Italy, Italy, Italy…
Prime Minister Enrico Letta has harshly criticized a top Italian senator who likened the country’s first black Cabinet minister to an orangutan, the latest episode of high-profile racial tension in a nation grappling with immigration.
In a statement Sunday, Letta denounced Roberto Calderoli’s words as “unacceptable” and “beyond every limit.”
Calderoli, the Senate’s vice-president and a leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, made denigrating remarks about Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge while he was speaking at a party rally Saturday in northern Italy, the populist movement’s power base.
“When I see images of Kyenge I cannot help think, even if I don’t say that she is one, of a resemblance to an orangutan,” Corriere della Sera newspaper quoted Calderoli as saying. On Sunday, Calderoli said he was making a joke, and meant no offence to the minister.
Kyenge is a Congolese-born doctor who became Italy’s first black minister when Letta’s…
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