Some 60,000 people, mainly Latin American, danced and sang their way down a central Madrid boulevard for four hours late Oct. 11, on the eve of the Oct. 12 Day of Hispanity, which marks the anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas in 1492.

This year's musical accompaniment carried atop three open-ended trucks were Argentina's Fito Páez, veteran Dominican bachata artist Victor Victor, and Bogota-based Afro-Colombian funk act Mojarra Eléctrica.

Organized for the third consecutive year by the Madrid cultural center Casa de America, several local institutions and some 50 Madrid-based Latin American organizations, the five-day VivAmerica celebration was launched in 2007 to exalt Latin America and Hispanic culture. VivAmerica is also staged simultaneously in Bogotá (Colombia), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), and Cádiz (Spain).

Some 45% of the 1.1 million immigrants in the Madrid region (pop. 6.5 million) are Latin American in origin.