Chavez renames iconic waterfall

Caracas – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday renamed Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall, saying it should be called by its indigenous name Kerepakupai Meru.

Angel Falls are named after a US explorer Jimmie Angel, who in the 1930s crashed his plane onto the table-top mountain where the roughly kilometre-long drop begins.

“This is ours, long before Angel arrived there,” Chavez said on his weekly television show, in front of a large painted mural of the falls and surrounding jungle.

“This is indigenous property, ours, aborigine.” He said thousands of people had seen the falls before Jimmie Angel “discovered” them.

The falls are in the Canaima National Park in the Gran Sabana region in south-eastern Venezuela, near borders with Brazil and Guyana. About 15 000 Pemon Indians live in the region.

Chavez initially said the waterfall was to be called Cheru-Meru, also spelled as Cherun Meru, but corrected himself when his daughter pointed out that was the name of a smaller waterfall in the same region.

He spent several minutes practising the name Kerepakupai, before declaring he had mastered it.

The socialist Chavez said the remote falls normally reached by plane and boat were only visited by the wealthy, and called on a publicly owned airline to fly poor Venezuelans to the site.

The unique landscape of sheer table-top mountains known as tepuis juts out of the rainforest and inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World.

“Kerepakupai merú”, means “waterfall of the deepest place”, in Pemon language.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel_Falls

Advertisements

Cuba’s other revolution is green, not red

In Copenhagen they are debating how to end deforestation, but in Cuba’s Pinar del Río they were replanting 50 years ago, creating lush, unspoilt valleys

Cuban hills ... typical bungalows in Las Terrazas, Sierra del Rosario Nature and Biosphere Reserve, Pinar del Rio. Photograph: John Harden/Robert Harding/Rex Features

Birds and butterflies are swooping above us and, as our taxi reaches the summit of this forest road just 40 minutes from the heat and noise of Havana, the view opens to an undulating landscape painted every shade of green. Before Castro these hills were dusty yellow and brown scrub.

If Copenhagen needs a model, this is the most eloquent I know, a visionary example of reforestation and the long term benefits it brings. While the rest of the world is ripping up forests in the name of minerals and wood, Cuba has been replanting its tropical forests in the name of jobs, the environment and a lush holiday destination for decades. This policy has worked so well that in 1984 Unesco gave biosphere status to 26,686 hectares of forest in the western region of Pinar del Río, where I am heading to stay at Las Terrazas, 50km from Havana. Continue reading