Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 18.COM 8.C.3

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has proposed Program for the safeguarding of the Bandos and Parrandas of the Holy Innocents of Caucagua: nuclei of initiation and transmission of wisdoms and community councils (No. 01856) for selection and promotion by the Committee as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention:

The Bandos and Parrandas of the Holy Innocents of Caucagua, Venezuela refers to street celebrations that take place on the nights of 27 and 28 December. This Afro-descendant festivity is characterized by live music and satirical clothing mocking the styles of slave owners. A safeguarding programme was developed to address its decreasing transmission through the establishment of: (a) the Nuclei of Initiation and Transmission of Wisdoms; and (b) Community Councils for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage and Cultural Diversity. Created by and for communities, the Nuclei aim to strengthen oral transmission through weekly programming content, whereas the democratically-elected Community Councils are charged with developing safeguarding plans and projects. For over a decade, the programme has revitalized the festivity of the Holy Innocents and helped safeguard living heritage through activities such as trainings, community research and seminars. Its bottom-up approach emphasizes community and youth participation, intergenerational exchange and collaboration with national institutions. The safeguarding programme is based on the premise that living heritage can positively affect how people interact with each other and their environment.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the programme responds as follows to the criteria for selection as a best safeguarding practice in paragraph 7 of the Operational Directives:

P.1:   The introduction of foreign elements, insecurity and emigration impacted the Bandos and Parrandas and caused a significant loss in the viability of the tradition and its characters, music and routes. The Nuclei of Initiation and Transmission of Wisdoms were created with the aim to strengthen the oral transmission process of the element and consolidate the knowledge and development of the cultural expression. The Nuclei offers weekly programming content that touches on cultural, historical, natural and geographic elements, and is oriented to children, youth and adults. Their safeguarding activities include research, training and revitalization measures. It is a community education process led by the bearers and taking place in work sessions called ‘conversatorios’. The Community Councils work for the organization of the community and the promotion of their living heritage. They promote agreement and action spaces between different cultural collectives with the common goal of safeguarding living heritage.

P.2:   On the regional level, the integration of the bearers to the ‘Movement in Networks of Heritage and Cultural Diversity’ of Venezuela has enhanced their actions, extending their reach and leading to activities of intercultural dialogue. The movement has exchanged with more than 300 traditional collectives in the country. On the international level, Afro-descendant cultural heritage was promoted in 2017 through a community documentary project led by the UNESCO Category 2 Centre Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Latin America (CRESPIAL), in collaboration with nine other countries. The programme resulted in increased coordination between communities and alliances with State departments and private entities.

P.3:   The programme promotes respect for intangible cultural heritage and encourages its safeguarding among new generations. The Nuclei are a reflection of how communities, groups and individuals have the primary role in safeguarding their own intangible cultural heritage, in alignment with the principles of 2003 Convention. The programme also favours the participation of women and girls and encourages the development of leadership qualities. The Councils are based on the principles of social inclusion, democracy, diversity and plurality.

P.4:   The programme strengthens the viability and transmission of the element by enhancing intergenerational dialogue and interaction, including through the documentation of testimonies of older practitioners. Youth are invited to recreate their intangible cultural heritage and consolidate their identities within their communities. The Councils offer opportunities for communities to better manage their living heritage and acquire the necessary tools to identify and address threats. They ensure proper administration of material resources, thus contributing to the economic viability of the element while promoting transparency and continuity.

P.5:   The programme is implemented by the Bandos and Parrandas of the Holy Innocents of Caucagua from the Sectors La Línea and Pantoja and the non-profit Bandos and Parrandas of the Holy Innocents of Caucagua House. The file describes the participation of relevant bearers and participants through these groups. Participation in elaborating the nomination file, and the provision of prior and informed consent via citizen assemblies, visits, interviews, validation sessions and support letters, is accounted for.

P.6:   The programme can be a model for other countries in Latin America to interpret and present their cultural histories from a decolonial perspective. This is relevant for countries with Afro-descendant roots and can be a model for communities and States wishing to revitalize their collective practices and safeguard their intangible cultural heritage. The research and pedagogical methodologies can easily be duplicated elsewhere.

P.7:   Through their representatives, the Nuclei of Initiation and Transmission of Wisdoms and Community Councils have indicated their willingness to cooperate in the dissemination of their best practices, as they have done in the past. They see this as an expanding process, with a view to promoting and safeguarding living heritage, bolstering its viability, strengthening local cultural identities, and contributing to sustainable development. In this regard, they will set up the necessary alliances with executive and legislative bodies and private entities.

P.8:   The Nuclei of Initiation and Transmission of Wisdoms and the Community Councils have organizational structures that are responsible for evaluating the activities and projects. Both community structures have their own diagnostics mechanisms and may participate in evaluation processes led by external organizations.

  1. Decides to select Program for the safeguarding of the Bandos and Parrandas of the Holy Innocents of Caucagua: nuclei of initiation and transmission of wisdoms and community councils as a programme, project or activity best reflecting the principles and objectives of the Convention.