Bolivia’s President declares that GM-poultry is the actual responsible of baldness and homosexuality.
Should these comments be taken just anecdotical or there’s a more profound meaning beyond?
Some days ago, Bolivian President Evo Morales shook the world with a one-of-a-kind declaration: Genetically Modified (GM) / hormone-trated chicken is responsible of male baldness and homosexuality.
During an environmental conference, where he clearly wanted to gain sympathy from both, people and environmentalists he didn’t hesitate in saying that “when men eat those chickens, they experience deviances in being men…”. Furthermore, he mentioned men-pattern baldness as a disease of Europeans, where most of the men were becoming bald, in contrast to healthy-fed indians who were (by Morales’ point of view) healthy and hairy. He also predicted that in a near future, 50% of men will be bald due to GM-chicken.
Such a declaration could be considered pure anecdotical. As a matter of fact, it became the target of jokes, impromptu satires and understandable criticism for he superficiality of the comments and the absolute ignorance of the subject.
However, after analyzing the full context of the situation, one could only be afraid of what really is beneath of this nonsense.
Is that the appropriate cultural level for a Chief of State?
Defenders of Evo Morales have argued that any kind of criticism to him, hides a discriminatory and hate agenda to the indian or “native-latinamerican” people. Well, in this particular case, what we can see is that hate is coming exactly in the opposite way (we’ll discuss it farther).
The fact that an indian, a descendent of pure-Bolivian natives, became President of his country is plausible. The fact that he was democratically elected after decades of foul play and corruption inside Bolivia is also admirable. What can’t and must not be ignored, is the lack of academic preparation of Evo’s.
What are and should be, the minimum qualifications for a President?
Is making this kind of comments the proper position of a Head of State?
It is clear that in such a difficult case, a serious team of advisors should always be available for writing or editing speeches, as well as reviewing any kind of declaration in advance.
As I’ve written in the past, there’s a lack of bioscience culture (worldwide), where GM-products and animals real nature is hidden behind gossip, misinformation and sensationalism; while health and basic-medical info is absent.
Under these circumstances a passionate and rather ignorant President, talking to a group of activist and adored by the population, could be very dangerous.
When hate rules the agenda.
Some Gay & Lesbian activists had protested after these declarations. There’s even a Spanish G & L organization that has formally addressed the Bolivian Embassy in Madrid, demanding an apology. (By the way, as I write this article, there’s no bald-advocate movement formally protesting…).
However, I don’t like to see this incident as an homophobic position. I think it’s worst.
In an inexplicable disinformation mélange, Evo was trying achieve several goals:
a) Sympathy of the environmentalist movement he was addressing to, by superficially criticizing the GM-products.
b) Reinforcing his bogus information regarding GM-chicken by citing potential “catastrophic” diseases to the population. These diseases had to be clearly understandable and accepted:
- Homosexuality. Rejected by good old-fashion macho indians… “like him”.
- Baldness. Which he clearly identified as a “disease of Europeans”, with a huge phenotypic distance of the hairy-headed “good indians”…like him.
c) Making clear that his, is the indian vision (good).
d) Establishing a common denominator and origin of the danger: International Bio-engineering Corporations, outsiders, Europeans…
What is the linking concept of these goals? Hate.
By building an stereotype of “the bad guys”: Gays and bald Europeans, Evo is dangerously constructing what most of the historically oppressed populations love, an enemy.
Bolivia is a country with only 87% of literacy, where up to 55% of the population belong to pure-race ethnic groups (CIA Fact-book) and where violence has been present before (just remember the mining conflict where lit dynamite was thrown between factions).
As I mentioned, this is not even homophobia; this is worst. This is ignorance-driven xenophobia in a larvarian stage.
In his speech, Evo clearly stereotyped. To stereotype can conduct to discrimination and xenophobia: ”We are the good indians you are the bad (and bald) Europeans” …” and gays are freaks created by eating GM-poultry, by the way…”.
Evo‘s defenders have emerged quickly to try to make some damage-control. From “It was a joke …” to “he has right to opine in such matters (regardless he knows or ignores the subject)…”.
Presidents, Dignitaries and Heads of State are humans, thus, they are prone to make mistakes.
But when such ridiculous facts are addressed in such way in such a context, lots of eyebrows could be risen.