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Volume 14, Number 21
November 12, 2008

lifestyle

Also in this section:
Chemito retains his title in a boxing night at Figali
Venezuelan-style empanadas at Los Venezolanos
Big plans for the Summit Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Benefit golf tournament for Summit's renovation
Scenes from a bus trip through Chiriqui and Bocas
Celebrating the Grito de La Villa de Los Santos
Flag Day in Panama City
Independence Day on Calle 50
Independence Day on Via España
2009 Spay Panama Calendars
Fundraiser for a new animal shelter



La Villa de Los Santos, on the anniversary of its greatest day

Ah, Los Santos, the province that has Panama's only desert and which is the heartland of the cultural tradition that Panamanians call "tipica."

And then there's the town of Los Santos, where on November 10, 1821 there was heard "El Grito de la Villa de Los Santos."

(Use one of those computer translation programs and combine it with just a smidgen of knowledge about Santeño culture, and "grito" will come out transliterated as "shout." A loud "ahua" might come to mind. But unless you put ketchup on your fried rice and turn your straw hat up just so, you will probably have a hard time pronouncing the latter --- it's an Interiorano thing.)

It is said --- and disputed --- that the person who did the shouting was a young woman of peasant origins, one Rufina Alfaro. But whether or not there was any actual shouting on that day in La Villa de Los Santos is beside the point.

The "grito" was the first call for Panama's independence from Spain, and it was instigated by José Higinio Durán, the Catholic Bishop of Panama, Los Santos Mayor Julián Chávez and town notables and issued as a resolution by the town's representantes at a "cabildo abierto," or open town meeting. A copy was made by the town's scribe, one José de los Santos Correoso, to be sent to The Great Liberator, Simón Bolívar, in Bogota.


Rufina Alfaro? Such sketchy documentary information as we have for her existence suggests that she was born the daughter of slaves in the nearby village of Las Peñas, no more than 23 years before her legendary cry. The legend has her playing a role in the bloodless takeover of the area's military outposts, with some versions alleging that the Creole aristocrats who might reasonably have been suspected of making trouble found a young woman of humble social rank a more convenient person to scout out the Spanish defenses.

About two and a half weeks later the people in Panama City and elsewhere in the country decided that they agreed, and independence was declared from Spain. Panama quickly joined Bolívar's Gran Colombia.

Above we see a scene from the 2008 celebration of this event, held as usual in the town of Los Santos.

Photo by Allan Hawkins

Also in this section:
Chemito retains his title in a boxing night at Figali
Venezuelan-style empanadas at Los Venezolanos
Big plans for the Summit Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Benefit golf tournament for Summit's renovation
Scenes from a bus trip through Chiriqui and Bocas
Celebrating the Grito de La Villa de Los Santos
Flag Day in Panama City
Independence Day on Calle 50
Independence Day on Via España
2009 Spay Panama Calendars
Fundraiser for a new animal shelter


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