LIMA, PERU–The recent discovery of a vast oil reserve in southern Peru has turned the South American nation's citizenry into "a bunch of first-class assholes," U.N. sources said Monday.
"Before this oil thing, the Peruvians were a real nice, down-to-earth people," said U.N. General Assembly president Harri Holkeri. "But now they strut around, wearing flashy clothes, driving Mercedes, loudly talking about their summer homes in Monaco. Everyone here at the U.N. has noticed the change."
The discovery of the oil field is expected to increase Peru's crude-oil reserves from less than a billion barrels to nearly 23 billion. With a production goal of 800,000 barrels a day, the reserve is expected to add almost $9 billion to the country's GNP and place it among the world's top 20 oil-producing nations as early as next year.
"It's too bad we're stuck down here in South America, surrounded by all these poor countries," Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori said. "Those filthy Chileans have goats and chickens running loose in the streets. And they don't even have running water. I can't tell you how much I'd rather be in Europe, where people have a little class."
Added Fujimori: "I'd kill for a half-million square miles on the Mediterranean."
The day after Petroperú scientists made the oil find, the Peruvian government went on a spending spree, buying a gold-domed parliament building, a squadron of top-of-the-line F-14 fighter jets, and a brand-new $2 billion infrastructure, including 450 suspension bridges and a six-lane highway running through the Andes Mountains. The following day, the country demanded that the 2004 Olympics be held in Lima and enacted legislation to change the country's motto to "One Nation, Living The Sweet Life."
Peru's relations with neighboring countries have deteriorated since the discovery. When Argentine president Fernando de la Rúa made a diplomatic trip to Peru on Oct. 5, Fujimori asked him to "run out and get [him] a cup of coffee." Fujimori later told de la Rúa he is "surprised you are so fat, considering you hardly have any food in your country."
"I've never been treated this way in my life," de la Rúa said. "You know what these Peruvians are? Instant asshole, just add oil."
Ecuadoran president Gustavo Noboa agreed. "What a bunch of pricks they've turned into," Noboa said. "I met with their minister of trade shortly after the oil discovery, and the whole time, all he did was make fun of our principal exports. 'Ooh, bananas, coffee, and sugarcane–I am so impressed. I would love to trade some of my grade-A petroleum for some of your cocoa.' Fucking jerk."
Peru has also canceled its membership in the Organization of American States.
"Suddenly, they're not interested in participating in the OAS anymore?" said Bolivian president Hugo Bánzer. "Fine, don't. Drop out if we're not good enough for you anymore. Go join OPEC or NATO or some other rich-nation club."
In addition to the rude behavior, Peruvian leaders have made several big-ticket purchases that have been criticized as needlessly flashy.
"The first thing they did was start construction on a state-of-the-art 115,000-seat [soccer] stadium in Lima," Brazilian president Fernando Cardoso said. "Then Fujimori calls me up and tells me my country can use it if we ever want to hold a match in a 'decent' stadium."
Andreas Stikker, director of the Netherlands' Rijksmuseum, expressed his disdain for Peru's extravagance, as well.
"A few days ago, the curator of some museum in Lima called me up and wanted to know how much we want for a couple of Rembrandts, telling me that money is no object," Stikker said. "I asked him which ones, and he said, 'The Night Watch or whatever.' It was obvious he didn't even care about the paintings and just wanted the status of owning them."
The change is not just evident in Peruvian officials. The nation's citizens, predominantly farmers, have discarded much of their traditional dress for ostentatious designer clothing and have become noticeably louder and pushier.
"All over town, you see these obnoxious Peruvian peasant women walking around in their new Dolce & Gabbana leopard jackets," said Victoria Keene of Aspen, CO, whose ski resorts are overrun with the South Americans. "They've got nouveau riche written all over them. I'm surprised they actually cut off the price tags. Talk about your Peruvotrash."