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.

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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.

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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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

Columnist nails Republicans for only caring about Hunter Biden now that his father is running for president

Published

on

One of the critical questions that must be answered by Republicans, according to one Washington Post columnist, is why they didn't care about Hunter Biden's position at Burisma for so many years.

In a Sunday piece, James Downie asked why Republicans didn't do anything about Hunter Biden five years ago when it was first revealed that vice president's son was on the board of a Ukraine energy company. The House and the Senate were being run by Republicans until this year. They haven't had problems with other partisan investigations against high-profile leaders. There were ten investigations into the Benghazi attacks, three hearings, 29 witnesses, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours. Yet, it was only after Joe Biden announced he was running against President Donald Trump that Republicans discovered an issue.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Republican staffer caught spying on Democrats during Judiciary Committee meetings

Published

on

A Republican staffer from the Ways and Means committee was caught spying on Democrats during their work over the weekend.

According to a Judiciary Committee source, the female staffer was ultimately discovered and ran out of the committee room once it was discovered she was there, tweeted Olivia Beavers, a writer at "The Hill."

"A Judiciary source says the committee, which has been practicing for their Monday impeachment hearing this whole weekend, came across a female GOP Ways and Means staffer in the hearing room today, but that she ran out once discovered," she tweeted.

https://twitter.com/Olivia_Beavers/status/1203784487559213056

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

New York Times editorial board asks Trump if he didn’t do anything wrong — why he won’t let witnesses testify

Published

on

The New York Times editorial board issued a scathing op-ed Sunday detailing the ways in which President Donald Trump is destroying one of the key branches of the United States government.

While many presidents battle with Congress, Trump has taken his "obvious contempt" to a whole new level. But if he was truly innocent of the accusations he's facing, then why is he hiding so much.

"If Mr. Trump is so clear in his own mind that he didn’t try to pressure the Ukrainian government to interfere in the 2020 election, why won’t he send the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to testify under oath that there was no quid pro quo?" asked The Times. "Instead, he has issued a blanket refusal to allow officials of his administration to testify or submit documents demanded by Congress. His approach is pitting Republican House members’ fealty to him against their respect for their own institution. They are making a fateful choice to diminish the House."

Continue Reading