There were no sacred cows at Sunday afternoon’s Day of the Innocents parade. Politicians, government policies, television personalities, expats, and even the dead, were lampooned during the three-hour procession down Cuenca’s Av. Huayna Capac.
The parade, sponsored by the Cuenca Amistad Club and the Azuay journalists’ union, attracted a crowd estimated at 25,000 by police. Event sponsors offer prizes for best skits and costumes and attract entries from civic organizations, universities, neighborhoods and families. The top prize is $4,000 and the winner will be announced today.
Among the prominent personalities lampooned were President Rafael Correa and Cuenca Mayor Paúl Granda. Hugo Chavez, the late president of Venezuela, was featured in a skit putting him in Dante’s hell. Other targets included the government’s plan to phase out the natural gas subsidy, Cuenca’s new train system, the controversial Yasuni oil project, traffic cops, Chevron Oil and the Coopera money laundering scandal. Even North American expats were among the targets, represented as doddering, over-weight old folks on walking canes, one wearing the label of “creeper.”
Like many of Cuenca’s festivals, the Day of the Innocents was originally a religious celebration that, over the years, took on the trappings of carnival. The event is intended as a remembrance of King Herod’s death sentence ordered for all Israeli new-born boys after the birth of Christ. The event is celebrated in many Latin American cities. Cuenca’s version includes a competition for the best costumes, skits, many with satirical, political and social commentary themes.
Photo caption: The government plan to eliminate the gas subsidy is lampooned in Sunday’s parade; Credit: El Tiempo