Thursday, February 17, 2011

¿Por qué no te callas?: German Cardona

It’s been several months since we lasted named our figure to our “¿Por qué no te callas?” hall of shame. (Named after this 2007 squabble between Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez). But we cannot ignore an exaggerative comparison made by Colombia’s transportation minister German Cardona.

Colombian tuckers have been on a national strike for over two weeks in protest against government plans to remove “minimum freight rates”. Truckers set up blockades in several major cities including Bogota where tractor-trailers have impeded some traffic since Monday.

Government and truckers’ union reps are at this time discussing a solution ahead of tonight’s government-imposed deadline to end the strike. Before that, however, there was a war of words between transportation minister German Cardona and Bogota mayor Samuel Moreno over the role of the federal government in the strike. This led Cardona to make the following comments to the press on Wednesday:
(Moreno’s call to dialogue) was insufficient for the minister who compared the strike with the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center ten years ago.

“It’s as if the mayor of New York would have said at the time that the attacks were the responsibility of the U.S. government. Here it’s everyone’s responsibility. I was mayor of a major city and I had to assume those responsibilities”, said Cardona.
Cardona’s comparison of the truckers’ strike to the incidents of 9/11 was silly and uneccesary. It’s insensitive to compare a work stoppage that may be a major invencience to Colombians with brazen attacks that killed at least 3000 people. While there have been minor incidents in Bogotá and other parts of the country they pale in comparison to the wanton destruction and loss of human life nearly a decade ago. His point may have been to criticize Moreno but he instead sounded juvenile by bringing up the 9/11 attacks.

Cardona thus joins the likes of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (who claimed that illegal immigration was causing “terrorist attacks” in her state) and Colombian soccer coach Jorge Luis Pinto (who compared his suspension from the touchline to being imprisoned in Guantanamo) to our list of dishonor.

Why don’t you just shut up Mimister Cardona?

Image- AP via
Online Sources-, El Espectador, Reuters, The Latin Americanist,

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