December 21, 2009
Chavez Wants Name Change For Angel Falls
President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that the world's tallest waterfall has been called Angel Falls for too long and should revert to its original indigenous name instead of commemorating the U.S. pilot who spotted it in 1933.
"How could we accept this idea that the falls were discovered by a guy who came from the United States in a plane. If we do that, that would be like accepting that nobody was living here," Chavez mused on his weekly radio and television show, "Hello Mr. President."
He called for renaming the Venezuelan falls Kerepakupai-Meru, saying that Indians had a name for the majestic waterfall long before adventurer Jimmie Angel flew over it.
Kerepakupai meru, meaning "waterfall of the deepest place."
"Nobody should speak of Angel Falls any more," Chavez said.
He initially said the name should be Churun-Meru, but then corrected himself after receiving a note from his daughter Maria pointing out that the Pemon Indian name of the waterfall is Kerepakupai-Meru.
"That's the name "¦ the name of the Indians," Chavez said.
The waterfall, which is among Venezuela's most famous tourist destinations, is the world's tallest at 3,212 feet (979 meters), with an uninterrupted drop of 2,648 feet (807 meters). It plunges from one of the tabletop mountains, Auyan-Tepui, in the rugged, forested landscape of Canaima National Park in southern Venezuela.