The emphasis in Puerto Viejo was heritage and family values

The he Día de la Persona Negra y la Cultura Costarricense was celebrated all over Costa Rica, but Informate Caribe, a group of residents and business owners in Puerto Viejo, wanted a spectacular demonstration of community solidarity in presenting the village as a place rich in cultural heritage and family values.

There was a parade featuring school children dressed up in AfroCaribbean costumes, school bands, and town matriarchs strolling in dignified style. The whole town turned out to watch. The main street was jammed with  residents as well as tourists and a crowd of weekend visitors who came from San José.

Celebrity visitors were Danny Glover, Afre Woodard and Delroy Lindo, who said they were delighted to have the opportunity to spend the weekend in Puerto Viejo. The Hollywood entourage was regaled by their hosts at Koki Beach Restaurant, which adjoins the Jardin de la disapora where the events were held.

Both films slated for the festival were substituted at the last minute due to technical difficulties. However, the films that were shown were powerful portrayals of Afro-American culture and issues. “Holiday Heart,” featuring Ms. Woodard, was a family-friendly story addressing the heartbreaking issue of fragmented families due to drug addiction.

The film Glover chose to share was a documentary exposing the American war on drugs that has marginalized Afro-American families. Glover drew chuckles when he mispronounced the name of the town as Puerto  Viaje.

Although both films were about culture in the United States, the audience was spellbound. Children watched from rugs near the front of the stage while adults sat in chairs  or stood in the back of the garden. Saturday night it was standing room only as a crowd gathered on the street to watch the film.

The music had begun Friday night with the Rumberitos, a group of Puerto Viejo students. The Cahuita Gospel Choirperformed Saturday evening.

The event organizers honored the matriarchs and founding fathers of the beach villages of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo.

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