MONTEVIDEO – A Montevideo restaurant, in the downtown Pocitos neighborhood, over the weekend barred a black official from the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay from entering the premises, diplomatic sources said.
The person in charge of seating diners at tables in the Circus restaurant did not allow the U.S. diplomat to enter, saying, first, that she had no reservation, and secondly, that she was not dressed properly, the Uruguayan daily El Observador said Tuesday.
The African American woman replied that the real reason they didn’t let her in was the color of her skin, the Uruguayan daily said.
U.S. diplomatic sources consulted by Efe confirmed the truth of the incident as reported in El Observador, but declined to provide further details pending a possible legal case.
In that regard, the U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, Julissa Reynoso, told local media that she and her colleagues were weighing what action to take against the establishment.
Reynoso also expressed surprise at the restaurant’s “level of ignorance,” which “was not in tune with Uruguayan culture and the standards of the country,” and said that embassy personnel will “not set foot in that place in the future.”
Deputy finance and economy minister and acting foreign minister of Uruguay, Luis Porto, said he is waiting to receive a formal note about what happened, because to open a legal case “it is necessary to make the corresponding complaint to the judiciary.”
“In Uruguay there is a non-discrimination law,” which “punishes and penalizes it,” he said.