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Have you heard the one about the Colombian Nazis? No? Well, somewhat worryingly, it’s not actually a joke. In this land of incredulous contradictions, there exists a rather confused bunch of adherents to the Adolf Hitler branch of fascism.

Nazismo Colombia.

This might be from 2011, but Colombia’s Nazis haven’t gone away. (Picture from nazismocolombia.blogspot.com.)

Perhaps they were missing the day when Nazi eugenics policy was explained in history class – that’s if they went to school at all of course. For needless to say that if Hitler and his cronies were around today, Latinos wouldn’t exactly be their idea of people worth supporting. In a Nazi dominated world, not just having the movement’s support would be the least of their worries though, you’d imagine.

Yet racism is alive and well in these parts. I know a number of, lets say ‘well-coloured’ locals, who would move if a black person sat beside them on a bus or wherever. The thing is, in some parts of the world these same well-coloured folk could be prejudiced against just because of their appearance. If only we could all see the bigger picture.*

But hey, in a country where anything with just the appearance of being to the left of the political spectrum is despised by many, the Nazis vehemently anti-Communist stance is more than agreeable. Reaching out to find common ground with people who might like to exterminate you; how commendable. (Let’s just not mention the whole Aryan issue.) Not only that, but the hatred of capitalism – tied up with anti-Semitism – espoused by leading Nazis also fits in well with our Colombian fascists. A not too neutral syncretism you might say.

However, herein lies another contradiction. You see many of these Colombian Nazis support the country’s paramilitaries, or paracos as they’re not very affectionately called. And where have these paracos looked for (and found) support in their bid to rid Colombia of the leftist threat? Why that bastion of capitalism the United States of America.

Indeed, the ‘doyen’ of the Colombian paramilitary, the late Carlos Castaño, was enamoured of the U.S. and apparently had aspirations to live there. He once remarked: “I’ve always considered the U.S. as a nation that has worked as the police of the world, that keeps an eye out so nothing happens to it.”** Moreover, he received training from mercenaries in Israel; skills he brought back to Colombia with deadly results.

Nazi Latino.

We all need a laugh every now and again (picture from Facebook).

Yet some of the Nazis/paracos I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of encountering, most recently in a downtown Bogotá tienda, one that has coincidently but innocently been named ‘Nazi bar’ (see Bogotá’s simple pleasures II as to why that is), are not exactly following the Castaño line when it comes to the U.S. Well, they actually take the complete opposite view. ‘Gringos go home’ is more their approach. Oh aren’t we so terribly confused?

Though in this land of contradictions and flaky reasoning, it’s par for the course. ‘Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer’; we’re just not sure which ‘one’ that is.

*The ‘extranjero-files’ – that is, not a xenophobe looks at the racism topic in more detail.

**Quote taken from: Dudley, Steven. Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerilla Politics in Colombia. New York, Routledge, 2006, p. 201.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor Irlandés, quien ha estado viviendo en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y cultura, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-colombia-cast.

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    @wwaycorrigan [Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.] In the 1972 classic, Godfather, there's an early scene where Don Corleone berates his godson, Johnny Fontaine, for crying because he didn't get a part in a movie. 'Godfather, I don't know what to do', a sobbing Fontaine mutters. Cue a slap in the face and a violent retort, 'You can act like a man', followed by a gentle mocking of his behaviour from the Don. [caption id="attachment_4643" align="aligncenter" width="347"]People who cry regularly get on Wrong Way's nerves. 'Let it all out ...' (Image from emojipedia.org.)[/caption] Crying times That scene is set in the late 1940s, a quite different world from that which we inhabit today, to state the obvious. These days, it's all about being in touch with one's emotions. It's OK to cry, whether you're a man, woman, child or however else you define yourself. Don't suppress your feelings, let it all out. I don't completely disagree with that approach. For one, for the most part, it's good to be honest about how you feel — at least if you're asked that is. What I don't like, what irritates me, is when the waterworks start, especially — although not exclusively — when it's men who are shedding the tears. This is where I side with Don Corleone. It's not that it makes me uncomfortable, it's more a case that I find it hard to take seriously men who cry with regularity. As for women, whether the tears are genuine or not, they often, um, precipitate a granting, justified or not, of whatever they may be looking for. I generally make an exception for death, but even in that there seem to be people who let flow more than really appears "necessary". (Perhaps we could introduce a tear scale. 'Careful now, you're close to your limit.') Bidding adieu to loved ones for an indefinite period of time is another "acceptable" tear-jerker. Alcohol-induced crying is also excepted, meaningless as it often is.

    'When the tears in others come they invoke a negative, cold reaction in me. Rather than wanting to help, I have a desire to walk away.'
    This aversion towards, bordering on utter contempt for crying has something to do with, it's safe to assume, my childhood. I was, after all, a serial crier into my mid-teens. Then, from about 15 onwards, I started to develop a strong dislike when seeing others well up for reasons that I would have considered rather inconsequential. During that time, no doubt having to deal with me, her last born, I recall my mother crying for what seemed like the merest of reasons. It used to get my blood up. Even if I'd been told it was all largely down to the menopause, it's unlikely I would have been sympathetic to her plight. Selfish teens, eh. Dry your eyes, mate This clearly left its mark. For in my current abode, the landlady, a nice woman I hasten to add, cries on an almost-daily basis. It's not only, as has happened a fair few times, a headache when she does it speaking directly to me about some grievance or another (these grievances have nothing to do with me, by the way!). It also irks me simply when I can just hear her sobbing away in her room. I know I should probably be a little more empathetic considering she suffers from depression, it's just when the tears in others come they invoke a negative, somewhat cold reaction in me. Rather than wanting to help I have a desire to walk away. It's not that I lack understanding. In fact, I'd wager I take the time to listen to and empathise with other people's gripes as much if not more so than the next person. I just wish they'd leave the crying out of it. The British-Irish band The Pogues sang in Streams of Whiskey, 'there's nothing ever gained by a wet thing called a tear'. That's not fully true, but I wish it was.   _______________________________________________________________ Listen to Wrong Way's Colombia Cast podcast here. Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan — The Blog & IQuiz "The Bogotá Pub Quiz".

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