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The V of Mexican History



     Mexican history is shaped like a V: one arm stretches northwest to the United States, the other northeast to Europe. The V has several layers. The bottom point is pre-Colombian, revived in the celebrations this year of the 650th anniversary of the founding of Tenochtitlan and in a more spectacular way in the celebration of the coming of Spring. The most publicized of the many celebrations is at Teotihuacan, where half a million people are expected, and at El Tajín, just south of Poza Rica (Veracruz), where the festivities (which allegedly began over a thousand years ago) will last five days and five nights. The event has become commercialized, with strobe lights and all the trimmings.
     The second level in the colonial period. While much of northern Mexico is in the midst of a terrible drought, the peasants of Oaxaca are parading with banners of the Virgen de Guadalupe, asking God to stop the rains. Does Mexico have a master plan for irrigation?
     The third level is the US and NAFTA. PAN presidential candidate Vicente Fox has just visited Washington, where he addressed the Center for Strategic and International Studies. His theme was that Mexico will develop a two-party system like that of the US. Sure enough, the audience wanted to know about the price of Mexican oil, a question he sidestepped. So much for interest in Mexico as Mexico.
     The fourth level is the EU, which is separated from Mexico by the deep blue sea, and thus does not have to argue about trucks crossing the border. Latin America has a close sentimental relationship with Europe, especially Spain, and an agreement has been reached by which Mexican goods will enter the EU freely in 2003 and European goods will enter Mexico freely in 2007. Mexico and Spain are delighted.
     That leaves Fidel Castro´s Cuba in the middle of this highway. He may get run over.

Ronald Hilton - 3/21/00


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