Vegano Culture featured in Upper Manhattan at GFDD and FUNGLODE’s DGT in the Big Apple

June 7, 2013

Enthused guests were treated to dancing and the lively sounds of the Dominican Carnival in La Vega on Thursday night, June 6, during Global Foundation for Democracy and Development’s popular initiative, Dominican Get-togethers in the Big Apple.

Dominicans, including many from La Vega, and a handful of other interested nationalities, filled The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational
Center in upper Manhattan. They were treated to an enlightening documentary about what characteristics make the Dominican municipalities of La Vega, Jarabacoa, Constanza and Jima Abajo so unique.

The evening began with welcome remarks from GFDD’s NY Director, and FUNGLODE’s Director of Formative Activities, Yamile Eusebio, who thanked Juan Pineda and Ramon Burgos, from the Association of Veganos, for their solid partnership and support in bringing the
event to fruition.

Ms. Eusebio also highly lauded the work of the other event partner, Centro Cuesta Nacional, who produced and provided the documentary. Ms. Eusebio said
“GFDD supports and promotes the work that Centro Cuesta Nacional does, and we hope to continue to work with them to bring more cultural products to the Dominican people in New York.”

The Centro Cuesta Nacional’s film Discover La Vega: Pride of my Land, was proudly introduced by the Organization’s representative, Natacha Quiterio, who said we should get to know and love the
country more in order to promote and protect it.

The beautifully filmed, 46 minute documentary takes audiences on a fascinating journey through the rich cultural, historical, agricultural and musical heritage of the province of La Vega and its municipalitie, in the central region of the Dominican Republic.  It is the first of a series of films to be produced by CNN highlighting the unique features of each of the provinces of the country.

screening of the film set the stage for the participation of the special guest speaker, Cèsar Arturo Abreu Fernández from La Vega, who graduated from Colombia University, and is a published author, expert historian in “vegano” culture, and director of the vibrant carnival of La Vega.  Mr. Abreu Fernandez spoke animatedly and humorously about the culture of La Vega, its nature, its people and the famous carnival. To highlight his pride about La Vega he said,
“Dios trabaja en todo el mundo pero regresa y descansa en La Vega.”  ”God works around the world, but returns and relaxes in La Vega.”

In the course of his speech, he spent ample time talking about the meaning of the traditions of the carnival. He concluded that, what makes the Carnival de La Vega so  attractive and enticing is that all men and women regardless of their social or political status behave like brothers and
sisters, and that’s the unbeatable magic of the Vegano Carnival.

It was very clear, from his communicated message, how proud Mr. Abreu Fernandez is of his Dominican roots, to the point that at his closing he said, ”Lo que me impulse a mi….es ser Dominicano.” ”What drives me in life…is being a Dominican.”

Following Mr. Abreu’s enlightening remarks, there was a lively and interactive exchange
with the audience, who were “tested” on their knowledge of La Vega through a series of questions, presented by both Mr. Abreu and Ms. Eusebio. To the obvious delight of the crowd, each correct answer won a DVD of La Vega and other paraphernalia, courtesy of CCN.

The audience then enjoyed the authentic sights and sounds of La Vega through a performance demonstration from an esteemed diablos cojuelo (limping
devil)legendary characters of the La Vega Carnival who dress in vibrant, colorful costumes adorned with mirrors and bells and wear large horned masks.

Following the film, a reception of local delicacies from La Vega gave the enthusiastic crowd an opportunity to meet and network with distinguished representatives and collaborators from the documentary as well as with the special guests, including former-  Dominican
Consul General in New York, and proud Vegano, Maximo Corcino, who was GFDD’s special guest when the documentary first screened at New York’s SVA Theatre  in December 2012.

The reception also provided a chance for guests to air their thoughts and views. High School Teacher in the Bronx, Yoseli Castillo said, “I loved the movie, principally because it is La Vega, my home, and I connected immediately with everything that I saw. I also
learned some new things… I see educational value in the fact that it shows an image of the Dominican Republic which goes beyond tourism… It is a vision of the country that is very conscious of the environment, which is important to me as an educator.”

About the DGT
The Dominican Get-togethers initiative is part of GFDD’s mission to promote understanding and appreciation of Dominican culture,
values and heritage, and to create opportunities for discussions on contemporary issues relevant to Dominican society in the homeland and abroad.  GFDD reaches out to the Dominican community living the New York Metro Area and to all those interested in the Dominican culture by organizing ongoing events.

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