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150-Year Tango War Over

Peace in our time?

(Montevideo) Argentina and Uruguay have signed a final armistice ending a century-old fight over who created the Tango. In terminating hostilities, both sides have agreed to drop charges of cultural appropriation against the other.

Since the later 1800s, the two countries have been battling over the origin of the heady music and the passionate dance. Argentina claims the Tango began in the slums of Boca with the arrival of Italian immigrants, while Uruguay has always claimed that the original music was composed by an Uruguayan in Montevideo at about the same time. 

“We have been at odds for two and three generations,” said Horacio Cabralia, of Buenos Aires. Now these days of acrimony appear to be behind us.

Pillar DeSilva, a world champion tango artist from Rocha, Uruguay, says that despite lingering doubts it is time for the two nations to come together.

“It takes two to tango,” she quacked.

The action comes as part of an attempt by both sides to preserve the original elements of the dance. Variations have cropped up to due to the increased popularity of the tango all over the world.

Both Uruguay and Argentina have co-petitioned UNESCO to grant the tango world heritage status even though that invasive label often results in mass-tourism.

Despite a placating tone, both countries continue to insist that tango great, Carlos Gardel is native to their country. The Argentines say Gardel was born near Rosario in 1890, while the Uruguayans contend that his birthplace is in Tacuarembo, near the Brazilian frontier. Still others say he was born in France and was hiding out in South America to escape inscription in World War I.

Gardel, seen by some as the Big Bopper of Tango, was killed in a plane crash in Colombia in 1935 and a reported 200 female fans all over the world committed suicide when hearing the news. Today, especially in the Cafetera, it is quite  common to hear Tango mixed with Meringue, Salsa and Vallanato music in the cafes.

– Small Mouth Bess