Thursday, July 24, 2008

Racism in Ecuador

Ecuador's Constituent Assembly will vote to approve a new constitution in about 2 hours, sending the text to a popular vote this September.

There have been a lot of conflicts in Ecuador over indigenous rights, leading to conflict between the Left and sometimes Left President Rafael Correa.

The most recent flare up was over a proposal making Kichwa, a language spoken by over 2 million Ecuadorians, an official language beside Spanish in the new constitution.

Correa and his allies initially opposed it, setting of an uproar. Last night they settled on a compromise and made Spanish the “official language of Ecuador, while Spanish, Kichwa and Shuar are official languages of intercultural relation." No one even knows what that means! I've asked around. The indigenous movement lives to fight another day...

Anyways, the super-wealthy, decadent and out of touch right wing opposition here have fervently agreed with Correa, the first time that they seem to have agreed with him on everything. Just sitting here in the Constituent Assembly news room, I'm hearing some of the most blatantly racist statements from agents of the supposedly objective mainstream press.

These "journalists" near unanimous and clear approval for these Hummer driving nut bags is gross!

"Kichwa isn't a real language." 

"Kichwa can't be an official language because it doesn't have a grammar."

"It's a ridiculous proposal. Only 2% of Ecuadorians speak Kichwa." 

All of these statements, of course, are demonstrably false according to any linguist or basic demographic data...

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