Things That Matter

Bolivia’s Ousted President Won’t Run Again As Indigenous People March In Guatemala In Solidarity With Him

South America’s poorest country, Bolivia, is in the midst of a political crisis, and Guatemala’s indigenous people are marching in solidarity with ousted Bolivian President Evo Morales. After the Guatemalan government joined the United States in recognizing extreme right self-appointed Jeanine Anez as the interim president of Bolivia, Guatemala’s indigenous people expressed their outrage in an organized protest. Hundreds of indigenous people marched in Guatemala’s capital Thursday to protest the change of government, which they view as a coup d’etat of Bolivia’s first indigenous president. With a “Brother Evo, Guatemala is with you” banner in hand, the protesters marched toward a heavily guarded US embassy. The next day, Morales announced that he won’t be “taking part in new elections.”

Before Morales rose to the presidency, he was a campesino activist, representing indigenous traditions and customs under attack by the US government. “We are repudiating the discriminatory and racist coup d’etat that took place in Bolivia,” said Mauro Vay, march organizer and head of Guatemala’s Rural Development Committee. 

Protesters proudly waved the wiphala flags, an indigenous symbol of solidarity.

CREDIT: @UKREDREVOLUTION / TWITTER

This man held an image that told the story of a thousand words. As a child, Evo Morales’ family were subsistence farmers, which allowed him to enjoy a basic education. He later moved to grow coca, the raw plant used to make cocaine. During the U.S.’ “War on Drugs,” coca farmers were under attack. Morales rose to defend the campesinos from what he called an imperialist violation of indigenous culture. His protests may have led to several arrests, but his notoriety grew to elect him to Congress as the leader of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) party. 

In Paraguay, Bolivian ex-patriates went up against the police to rehang the wiphala flag at the Bolivian embassy.

CREDIT: @WILL_J_COSTA / TWITTER

Several indigenous residents of Paraguay arrived at the Bolivian embassy to hang the Wiphala flag, which was reportedly taken down. They faced police resistance but eventually succeeded. The next day, the flag was removed. 

In 2005, Morales ran against former President Carlos Mesa and won, becoming the first indigenous president of Bolivia. 

CREDIT: @BRETGUSTAFSON / TWITTER

Then, it gets murky. By the time his first term was over, MAS rewrote their constitution to lift the one-term limit on presidents. Morales ran for a second term and won. Even though he claimed he wouldn’t run for a third term, Morales claimed the first term didn’t count because it was completed under the old constitution.  So he ran again and won for the third time. In October 2019, Morales ran for his fourth term, and won by a small margin, prompting a recount.

Just 24 hours into the recount, Morales ordered the recount to an end and declared himself president over his opponent, former president Mesa. the Organization of American States (OAS) conducted an audit that flagged the election as possibly fraudulent.

The OAS is not in the service of the people of Latin America, less so the social movements. The OAS is at the service of the North American empire,” Morales later said. Still, protests erupted across the country.

In a quickly developing government coup, military chiefs removed Morales.

CREDIT: @FAFASCHMITT / TWITTER

On Nov. 10, General Williams Kaliman, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, decided, along with other military chiefs, that Morales should step down. Morales tweeted, “I denounce to the world and the Bolivian people that a police officer publicly announced that he is instructed to execute an illegal arrest warrant against me; likewise, violent groups assaulted my home. A coup destroys the rule of law.” He added, “After looting and trying to set fire to my house in Villa Victoria, vandalism groups of the Mesa and Camacho coup docked my home in the Magisterio neighborhood of Cochabamba. I am very grateful to my neighbors, who stopped those raids. A coup destroys peace.”

Mexico offered him asylum and sent a plane to escort Morales to Mexico City.

CREDIT: @EVOESPUEBLO / TWITTER

“This was my first night after leaving the presidency, forced by the coup of Mesa and Camacho with the help of the Police. There I remembered my times as a leader. Very grateful to my brothers from the federations of the Tropic of Cochabamba for providing security and care,” Morales tweeted. Right-wing Christian opponent, Luis Fernando Camacho, also called “Bolivia’s Bolsonaro,” led violent protests against Morales and his Indigenous supporters, burning Bolivia’s Indigenous Wiphala flag. 

Mexico, Cuba, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Argentina have maintained that his removal from office was a coup. The United States, led by a right-wing president, has recognized Bolivia’s interim right-wing president as valid.

Morales announced Friday that he won’t run for president in the reelection “for the sake of democracy.”

CREDIT: @VERSOBOOKS / TWITTER

Morales resigned Sunday after protests left four people dead. “For the sake of democracy, if they don’t want me to take part, I have no problem not taking part in new elections,” Morales told Reuters while remaining in asylum. “I just wonder why there is so much fear of Evo,” he offered.

READ: A US-Backed Opposition Leader Has Declared Herself President Of Bolivia Amid Outrage At Her Comments About Indigenous Bolivians

Stevey Harvey Made a Tacky Joke About Miss Colombia and the Internet Isn’t Having It

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Stevey Harvey Made a Tacky Joke About Miss Colombia and the Internet Isn’t Having It

Dailymail / Twitter

After the 2015 Miss Universe disaster where Steve Harvey erroneously crowned Miss Colombia? who? the winner of the pageant when Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach was actually the winner, we assumed that Harvey would try to be on his best behavior from now on. But of course, Steve Harvey being Steve Harvey, he couldn’t play it straight for too long. And, once again, he’s embroiled himself in another controversy–again, involving Miss Colombia.

From the get-go, Harvey started off his hosting gig awkwardly, immediately addressing his 2015 headline-making mix-up. He then proceeded to make an off-color joke about the fiasco. “Colombia’s gotten over that. They’ve forgiven me,” he quipped. “Well, not all of them. The cartel’s still tripping a little bit”. 

As if this opening joke weren’t offensive enough, Harvey continued to rag on Colombia when announcing that Miss Colombia Gabriela Tafur had qualified for the Top 20. 

After being announced, Tafur approached Steve Harvey, joking with him a little about his his famous absentmindedness. “Yes, I’m here,” she joked. “Are you sure you read correctly? Should I go back?”.

Harvey admitted to Tafur that he was “struggling” with his hosting duties, to which Tafur replied, “You’re forgiven”. Sensing an opportunity to shoe-horn in another narco joke, Harvey said: “You’ve forgiven me, not the cartel…They’re not handling it the same way.”

Tafur, although she looked as if she were trying to be a good sport and smile it off, appeared to become a bit more frozen after he cracked the joke. It also should be noted that the audience didn’t seem to respond well to the joke–there was little laughter to be heard coming from the crowd.

The backlash to Harvey’s joke was swift, with Colombians accusing the comedian of perpetuating negative stereotypes about  their beloved South American country.

The truth is, pageantry is an important aspect of many Latino cultures–especially ones in South America. Part of the reason that many of these women join pageants is to be a positive representation of their country for the rest of the world. 

There is even a “National Costume Show” portion of the competition where contestants dress up in outfits that illustrate an authentic aspect of the culture of their home country. No country is perfect and the pageant isn’t meant shouldn’t be turned into a platform to single out a country and bring attention to its flaws.

Miss Colombia, for her part, took to Twitter herself to drag Harvey for his offensive joke. 

Although many people still associate Colombia drugs, gangs, and violence, its murder rate has fallen to 25% in the last 25 years. In 2016, the Colombian government and the guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace treaty with the goal of putting an end to a violent civil war that has last 52 years. The treaty included switch illegal crops like coca with alternatives, hopefully minimizing opportunity for drug traffickers. Since then, Colombia’s homicide rate has dropped to an all-time low

Not only was the audience unimpressed with Harvey’s inappropriate joke, but Twitter was too.

It’s one thing to slip up once, make an inappropriate joke, and then stop after you’ve learned the error of your ways. Harvey continued to make Colombia the butt of his jokes and he crossed the line. 

This person made a point to call out Steve Harvey for trying to embarrass Colombia on a worldwide stage. 

Miss Colombia is chosen to be a representative about the best parts of her country. Tafur has nothing to do with cartels. 

This person explained how Harvey’s “joke” was disrespectful to actual victims and survivors of cartel violence.

Believe it or not, cartel violence is an epidemic in Colombia. We guarantee that if Harvey experience the violence in person, he wouldn’t be making light of the situation on international TV.

In an event as globally inclusive as Miss Universe, it’s imperative to recognize that no country is perfect.

Colombians are tired of being thought of as narcos and drug addicts in the eyes of the world. 

This Twitter user was full of kind words for a woman who handled an uncomfortable situation with such grace

I like how @IAmSteveHarvey makes a joke about the cartel to #MissColombia and then cut to her package and she’s like “I’m a lawyer and have been fighting violence in my country.” Get it girl. And Steve, sit down man. #MissUniverse

Head Of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Says Rock Music Causes Abortions

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Head Of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Says Rock Music Causes Abortions

IMDB

One of President Jair Bolsonaro’s top officials, the head of Brazil’s National Arts Foundation Dante Mantovani says rock music leads to satanism and abortions. The right-wing conspiracy posits that the social theorist Theodore Adorno, who was influenced by Karl Marx, wrote the entire Beatles’ song catalog to destroy Western civilization. It is completely unfounded and totally fabricated.

Mantovani shared a video on his personal YouTube page explaining how rock music leads to abortions which leads to Satanism. The 11-minute video accuses Elvis Presley and John Lennon of being affiliated with the devil. 

Mantovani says rock music destroyed American values in the 1960s.

“Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions,” Mantovani said. “At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism.” 

On December 2nd, Bolsanaro appointed Mantovani to oversee Funarte, an organization founded in 1975. Once under the Ministry of Culture, after Bolsonaro’s administration eliminated that agency, it is now under the subdivision of the Ministry of Citizenship according to CNN. The purpose of Funarte is to, “promote and incentivize the production, practice, development and diffusion of the arts throughout the country.”

Mantovani lambasted artists like John Lennon and Elvis Presley for introducing behaviors like “hip-shaking” that leads to satanism.  “Lennon openly said, more than once, that he made a pact with the devil — with Satan, in order to be famous and successful,” he says. “In the 1950’s this so-called Elvis Presley emerges with rock music that makes everyone bounce and shake their hips. This is when certain behaviors start being introduced — Elvis Presley, for instance, died of an overdose.”

This isn’t the first time Mantovani has disparaged rock music.

Mantovani seems to believe that there is too much rhythm in rock music which causes people to beat each other. 

“What happens with rock is that the rhythm is always very repetitive. When a musical genre is more based on rhythm it speaks more to the body than the soul,” Mantovani says in a video from 2018 named “Is Rock Music?” “That’s why you see in rock shows people jumping, sometimes hitting each other — in punk rock there is the tradition of people beating each other and then leaving as old friends.” 

The issue with Mantovani’s bizarre views is that they could influence polices. He will oversee initiatives for music events and he is responsible for allocating government funds to music and the arts. In the past, artists have been able to receive up to 60 million Brazilian reals ($14 million) in funding from the government, although Bolsonaro has recently slashed that number. 

The government official also blames the American CIA for spreading the psychedelic drug LSD at Woodstock 1969. 

“Woodstock, that festival from the 1960s that gather a bunch of people, where hippies took drugs and LSD — there are certain theories that suggest that the large scale distribution of the drug was actually carried out by the CIA,” he says in the video. 

Of course, Mantovani is willing to make exceptions for his personal favorites: Metallica and Angra. 

Mantovani claims Metallica and Angra are the exceptions to the rule because they’re good to listen to “when you’re driving in traffic” or “feeling a bit tired.” Angra bassist Felipe Andreoli responded on Instagram, saying he was embarrassed to even be affiliated with the head of Funarte. 

“So much ignorance, so much disinformation, SO EMBARRASSED to have my band associated in any way with this guy. I’m not going to waste my time attacking his comments because, those of us who live off of and know about rock music know that he is delirious,” CNN translated. “It scares me to see such a retrograde, fanatical person in such an important position for our country’s culture.”

Newsweek believes the conspiracy theory, that Adorno wrote the Beatles’ music with Marxist undertones, began to spread amongst the right in Brazil this September, a month before Mantovani made his video. Olavo de Carvalho a mentor of Bolsonaro and a right-wing extremist who once said Pepsi used stem cells from aborted fetuses as sweetener, spread the Beatles conspiracy. However, the conspiracy itself is fairly old.

“The theory seems to have originated with The Committee of 300, a book by supposed ex-MI6 agent John Coleman,” according to Rock Nerd. “This reveals how Adorno, in fact, masterminded the whole British Invasion of the 1960s, although apparently for that the Tavistock Institute (which Adorno had nothing to do with outside the works of conspiracists) was the work of Jesuits rather than Jews. Or perhaps, if you ask Henry Makow, the Illuminati.” 

Newsweek suggests it is unsurprising Mantovani would espouse such strange rhetoric when many in Bolsonaro’s administration seem to be obsessed with rigid, so-called traditional values.