Her political party backs Epsy Campbell in debate over children’s book

The Partido Acción Ciudadana rushed to support two lawmakers who caused the culture ministry to withdraw support for a musical adaptation of a beloved children’s book.

The party issued a statement Monday deploring manifestations that denigrate the integrity and attacks against members of the Comisión de Derechos Humanos.

The statement singled out Epsy Campbell Barr and Maureen Clarke Clarke.

The political party said it rejected the tone of a debate that reeked of racism, xenophobia and hatred. Ms.  Campbell and 11 other lawmakers from her party signed the document. But the statement did not specify from where such attacks originated. A search of the Web failed to turn up any hatred or racism, but Ms. Campbell’s own Facebook page contained criticism of her actions. One poster said a group of lawmakers were an insult. Another said that censorship of the book “Cocorí” would lead to censorship of other books because they offend the sensibilities of others for other reasons.

Costa Rican Joaquín Gutiérrez wrote “Cocorí” in 1947. The book already had been viewed nearly 20 years ago by the Sala IV constitutional court which said it was not racist. Ms. Campbell says that the book contains unfavorable stereotypes of Afro-Costa Ricans.

The tale involves a boy from Limón who goes into the jungle and accumulates animal friends in search of life’s answer.

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