02 August 2009

Peru and Bolivia are in conflict over Miss Peru Karen Schwarz's national costume

Living in Peru, a Peruvian website, disclosed that Peru and neighbouring Bolivia are in a controversy over a national or traditional costume which was inspired in a typical dance from Puno highlands called “La Diablada” (The Devils' dance).

When Karen Schwarz, Miss Peru Universe 2009, presented the La Diablada-inspired outfit to the media, Bolivian representatives claimed that it is an unfair appropriation of the Bolivian's cultural heritage. They said that the La Diablada “is an emblematic dance from Bolivian folklore.”

The website reports, "Pablo Groux, Bolivian Minister of Culture, has reportedly sent a letter to Peru's National Institute of Culture (INC), expressing Bolivian's concern regarding to this matter."

Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde said: "The Highlands cultures are one. If Miss Schwarz is Peruvian, she has the right to wear the 'Diablada' dress.”

Ricardo Davila, the designer, was surprised too, and said “we have not copied the Bolivian diablada. My costume is based on a dance from Puno.”

INC representatives said that "the dance of diablada is performed during festivities in Peru, Chile and Bolivia as well, since it's a cultural expression from the Andean highlands."

This dance was declared Peruvian's Cultural Heritage by the INC on September 2nd, 2003.