The Daughter of Revolutionaries, Part II

Debray spent a lifetime trying to bring happiness to Latin America. Of course, he also despised everything Hispanic, especially the language. He was hysterically opposed to his daughter learning to speak Spanish, which was her mother’s language. It’s very common among revolutionaries to despise the very people they try to help. And hate the people who help them.

De Gaulle’s pleadings had no effect on Bolivians but when the US told them to let Debray go, they had to listen. In return, Debray spent the rest of his life hating the US to the point where he didn’t allow his daughter to have anything US-made in the house.

You can already imagine, I’m sure, what kind of father he made to poor Laurence. But hey, as bad as this fellow sounds, Laurence’s mother, Elizabeth Burgos, was worse. She’s that crazy lady who created the whole Rigoberta Menchú hoax*. After reading her daughter’s book, I finally understood why. She’s a Latin American woman whose French husband refused to live with her, paid no child support, and wrote endless books detailing exactly how much and how joyfully he cheated on her. To a Latin American woman, this is an absolute personal end of the world. (Not the cheating specifically, but the whole setup).

* Or embellished and exaggerated, whatever. She treated Guatemalan indigenous peasants exactly like her husband had treated their Bolivian counterparts twenty years earlier: like empty vessels that she needed to fill with her superior knowledge.

2 thoughts on “The Daughter of Revolutionaries, Part II”

  1. What was Rigoberta Menchú hoax about?
    Some readers are not very strong in Latin American history. 🙂

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    1. Burgos recorded Menchú’s testimony about her suffering during the civil war in Guatemala. Menchú got a Nobel for the book. Then it turned out that much of her “testimony” was invented and exaggerated by Burgos. In the end, nobody could say how much of the book was Burgos’s fantasy.

      Here is a link but remember that it lists only a couple of problems with the book. In reality, there were a lot more:

      http://www.cnn.com/books/news/9812/15/menchu.cnn/

      Of course, Stoll has been accused of racism for fact-checking a story written by a very white Burgos. Still, the testimony genre has died as a result of the hoax. Now instead of testimony, there is a genre called “literature of disillusionment” where authors mock testimony. It’s a shame because atrocities did happen during Latin American dictatorships and people should talk about them. But the dishonest idiot Burgos poisoned the whole thing for everybody.

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