How to treat a hero

Categories Uruguay

José Gervasio Artigas Arnal is the national hero of Uruguay, predating political divisions which rendered such universal accord mostly impossible. Artigas’ story is complex, involving Spain, England, and Portugal, and eventually banishment in Paraguay. But hero he is, and it seems every town in the Oriental Republic has a street named after him. There’s a departamento (state) called Artigas. You can find his statue in Washington, D.C., New York, Caracas, Athens, Mexico City, Newark, New Jersey, and Quito, Ecuador .

And in Pando:

There, screen-printed plexiglas panels proclaiming tolerance, peace, union, family, and love shield waterworks that are – can they be described any other way? – pissing on his monument.

The pigeon temporarily perched on his head adds a further bit of indignity.

Maybe I read too much into it? I guess I have this design thing.

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3 thoughts on “How to treat a hero

    1. I planned out trip north to be done with everything as quickly as possible – in the end, a bit grueling; a week on a beach somewhere before returning might have served well, had our house sitter not needed to leave for England shortly after our return. The constant motion for the most part forestalled much discussion of “news” and “politics,” which, having no control over, I tend not to get worked up about. I loved my nephew’s (40s) summation of the Pacific Northwest, however: “Come for the liberal politics; stay for the weather!”

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