Thursday, August 17, 2006

Willy Wonka and Paraguay

As has been widely noted, former Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner died, exiled in Brazil. The obits (such as the NYT) all note the tremendous repression and corruption during his many years in power.

The negative image of Paraguay even permeated popular culture here. My kids love watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In it, everyone thinks the last golden ticket has been found, by someone in Paraguay. Then it turns out the Paraguayan had counterfeited it. In another slap, according to Wikipedia (always use at your own risk, but for a movie reference I don’t mind):

When the South American newscaster holds up the photo of the fifth Golden Ticket "winner" (who is a fake) it is a picture of Martin Bormann. The joke was that Bormann was Hitler's right-hand man who, in theory, escaped and wound up in Paraguay.


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