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MEXICO: Whither Mexico?

In the nineteenth century the US thought it has a "manifest destiny". Now Mexico thinks it has. Today Televisa reran old footage of the Popeīs visit to Mexico. Before adoring crowds he was shown praying to the Virgin of Guadalupe, referring to her as the Virgin of the Americas (with a discreet silence about the Vaticanīs reluctance to canonize Juan Diego, deemed unhistorical). In his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davis, President Fox made an impassioned plea for Mexico to have a place on the UN Security Council. (which was not on the Forums agenda).

Subcomandante Marcos sees another kind of destiny. In a phone conversation he described his plans for the march on Mexico City. Presumably he hopes that along the route the discontented will join the march. He may even be plotting with the strike leaders at the National,University. If so, there will be a confrontation between him and Fox. What inspired people like Marcos? Part of the answer is Fidel Castro, who has been making harsh speeches before Cuban crowds denouncing George W, Bush. It sounded as though he thought that Bush-Fox alliance could be a serious threat to his friends in Latin America. Some blame Liberation Theology, promoted by the Jesuits (but not by the Mexican church hierarchy) for promoting revolutionary ideas. A new book about Francis Fanon (a native of Martinique) by David Macey points out that he had a great influence among revolutionaries who have adopted his ideas about the purifying effect of revolution. The simplest examination is that the Marcos and the student strike leaders dream of glory and think of revolution as almost like a soccer match. Mexican history should teach them that it is not.

Ronald Hilton - 1/28/01