Colombia Celebrates Its Bicentennial With Concerts And Military Parade
By Dialogo July 22, 2010
Colombia celebrated the bicentennial of the beginning of its independence with more than a thousand concerts around the country, the central one being Juanes’s performance in the depressed region of Chocó; a military parade; and at nightfall, fireworks in Bogotá’s Bolívar Plaza.
At noon local time, simultaneous concerts began in Colombia’s 1,102 municipalities, in which around 200,000 local singers and groups performed, as well as children’s and youth orchestras.
In Bogotá’s Simón Bolívar Park, the artists Jorge Celedón, the Grupo Niche, the Coro Celis Sisters, and the group El Cumbión de Cereté performed.
However, the day’s most important concert was held in Quibdó, in the depressed region of Chocó (in central-western Colombia), with the singer Juanes as the main attraction. Nearly 10,000 people gathered on the banks of the Atrato River, where the recital was held, according to the organizers.
In the morning, President Alvaro Uribe, together with President-Elect Juan Manuel Santos, attended the military parade with which Colombia celebrated its independence from Spain.
Dressed in period uniforms, nearly 10,000 men from the Colombian armed forces marched down Bogotá’s central Avenue 68, while seventy-six Air Force combat and transport planes and helicopters put on an aerial display.
The parade was led by military personnel wounded in combat, who proceeded down the avenue in wheelchairs while viewers were reminded of Operation Jaque (2008) and Operation Camaleón (2010), in which the Colombian army rescued nineteen hostages from the FARC guerrilla group.
Before the parade, a Te Deum was held in Bogota’s primatial cathedral, which President Uribe also attended.
This year on 20 July, Colombia is celebrating the two-hundredth anniversary of the start of its fight for independence, which began with an apparently trivial incident, a dispute over a flower vase that Spanish merchant José González Llorente did not want to lend for use as a table decoration at a luncheon to be held for royal commissioner Antonio Villavicencio (a creole).
Starting with this event, governing committees were formed, and under the leadership of Venezuelan general Simón Bolívar, the campaign of liberation began, culminating nine years later with the final victory in the Battle of Boyacá on 7 August 1819.
First thing Tuesday morning, the mayor of Bogotá, Samuel Moreno, following the instructions left with an urn sealed a hundred years ago, opened it to find documents, texts, images, and photographs of the Bogotá of that time.
At the same time, the Bogotá mayor’s office issued a public call for citizens to contribute documents for a new centennial urn that will be sealed on 27 September and taken to the National Museum, where it should remain sealed until 20 July 2110.