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The posting "National Heroes: Fiction and Truth" discussed the historicity of the famous "grito" which is celebrated on September 16 as Mexico´s independence day. Enrique Reynaud comments: "The 16 of September is also independence day for Central American countries, because they were part of the same viceroyalty as Mexico (Nueva Espana, New Spain)."

This is very appropriate now as Vicente Fox toured the countries of Central American, which the US regards as its back yard. This riles Mexicans, since historically Central America has been attached to Mexico. While there, Vicente Fox evoked the Estrada Doctrine, which had not been mentioned for years.

Genaro Estrada (1887-1937) lived during the period of the Revolution and died quite young. Despite the turmoil of the period, he was a diplomat of the old Latin American school, being also a writer of novels and other works. He was foreign minister of Pascual Ortiz Rubio just after the US invaded Nicaragua in 1926. He drafted the Estrada Doctrine, first known as the Mexico Doctrine, which condemns the whole idea of recognition as an insult to a nation, just as today many Latin Americans condemn the idea of the US unilaterally "certifying" nations as fighting against the drug trade. Estrada resigned when the government became friendly with the US.

Fox was telling the Central American leaders that, unlike the US, he would not interfere in their countries, It is the same message he has given Fidel Castro. In other words. he will not cooperate with the US in Latin America. When he was in Washington, his hosts had presumably never heard of the Estrada Doctrine. It is not mentioned in the excellent, detailed area handbook Mexico, published by the US Government. What does Fox think about the Plan Colombia now being implemented by the US?

Appearing to be subservient to the United States is denounced in Mexico as "malinchismo", which is usually fatal to a politician. President Ernesto Zedillo presided over a ceremony honoring the "Niños Héroes", whose monument glorifies the resistance to the death of a group of cadets defying the US forces in 1847. Here again, the common Mexican version of the episode is at variance with the historical facts.

While both Fox and Zedillo were demonstrating that they were not subservient to the US., life in Mexico continued its bloody course. There were fights between groups of police in Mexico City, resulting in deaths. This was because some police forces are controlled by the national government, while others, like the auxiliary police and the bank police are controlled by the federal district (Mexico City), whose government is hostile to the national one. The two governments were using the police as shock troops.

The situation was so tense that any death was likely to be attributed to a political murder. Many refused to believe that Raúl Ramos Tercero committed suicide. Now Carlos Castillo Peraza died in Europe. A former leader of PAN, he had resigned because of disagreements with Fox. There were rumors that he had been murdered, but again the evidence disproved them. The facts are bloody enough, without any fiction.

Ronald Hilton - 9/14/00