The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is receiving criticism for a press release on Friday aimed at North Korea’s state-run media, which last week made the outrageous claim that the late Kim Jong-il, father of current dictator Kim Jong-un, invented the burrito shortly before his death.
The false claim was apparently made to dismiss the growing popularity of the iconic Mexican dish among North Koreans—the few with access to them, anyway.
“The wild claim follows an equally batty propaganda story that alleged Jong Il invented a dish called ‘double bread with meat’ which was uncannily like a hamburger,” reported the U.S. Sun.
“The burritos, meanwhile, are called ‘wheat wraps.'”
LULAC WARNS NORTH KOREA:
DON’T MESS WITH OUR BURRITOS#NotKoBurrito
Nation's Largest and Oldest Latino Civil Rights Organization Says Abuelas from Texas, New Mexico To California Would Throw the Chancla At Kim pic.twitter.com/Q6wWxErJcT
— LULAC (@LULAC) January 7, 2022
“[The] nation’s largest and oldest Latino civil rights organization says abuelas from Texas, New Mexico to California would throw the chancla at Kim,” reads the press statement titled “LULAC Warns North Korea: Don’t Mess With Our Burritos.”
The statement begins by saying that “North Korea’s leader is biting off more chile than he can chew” (emphasis theirs).
Responses to the press releases on Twitter alone were consistently negative, most expressing how cringeworthy the statement was.
Dios mio, seeing such a awful, embarrassing tweet from a org I had used to have so much respect for, hurts me so pic.twitter.com/qnqQqHxaYx
— Redempshaun Arc (@BetterWorld86) January 8, 2022
Since y’all feel hip to the slang, this is ? cringe.
— ??? (@greenyoshi49) January 10, 2022
“Y’all really don’t have anything more important going on?? really?!” reads one comment.
“Delete this, it’s embarrassing,” reads another.
Much of the response stems from confusion over the purpose of LULAC releasing the statement. The press release contains a lengthy defense of the burrito’s Mexican origins, which would suggest that the statement is meant to be taken seriously.
“It was bad enough when some Colorado guys started Chipotle and appropriated the thousand-year-old Mexicano Burrito (emphasis his) for their fast-food chain,” says LULAC National President Domingo Garcia in the statement. “Now we got a dictator in North Korea being credited for inventing the burrito?! Them are fighting words!” (emphasis his).
“Imitation is the best form of flattery,” Garcia goes on to say. “But there’s no way that a street vendor in Pyongyang who has never even seen a tortilla comal is going to be able to compete with Abuelita’s best, made-from-scratch, piping hot burritos” (emphasis his).
A request for comment from LULAC was made by Latino Rebels on Monday, and while the group’s communications director promised a response from Mr. Garcia himself, as of this writing, the questions have gone unanswered.
These were the two questions:
- Is the statement meant to be serious or merely playful?
- What is LULAC’s response to those saying that the message is tone-deaf, heavy on stereotypes—or as one commenter put it, “[100 percent] cringe?”
North Korea’s propaganda machine is notorious for propping up the regime by mythologizing the Kim family with lies that are outright laughable.
According to one report, the first time Kim Jong-il played golf, he made 11 holes-in-one. Another myth, shared by the late Christopher Hitchens, claims that when Kim Jong-il was born, the local birds sang “in human voice”—presumably in Korean, too.
As it stands, Kim Jong-il, who died in December 2011, remains the “Eternal General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea,” while his father, Kim Il-sung, who founded the regime and died in 1994, is the “Eternal President” of North Korea.