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PERU: Vladimir Montesinos

From Argentina, Alejandro Winograd writes:

"I am very impressed by your knowledge of Montesinos' background, and there is nothing I could add on the subject. Nevertheless, Peruvian (and Ecuatorian) humble couples do choose quite surprising names for their children. I have known in Peru and Ecuador at least a couple of Lenins (used as a first name and, at least in one of these cases, chosen by a couple with no political commitment), a Vladimir (not Montesinos), and several bearers of quite sophisticated names (I remember, for example, a mestizo named Duncan). In Uruguay, where the names Wilson and Washington are quite common, I have a friend called Schubert and, as far as he knows, his parents were not particularly fond of classic music. It seems that, in some cultures, children's names are not chosen with the same criteria we use.

Did Mr. Montesino's parents know something about Lenin or Saint Vladimir? I don't know. But I do know that, globalization or not, people do think in different ways. And, sometimes, we have a hard time understanding it."

My comment: This is especially true in Brazil. One of the many projects I shall leave unfinished is a history of Brazil based on the choice of first names. Usually, as in the case of say Wilson, they are chosen by an admirer, but then people choose the name just because they like the sound. I used to run the University of the Air, and broadcast every day to Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese. In Brazil I met a professor and his wife who had two boys, one named "Ronald" the other "Hilton". They did not realize that they were pilfered from me. I made no comment.

Ronald Hilton - 4/1/01