Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where's Ecuador? Not on new Brazilian school map

Where's Ecuador? Better not ask that question in Brazil. A new Brazilian geography text book for sixth-grade students doesn't even include the South American country on the map.

In fact, the book distributed by the education ministry in Brazil's most populous state botches the location of most of Brazil's neighbors. Paraguay is switched with Uruguay, and a second "new" Paraguay is shown with a coastline at the southern tip of Brazil.

That is something that even Paraguay's military generals could not accomplish during their 1864-1870 war against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay _ in which historians say landlocked Paraguay dreamed of capturing a slice of Brazil's coastline.

Bolivia is fortunate enough to appear on the map, but the book misses its border with Paraguay _ the Paraguay that sits where Uruguay should be, that is.

The geographical jumbling baffled sixth-grader Joao Gabriel Anchieta, who looked over the map while being interviewed by Globo, Brazil's largest television network.

Asked what would happen should he have to take a geography test based upon the map, Joao said he "would get a bad grade."

About 500,000 of the books containing errors were distributed and will be replaced with corrected maps, to be paid for by the Vanzolini Foundation, which published the books, Sao Paulo's education ministry said.

No one answered telephone calls by The Associated Press to the publisher's offices.

Associated Press Writer Marco Sibaja in Brasilia, Brazil, contributed to this report.