Carlos Chavarria Involvement in Local Politics

Interviewee: Carlos Chavarría
Biography: Portobelo-native, Carlos Chavarría, has played the role of Major Devil in the Congo tradition of Portobelo, Panama since 1980 when his mentor, the renowned Major Devil Celedonio Molinar, initially retired. Except for the years he spent studying abroad in Russia (1982-1986), Chavarría has continued in the role -- often playing alongside his mentor for over a decade until Molinar offically retired in 2003. In 2004, Chavarría was elected mayor of the district of Portobelo. As such, he has a unique perspective on the cultural, political, and touristic importance of the Congo tradition to the community as well as the nation. As a long-standing Major Devil, he also has an important perspective on the meaning, purpose, and transformations of the role.
Excerpt Description: In this excerpt, Chavarria talks about his history of involvement in local politics and offers his unique perspective as Major Devil in the Congo tradition and Mayor of Portobelo district. The district includes: Isla Grande, Juan Gallego, La Guaira, Puerto Lindo o Garrote, Cacique, Jose Pobre, Valle Estilla, San Antonio, Nuevo Tonosi, Portobelo, La Escucha, Buenaventura, Guanche, Mechi, Alto de la Cruz, Playa Langosta, Rio Piedra, María Chiquita, Las Mercedes y Las Merceditas.
Entire Interview: Listen to the full interview and read the transcript.
Interviewer: Renee Alexander Craft
Secondary Interviewer: n/a
Date of Interview: Jul-13
Interview Location: On the front porch of his family home in Portobelo, Panama
Interview Transcribed By: Gustavo Esquina
English Translation By: Oronike Odeleye
Ethnoracial Identity Discussed: Afro-Colonial, Afrodescendiente
Cultural Identity: Congo
Location Mentioned: Portobelo, Panama
Congo Spaces:
Congo Characters: N/A
Congo Tradition Mentioned: N/A
Cultural Organization: N/A
Themes Mentioned: Community, Local politics
Cultural Festivals: local elections
People Mentioned:
Time Period Mentioned: 2004-present
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Timestamp: 00:15:01.7-00:19:33.2

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