MONTEVIDEO – Cultural groups from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay agreed over the weekend to join forces to get UNESCO to recognize the gaucho as part of the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, International Gaucha Tradition Confederation, or CITG, president Manuel Rodriguez told EFE.
The horse-riding, nomadic gauchos have roamed the region since the 18th century, fighting in the 19th-century independence and internecine wars, and passing down an individualistic culture still alive among ranch hands.
Rodriguez, a Uruguayan traditionalist, took the helm of CITG at the organization’s 18th international congress over the weekend in Montevideo, where leaders were elected for the next two years.
At the gathering, attended by representatives of gaucho federations in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, participants voted to promote the figure of the mestizo horse riders before UNESCO.
“It’s a difficult endeavor and a big one, but it gives us a goal that, if achieved, will be very important for gaucho culture” in the region, said Rodriguez, who leads Uruguay’s 121-year-old Dr. Elias Regules Creole Society.
“It will take some time, but I believe we will be successful,” he said.
Rodriguez said his group submitted a plan to the Uruguayan Education and Culture Ministry and was told it needed to work with Argentina and Brazil to draft a proposal for UNESCO recognition.
“We’ll send a proposal to Uruguay’s ambassador in Buenos Aires, Hector Lescano, so he can discuss it with Argentina’s culture minister, Teresa Parodi, to promote the idea,” Rodriguez said, adding that there was an agreement with Brazil’s representatives to work toward the same goal.
On Saturday, a parade featuring horse-riding gauchos was held in Montevideo to commemorate the 185th anniversary of Uruguay’s first constitution as an independent nation proclaimed on July 18, 1830.