Thousands of indigenous Colombians have been given voter cards with humiliating names, El Espectador reported.
Voter cards with names like “Tarzan,” “clown,” “pint-size,” “gorilla,” and “marijuana” have been given to thousands of indigenous voters by disrespectful notaries who seek to make fun of the natives.
The phenomenon has been captured in the documentary “We were born on December 31st,” which tells the tale of the indigenous Colombians’ treatment by election officials.
“When the officials asked them in Spanish what name they wanted, they clearly didn’t understand and remained silent, and then the officials imposed these names on them,” said Efe Padilla, the commentary’s director.
It is also common for many indigenous voter cards to list its owner’s birthdate as December 31st, as many indigenous people do not use a western calendar and cannot give the exact date of their birth.
Many cards also come with an “illiterate” marker regardless of whether or not the owner can read and write, as many officials never bother to ask, explained Padilla.
Vote buying is also an important issue in indigenous communities, as indigenous people have been known to save their cards and use them only when a politician promises a new roof for a family or a hospital, according to indigenous author Efe Simanaca.
Currently, citizens with comical voting cards can be issued new cards. The process costs more than $50 and indigenous people must pay the relatively high expense of travel to reach a government office.