San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Tourism Minister Calls ‘South Park’ Episode ‘Trash’

An episode of the animated TV show “SouthPark” that mocks Costa Rica as a dirty third-world country has ruffled the feathers of Tourism Minister Carlos Benavides.

In the show’s characteristically rash, politically incorrect humor, the SouthPark kids are forced by their teacher Mr. Mackey to join the “Getting Gay with Kids” choir, according to the show’s official Web site. The choir then takes a trip to Costa Rica to help save the rain forest – hence the episode’s name, “Rainforest Schmainforest.”

On a bus ride through San José, the group ogles the prostitutes, trash and shantytowns they observe out the windows while complaining of an offensive smell. Mr.Mackey then explains that Costa Rica is a third-world country, and these are the ugly things that come along with it.

Benavides last week told Channel 7 TV News that the show should be considered “trash” created for people with little education and bad manners.

The episode originally aired in 1999, but was apparently brought to Benavides’ attention recently. He said he is not worried that the episode has hurt tourism in Costa Rica, since the show is not directed at people who would visit the country anyway.


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