Obama’s face on lottery ticket sparks controversy in Colombia

October 24th, 2008 - 4:03 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaBogota, Oct 24 (DPA) Colombia was experiencing a curious controversy Thursday, after a photograph of US presidential candidate Barack Obama was printed on the tickets of a lottery with a jackpot of some $253,000.The photograph of the US Democratic Party candidate was used by the lottery in the central Colombian province of Meta as a “tribute” to blacks, according to lottery manager Magdalena Gonzalez.

Gonzalez explained that this is not the first time that the Meta lottery has printed the photos of personalities on tickets, and that a smiling Obama was picked as a tribute to people of African descent since Latin America celebrated the Day of Race earlier this month.

A man who bought the lottery ticket in the provincial capital Villavicencio complained that, had that been the intention, they should have picked a Colombian black or an indigenous person.

Gonzalez admitted that there was also a commercial vision behind the choice, which sought to “create interest and attract the public’s attention”.

The lottery draw was done Thursday.

Gonzalez already caused controversy some months ago, when her husband’s photo was printed on lottery tickets to mark the Day of the Cattle-Farmer.

Obama’s image has also recently become popular in the town of Turbaco, in the northern Colombian province of Bolivar, where former mayor Silvio Carrascal opened a “campaign office”.

Carrascal said he studied Obama’s life and was so impressed that he painted his house in the colours of the United States flag. He also printed fliers that he hands out to town residents to promote the Democrat’s candidacy.

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