I am as proud to be Cape Verdean as the next guy…well, maybe not that guy—let’s be real; he has on a CV flag-design buttoned-down shirt for Pete’s sake. I have no problem admitting the truth; Mr. Flagshirt has me trumped, but I love my culture.
Male Cape Verdeans have long believed that our women are the most beautiful in the world and now, because of Leila Lopes, the rest of the world has no choice but to agree. With her selection as the new Miss Universe, the world will become more aware of our Island nation. (I don’t use the word archipelago because I don’t know what the hell it means and I don’t care to look it up.)
“Great! Miss Universe will put Cape Verde on the map.”
The country is already on the map; it’s in Africa, but I understand the sentiment. Although her win is wonderful news, Cape Verde has a dark secret which will now be revealed.
“I love secrets. Please share.” WE STOLE THE LAND; it was never ours.
“Stole the land? From who?” The Portuguese; they discovered the islands. Cape Verdeans are no better than the founding fathers of America. We did to the Portuguese, what the Americans did to the Native population.
“Cape Verdeans have a Manifest Destiny?” No! I didn’t mean exactly the same. By the way, before we continue our conversation, I think it’s time we revealed your identity to the readers. I’m sure they have been wondering who the heck this person who always comments and asks questions is.
“I thought the readers already knew who I was. It’s been almost a full three months; I can’t believe you forgot to introduce me.” Sorry, I forgot. Go ahead.
“First of all, I would like to thank the readers for the continued support; it has been overwhelming. My name is RePete. I am Peter’s uneducated, imaginary friend.” Imaginary, yes! Friend? More like associate; He’s my imaginary agent’s nephew and he won’t leave. *We laugh*
“Wait a second. I thought the new Miss Universe was from Angola; is Cape Verde in Angola?” No. Her parents are Cape Verdeans who moved to Angola. Cape Verde is located off the west coast of Africa; across from Senegal.
“What’s with all this, stole the country nonsense; how can you steal an entire nation?” Easy! Cape Verdeans lined the inside of a shopping bag with aluminum foil, walked into the United Nations and placed all ten islands into the bag. They walked out smiling at the security guard the entire time, without tripping the alarm.
“Aluminum foil, huh? You seem to know a lot about stealing.” I watch Dateline NBC! (For my views on stealing, read my post ‘Antitheft’ – August 3.)
“How is Portugal involved; I thought we were talking about Africa?” It all started with Colonialism. The Portuguese colonized Brazil and during their voyages on the Atlantic Ocean they discovered Cape Verde in 1456. The islands were uninhabited and officially became part of Portugal in 1495; it was the center of the slave trade.
“Cape Verdeans have slaves?” No! What’s wrong with you, RePete?
“How am I supposed to know? You said center for slavery.” *I shake my head*
“So you speak Portuguese?” Not fluently. Our language is a dialect of Portuguese, so I can understand some of it; I know enough to get by.
“What do you mean, get by?” Let’s just say, if I ever found myself lost in Portugal and I was in need of the services of a young sexy prostitute, I won’t be searching for a translator.
“Gotcha!” *We High Five*
“So you were born in the US and your parents are from Cape Verde?” Yeah, I’m one hundred percent “land Steeler;” I’ll take a country in a second.
“What’s an interesting fact about Cape Verde?” Most Cape Verdeans are unaware of our Cuban connection; Fidel Castro played a significant role in our independence. He provided hundreds of thousands of soldiers to help fight for African independence.
“Cape Verdeans are communists?” No! Why don’t you think before you speak? Cape Verde is a democratic nation, but I do like Cuban cigars. That being said, I honestly doubt the “Cubans” I purchased in Las Vegas and South Beach were authentic! Oh well, they were good. (They were more like, “Dominicans!”)
“I knew it; you smoke the pot!” No, you dumbass! Cigars have nothing to do with marijuana. I am a drinker not a pothead. Although, I can introduce you to some people who can provide you with the “good stuff!”
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“Get back to this Portugal story; how did Cape Verdeans steal the country?” You see, One score and sixteen years ago, Cape Verdean fathers, brought forth upon the African continent, a new nation. Conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all mixed race people are created equal.
“I have no idea what you just said.” Cape Verde gained its independence in 1975.
“Oh! How is that stealing?” Because! Portugal discovered the land. Are you not familiar with the international policy concerning ownership of newly discovered territory?
“No.” Finders, keepers!
“Why did Portugal give up their land; are they dumb?” No! The Portuguese probably felt guilty about the whole “slavery thing!” In a way, we stole their land; the Portuguese are like the Native Americans, only Portugal allowed the land to be stolen unlike the Native Americans who didn’t have a choice in the matter; it’s a shame what happened.
“Yeah, but they get to own casinos.” RePete, you’re an idiot. *We laugh*
“So the Portuguese are like the Yankees and Pedro Martinez—you can call them your daddies!” Fuck the Yankees! I never realized how much colonialism continues to affect some people. Even after 36 years of independence, there are those who can’t let it go.
“What do you mean?” I can recall an experience during the 2002 world cup, co-hosted by South Korea and Japan. I was having a discussion with a guy from Cape Verde, who was a year my junior and he asked me, “who are you rooting for?” I answered the United States and Brazil.
The eight quarter-finalists were Brazil, Germany, US, Senegal, England, South Korea, Turkey, and Spain. (Shout Out to Brazil for winning the World Cup!) I asked the guy who he wanted to win and he replied, “It doesn’t really matter, I just don’t want any of the colonizers to win.” (What I just wrote is like B.G’s first studio album—True Story!)
I guess the fact that I am like Bruce Springsteen—Born in the USA, allows me to have a different view of the world. Hopefully that guy finds a way to get over his hatred for “the colonizers,” because blaming someone else for your shortcomings is, in a word, #nonsensicalandannoyingtolistento! (I would like to thank the good people at Twitter for creating a new method for word counting.)
“Thanks. That was interesting.” You’re welcome. Do you feel as if you have a better understanding of Cape Verde, RePete?
“Yeah, I learned that Cape Verdeans are better Steelers than Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward!” Indeed we are, RePete. INDEED WE ARE!