“El Chorrillo” by General Manuel Antonio Noriega (2008)
El Chorrillo used to be party. It was born from the foothills of Ancon and was named after a burst of water that came from the river. The poet Amelia Denis De Icaza was singing as the Americans settled in during the time of Teddy Roosevelt. The name Silver Roll was given to the poor Black people and Gold Roll to the whites.
From the river, Black people from the poor neighborhood used to carry water to sell in the community. El Chorrillo progressed from a poor neighborhood to a fisherman’s village, to a cattle meat market, then to the beautiful wooden houses that accommodated the old French canal workers. With the American [building of the canal), it got even better. [The people of] Chorrillo played a huge part in finishing the Panama Canal and the entire area.
El Chorrillo was where old political people of Panama used to gather, looking for support from the military. It was full of students who went to the national institutes and universities. It used to be the seed of the people against the Empire. It was where people practiced baseball, football, and basketball. In Chorrillo’s stadiums and gyms, famous people like Ismael Laguna, Roberto
Mano De Piedra Duran, Pedrosa, and many others shone above all others.
The community of El Chorrillo used to have its own identity. El Chorrillo had its own smell: barbecued food that was for sale to the public, fried fish, rice with coconut, sweet oven plantains. When you used to walk along the sidewalk, anything you could want was there.
During Christmas time, you could see houses with Christmas trees and decorations. At the edge of the city, from balcony to balcony, you could see rows of Christmas lights. Everything in the neighborhood was in harmony, from the jukeboxes in the bars to the radios in the houses.
-General Manuel Antonio Noriega, 2008
Urbano, John, and Manuel Antonio Noriega. Beauty of the Fight. John Urbano, 2008.
Urbano, John. “Beauty of the Fight.” John Urbano Studios, 1 Jan. 2008, www.johnurbano.com/docs-shorts-beauty-of-the-fight.