Monday, October 8, 2007
Saludos desde Sucre, la ciudad blanca de las americas, y la Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadaloupe
Sucre is my first destination on my leave of absence from law school, and a very interesting city. Despite having less than a few hundred thousand people, it's managed to hold onto one of the three branches of national power in Bolivia. And that's not all, it's demanding more.
The movement towards "capitalia" is asking that the entire capital be "returned" to Sucre, being the center of colonial power for "Alto Peru" and the site of the national capital after independence, but La Paz took two of its branches of national power during a civil war between the cities a while back. The sureñas (Sucre-ites) want them back, and they're willing to take to the streets to get it. Protests, like those that led to miner's blasting caps and police teargas in the streets of this beautiful colonial town a few weeks back, are expected to start again this week as the Constitutional Assembly reconvenes, but the word from the family I'm staying with is that they're expected to be much more peaceful this time.
As I said, Sucre is beautiful, the White City of the Americas, filled with white-washed colonial architecture.
These streets were recently filled with dancers from different fraternities (different meaning here, btw) in Sucre and the surrounding provinces for the two-day-long Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadaloupe, a two-day-long parade and massive public display of debauchery that left the city so está de ch'aqui (a quecha-spanish combo meaning "hungover") that the crowds in the saltañerias (shops that sell Bolivia's delicious version of the empanada) couldn't muster their usual enthusiastic morning cacaphony.
The festival is a major event, the biggest party of the year. In it, fraternities from all over Chuquisaca (Sucre's province) and Potosi come together to dance on a route that lasts nearly 3 hours before terminating in the main plaza in Sucre.
So far, Sucre seems like a very pleasant and idyllic start to my Bolivian adventure.