Villanueva, La Cuna del café

Por: Hernán Baquero Bracho
El escritor francés Elisée Reclus, con “viaje a la sierra nevada de Santa Marta”, libro este ampliamente conocido en el mundo literario y sus obras en la época fueron traducidas a casi todos los idiomas y alrededor por términos de 50 años gozó del reconocimiento de la crítica internacional; en ese libro en el cual hizo un pormenorizado relato de su viaje a América del sur y específicamente a Colombia, donde visitó poblaciones de la costa atlántica o como la llamamos hoy región Caribe y particularmente a la sierra nevada de Santa Marta. Todo narrado por el escritor francés, el 14 de enero de 1861, y estuvo en Villanueva que en la época formaba parte del Magdalena grande en el año de 1855.

En Villanueva, hoy Guajira, el escritor francés conoce a Monsier Dangond, quien en la época era el líder del pueblo. Cultiva café en las estribaciones de la serranía del Perijá, específicamente en la llamada “sierra negra”, primer centro productor de la economía primaria de este municipio por más de 100 años. Café que sembraba por allá antes de 1850 y que era desconocido en el resto de Colombia. Y así quedo escrito por el erudito literario francés en su famoso libro: “un plantador de Villanueva, Monsier Dangond, a quien había sido recomendado específicamente… tiene sembrado mas de cien mil pies de café e hizo que una docena de labradores de Villanueva, Urumita y Valledupar desmontaran otras porciones de sierra – negra y plantado más de seiscientas mil matas de café que producen año bueno con malo, más de trescientos mil kilogramos de fruto”. Imagínense ustedes mis queridos lectores la proporción del grano y la prosperidad que reinaba en la época que Villanueva era floreciente como el principal productor de café en Colombia.

Si a Viotá la federación nacional del café, la tiene registrada como la cuna del grano en nuestro país, ese registro está plagado de errores históricos, ya que en Villanueva se producía el grano antes de 1876, fecha que toma la federación de cafeteros para asentar por que la población del altiplano cundiboyacense era la cuna del café. Razón tuvo el dirigente conservador y cafetero Luis Carlos Lacouture Daza de cuestionar este hecho histórico y dar la pelea en la federación de cafeteros a nivel regional y nacional de que la historia estaba equivocada al respecto. Fueron muchas las peleas que el excelente dirigente gremial dio en foros y en reuniones de toda índole. El ex gobernador del Cesar y dirigente liberal Pepe Castro en su libro “crónicas de la plaza mayor” también anota: “Charles Dangond el líder del pueblo, produciendo café, al igual que una infinidad de nativos de la región a los que había entusiasmado por su cultivo; el café por esa época era desconocido en el resto de Colombia. Eso ocurrió, según sus datos, poco antes de 1850; pero hay que anotarlo, ese café se sembró antes, porque desde la siembra del cafeto hasta su producción, hay por lo menos cinco años y para esa fecha ya estaban exportando por el puerto de Riohacha hasta las Antillas menores, como Curazao y Aruba”.

¿De donde vinieron esos cafetos? El señor Dangond había vivido, en el viaje que realizó desde Francia hasta Villanueva, en Martinica, isla que hace parte de las Antillas francesas y donde se cultivaba, desde antaño, café y el cual fue traído a Colombia por el puerto de Riohacha. Que era el puerto marítimo más notorio de la época. La federación nacional de cafeteros reconoce que ese café pasó de la costa al interior y que se hicieron los primeros cultivos importantes en 1876, en Viotá Cundinamarca. Monsier Dangond era conocido como “Musiu” y fue el primer Dangond que dio origen al ilustre apellido de esta región. Llegó casado desde Martinica y contrajo segundas nupcias con la dama Villanuevera Eusebia López Morales, de los cuales nacieron 3 hijos: uno que se fue a estudiar a Europa, otro de nombre Francisco que se dedicó a ejecutar el acordeón y fue de los pioneros en este arte y una hija que echó raíces en este pedazo de patria. A “Musiu” Dangond también se le debe la creación de los barrios el Cafetal y San Luis, ya que por sus intensos cultivos de cafeto, trajo mucha gente de Abrego Santander, de donde provienen casi todos los apellidos asentados en estos dos populosos barrios de Villanueva. Abrego, debe ser establecida como la ciudad hermana de nuestra Villanueva querida.

El ejercicio que queda es que el actual alcalde de nuestro municipio medico Luis Erasmo Dangond Cuadrado, el dirigente conservador y ex senador y ex gobernador de La Guajira Rodrigo Dangond Lacouture y del ex alcalde de Villanueva y dirigente cafetero Gonzalo Lacouture Lacouture (hijo de uno de los mejores lideres cafeteros que tuvo La Guajira, Luis Carlos Lacouture Daza), deben retomar la posición de que Villanueva es la cuna del café y no Viotá ante la federación nacional de cafeteros. La historia debe devolver el error cometido en contra de nuestro municipio. No hay mas espera, Villanueva debe ser reconocida como la cuna del café, ante todas las instancias, ante el mismo gobierno nacional y recuperar lo que es nuestro y nos pertenece por derecho propio. Que así sea.

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27 Comentarios

  1. Interesante este articulo, pero tambien vale la pena recordar que en las sierras de Villanueva se esta pruduciendo una variedad de cafe organico que se baustizo, con el nombre de "variedad perija" producto que lo compraen su totalidad el gobierno Japones a travez de la multinacional Mitsubishi quien ademas de un precio preferencial, tambien da unos insentivos, otro valor agregado es una propaganda audivisual que hace rato rueda en el pais nipon, con personajes villanueveros y urumiteros

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