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Countries fight over pageant costume

Aug. 21, 2009 at 8:15 AM   |   Comments

LIMA, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- South American neighbors Bolivia and Peru are engaged in a battle over a devil dance costume for Sunday's Miss Universe beauty pageant, officials confirm.

Both nations say the costume for the Andean ritual known as the Devil's Dance or La Diablada belongs to their country and only their contestant has the right to wear it in the pageant, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Culture Minister Pablo Groux of Bolivia says La Diablada originated in Bolivia and allowing Miss Peru to wear the costume at the pageant threatens his country's national brand.

"Culture doesn't have borders," says Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde, Peru's foreign minister.

Anthropologist David Guss of Boston's Tufts University says the Bolivian city of Oruro "might have the most compelling claim" as the birthplace of La Diablada.

But Guss adds that there was lots of cultural cross-pollination as the dance ritual evolved, and it moved into parts of both Chile and Peru.

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