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Venezuela Granted Cultural Heritage Award by UNESCO

Philadelphia, December 21, 2015 ( - Venezuela’s indigenous curagua weaving tradition has been declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO), which also recognized the Bolivarian Constitution for its commitment to enshrining the sovereign rights of the country’s indigenous peoples.  

Native to the Aguasay region of northeastern Monagas state, the white fibers of the curagua plant have been used by indigenous peoples for millennia to make hammocks, blankets, pillows, among other artisanal wares in an intricate weaving process, which according to UNESCO, “contributes to overcoming ethnic, socio-cultural, as well as gender barriers.”  

The recognition is the third of its kind awarded to Venezuela by UNESCO whose mission is to safeguard the diversity of cultural heritage across the globe. 

The international body also took the opportunity to applaud the “multicultural” character of the Bolivarian Constitution, reports Benito Irady, president of Venezuela’s Center for Cultural Diversity, who accepted the award on behalf of the South American country. 

“What we are doing is putting into practice the content of our Constitution: making visible the multicultural characteristics of our country, because every corner of the country has its local cultural characteristics,” he stated. 

Venezuela’s 1999 Bolivarian Constitution has been widely celebrated for its path-breaking guarantees of indigenous sovereignty, recognizing collective rights to demarcation of ancestral lands, autonomous economic, educational, and medicinal practices, inalienable intellectual property over innovations and technologies, as well as representation in the National Assembly.  

In recent years, the Bolivarian government has been active in seeking UNESCO recognition for its historically marginalized indigenous and Afro-Venezuelan traditions. 

Last year, Venezuela's indigenous Mapoyo language and oral tradition was added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. 

In 2013, the country’s Afro-Venezuelan syncretic festival La Parranda de San Pedro was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The festival of the Dancing Devils of Corpus Christi was likewise awarded the UNESCO recognition in 2012. 

In 2016, UNESCO will hand down its decision regarding the Carnavales de El Callao, a local tradition from Bolivar state which Venezuelans hope will also be granted the international recognition.

Published on Dec 21st 2015 at 11.45pm