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Colombian President’s Remark about the United States Sparks Controversy on Social Media

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Colombian President Gustavo Petro's controversial remarks spark criticism – United States analogy and the social media frenzy it unleashed
Gustavo Petro’s controversial remarks and the social media uproar they ignited. Credit: Image 1: Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED. Image 2: Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED

Gustavo Petro’s controversial remarks are once again dominating social media, sparking both amusement and a barrage of criticism.

The Call for ‘Social Forgiveness’ in Colombia

During his speech at the Public Apologies event for cases of extrajudicial executions, commonly known as “false positives,” on October 3rd, Gustavo Petro emphasized the need for “social forgiveness” in Colombia. He firmly believed that his controversial remarks could pave the way for reconciliation in the country after several periods of intense violence. For this reason, the Head of State began to provide various international examples to support his idea. However, one of his comments took a wrong turn and triggered a wave of criticism on social media.

A Controversial Analogy Involving the United States

Gustavo Petro’s remarks included the statement, “Es así como se recompusieron los Estados Unidos, que se llaman así (Estados Unidos) porque antes estaban separados y se mataban entre sí,” which translates to: “This is how the United States reconciled, they are called that (United States) because they were separated before and were killing each other.” This peculiar analogy, citing the historical struggles within the United States, immediately thrust the phrase ‘Estados Separados’ or ‘Separated States’ into the limelight on the social network X, formerly known as Twitter.

Continuing with his speech, Gustavo Petro went on to provide other examples, including the “resurgence” of certain European countries.

Petro’s remarks triggered an array of responses, with many expressing indignation and ridicule at his unconventional statements.

The United States Name: A Historical Perspective

Despite the fact that the states in the US were indeed divided during the so-called Civil War due to irreconcilable positions, Colombia’s President’s controversial remarks did not align with the historical context of the country’s name.

On July 4, 1776, the name “United States” officially became established, after leaving behind names such as the “United Colonies,” marking their independence from Great Britain. Gustavo Petro’s controversial remarks inadvertently missed this historical fact.

Furthermore, the example President Petro mentioned, referring to the war, took place between 1861 and 1865, nearly a century later.

This is not the first time that one of Gustavo Petro’s controversial remarks has become a trend and the subject of mockery or criticism. His statement, “to spread the virus of life throughout the stars of the universe,” made during the United Nations General Assembly held in New York last September, also met a similar fate, complete with memes.


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