The interplay of greetings and promises: Political encounters between the Warao and the new indigenous leadership in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela

Juan Luis Rodríguez


This paper addresses the use of greetings and the importance of promises in political speeches performed by Warao and non-Warao indigenous politicians to Warao audiences in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela. It shows that lack of promises can jeopardize the rhetorical effectiveness of their performance regardless of their use of discursive framings, such as greetings in indigenous languages, and of traditional genres of speech. Promises are important for the Warao because they link political speech with other meaningful events, especially political gift distribution. Promises create trans-semiotic links between events and index the possibility of a continuous relationship with political representatives.

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