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August 28, 2009

Peruvian journalist wins ‘Most Racist Article’ award

Peruvian writer Andrés Bedoya Ugarteche has been named by charity Survival as the winner of its Most Racist Article of the Year award.

The 13 June article headlined ‘The poor chunchos and other idiocies‘is condemned by Survival as “offensive rubbish” – although Ugarteche himself has denied he was being racist.

Describing indigenous people as ‘ignorant, primitive, violent chunchos from the pre-agricultural age”, the column in Peruvian daily Correo also called the government ‘butchers and assassins’and the opposition ‘communist excrement”.

Referring to the police killed in a clash with indigenous protesters in Northern Peru, he wrote that ‘if the ‘natives’didn’t shrink the heads of the policemen they killed and eat their remains, it was only because there wasn’t time.”

In the penultimate paragraph of his article, the writer implies a solution to the issue of indigenous people: ‘I don’t know what keeps Alan [Garcia, the president] from providing the air force with all the napalm necessary.”

Further epithets in the piece described Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as ‘dung with ears’and opposition supporters’ opinions as ‘brothel lies.”

Asked about his ‘win’by Lima newspaper El Comercio, the writer denied he was being racist, saying that it was in fact Peru’s indigenous people who are racist.

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He said: ‘They’re the ones who are racist and I was just drawing attention to it.”

‘To be a racist, I would have to be a pure blood and I’m not one,’he said. ‘I hope they give me a medal, a diploma and a special ceremony.”

The original article is still live on Correo’s website, but Spanish-speaking internet users have formed a Facebook group called ‘Against Correo and Bedoyda Ugarteche‘which today reached 892 members.

Survival was founded in 1969 after an article by Norman Lewis in the UK’s Sunday Times highlighted the massacres, land thefts and genocide taking place in Brazilian Amazonia.

The London-based charity spends over £800,000 a year on charitable projects including education.

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