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Unrest, The Mayas
I was in Spain from 1931 to 1936. In 1931 there was great enthusiasm for democracy and the republic, but they were not an instant panacea for the people, and soon the cry went up: "We have our republic. Now we want our revolution!" Hence the Civil War, and, in due course Franco. I wonder if Latin America is going through the same process.
In 1944-45 I travelled from San Francisco to Buenos Aires by land, going through the areas such as those in Colombia which are now battlefields. Virtually the whole of Latin America was controlled by dictators. The only serious unrest I ran into was in Bolivia. Most Latin American countries are now "democracies." Are the people demanding revolution? The cult of Che Guevara suggests that many are.
A rightwing backlash among the military is evident everywhere. It is supported by many in the U.S. military establishment. The extremely well-documented Latin American News Service, which has close ties to it, shows this. It rightly pours scorn on the "P.P.s" (professional politicians) who travel around and make the same old speeches, being wined and dined at the people's expense.
Because of their proximity to the United States, Mexico and Central America have a special importance for us. Some well-informed WAISers have said that there are no Mayas in Central America, and I have been wondering whether the term is used by outsiders to lump together disparate tribes, just as we speak of "the Celts." In any case, the "Celts" had one common big enemy, Rome. French and other European popular literature glorifies the Celtic warriors, just as revolutionary warriors like Pancho Villa are the heroes of popular Mexican songs. The U.S. is the new "Rome."
To clarify the question of the "Mayas," I have the spendid, very detailed map of Maya land put out by the National Geographic Society. Anyone interested in the question should consult it. It shows pockets of Mayas all the way from Chiapas to Nicaragua. We would be foolish to assume that they cannot join in their opposition to the United States and its system. Of course, there are differences and rivalries, just as there were in the Mexican Revolution. In any case, Latin America may (or may not) be going through the same cycle as the Spanish Republic.
As I contemplate this threat, I become disgusted with the American P.P.s who are now dancing their presidential minuets. The only one who strikes me as being completely honest is Senator John McCain, and he appears not to have a chance. Santa Maria, ora pro nobis.
Ronald Hilton - 07/10/99
More on Unrest, The Mayas
WAISers who know Mexico and Central America well disagree sharply on the existence of Mayas in Central America. Tim Brown cites a number of sources to support his contention that there are none. He dismisses the National Geographic map, which was prepared with care by a group of experts. I can only suggest that he address his complaint to the Chief Cartographer of the National Geographic. When he receives a reply, I would be grateful if he would send me a copy so that I may send out a summary of the discussion.
Linda Nyquist writes:
WAISers are very well-informed, so I am surprised that anyone has the opinion that there are "no Mayas in Central America." Are not many of these groups, who may now have non-maya names (such as "Tzotil, Chol, etc.) related to the Maya as their direct ancestors? Perhaps this is a politically-based statement? I believe that many of these groups would identify themselves as Maya.
My comment: In any case, it is common to unite disparate groups by stressing that all have a common enemy, and this is what is happening in Central America and Latin America generally, the common enemy being the United States.
Ronald Hilton - 07/11/99