Orlando Vergés.

Orlando Verges is a continuation of the greatest work of Alexis and Joel Alarcon James: The House of the Caribbean inSantiago de Cuba, and its biggest event, Fiesta del Fuego. The following are his statements to this magazine about the history of that institution and to the upcoming event between 3rd and 9th July, which will honor the culture of Ecuador.
"The most important of having got close touch with Joel was the fact that he completed my training. I just wanted to get close to the investigation and makemore functional the knowledge I hadacquired in college; and this House  gave it to me.
"The event began in 1981 and was named Festival of the Performing Arts of Caribbean Origin. A year later, the then Minister of Culture, Armando Hart, realized the need for an institution to study these phenomena and their equivalents in the Caribbean, and proposed, along with Joel James, the foundation of this House. But the Festival is the starting point, without its Fiesta del Fuego,it makes no sense.
"The House has managed to narrow the gap between the so-called erudite knowledge and popular knowledge, bring the people to the sciences and vice versa. And it has succeeded by shaping a new school of doing anthropology and sociology in Cuba.
"I remember Abel Prieto, in an interview when serving as Minister of Culture, said quite rightly that the Caribbean Festival was the only event in which the theoretical sessions continued even outside the spaces where they normally occur. That's what causes that, as the House, the festival remains alive.
"When I got to the House, the practice of going around the island looking for bearing entities, and under the direction of Joel and before the Festival took place, was a fact. In these wanderings through the fields of the east, it came afloat a phenomenon of a very important cultural reach: discover the strong Haitian component that exists within the Cuban culture. When speaking of the Cuban culture Spanish and African components are recognized, but generally these expressions of Haitian origin that are built in such a way that are not perceived, are not considered. "