Among the proposals approved in Matanzas this year in order to boost tourism in town is the Ateneo de la Rumba , a program, that is part of the AfroAtenas megaproject. It inserts among its priorities the diffusion of Afro-Cuban roots from religious and cultural expressions of the people and it aims the integral development and urban intervention in the community of Pueblo Nuevo, which is the neighborhood where it lies.
Its director, Yoelkys Torres Tápanes, also responsible for the Callejón de las Tradiciones (Alley of Traditions) as one of the main venues of AfroAtenas explained some of the innovative proposals that are implemented in the city of Matanzas.
Several local development programs related to culture were passed in Matanzas, which will help provide better services to these people and offer attractive to domestic and foreign visitors, related to the defendant as city tourism alternatives.
Yoelkys Tápanes Torres explained one of the proposals approved for that purpose.
“AfroAtenas is a comprehensive project development and urban intervention in the community, specifically in the district 34 of Pueblo Nuevo neighborhood, where is located the Alley Traditions.
“It is a macro that results in several lines, which respond to a final goal, a vision and a mission that determine their Community status, to guide and promote cultural diversity and the tangible and intangible assets of the company. “
As a macro project, AfroAtenas is fed of some experiences in the service of socio-cultural development of the community. “They collect for example: the Alley of Traditions, community cultural space, from its own methodology and projections routed to the preservation of the environment, the community service and heritage of the neighborhood of Pueblo Nuevo.
“We also stress the local municipal development initiative Ateneo de la Rumba, already started construction, specifically in the place where he began what will be the boulevard de Narváez, in the city of Matanzas.
“Within this we have other items such as the proposal of Comprehensive Development Office for social and community work, Asia House, the House of the Africania Matancera and the Caribbean as well as the House of Cultural in conjunction with the Embassy of Venezuela. “
Another line that outlines the work of AfroAtenas, Torres Tápanes said, is research, in the sense of more complete understanding of who we are and where our culture comes from.
“It answers from the research point of view everything that has to do with the African descendents in Matanzas. We can mention, for example, the rescue of the temple items like houses and city councils, to which we add the studies being conducted as part of the Living Memory prize.
“Soon we will deal with other councils to deploy after a process that also are seen as assets or liabilities, but are part of traditional folk culture.“
One purpose of the project is to provide the city, mainly the neighborhood of Pueblo Nuevo, a more comprehensive view of their own development, to achieve after a direct participation of the community through the changes that she promoted.
Among its advantages is the possibility of promoting the sustainable development of the city, from obtaining funding to realize the projections enrumbarán AfroAtenas destinations as community and cultural project.
“Within our proposals seek external funding sources to realize the ideas we have and not have to use the budget of the province or municipality.
“In the Alley of Traditions began a collaboration with the COSUDE,of 30 thousand cuc. The COSUDE is the Swiss agency for development and cooperation, which constitutes our first donor.
“The building project will be repaired and there food service will be offered; a unique space within the community that will include a library, classrooms for workshops and link us directly to theRepublic of school civics classes in which students learn the particularities of the community to which they belong is created.
“It will also be linked to those seniors with cutting and sewing courses. It is a generalized approach to all people living in the district 34, an experience that we intend to expand hereafter.
“With these funds collaborative projects that will help delimit lot because they revitalize some of the programs that we had saved by not having the resources to pay for it.“
Taking advantage of foreign interest in culture and heritage values of the city, AfroAtenas and positive impact on tourism development in the territory.
“We work with tourism since 2013 From our research we present Paradiso Route de la Rumba in Cuba and specifically in Matanzas.
“This year’s Timbalaye l Internacional Festiva of Rumba offered a tour that included the Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas and Cienfuegos provinces, with whom they released the implicit elements of popular culture in this genre.
“He put special emphasis on the Alley of Traditions as a tourism product that is now used by agencies like Amistur and Paradiso. We welcome foreigners in order to show what identifies us in culture. “
Today aspirations lean toward the realization of a park with cultural elements relating to African descendents.
“Linked to the African Embassy in Cuba want to create a park for the friendship between Africa and Cuba, where cultural details shared by both regions and especially having the province of Matanzas, including councils are displayed, the temple homes, evidence of slavery in the territory.
“I conceived around a large ceiba, surrounded today by a dumpster. This will be where Matanzas reassert as the Mecca of the traditions of African origin.
“According to the readings we have done, since 1555 the presence of slaves shown in Matanzas. We selected this date as a reference because 2015 will mark 460 years of this. “
AfroAtenas will then become a new space to remember, preserve and enforce the roots and traditions inherited by our people of the cultures of African origin because, as stated by our National Poet Nicolás Guillén, “aquí el que no tiene de congo, tiene de carabalí “, its a Cuban expression to explain that black blood runs through every Cuban veins, no matter how white the color of our skin or how fine our factions are.
Orignal text by Jesica Mesa Duarte on September 29th, 2014