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MEXICO: Benito Juárez, the Masons

Gustavo del Angel comments on our posting on Benito Juárez, the Masons, etc:

"With the execution of Maximilian, Juarez established a credible threat to further interventions. However, the execution was controversial within Juarez's group. The result was a financial isolation that ended with Porfirio Diaz. Juarez' agreements with some U.S. politicians were a fact, including the Tehuantepec story. However, nuances of history and disagreement on both sides prevented carrying out that project.

Maximiliano's execution was far from being punishment for the clergy or the church. Juarez was a prominent Mason. Maximilian also was a prominent Mason from a different rite, something that seriously conflicted with the conservative Mexicans and clergy who supported the Habsburgs. Indeed, it is known that Maximilian (and perhaps his close collaborators) was more progressive and liberal than his supporters. Of course, the story is pretty complex... think, for instance, that Maximilian had more popular support than Juarez, since he represented values embedded in the traditionalist masses.

In Mexico, as well as in many countries of Latin America, for a while Masonry and politics were pretty close, but not anymore. It is hard to know when this ended; I believe it ended during the late sixties or seventies. What is true and might mislead the perception is that Masonic groups recognized the President (and perhaps some other politicians) as prominent people and offered them an honorary (I guess) rank, even if they weren't linked to them. That was the case of Salinas. As for De la Madrid, who was openly a Catholic, I don't know. And to be honest I don't think that in our times being a committed Mason would be a serious passport to enter into the Mexican political arena, which demands technical skills and political expertise. Even if Cardenas were a Mason, the policial groups he represents (or claims he represents, are far from it.

"The Catholic Church is secretive." Well the Hoover Institution is also a secretive organization, as well as Microsoft. Some Mexicans of Jewish and Lebanese origins have been involved in politics, but I don't think it's a pattern and they are far from constituting a political group based on their ethnicity or culture. In the last two elections I knew about two azkenazy Jews that were running for congress ...for PAN (paradoxical, don't you think?). The first is a prominent economist with a graduate degree from Chicago, but he lost. The second, I don't know. Some Mexican with Lebanese origin have also been very involved at the PAN, if you consider that the Mexican Lebanese have a Maronite (not Muslim) background and are middle and upper-middle class, then it sounds reasonable. Nevertheless, I knew a lot of Lebanese names involved with the PRI too. In comparison with the Jewish community, the Lebanese have less cohesion in ethnocultural terms. About Masonic Jews I know there are a couple of Masonic groups consisting mostly of Jews, but they seem far from politics and most focused on their spiritual tasks(?) In addition, that they seen a bit separated from the large Masonic centers in Mexico. Of course, I assume that some Mexican Jews are inclined to participate in Masonry, but I doubt is a representative group among them. In addition that I am pretty sure that their political preferences as a group aren't homogeneous."

My comment: I wonder what Paul Rich thinks about this?

Ronald Hilton - 7/20/00