and free. The Spanish cursed Yanga as a “cimarrón,” an indomitable horse. The solution
was liberty, a negotiated peace in 1609 that is the foundation for the town's claim as, “The
first free city in the New World.”
The taxi parked just off the main plaza, and I walked toward the portales, the adjacent
archway, looking for anyone who might give me information. “There won't be a tourist of-
fice in this small town,” I thought, “I'll ask where the museum is.” I assumed that Yanga,
a historic town, would have a museum.
Under the archway across from the plaza I met Omar Escalona, Police Comandante. Ra-
cially, he was a descendent of Yanga. I asked, “Where is the museum?”
“It won't be open until late August, but I can introduce you to Daniel Cid,” the Comand-
I didn't know who Daniel Cid was or why I suddenly would be introduced. I'd leave that
for later, but for the present I said, “I'd like to know more about Yanga.”
“That I can help you with,” said the Comandante. “Come to my office.”
Within minutes of arriving in Yanga, I was in the police office with Omar Escalona and
his personal collection of books and articles on the history of Yanga. “Liberty began here,”
the police officer said with dignity and authority. I thought it ironic that the man, who rep-
resented restriction to many of us, spoke with such pride and confidence in basic rights.
Omar Escalona was a comandante imbued with history and ethics.
I asked questions and took notes. Comandante Escalona answered most questions right
away but when he wanted to be exact, he opened a book “ Mis Recuerdos: Historia de
Yanga ” (My Recollections: History of Yanga) and read aloud. I asked if I could make
copies of some of the pages. The comandante lent me his book and said, “There is a shop
at the end of the archway. They make copies.”
I was still confused about Daniel Cid. “You mentioned Daniel Cid?” I said.
“Oh, yes, I'll have one of my men take you.”
Daniel Cid, a self-trained archeologist who lived at the edge of Yanga at a place called Pal-
millas. His home was the site of his first dig. He donated 8,000 Olmec artifacts to Yanga,