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
Ronald Hilton - 06/25/98
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.
||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
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
Today Honduras is an essentially ladinoized
mestizo nation. The largest
unassimilated Indian group are the Miskitos on the north east Atlantic.
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
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
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
the first 10-15 years of the Conquest. The Chibchans killed Spaniards
the dozens at first, later by the hundred, and then by the thousands,
century after century and never were really conquered."
My comment: The promoters of this theater are not interested
facts. They want simply melodrama: Brutal whites persecuting virtuous
Mayas. Incidentally, Mexican television today ran a program about
in the United States, made to appear like Nazi Germany. Among
are the innocent Mexicans. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was in
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