Hugo Chavez, Angel Falls And The Name Game
December 21, 2009, 02:13 PM
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Hugo Chavez has caught Western academia's renaming bug, turning his ire upon the world's most fortuitously perfect geographic name:

President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that the world's tallest waterfall has been called Angel Falls too long and should revert to its original indigenous name instead of commemorating the U.S. pilot who spotted it in 1933.

He called for renaming the Venezuelan falls Kerepakupai-Meru, saying during his weekly television program that Indians had a name for the majestic waterfall long before adventurer Jimmie Angel flew over it.

How can Venezuelans could accept the idea that "the highest waterfall in the world was discovered by a man who came from the United States in a plane?" Chavez asked. "We should change that name, right? With all respect to that man who came, who saw it."

Of course, most indigenous names are hard to spell and hard to remember:

He initially said the name should be Churun-Meru, but then corrected himself after receiving a note from his daughter Maria pointing out that the Pemon Indian name of the waterfall is Kerepakupai-Meru.

But, that's the point, isn't it? Being hard to remember means more chances to look down your noses at commoners who can't remember Kerepakupai-Meru.