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The Masons and Paul Rich

     Spaniards call workers who go to Latin America in the fall for the harvest season and then fly back to Spain next summer golondrinas (swallows). Looking up at the Hoover Tower early this summer, you would have seen four swallows flying in from the south-east in formation. The big leading swallow was Paul Rich, and arrayed behind him were his assistants Guillermo de los Reyes, Antonio Lara, and José Hernández. They will fly back to the University of the Americas in Puebla late in the summer.
     It is a remarkable research team. Paul Rich is an active American Mason. In the United States, membership is a quite open matter, but in Latin countries the Masons are influential but very secretive. In Mexico, where they had an important role historically, it is difficult even to find their meeting places, and non-Masons cannot enter. They must stay outside in a waiting room. The power of the Masons in Mexico is such that they even have their own university, the Universidad del Valle de México.
     Paul Rich can enter their meeting places, while his assistants stay outside. They have travelled over much of Mexico. Paul Rich collects material on their activities and then goes to American cities to places with which the Mexican Masons had ties, notably Philadelphia.
     Paul Rich is therefore in the enviable position of having an iimportant research subject which he and few others can study and publish the results of their research.
     The Masons are a civil society and perform an important role in the democratization process. Rich and his assistants have prepared the September 1999 issue of the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences devoted primarily to this subject. It has a special appeal for me, in view of my conviction that only responsible citizensihip can save the world, not the glamor and money so prevalent in our political system. That is also a Masonic belief, and Latin America even more than us must learn that principle.

Ronald Hilton - 07/21/99