ONE MO­RE UNINTERRUPTED EDITION OF FIESTA DEL FUEGO

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When in April, 1981, Jo­el Ja­mes, foun­ding di­rec­tor of the Casa del Ca­ri­be, along with an ent­hu­si­ast group of ar­tists of the city de­ci­ded to make a call for this fes­ti­val of po­pu­lar cul­tu­res for the first time, they did not sus­pect that this gat­he­ring would re­ach the sca­le it has to­day. To­day it is an al­ter­na­ti­ve spa­ce whe­re it takes pla­ce an ex­pan­si­on of the pro­ces­ses of for­ma­ti­on of na­ti­o­nal Cuban iden­tity in par­ti­cu­lar and of the en­ti­re re­gi­on. Thus, every new edition of the Fes­ti­val del Ca­ri­be is like the un­vei­ling of that pe­cu­li­a­rity of ex­tra­or­di­nary di­men­si­ons which is to be Ca­rib­be­an and to which, in an or­ga­nic and na­tu­ral way, Bo­nai­re be­longs to, a small Ca­rib­be­an is­land lo­ca­ted south of the Ca­rib­be­an Sea, off the wes­tern co­ast of Ve­ne­zu­e­la and part of the Net­her­lands An­ti­lles.

This uninterrupted 37th edition of Fiesta del Fuego (The Fi­re Fest)—as it is al­so known— takes pla­ce un­der very spe­ci­al con­di­ti­ons, sin­ce the ins­ti­tu­ti­on that calls and or­ga­ni­zes its ce­le­bra­ti­on is ce­le­bra­ting 35 ye­ars of exis­ten­ce.

Thus, the Fes­ti­val del Ca­ri­be will not only pay ho­ma­ge to Bo­nai­re, but al­so will bring up to da­te the con­tri­bu­ti­ons of the Casa del Ca­ri­be for the stu­di­es and pro­jec­ti­ons of the Ca­rib­be­an as a na­tu­ral re­gi­on.

Santiago is the most Ca­rib­be­an of all Cuban ci­ti­es. Eit­her its pri­vi­le­ged ge­o­grap­hi­cal lo­ca­ti­on or its pe­cu­li­ar un­du­la­tory to­po­graphy, as well as its his­to­ri­cal back­ground, and al­so its fu­tu­re, are in­ter­sec­ted by a com­mon fac­tor: Santiago pe­o­ple, un­doub­tedly a spe­ci­al ty­pe of Cuban and Ca­rib­be­an folk, vi­si­ble in their in­di­vi­du­al and collec­ti­ve di­men­si­ons.

From Casa del Ca­ri­be we ha­ve always ma­de qui­te cle­ar that our Ca­rib­be­an pri­de should not le­ad us to sta­te that we are the ca­pi­tal of the Ca­rib­be­an. No, we are not the ca­pi­tal of the Ca­rib­be­an be­cau­se, like Santiago, the­re are many ot­her ci­ti­es in the Ca­rib­be­an. In turn, it is pro­ba­ble that we may ha­ve that con­di­ti­on only du­ring the ce­le­bra­ti­on of the fes­ti­val and the car­ni­vals, due to the hu­man and cul­tu­res con­cen­tra­ti­on of im­men­se pro­por­ti­ons that co­me to­get­her du­ring tho­se ma­gic days of July.

De to­dos los pa­í­ses del Ca­ri­be han ar­ri­ba­do de­le­ga­ci­o­nes en los trein­ta y cin­co años de la Fiesta del Fuego.

Orlando Vergés, di­rec­tor de la Casa del Ca­ri­be.

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