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  • Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel Ventura, praised the contributions of the Afrodescendant population to the Costa Rican culture and identity.

    Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel Ventura, praised the contributions of the Afrodescendant population to the Costa Rican culture and identity. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 August 2019
Opinion

On August 31 the country will celebrate a day for Black people and Afro-Costa Rican culture, but the activities will last the whole month.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Manuel Ventura, made a statement Tuesday praising the contributions of the Afrodescendant population to the country’s culture and identity, which he described as “invaluable.”

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At the opening ceremony of the celebration of the Afrodescendence Month, in the capital San Jose, Ventura said that coordinating the national policies to seek a more just and inclusive society, free of racism, discrimination and xenophobia is a special opportunity. 

“This celebration should remind us that we are a democratic, free, independent, multi-ethnic and multicultural Republic, as stated in our Political Constitution,“ the minister added.

He further went on to pay tribute to the Afrodescendants, evoking their contributions to the Costa Rican culture and identity and praising their culinary art, “the warmth, and flavor” of their music and “their nobility of spirit and strength of character” to face all type of adversity.

The minister also lauded the work of Quince Duncan, Costa Rica's first Afro-Caribbean writer in Spanish language, who attended the ceremony and gave a speech.

During his presentation, the writer who dedicated his life to the study of this particular culture called to mind its richness and the way it contributed to enrich and to shape the traditions, and the history of the country.

Refuting some of the main myths built around Afro-descendant culture in the Central American country, Duncan assured that “Costa Rica is not a white nation.”

The writer explained that even though Costa Ricans mostly descend from Spaniards, there are two considerations that must not be forgotten: the Spaniards were multiethnic and multicultural when they arrived and their spouses did not accompany them, so “who are our mothers and grandmothers?”

Likewise, he went on saying that “Afro-Caribbeans did not arrive in Costa Rica as slaves. They were hired to do free labor. Afro-Caribbeans are Costa Ricans by birth and they have contributed to the development of the country,” he concluded.

For all these reasons, Duncan expressed the importance of commemorating the builders of the nation and its culture, constituted of the legacy of the colonial and the Afro-Caribbeans. 

On August 31, the country will celebrate the Day of the black person and Afro-Costa Rican culture, but the activities for this event will last the whole month.

On the other hand, the Legislative Assembly is preparing a bill to declare the last day of this month a national holiday.

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