Thursday, December 6, 2012

What's on a coat of arms?

What's Panama doing there? Colombia's coat of arms, as displayed in Bogotá's bullfighting plaza.

Should the Andean condor fly off of the coat of arms
before it flies into extinction?

A coat of arms sounds like something out of the age of knights and castles - and it is. But Colombia's has taken sudden timeliness thanks to the controversy with Nicaragua over the San Andres archipelago - which are absent from the coat of arms.

The gorro frigio, a symbol of liberty
and revolution....
The coat of arms is not only a throwback to a past era, but Colombia's also happens to be a holdover from times past. The current coat of arms, or escudo nacional, was adopted in 1834 and features Panama, which became an independent nation in 1903 and Colombia has little chance of regaining. In recent years, senators have proposed replacing Panama with the San Andres archipelago, an idea which seems to have gained new strength in the wake of an international court's ruling reaffirming Colombia's possession of the archipelago but slashing Colombia's Caribbean sovereignety. Nicaragua has protested the proposed change.
...might be replaced by the popular
sombrero vueltiao.

Panama isn't the only controversial element on the coat of arms. Some have called for removing the Andean condor, both because it feeds on corpses and because it's threatened with extinction. Others have proposed changing the gorro frigio, a symbol of liberty and revolution, with the more contemporary and well-known sombrero vueltiao.


By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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