Jacinto Manuel Jiménez Goitía was born on September 17, 1947 in Guama, Yaracuy. From a very young age he devoted himself to popular culture. At just 14 years old, he began to play the character that would make him famous for the rest of his life: the beloved burriquita. The popular cultist has visited Colombia, Peru, Argentina and the United States with his character and in Venezuela he has participated in countless festivals, including the National Meeting of Burriquitas that every September 30, since 2016 when it was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation, celebrated in various regions. This cultist is a regular reader of Últimas Noticias, a newspaper that he considers "the best ball in the world."
Talking about culture in Yaracuy is talking about folkloric characters who put their touch of color in different corners of the state. El Topo Gigio, the name by which Jacinto Jiménez is popularly known, every day he puts on his burriquita costume and takes to the streets to bring joy to those who cross his path. He currently lives in Boraure, the town where the César Bolívar Juan Topocho film was filmed 42 years ago. From there he goes to San Felipe to stand on street corners, shopping centers, squares and other public places to bring his art.
He is always happy, with a smile ready to give to whoever stops to watch his traditional dance. "I was born for this, I definitely love it," he says with that particular way of being for which he is so loved in the town.
Jacinto Jiménez comments that his nickname is due to once there was a presentation in San Felipe with Topo Gigio, the remembered Italian character who was accompanied here in Venezuela by Gilberto Correa. “I did an imitation of the doll and liked it so much that they nicknamed me with his name. I really like that they call me that ”, she expresses with her always friendly smile.
ÚN changed history. Although he does not remember exactly when it began to circulate Últimas Noticias in Yaracuy, he does have in his mind some moments that contributed to change history. For example, when the central-western highway was inaugurated, which at that time was called Rafael Caldera and today is called Cimarrón Andresote. “When something important in our state came out in Últimas Noticias we were very proud and we couldn't get over the excitement ”, he enthuses.
Jacinto considers Últimas Noticias as the most important newspaper in the country, for the information it transmits and for the support it provides to the people and their cultural manifestations. “It is a newspaper that is always aware of culture, if not… look, you are interviewing me! and not for being Topo Gigio, but for being part of our popular culture ”. He even remembers headlines that for him shocked Venezuela and the entire world.
“On April 12, 2002, when I saw Últimas Noticias with very large letters that said 'Chávez surrenders', I was shocked. That and everything I experienced was very marked in my mind ”.
Topo Gigio continues his story and points out that "the internet is good, but it is bad." He says that to read ÚN in Yaracuy, at the moment, it can only be done online, which Topo Gigio does not like very much because he is not very fond of technology. He considers that the internet is very good because it provides timely information; but, at the same time, it is bad because it alienates people from the culture.
"Today children prefer a cell phone than a parrot, a video game than a few metras, a reggaeton than the burriquita, and it's all because of the internet," he says with some nostalgia; but without leaving her smile aside as she says goodbye dancing with her little donkey.
Jacinto Manuel Jiménez Goitía is the son of José Jiménez and María Graciela Goitía.
He studied some high school, and as he says: "Why else? Yes, I am happy." He is a popular cultist, a faithful representative of the traditional
dance of the burriquita, which walks through streets, squares and any space where she can entertain her people.
His phrase: "If you want to be yourself, you have to be original", he does not remember who said it, but it marks his philosophy of life. Summarize the burriquita in one word: love.