MCALLEN, RGV – After suffering the largest earthquake in Mexico in September 2017, a private foundation in Oaxaca will seek support from McAllen and Rio Grande Valley residents, after spreading their art and culture.

Noel Sanchez Sarmiento, president of La Fundación de las Culturas Oaxaqueñas, spoke to the Rio Grande Guardian and RGV Public Radio 88 FM at a news conference to unveil MXLAN, a five-day carnival that will celebrate the art and culture of Oaxaca. Hosted by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Shah Eye Center, MXLAN will take place in McAllen next July.

“We are going to ask for great participation from the people of McAllen to fund our schools for the indigenous children,” Noel Sanchez Sarmiento said. 

Sanchez Sarmiento brought dancers from La Guelaguetza, one of the top festivals in Latin America, to McAllen last fall for a couple of concerts. Some of the dancers performed at the news conference, held at McAllen Convention Center.

“We come here and we have been covering all our expenses and the reason is that after we bring our festivities, we are going to ask you to help with a project of the foundation to create schools for our indigenous children,” said Sanchez Sarmiento.

His private foundation will be in charge of bringing for the first time to U.S. a large group of performers from the Guelaguetza, which in Zapotec means “celebration.”

The Guelaguetza is a combination of artistic and cultural activities that form one of the largest ethnic festivals in Latin America. The official celebration is organized in Mexico for the Oaxaca state government.

“The socioeconomic situation is difficult for people of Oaxaca. The crisis that we have in Oaxaca is a very acute crisis that will take many years to recover. Tourism to our region will help us to recover,” Sanchez Sarmiento said.

McAllen chamber leaders and supporters unveiled MXLAN last Friday.

“MXLAN is a festival that lasts five days and celebrates Mexican culture through open-air performances, food, art and music. It’s an experience that aims to ignite the spirit, adventure, fun and friendship,” said McAllen City Commissioner John J. Ingram, speaking in Spanish. 

“We want to invite you to enjoy our MXLAN premiere that will take place on July 24-28, 2019, and the beauty of Oaxaca and its rich cultural history that will be exhibited,” Ingram said. He finished his speech with the cry, “Viva México.”

Click here to read a related story about MXLAN.