Uruguayan minister refers to Jesus Christ as that “skinny fellow crucified for being too candid”
A major controversy has erupted in Uruguay following what were considered ‘unnecessarily offensive’ references to Jesus Christ by Defence minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro during a conference at a businesspeople gathering this week in Montevideo.
The minister and former guerrilla leader referred to Jesus as “that skinny fellow who was crucified for being candid and who spent all his time preaching forgiveness”.
The statement was partly in reply to a question from the audience who asked if the Tupamaros guerrilla would publicly ask for forgiveness for having triggered the violence of the sixties that a decade later concluded in a military coup.
He went further and said that if there was to be forgiveness, “all sectors of (Uruguay) society had to seat round a big table and confess their share of the sins, the business community, the big landowners, the media, part of the political system, the military, foreign influence, so it is not a one side action. Furthermore since none of these sectors are going to admit those sins I tell them f… you man”.
However his statements did not go unnoticed by bishops from the Catholic Church and members of the political opposition.
In an open letter Bishop Jaime Fuentes, and who went to the same religious school as Fernandez Huidobro wrote, “Wait a minute, you’ve gone too far!”
“My brother, your slang has played you a trick: those are not words to refer to a personality which a majority of Uruguayans follow or respect.”
Former president and Senator Luis Alberto Lacalle also called for ‘a public apology’ from the minister given his lack of respect for Uruguayans beliefs and none else than during Holy Week.
However Fernandez Huidobro in an open letter published in a government financed newspaper replied to the bishop and his former school mate.
“You argue that my slang referred to Jesus has backfired on me: let me tell you the word ‘candid’ (slang version) is commonly used in the tango songs to describe and pay homage to a guy who is honest and generous, this you can’t ignore”.
“In the slang of the lawless and criminals ‘candid’ refers to those who are honest and hardworking” adds Fernandez Huidobro a historic leader of the Tupamaros and who was in jail from 1970 to 1985, when the return of democracy.
However, ‘candid’ in River Plate slang can also refer to a person who is evil, wicked or plain dumb.
Furthermore “in my personal relation with Jesus, which has always been at the same level, he calls me pug-nosed (nick-name) and I call him skinny, whether you like it or not”. And in reference to the expression “Long live Christ King!”, with which Bishop Fuentes signed his letter and which was how the day ended at the Catholic school they both attended, the minister recalls that “it is well known that this is clearly a fascist rally cry”.
“So please in fraternal confidence don’t yell it any longer: it’s highly embarrassing, a public immolation” concluded his letter Fernandez Huidobro, minister of Defence of the second left wing coalition government to rule Uruguay.
Bishop Rodolfo Wirz and Vice-president of Uruguay’s Episcopal Conference said that the statements from the minister “were not pertinent and non-corresponding” and invited Fernandez Huidobro in a very ‘healthy gesture” to come forward and “suggest that it was a bad moment he went through”.