Monday, June 7, 2010

I Ecuadorian, I no Mestizo

Ecuador is a funny place.It is an Andean country, but it rarely identifies culturally with its neighbors and often sees itself as overshadowed by the more powerful nations that suround it. In fact , Peru(to the southe) historically has been a very real threat to Ecuadorian national security ,while Colombia (to the north) is popularly seen as being “culturally” better developed than Ecuador. Elites in Ecuador often talk bout what they referred to as “Ecuador's national inferiority complex”

The roots of Ecuador's national ambivalence go very deep .During the colonial period the region that is today Ecuador (then called Quito). Was periodically reassigned to two differents administrative districts, the Viceroyalty of Peru to the south and the Viceroyalty of Santa Fe de Bogota to the north.

Because of the ambiguity and elusiveness of Ecuador's borders, there is a certain irony in the name given to the country in 1830. The equator (for which Ecuador is ,of course,named)is not a real line bifurcating the globe but only an imagined one -much like the country of Ecuador itself.
We can call Ecuador a symbolic 'imagined community” ,because it is a nation struggling to imbue itself with a distinct national identity in the face of countless obstacles.
The Ecuadorian society, is characterized by the magnitude of the fragmentation and separation of the population in distinct social classes, running mostly along racial lines. You almost can compare it to the caste system of India with very little possibility of people escaping their born status.

Whites constituted the most privileged ethnic group and occupied the top of Ecuador's social pyramid.Despite their own realization that there was an admixture of Indian genes in their heritage.whites placed considerable emphasis on their purported purity of blood and Spanish ancestry. Although whites shared a common cultural background...
As for the Mestizos, who are the link between the two extremes, they tend, of course, to associate themselves much more with the white upper class as they strive of being part of it. Some of them at the extreme end deny their Indian heritage completely and to even suggest that they have Indian blood in them implicates a grave insult to them.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment