Why it’s so misleading to call the Capitol violence ‘third world’

January 16, 2021

On the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, observers described the events as something of the “Third World” or “banana republics.” CNN host Jake Tapper said: “I feel like I’m talking to a correspondent reporting from Bogotá.” Two days later, Joe Biden said: “This reminded me more of states I’ve visited in the over hundred countries I’ve gone to in third [world] tinhorn dictatorships.”

Depicting the attack on the Capitol in this way has three problems. First, it implies that there is no historical precedent of political violence within the United States — and that attacks on government institutions only take place outside of the U.S. 

Shariana Ferrer-Núñez

Melody Fonseca
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Río Piedras


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