The 10 Best Gaffes of Our Dear Latin-American Presidents

Latin-American presidents are notorious for spouting nonsense, often in front of large audiences that stand in disbelief. Bizarre things happen in this region of the world when it comes to politics: scenes that border on madness.

I believe it’s a good idea, in the interest of mental health, to take a step back, observe these verbal mishaps, and get a good laugh out of them. Let’s review some of the most comical scenes involving our cast of politicians:

10. Evo Morales (Bolivia): chickens fed with growth hormones cause sexually deviant behavior in men.

During a conference over global warming, Morales sidetracked to explain that chickens fed with growth hormones are to blame for men’s sexual forays.


9. Carlos Menem (Argentina, 1989-1999): we need a space-travel system to get to Japan in just an hour.

In a speech at a school, Menem assured attendees that he was going to bid for a space-travel system that would enable Argentineans to travel to Japan, for example, in just an hour. Earth to Menem: Japan is on earth.

8. Christina Kirchner (Argentina): eat pork for a better sex life.

In a speech for a meat-producers association, Kirchner stated that eating pork significantly improves sexual activity: “I am a big fan of pork. Keep in mind, I am not saying this too look good, nor advertise anything in particular,” she confessed amid nervous laughter.


Unfortunately, an article from the La Nación went ahead and killed the fun. Apparently, experts denied that her comments had any scientific basis.

7. Hugo Chávez (Venezuela, 1999-2013): everyone should bathe in only one glass of water.

Times have been tough in Venezuela, with not so much to go around. Hugo Chávez told constituents that one glass of water was perfectly sufficient for a shower, to save water, and in only two or three minutes. A Latin-American film festival made a video based on this statement, with the tagline, “If this is our reality, imagine what our movies would be like.”

6. Nicolás Maduro (Venezuela): Hugo Chávez’s spirit appeared in a dream as a little bird, granting me his blessing.

The current president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, has perhaps outdone even his predecessor’s loose use of words. After he misspoke and invented “millonas,” he proposed to the Royal Spanish Academy that they should add the word because it sounds pretty. He also assured constituents that the spirit of Hugo Chávez appeared in a dream in the form of a little bird, granting his blessing for Maduro to carry on the Chavista legacy.

5. Fernando Lugo (Paraguay, 2008-2012): No no, I did not father three children while I was a priest.

Many of us remember the case of former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo. After only a couple of months at the helm in 2009, he received claims for paternity from at least three different women. All the women declared that they had sex with Lugo when he was still a bishop. He has now officially recognized two extra-marital children.

4. Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia) peed his pants while announcing his reelection campaign.

The episode occurred in March in Barranquilla, Atlántico. He later argued, successfully it would appear, that his urination skills would not affect his capacity to lead.

3. Enrique Peña Nieto (Mexico): I have read many books; I just can’t remember any.

When asked which books had most influenced his life, Peña Nieto experienced an uncomfortable moment in 2011. He became very nervous, confused the name of an author, and finally declared, “I have read many, many novels that I like. I have difficulty remembering the titles of any books in particular.”

2. Evo Morales (Bolivia): I used to drink my urine to cure illnesses.

Another man with bathroom problems. You might want to keep that one to yourself, Evo. Just last week, he explained that the urine cured his cough and that it was a common practice where he grew up.


1. Rafael Correa (Ecuador): I’d rather be killed than lose my life.

Correa was having a more-than-rough day on September 30, 2010 — being taken hostage and all. After he dared the striking police to kill them if they had any courage, he then confessed over public radio that he would prefer to be killed than lose his life. He appeared to have been listening to Mexican Chespirito, since he repeated the comedian almost word for word.

Bonus: why don’t you shut up?

Sometimes there is only one way to respond, and King Juan Carlos I of Spain let this sentiment be known to Hugo Chávez in 2007, at the Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile (“¿Por qué no te callas?”).

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