The Gesture of Rufina Alfaro

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The start of the Panamanian independence was on November 10, 1821 when the population of Los Santos rose up against Spanish rulers. It has the tradition that the head of this revolt for freedom was Rufina Alfaro, a young lady of the town, who became the symbol of national independence.

Although her existence is disputed, she is part of the popular memory and even is an official symbol of the country and a monument in her memory has been erected in the town of La Villa de los Santos. In fact, in the celebration of the Independence Day in 2002, the country's president, Mireya Moscoso, deposited a wreath in front of the bust of the heroine, during a few events that involved the music band called Rufina Alfaro.

On her memory, in the province of Panama, in the district of San Miguelito, there is a place called Rufina Alfaro.

Some biographical Panamanians dictionaries even venture to say who this young lady was:

Rufina Alfaro, about 22 years was the one who created the strategy that was used in the destruction of the police fortress, the only breadwinner of the Spanish colonial government. With Black eyes, hair of the same color, suntan skin, high and thin. Born in Las Peñas, a district of Los Santos. Her date of birth is unknown, but it is known that she lived with her parents, and that they were in the business of raising chickens for sale and agriculture. She knew how to read and write and ordinarily dressed in basquiña *a Typical dress of that time*. The village was two miles away and she worked on the trade of eggs and vegetables in the village. Won the sympathy of the Spanish soldiers, because in addition to its beautiful presence, she was distinguished by her fine manners and cheerful talk that allowed her to entry in the elegant salons of society. She knew the deep popular resentment against the Crown and that was what convinced her that she should act quickly to support the quest for independence. By that time the persecution began, the press was muzzled and Panamanians that talked about freedom were threatened. Many hid, and others remained silent. The head of the barracks, who believed to find his love in Rufina, he allowed her the entrance to the hall to chat, but she used these meetings to obtain information. She felt sympathy for the soldier, related Horacio Moreno, in the Journal Lottery, however, drowned her feelings in search of the freedom of her people. Upon instructions of the people that were preparing the epic, she warned they that the Spanish soldiers were cleaning their weapons and Rufina rather than go out and sell as was his custom, joined the improvised soldiers, leading a march in which she shouted " Viva la Libertad. " Took the barracks with stones and sticks; weapons remained in the hands of the people and at dawn of November 10, 1821, they had already achieved the desired freedom, without spilling a single drop of blood.[1]

There are those who argue her existence and those who speak that she was the product of the popular imagination. The debate has even gone to the parliament of this country, but the fact is that she is part of the history of Panama.


  1. ^ El Panama America. Nov. 10. 1996