Other Discussions on Mexico

Mexico and Central America


    What is going on in Mexico and Central America?  More than meets the eye. I receive detailed, informative, but contradictory online reports from all sides. Trying to assess them is an exacting job, and our libraries are not really making an effort.  The response I receive from Stanford libraries is that "We leave that to the curators." In the areas I have checked they are doing nothing.  That seems to be very common. It is the simplest policy since the problem is so vast and complex.
      These sophisticated online messages are written not by illiterate peasants but by men like Subcomandante Marcos who use the peasants as actors.  This was true of the Indian delegations who turned up to protest in Geneva, Rome, and Rio de Janeiro.  Defense and idealization of the Indians is a nativist ploy. Bolivar, who was mulatto, proclaimed that "I also am an Indian".  
     The anti-Columbus campaign has received new life in Honduras, where the currency is named the Lempira after the Indian leader who fought the Spaniards. The Council of Popular Organization and Indigenous People must have followed the Rome conference on war criminals, where the United States was a dissenting voice.  The Council has denounced Columbus as a war criminal responsible for genocide (words which the Mayan Indians must use in their everyday conversations). Columbus will be tried beginning on Lempira Day (July 20) in Lenca village, with Salvador Zunyiga as coordinator. The show will end on Columbus Day, October 12, when Indians will execute a dummy Columbus with bows and arrows.  This should attract "tourists", perhaps making the Honduran government as unhappy with them as the Mexican government was with similar "tourists", whom it expelled. Perhaps they will have better luck in Honduras.  The idealization of the Mayas, an old theme going back to the 18th century, lives on.
 
Ronald Hilton - 06/25/98

Regarding the trial of "Columbus" terminating in his execution on Columbua
Day, Tim Brown writes:
     "There haven't been any Maya settlements in Honduras for a millennium or
more. The largest pre-Columbian Indian group of that country were
Nahua-Mexica  who had arrived beginning in the ninth century from what was
to become Mexico [the area around Puebla, actually]. The second largest
were Chibchas of South American origin, who has been there for about
4-5,000 years before the Nahuas and have beeen displaced by them into the
mountains. 

     Today Honduras is an essentially ladinoized mestizo nation. The largest
unassimilated Indian group are the Miskitos on the north east Atlantic. The
Lencas are a minuscule remnant of the Chibchas, and there are both
Caribbean diaspora blacks, creoles and Garifuna scattered about the
Atlantic coast and on the Bay Islands. But none of them have ever had
anything to do with the Mayas, not then, not now, except perhaps as ancient
neighbors to the north a few centuries before Columbus arrived or modern
tourists to Guatemala or Mexico.

     Incidentally, Lempira was a Chibchan killed in 1539 by a force from
Nicaragua, not Honduras. The Nahua's gained fabulous reputations as the
bravest warriors against the Spanish- Nicaragua is named after Chief
Nicarao, a Nahua. But there is no evidence they ever killed even one
Spaniard in battle and they were virtually all conquered and subdued within
the first 10-15 years of the Conquest. The Chibchans killed Spaniards by
the dozens at first, later by the hundred, and then by the thousands, for
century after century and never were really conquered."
 My comment:  The promoters of this theater are not interested in the
facts. They want simply melodrama: Brutal whites persecuting virtuous
Mayas.  Incidentally, Mexican television today ran a program about racism
in the United States, made to appear like Nazi Germany.  Among the victims
are the innocent Mexicans. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was in Mexico
when the new American ambassador arrived. Mexican TV gave ample and
friendly coverage to Kofi Annan, but there was just a brief factual
announcement about the American.

Ronald Hilton - 06/26/98


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