COMMENTARY Lelia Munteanu: Glad to have Hitler at the table

I just picked up the funniest page in the history of universal literature – an interview with Adolf von Kleist, the captain of the Darwin Bay, ready (on Friday, November 28, 1986, a Friday) to leave the Ecuadorian port of Guazaquil in the Galapagos Islands. in what would have been called the “Cruise of the Century to the Wonders of Nature.” Von Kleist has as interlocutor a popular television man:

“It’s as if von Kleist doesn’t really resonate with a South American name.

– It’s an Inca name – one of the most common Inca names, as Smith or Jones is in English. You have, of course, read the story of the Spanish explorers who destroyed the Inca empire because it was categorically non-Christian.

– Yes and?

– I assume you read.

– I’m keeping it on the nightstand with autobiography of Hedy Lamarr.

“Then you know that for every three Incas burned at the stake for heresy, one was called von Kleist.”

– How big is Ecuador’s fleet?

– Four submarines. I’m constantly under water. I never come to the surface.

“Do I never come to the surface?”

“I don’t go out for years.”

– But do I keep in touch with the radio base?

– I don’t care. They are completely silent on the radio. It’s their own idea. We would be happy to receive communications from submarines, but they prefer to remain silent on the radio.

“But why do I stay underwater for so long?”

“You have to ask their commanders personally about it.” Ecuador is a democracy, you know. Even we, who are in the navy, have a very wide latitude in what we may or may not do.

“There are some people who believe that Hitler may still be alive and well in South America.” Do you think there is a possibility in this regard?

“I know there are some people in Ecuador who would love to have him at the table.”

“Nazi sympathizers, of course.”

– I don’t know anything about that. But it is possible, that is, I suppose.

“If they were happy to have Hitler at the table …”

“Then they must be cannibals.” I’m thinking of the Kanka-Bono tribe. They are happy to have almost anyone at the table. They are – what is the English word? It’s on my tongue ….

“I think I’m giving up that word.”

– I’m … I’m … kanka-bono I’m …

– Take your time.

– Aha! They are apolitical. That’s the word. That’s kanka-bono: apolitical.

“But are they Ecuadorians?”

-Yes. Of course. I told you Ecuador is a democracy. A cannibal, a vote (…) “.

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