Over the last few days there have been a plethora of ridiculous discussions over whether or not it is somehow inappropriate to use the term “American” to refer to people from the US. As idiotic as that topic is (it’s international convention folks, just deal with it), it is tied to another subject…the subject of anti-American sentiment (odd how the phrase “anti-American” never seems to draw any ire) in Peru.
I’ve been accused of anti-American sentiment from time to time, but I think that’s unfair. I think as a citizen of a nation you have a right to be critical of that nation, but that doesn’t mean you want anything bad to happen to it. Constructive criticism is how you make things better, so this kind of criticism shows nothing less than love for your country.
However, it’s long been a political tool to dehumanize people by calling them “traitors” and “communists” when all they want to do is get some funding for a pre-school in their hometown–still that’s a whole different issue.
It’s been my experience that there is less anti-American sentiment in Peru than there is in America. Going to Peru isn’t like going to Europe where you have to apologize for being an American every five minutes (or claim you’re from Canada). In Peru, Americans are treated with extreme warmth and admiration. The US is respected in Peru, maybe not loved, but definitely respected. Sure there are some grumblings, but there are grumblings about any country anywhere that you go.
Peruvians are a different sort of people than you’ll find elsewhere in the world. Random strangers simply aren’t going to stop you in the street and give you a half-hour lecture just for being an American (and there is a very strong possibility something like that will happen if you’re living in France or England or Germany). Peruvians are very accepting, and really this is just one more reason why Peru should be high on your list of potential vacation destinations. In Peru, you can sit and enjoy a coffee in peace without anybody getting all huffy because you’re wearing an American flag pin or whatever.
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