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By Milagros Sánchez Pinzón
Historic and educational projects are brewing in Panama’s westernmost province of Chiriquí to make museum tours more interesting for visitors.
Culturama, a private educational organization, the Movimiento por el Patrimonio Histórico de Chiriquí (Chiriqui Heritage Movement), with the support of the Motorized Police Service (Los Linces) and students from the Social Communication Faculty of the Autonomous Chiriqui University (Universidad Autónoma de Chiriquí, UNACHI) wrapped the filming of a short historic film called Los Guaraperos de 1866 (The sugarcane men of 1866) on February 2, 2013.
This movie shows one of the many battles fought between the conservatives and liberals factions, when Panama was part of “El Gran Colombia”. In February 1866, the red liberals took over the Cuartel del Peligro (one of the oldest neighborhoods in David, the capital and largest city of Chiriquí) and the blue conservatives managed to recover it after 12 hours of combat. This group was known as the guaraperos (sugarcane men), because they were from Dolega, area where sugarcane and molasses are produced.
Fifty actors participated, portraying these historical characters that came alive in this short film. Among them were 24 units of the Motorized Police Service, students from the UNACHI, University of the Americas (UDELAS), the Human Development Institute (INADEH), the Agricultural Faculty and La Pita’s residents, Alanje, place where a few of the scenes were filmed.
The Bolivar Park (Parque Bolívar) and José de Obaldía Orejuela’s house (the museum which is in the process of being restored) were some of the locations used to re-create this slice of national history. The script was written by Manuel Martínez Mendieta and authenticated by the historian Carlos Cuestas Gómez.
Los Guaraperos de 1866 will be officially launched in March at Casa de Culturama in David and will be shown regularly to the Sala de los Héroes de Coto (Coto Heroes Room) visitors, a small museum located in the Linces Home (Hogar de los Linces), in David’s Old Quarter and the (en el Casco Antiguo de David) Museo Etnográfico Julio Gómez Ruiz (Ethnographic Museum), located in San Pablo Nuevo.