Quantcast
Connect with us

Obama and Shakira face off in Colombia’s donkey pageant

Published

on

Backstage was chaotic. Barack Obama was fighting with his handler. Shakira had been happily eating off the floor but became surly when she was interrupted. It took three men to push her up the ramp onto the makeshift stage.

Donkeys and beauty contests are both common sights in rural Colombia, but only in the small Caribbean town of San Antero are the two combined in a pageant where locals dress their animals as celebrities and slyly poke fun at Colombian society.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is our homage to the donkey because they are the means of transport for our small farmers and fishermen – and we’re here to enjoy the party!” said Keila Murillo, standing on the sidelines of the chaotic parade of donkeys through the town earlier this month.

Donkeys are prized in rural areas of a country where hundreds of villages are only accessible by jungle trails or mountain paths. “The donkey is essential for the life of the countryside and our economy,” said local businessman Cristobal Carvajal who founded the festival 25 years ago.

Participants spend up to a year designing and creating their donkeys’ costumes. The stakes are high: first place in the donkey pageant nets 3m pesos, or around six months salary for most Colombians.

When the real Barack Obama visited Colombia in April, a local politician tried to give him a baby donkey. Obama did not take the donkey, but sent a letter of thanks.

ADVERTISEMENT

At the pageant, Obama’s donkey namesake was draped in an American flag and a USA tie. Others carried sharper political messages: one wore a dress with “No more kidnappings” written along the side – a reference to the scores of people kidnapped for ransom by criminals and factions in Colombia’s four-decade civil war.

Three donkeys were dressed to represent the hundreds of thousands displaced during the last rainy season – the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. Hundreds were killed in the floods, and the donkeys’ costumes reflected a widely-felt belief that the region had been abandoned by Colombia’s central government. One donkey was weighed down under a collection of old household goods, an old television, a broken radio and a fan, surrounded by a destitute family who carried signs saying: “Mr President, remember us. We are Colombia too.”

“People have to realise that a tragedy happened. The rainy season passed and the displaced are forgotten, but the problem hasn’t gone away,” said Nestor Pinzon, dressed as a member of the destitute family.

ADVERTISEMENT

The sly humour is part of the pageant, said Roberto Montes, one of the judges. “Through the donkeys, there is criticism of society and how people are mistreated.”

In the end, the prize went to the donkey dressed as a famous Colombian preacher.

Barack Obama’s handler, who seemed as if he had been drinking, stormed off. The other donkeys seemed unperturbed and continued eating grass.

ADVERTISEMENT

© Guardian News and Media 2012

[donkey via Darren Pullman / Shutterstock]


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Hard to overstate’ how badly Taylor’s testimony damaged Trump: Ex-federal prosecutor

Published

on

On Wednesday, former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti wrote for Politico Magazine that the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor was devastating for President Donald Trump — and that if he keeps trying to deny wrongdoing, it will only get worse and maybe even force Senate Republicans' hand against him.

"It’s hard to overstate how much damage the testimony of Ukraine envoy William Taylor inflicted on President Donald Trump’s defense in the ongoing impeachment inquiry," wrote Mariotti. "On its face, Taylor’s testimony Tuesday established the quid pro quo that Trump has denied for weeks. But more importantly, Taylor’s detailed notes of the 'highly irregular' policy-making that he witnessed over the summer provide a roadmap to future testimony that could be even more harmful. Republicans have already begun to retreat from their 'no quid pro quo' line, but they will have to keep retreating because Taylor has almost single-handedly decimated the few witnesses who have provided some testimony that is favorable to Trump."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid

Published

on

On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."

Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:

CORRECTION:

I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado

Published

on

The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.

Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.

It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image