Weekend’s Puerto Viejo festival canceled unexpectedly

September 19, 2008

The third annual Arte Viva festival planned for this weekend in Puerto Viejo, on Costa Rica´s Caribbean coast, was canceled unexpectedly yesterday after local authorities revoked the festival´s permits, according to the event´s organizer, Claudio Ambroso.

He said a person from outside Puerto Viejo filed a request for an injunction against the Talamanca municipality with the Constitutional Court (Sala IV) for an unknown reason and for now the local government must forfeit their power to grant permits for large gatherings.

The municipality would not comment on the matter.

“Carrying on with the activities would be ugly and not legal and not possible,” Ambroso said. “We are pretty sad about this.”

The festival is organized by Escuela de Artes del Caribe Sur (South Caribbean School of Arts), a nonprofit that provides arts education to local school children, and was scheduled to begin this Friday. Ambroso said the festival is their major fundraiser and if they are not able to eventually hold the event, they will be hard pressed to provide services to their community this year.

“Unfortunately right now we are not in the position of saying when (the festival) is going to be,” Ambroso said.

The organizers had estimated that about 1,000 people would flock to Puerto Viejo this weekend to raise a total of $3,000 for the organization. He added that hundreds of the children who were eager to perform at the festival will be disappointed, and that they would also miss out on the educational components of the weekend.

Arte Viva is a celebration of food, music, and visual arts. Ambroso said updates are available at the festival´s Web site,
www.arteviva-puertoviejo.com/index.asp.

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