If The Wind Changes

IT’S not often Ireland can be said to have something in common with that bastion of socialism, Venezuela, but it happened last week. Both nations had a burly, squashed-face man propose changes to how their country was run.

From yesterday’s Tribune. Yeah, I know I wasn’t going to mention Venezuela again, but -great golliwogs!- how was I to know I’d stumble over the phrase ‘squashed-face man’ describing someone of indigenous Latin American descent in an Irish Sunday newspaper? I also had forgotten to point out that when I remarked on the caricature of Chávez with rubber lips in the video I posted yesterday (at 1:22), I omitted to mention the text that accompanied it:


Monarquía means monarchy. But ‘mono’ means monkey. So the intended signification of the poster was that Venezuela was ruled by a monkey with rubber lips. Like the Tribune comment, this is not in the slightest bit racist.

In the video above, from coverage of yesterday’s Banco Del Sur founding ceremony, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the new president of Argentina, gets a round of applause when she begins her speech by saying that she never imagined that she would see the day that she would be accompanied by presidents of Latin American countries who actually looked like their fellow countrymen. One presumes, if the round of applause is anything to go by, that she wasn’t implying most Venezuelans were ‘squashed-faces’.

2 Responses to “If The Wind Changes”

  1. 1 dav December 10, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Another great post Hugh. It’s really amazing how obssessed the mainstream media are with vilifying this man.

    “increasing debate over whether the proposals were more focused on allowing Chavez to remain in office for as long as he wanted”

    talk about ‘fixing the facts around the policy’, the writer must be from the Dershowitz school of research

  2. 2 Hugh Green December 11, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks Dav – I think one factor (among many) in the feverish representation of Chávez as a dictator etc. in the media is a basic ignorance of Latin America. Just as the Middle East is a land of camels, sheikhs and oil wells, Latin America is full of dictators and stupid poor people. Its only saving grace is landscapes and its ‘magic realism’: grannies who live to 127 and things like that. I may write a longer post on this, if I ever get the time.

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December 2007
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