"The make him into something he wasn't." Today, on the 200th anniversary of his birth, a national holiday, Mexico both honors and reconsiders Benito Juarez (Wikipedia: Eng/Span): "Mexico's Lincoln," the nation's first indigenous president, who served two terms in the 1860s and 1870s. The capital city's airport, a border city of 1.1M, universities, and streets and monuments in just about every town are named after Juarez, widely considered a national hero. Politicians left and right invoke his name, especially this year as Mexico prepares to elect a new president in July. For many in the Latin American left, he's a regional icon in the vein of Simon Bolivar and Ernesto "Che" Guevara; Havana unveiled a bust (Span) of him last year. He's held up as a defender of the poor and the indigenous and an opponent to free trade. Today, however, some historians say he was neither. For those who read Spanish, a leading Mexican (right-of-center) newspaper, El Universal, also touches on the topic in "Juarez, a controversial icon."
Want the real "Real Thing", plenty of people know to look for the yellow cap and stock up on some passover Coke. But unsanctioned by the corporation, Mexican Coke is now showing up in the USA, in the old fashioned glass bottles.
Today is Texas Independence Day On March 2, 1836, the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed at Washington-on-the-Brazos. The document was created by the Convention of 1836 while almost a couple hundred brave Texans at the Alamo held Gen. Santa Anna's army of several thousand at bay for 13 days. On March 6, the Alamo finally fell, slaughtered to the last man. On March 27, 352 Texas soliders were slaughtered at the Goliad Massacre. Finally on April 21, the untrained armies of Texas, outnumbered and under the command of Sam Houston, decisively defeated the much larger and better trained and equipped Army of Mexico at the Battle of San Jacinto and captured the Mexican dictator Santa Anna. Happy Texas Independence Day.
US Border Patrol attempts to build a wall between Mexico and the US. Coyotes are not worried Mexico is already coming up with plans around it and the Americans are already coming up with a way to not pay for it.
Tzintzuntzan was the capital city of the Purépecha Empire (also known as Tarascan). Culturally (scroll to middle of page) isolated from the rest of precolumbian Mexico, the origins of the Purépecha is still unknown. Their language is one that is not even provisionally linked with any other language and is still spoken by about 200,000 natives around Michoacan. The Purépechas were the only state to become an empire in the Western Mexico cultures.
Mañana November 2nd is the “Day of the Dead” Linked here two years ago; and adding a link for Spanish speakers. Perhaps most famously known through the Skull of Catrina by the late great José Guadalupe Posada. Some Quotes for the day. And finally why not participate if in San Francisco.
lacitedesmortes - documentary on women murdered in ciudad juarez -- lacitedesmontes.net is not in English, but through its flash presentation and navigation, it should explain enough about the brutality of the unfortunate events that took place in Ciudad Juarez. Since 1993, almost 400 women and girls have been murdered and more than 70 remain missing in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico. While the region's law enforcement as well as state's attorney general were either incompetent or corrupt, more than a dozen women's rights groups were created to solve the murder as well as to stop the violence in the region. Thanks to international organizations such as Amnesty, UNIFEM, and IACHR, the number of violent murder on women in the region has degreased for a while, however, the battle still continues. More resources here.
The Cabinet National Library. A charming piece of dry, conceptual humor. A little banal, perhaps. There is also a hidden agenda.
An Image Bank For Everyday Revolutionary Life - The Siqueiros Photographic Archive is a collection of photographic images collected by Mexican mural artist David Áfaro Siqueiros..."The archive traces Siqueiros's visual research prior to painting on canvas or on the wall, and also documents his use of photography during the production of the works themselves." [via]
First there was Santo and the Blue Demon, now a new star is born in the the world of Mexican wrestling. His name? El Serpento!
"New Mexico, Cleaner than Regular Mexico" This isn't the first time that Urban Outfitters has crossed the line of good taste. Two years ago, [Urban Outfitters] stopped selling a game called "Ghettopoly" after protests by black civil rights leaders. Last year, it halted sales of a T-shirt that read "Everyone Loves A Jewish Girl," surrounded by dollar signs, after the Anti-Defamation League objected. As could be expected, not everone finds this stuff funny.
Strange Curiosity The island seems to be Mexico's largest. Shows up on Google satellite but not on the map. Google Earth yields a few placenames, leading to finding the true name of the island: "Isla Tiburon" presently an ecological reserve with the nickname "Shark Island". Aside from surrounding shark tours and an occasional visit by kayak, it seems this place is lonely and untouched.
Embracing Illegals: Companies are getting hooked on the buying power of 11 million undocumented immigrants - The Underground Labor Force Is Rising To The Surface [pdf]
Postage stamps with a side of race baiting. The Mexican postal service released a series of five stamps today featuring a 1940's era cartoon of a fat lipped jug eared negro child, known for his hapless adventures, and his Aunt Jemima (classic edition, not modern sassy Jemima) mother.
Mexican Pictures and many others as well. The photos of Raul Gutierrez (more inside).
Frida Kahlo has a show opening at the Tate Modern in Britain. The Mexican artist was married to famous muralist Diego Rivera. Frida learned how to paint after suffering a horrible accident and attended her first and only opening in Mexico in her bed after years of pain. Pain and suffering are common themes in her work, which is widely known and largely focused on self-portraiture.
Aparicioñes. Somewhere along the back roads of small towns dotting the Louisiana and Mississippi and Mexico landscape is Jack Spencer, a self-taught photographer, searching for beauty. More inside.
Mountain Voices. 'This website presents interviews with over 300 people who live in mountain and highland regions round the world. Their testimonies offer a personal perspective on change and development.'
Poguetry: "The Parting Glass: An Annotated Pogues Lyrics Page".
George Washington University's National Security Archive carries a collection of declassified US documents and articles on Saddam Hussein; Mexico, Cuba and other Latin American countries; Nixon's meeting with Elvis; the CIA and Nazi war criminals; etc.
Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded: "A theory that the ancient Mayans built their pyramids to act as giant resonators to produce strange and evocative echoes has been supported by a team of Belgian scientists." Others are not so sure... Coincidence, or engineering? Did the designers of El Castillo pyramid cannily build in a sound effect that mimics the warble of the sacred quetzal bird? Listen for yourself, with the .wav file (first set is the real bird, the second is the pyramid) featured in this Acoustical Society of America page. I prefer to think it's deliberate; after all, it's possible that early man was experimenting with cave acoustics to to create sound-enhanced rock art (there are sound samples for this included here - unfortunately a Geocities site). Also of interest, the BBC programme "Acoustic Shadows" (requires RealPlayer - *heavy sigh*).
Mexico publishes Migrant/Illegal Immigrant Guide A new comic-book-style guide for migrants produced by the Mexican government is designed to help immigrants cross the border illegally into the United States. (NPR) This is proving a little controversial. Deaths are common on the crossing.
This is a small homage to hundreds of performers who covered themselves with sombreros to become Slavic Mexicans. (via memepool)
"Writing a whodunit may sound like an odd thing to do when you are running an insurgency"... Nevertheless, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, the mysterious, offbeat leader of the Zapatistas, and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, a Mexican crime novelist, are coauthoring a mystery novel live--alternating chapters each week--in the pages of the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada. So far, they have finished chapters one, two and three (pdf) of Muertos Incomodos, (The Awkward Dead). Is there a precedent for this experiment? I love this sort of thing but, unfortunately, my Spanish is insufficient. Any Spanish speakers care to review?
7,000 Years of Religious Ritual Is Traced in Mexico Archaeologists have traced the development of religion in one location over a 7,000-year period, reporting that as an early society changed from foraging to settlement to the formation of an archaic state, religion also evolved to match the changing social structure. This archaeological record, because of its length and completeness, sheds an unusually clear light on the origins of religion, a universal human behavior but one whose evolutionary and social roots are still not well understood.
GOP looking to repeal food labeling law. Would this have anything to do with our recent impasse with Mexico (and with the EU) over GM foods? Or of recent reports of a possible mad cow case in the US?
Guidelines for Low-Impact Tourism Along the Coast of Quintana Roo "Conserving the natural landscape and enhancing the scenic beauty of tourism development contributes to the high quality of coastal habitat, one of the area’s principal attractions." Warning: PDF format!
Mexican World Heritage Cities - a beautiful site (flash) developed by an association of the nine Mexican cities on the world heritage list. In English or Spanish. (via Vigna-Maru)
Aztecs at the Royal Academy. The exhibition may be over but the website can still be enjoyed.
"Are You a Manly Man Full of Vigor?" Such was the come-on in John Romulus Brinkley's ads for his goat-gland operations. He made enough money from them to start first station KFKB (Kansas First, Kansas Best!), then (after he was run out of Kansas) XER out of Del Rio, Mexico, at a half-million watts the most powerful station in the world, which made the Carter Family (among many others) famous. Read William Bryk's brilliant account, and if you get nostalgic for the old days of AM, listen to the Blasters' great "Border Radio."
So how will you spend Easter? Are your plans just a tad pedestrian? If egg hunts leave you cold, perhaps you need a bit more edge. For many, things begin this week. In Czechoslovakia, men carry woven willow sticks and whip girls on the legs, but in Taxco, Mexico, it's all about self-flagellation. In the U.S., many go theatrical with a living last supper; in the Philippines they favor more authenticity - every year about 20 people re-enact the crucifixion, nails & all. If that's too real, you could order supplies to build a backyard corpus shrine for next year. - more -
Guillermo, it was really nada. Back in my day, Morrissey's fans were closeted gay boys, the girls who loved them, and oddly, Mormons. Now, he's the idol of Latinos, especially in LA. Is it a cultural connection with melodramatic poetry or artistic narcissism? Is it identification with Morrissey's lyrics of disenfranchisement, or a rebellion against traditional Latin machismo? Is it the hair?
It's the ten-year anniversary of NAFTA this week. Has it been a success? [more inside].
CIA funds "alternative" media through nonprofit foundations? "The multi-billion dollar Ford Foundation's historic relationship to the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] is rarely mentioned on Pacifica's DEMOCRACY NOW / Deep Dish TV show, on FAIR's COUNTERSPIN show, on the WORKING ASSETS RADIO show, on The Nation Institute's RADIO NATION show, on David Barsamian's ALTERNATIVE RADIO show or in the pages of PROGRESSIVE, MOTHER JONES and Z magazine. One reason may be because the Ford Foundation and other Establishment foundations subsidize the Establishment Left's alternative media gatekeepers / censors" -- heavy claims. A several part report, in considerable detail. My note - the Mexican PRI, when it ran Mexico, used to fund a whole constellation of Mexican Leftist groups - the threat of withdrawing funding $ proved a very effective way of keeping dissent within "safe" limits.
today a fellow mexican will be executed in texas, for killing a cover agent 13 years ago… besides the mexican government, e.u. & u.n. are also calling for clemency; they argue that u.s. authorities denied him legal assistance from the consulate. right now, suárez medina only wants to die. the question is: isn't it better to die than be in prison all your life? i would prefer to be killed instead of living in jail more than 20 years. the sad about suárez medina case is that he has been in jail 13 years from now and anyway he is going to be killed! the texas government should have killed him immediately he was found guilty. “i prefer to die than spend the rest of my life here inside because here there is no life.” said suárez in an interview. in punishment standards i find worst to live in jail forever than being executed. what would be worst for you?
The FT is running a series on immigration. So far they've spotlighted Marseilles, Mexican migrant workers, E. Europeans in the West and the expatriate S. Africans, as well as done some broader analysis on the benefits and perils of immigration. (more inside :)
The Breakfast of Champions! Drinking too much lately? Menudo (tripe) (not these guys) has been touted as one of the best hangover cures known to mankind (mefi'ers agree). Not to be confused with its kinder gentler cousin Posole, Menudo is part of the canon of authentic Mexican food (what mexicans eat).
One of the teams in the Mexico vs. USA World Cup game made history. As of before the game, the USA has never won a knockout game of the World Cup - Mexico had never won a knockout game of the World Cup when not in Mexico. Click the article to see which team made history - or if you don't want it spoiled, don't click at all!
Deserts are dry? Sue. "The families of 11 immigrants who died [while] illegally crossing into Arizona from Mexico have filed a $41 million claim against two federal agencies, saying the government's refusal to put water out in the desert contributed to the migrants' deaths." Do they have a case?
Utah politics you don't know whether to laugh or cry. From Paul Rolly's column in the Salt Lake Tribune "The Republican state convention delegate was discussing with a prominent Utah GOP elected officeholder the issue of immigration when the delegate whined that a fence should be constructed to span the entire USA-Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants. "What happens when they climb the fence?" asked the politician. "You electrify it," said the delegate. "Then they won't touch it." "But what if they touch it? You would let them die?" "It would be their choice," said the delegate. "What about a mother with a baby strapped to her back? You would let the mother and the baby die?" "It would be the mother's choice to kill that baby," said the delegate. "Then you're in favor of abortion?" asked the officeholder. Dead silence. "
50 foot long single spar crystals found in a Mexican cave 1,000 feet below the surface! Smithsonian has links to other related sites. This one has pictues. More pictures can be found in the April 2002 print issue of Smithsonian.
The Challenges of Modernizing Mexico, or, How Do We Keep Our Village Elders From Burying People Alive?
Wild GM corn begins to overtake Mexican countryside. "It even grows out of the concrete."
Mexican government going to take care of unfinished business. President Fox made this a major campaign promise and it looks like it's going to be one he's going to keep. Sounds like shades of Argentina and Chile. The only difference between Mexico and those places is that the head hombre in Mexico doesn't feel he owes the ones who were in power back when the murders took place anything. Interesting to see how this develops.
Narco corridos ("drug ballads"), the modern variant of the traditional Mexican corrido, are often likened to gangsta rap-- the songs tend to glorify drug traffickers, the most famous performers are mysteriously murdered, and Mexican radio stations have banned them entirely, hoping to curb drug-related violence. (And while I must sheepishly admit that I hadn't even heard of them until I heard this segment--an interview with Elijah Wald[RA link] on NPR last week, I'm now obsessed.)