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God and Rio

     Yes, Virginia, there is a place called Harlingen, Texas. I found it on the map, and in the process discovered that Tamaulipas state has a strip of land stretching along the Rio Grande (or Bravo) as far as Laredo, leaving Nuevo Leon with only a narrow strip of river front. And yes, Virginia, Harlingen has a newspaper, The Morning Star. I have tangible proof in the form of a long and important clipping which Jaqui White sent me.
     Dealing with "rifts between Christian groups" in Chiapas, it describes the intense rivalry some years ago between Catholics and Protestants when leaders in Chamula expelled 25,000 Protestants, confiscating and sometimes burning their homes. Among other things, they were accused of refusing to buy pox, a potent alcohol used in ceremonies. The conflict became more complex with the creation of a group called Las Abejas, ("the bees"), pacifist Catholics who supported the aims of the Zapatistas but rejected violence. This culminated in the December 1997 massacre of 45 people. Now, in an uneasy way, Catholics and Protestants are cooperating in such matters as translating the Bible into Tzotzil.
     The article, headlined "A Battle for Souls", appeared in the section called "Rio Living." It does not refer to Rio de Janeiro, but it might. A key item into today's Brazilian news described the choice of this year's Miss Carnaval, a rather stupid-looking girl who, almost nude, prances around and writhes while waving a whip. Great stuff! It is going over big around the world. Many foreign publications plan to run pictures of her. Great for tourism and Brazil's fame. "Carnem vale" means "farewell to meat", but it can also mean "hail to the flesh."
     It should have a great reception in California, where today's San Francisco Chronicle features a front-page story, complete with colored photograph, entitled "Dancing on the dark side," showing several young men and women in a night club called The Necropolis doing similar stuff. California leads the world! God save America!
     Meanwhile, a lead news item from Mexico concerns scalping for tickets to a bullfight. People are willing to pay any price for them. A Brazilian proverb says "Deus e brasileiro", "God is Brazilian." No, he or she is clearly Mexican. God save Mexico!

Ronald Hilton - 02/05/99