A journey around the world with the history of the cacerolazo
Since April 28, Colombia has been embroiled in widespread protests which began in response to controversial fiscal reforms proposed by the government of President Iván Duque but have continued even after the withdrawal of the reforms due to the government’s brutally violent response to the protesters. Despite protests being primarily peaceful, there have been at least 26 deaths and hundreds of injuries so far. The Atlantic has a photo series on these protests. Latin American communities have a long history of making their voices heard in many different forms of protest, including a type called cacerolazo. This form of protest, which is traced back to 19th century France, involves protesters making noise on common household items like pots and pans and is a popular and accessible way to draw attention to an issue that has been used in many Latin American social movements including those in Colombia.
The Bogotá Post has an article (linked here) from November 2019 (during another lengthy protest regarding proposed reforms by Duque, among other things) on the cacerolazo and what it means to Colombians living in Bogotá. UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Review has further information on Chilean cacerolazo from June 2020 that also talks about other contemporary forms of protest including social media and music, and Flypaper has a piece from July 2019 that focuses on this and other forms of musical protest used in Puerto Rico at that time.
To give your students a sense of the cacerolazo, share this virtual version, linked here.