Friday, August 22, 2014

'¡¡¡Ehhhh… puuuto!!!' (Cultural Bias?)

Fans, 2002 World Cup Source: Klafubra  (Wikimedia Commons)
This was the second match of the FIFA World Cup, held in  Arena das Dumas in the Brazilian city of Natal. A large portion of the estimated 50,000 Mexicans who traveled to Brazil for the international soccer tournament were on hand to cheer for El Tri in this contest against Cameroon on June 13..

The fans wore the national colors, carried some banners and signs--and brought their cultural bias. Every time Cameroon's goalkeeper Charles Itandje kicked the ball off, a loud taunting cheer of '¡¡¡Ehhhh… puuuto!!!' was heard in the stands. Puto is not a kind word.  It is often used to insult homosexual men.

The European-based anti-discrimination monitoring group Fare complained about the Mexican fans to the international soccer governing body, FIFA. FIFA officials agreed to investigate Fare’s complaint but ultimately declined to take any actions against Mexican soccer fans and the Mexican soccer association.

The macho cultural bias in Mexico and much of Latin America is to reject homosexuality, perhaps as a  sign of weakness.  So fans were not questioning the Itandje's sexuality when they used the common taunting cheer ¡¡¡Ehhhh… puuuto!!!  And Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was on the receiving  when Brazilian fans taunted him with the same phrase when Mexico played Brazil on June 17.  (Mexican fans might have started something. Japanese soccer fans have started to use the taunting chant in their stadiums).

And while the use of the taunt can be dismissed as "soccer tradition," it is important to realize that cultural biases are behind our acts of discrimination. The word puto remains very much an insult in Mexico.

And culture plays a role in biases against other groups in Mexico, such as indigenous peoples (especially those who reside in the cities) and women in general. Read more about discrimination in Mexico in this week's issue of SourceMex, and in a recent report from the Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación (CONAPRED)

Other countries in Latin America have also had to deal with concerns of discrimination against  the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) community. This week, our LADB newsletters examine recent patterns in Peru and Honduras. In July of this year, the Peruvian government approved the Plan Nacional de Derechos Humanos 2014-2016 . But as Elsa Chanduví Jaña points out in this week's edition of NotiSur, this document  has come under criticism for its omissions: it lacks measures to protect vulnerable sectors such as the LGBTI community and domestic workers.

In Honduras, the LGBTI community is among the groups subject to increased attacks in the four years since the coup that toppled President Manuel Zelaya in June 2009. More than 30 hate crimes have been committed against the LGBTI community since the coup. George Rodríguez gives us more details in this week' edition of NotiCen. A report from Human Rights Watch on Honduras expands on this issue.

Also in LADB this week...
Nicaragua Attack: Were the perpetrators of two attack on supporters of the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional (FSLN) former contras? Some groups like the hitherto unknown organization calling itself the Fuerzas Armadas de Salvación Nacional-Ejército del Pueblo (FASN-EP) are certain the attacks came from regrouped contras. President Daniel Ortega's administration says, however, that the perpetrators were simply "common criminals."  Read More

Electrical Self-Sufficiency in Uruguay:At a time when all of the countries of South America, to one degree or another, are suffering the ill effects of inflation, small Uruguay has made a point of lowering consumer costs—at least for one vital service: electricity. The move went into effect July 1 and benefits not only household consumers but also commercial and industrial enterprises. Read More

Mexico Fines Dragon Mart Developers for Environmental Violations: The controversial Dragon Mart project in Quintana Roo state hit another bump in the road when the federal environmental-protection agency (Procuraduría Federal de Protección al Ambiente, PROFEPA) levied a stiff fine against the developers of the megacomplex for failing to comply with the federal norms on environmental protection.  Read More

-Carlos Navarro 

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