Latacunga official proposes suspending ‘Black Mama’ parade and festival

Aug 1, 2015

Latacunga councilman Garcia Moreno is proposing that the city cancel this year’s Mama Negra, or Black Mama, parade and festival due to the threat from the Cotopaxi volcano.

A performer in last year's Black Mama parade.

A performer in last year’s Black Mama parade.

“All our attention and resources should be focused on preparing for a possible eruption,” Moreno said in making the proposal to the council and Mayor Patricio Sanchez.

Latacunga is within clear view of Cotopaxi and the gases rising from the crater. The city of 90,000 has been destroyed twice in the past by eruptions.

“The money we usually spend on the festival should go to prepare shelters and to train personnel to handle an emergency if one develops,” said Moreno. “Black Mama is part of our heritage and I hate to ask that it be canceled, but we have to put our resources to the best use.” He added: “I think Black Mama would understand.”

The Black Mama festival is scheduled for November and honors the Virgin of La Merced. The parade, one of the most famous in Ecuador due its elaborate costumes of the participants. Last year, an estimated 50,000 performers were watched by a crowd of 150,000.

Mayor Sanchez disagrees with the cancellation idea. “We have time to consider this carefully and should not rush to a decision. This festival is very important to our culture and economy.” He continued, “Obviously, if the volcano becomes active we will cancel but we are not at that point yet.”

 

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