list. You can read about all of the women I have highlighted by clicking on the WOMEN label to the left. For today, the spotlight falls on a heroine from Antioquia -- Ana María Martínez de Nisser.

Ana María was born in Sonsón, Antioquia, on December 6, 1812. Her father was a teacher in Sanson.

Her early years were spent in school where she was an excellent student. Those who knew her have written that she was very bright and quick, and was able to speak fluent French as well as English.

She was married in 1831 to a man from Sweden -- Pedro Nisser. Nisser was a gold dealer and businessman.

Events in Colombia from 1839-1841 were not pleasant, the country experienced the first on many civil wars. This war was know as the Guerra de los Supremos (or Guerra de los Conventos). Here is a brief explanation:

The war started over, what else, religion. The then President of Colombia, José Ignacio de Márquez, sanctioned a law which ordered that any convent which housed fewer than 8, was to be closed and taken over by the government. Several such convents were in Pasto, Nariño. In Pasto to the south, there lived several caudillos, known as the Supremos, who were already opposed to the Marquéz government. The Supremos did to want a strong central government and were hoping to start a rebellion that would allow them to eventually become more powerful and allow them to set up their own rules and laws that would benefit them personally. By 1840, caudillos in Medellin were supporting the rebellious cause.

Ana María and her husband, however, supported the government during this war. As a result, her husband was sent to prison in Rio Negro. When her husband was taken, Ana María became enraged and decided to fight herself for the government, and asked to join the army of Braulio Henao. At first, Henao thought she crazy. "Women simply do not do that!" However, she convinced him by saying the following, "What man, whose is afraid, will stay behind once he sees me marching in the rows with you!" He allowed her to she put on a solders uniform and marched in the army ranks with her father and two brothers.

On May 5, 1841, she was among the soldiers that fought in the Battle of Salamina. When she ran out of bullets, she grabbed a sword and fought. The Battle of Salamina was the last battle of the war and it was won by the governmental troops of which Ana María was a part.

The Congress of Colombia gave her actions official recognition and she was actually crowned in a celebration held in Medellín. She also wrote a book about her experience called "La Revolución de Antioquia en 1842", which was published in 1843.
She died in 1872 and is buried in the cemetery San Lorenzo in Medellín.


Monday, May 03, 2010

Workshops on Colombian Music and Dance

I just found out about these workshops. Sorry I missed the first two. These workshops on Colombian music and dance will be held in New York. If you live in the area, or plan to visit this spring/summer, you might want to put these actiities on your to do list.

May 6th, 7-8:30pm, El Taller Latino Americano:
Ronald Polo explores of the percussion sounds of the Atlantic coast; and Johanna Castañeda presents a music workshop for the musical instrument from the Llano -- the Cuatro. Suggested donation $5.

May 13th, 7-8:30pm, El Taller Latino Americano:
Rafael Gomez & Guillermo Penate explore the Vallenato sounds of Colombia's north coast; and Daniel Fetecua Soto presents dances from throughout Colombia. Suggested donation $5.

June 16th, 7-8:30pm, Queens Museum of Art, Closing Event & Reception:
Rafael Leal Ramirez demonstrates traditional Colombian rhythms for the drum set; and Andrés Garcia presents traditional Andean music for the tiple, flauta and bass. Free!