Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Colombian Gov’t Protest “Offensive” World Cup Comments

Colombia may be playing outstandingly well at the World Cup in Brazil, but that hasn’t stopped several public figures from making insulting comments being about the South American nation.

On the same day that Colombia finished its final group game with a third consecutive win, the Colombian government sent a letter of protest to Australians radio station Triple M regarding the “denigrating and offensive” remarks recently made on the air by two of the station’s DJs.

The Colombian Foreign Ministry (CFM) “requested that according to Australian radio’s Code of Practices…that the radio station apologize and punish” Matt Tilley and Joe Hildebrand for “discriminatory” comments made on their June 18th program. 

On the date in question one of the presenters wondered “is Colombia really famous for its coffee?” to which his partner replied, “Are you suggesting there is another stimulant with (the letter) ‘c’ that Colombia is more famous for?”

Later one of them asserted, “It seems to me that if you mention Colombia the one thing they mention is ‘cocaine’” while the other man said several colloquialisms for the drug.

“You know, everybody (in Colombia) has it, sells it…I thought I wonder if that is true or if it offends Colombian people who go ‘You know what? We’re a bit more than that. We have gangs and we kill people too,’” claimed one of the pair.   

They also alluded to the death of Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar who was killed following a World Cup own goal twenty years ago and referred to ex-goalkeeper Rene Higuita’s antics as something chimpanzees can do.

After receiving a call from a Colombian expat observing how demand from users abroad fuels the drug trade, Tilley and Hildebrand admit that they were “scared straight” and noted “Don’t do drugs.”
The CFM mentioned in its letter that Colombian expats living in Australia “positively contribute to that society”. 

The communiqué also reminded Triple M directors that “the drug trade has caused immense suffering” in Colombia and the country is “proud of the international recognition” obtained to combat illegal drug trafficking.

The CFM also spoke out last week after Dutch actress and model Nicolette van Dam posted a phtosohopped image of players Radamel Falcao and James Rodríguez snorting the foam used by referees as if it were cocaine.  The image was accompanied by the phrase “Colombiaans muurtje” (“Colombian wall”) in reference to the row of defenders that are positioned in front of a free kick.     

The resulting uproar among Dutch and Colombian twitter users led van Dam later to delete the tweet and apologize. The damage was already done, however, and she subsequently resigned as UNICEF ambassador for the Netherlands.

The respective remarks made by Tilley, Hildebrand and van Dam was preceded by a comment by British actor and comedian Russell Brand.  He responded to a tweet with a photo of an elaborately costumed Colombian fan with the phrase “Cocaine is good for confidence.” Much like van Dam, Brand apologized for his words.    

Video Source– YouTube via user Edward Ramirez

Online Sources – Twitter; Triple M Radio; BBC Sport; Terra Colombia;; El Tiempo; Publimetro Chile; Colombia Reports

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