The Beauties of the Barrios - Vancouver Sun
Every year, the city of Cartagena in Colombia celebrates independence from Spanish colonial rule with an exuberant two-week party. The two marquee events are the beauty contests: one for the light-skinned elite, the other for Afro-Colombians. The winner of the “Miss Popular” contest for Afro-Colombians becomes the nation’s “people’s princess” for one year.
Excerpt: “To understand the passion Cartageneros have for Independence Day, one need only look to the oppression suffered by their forebears. This is starkly illuminated by a visit to a 17th-century ornate baroque building, called the Palace of the Holy Inquisition. It was here that the Spanish tyrants punished heretics and alleged witches as well as indigenous peoples who refused conversion to Catholicism.”