About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Six Continents

With the April 26th visit from Cairo, Egypt, Secret History crossed the threshold of six continents. A blogging penguin in Capitan Arturo Prat, Antarctica has promised to chime in at some point, but no dice.

So, a big thanks to those 0:00 views looking for information on "mennonitas in Chihuahua," "mexico was so poor history [sic]," or "history drugs violence" searches that put me over the top.

A more sincere thanks to those that have taken a moment to chime in now and again with some great comments, and an even larger thanks for the fantastic posts you've placed out there.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Will She Be Asked to Salt and Eat Her Husband?

Sol de Toluca reports that the Diocese of Toluca is asking priests to post a list of prices (shall we say cedula de aranceles?) for all their services to avoid abuses by the clergy. Aparently there has been some over charging in Zinacantapec and the bishop wants to nip things in the bud. This move came from within the church, but 150 years ago this would have been cause for town massacre.

This one just tickled my funny bone as we wrapped up the bourbon reforms a couple weeks ago in the "Religion in Latin America" course. Clerical abuses were a hot topic among my mostly Protestant group. No worries...I come prepared with a quick slide show about Protestant abuses when I come in so we can avoid WASP self-esteem boosting through Catholic bashing and focus on the history.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jesus Malverde vs. Santa Muerte - This is no Lucha Libre

With the Mexican government going after Death (with a capital D) in the last few weeks, protesters are complaining about the removal of the shrine to that equal opportunity saint. Santa Muerte appears to have upset a few folks in the Calderon admin...and I have to wonder if it doesn't have to do with more than narcotics.

1) PAN Catholicism at the leadership level is NOT the folk Catholicism and syncretic Baroque worship of the Santa Muerte followers. Do we have some lingering Sinarquista influence among the PANistas? I'd say that is not a hard stretch.

2) Drug cartels also have leaders that give deep devotion to border saint Jesus Malverde... is the PAN going after him? I haven't heard that they are...if they are, write in and let me know. If they aren't, it seems to me that they may not be because Malverde is a Northern santo and to go after him would REALLY unsettle some northern PANistas. Then again, Malverde is also more popular amongst those crossing the border, unlike Santa Muerte who has deep followers in DF.

Ask El Jefe Maximo, but I'm not sure this is a nest the PANistas want to stir up with a stick.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Guerra Sucia ...The US Spills Over to Mexico

Reports in Milenio on the upcoming election in Nuevo Leon describe what the news magazine is calling "guerra sucia." The offense? Push polling. Not that I'm calling for the "happy days" of a free sandwhich and a Tecate for your vote *cough - Salinas*, but I'm disappointed to see that the opening of the democratic process in Mexico is coming with the unsavory technological imports like push polling.

Over at La Opinion, Samuel Schmidt of the Universidad Autonóma de Ciudad Juarez is also using "guerra sucia" for his description of PANista politics in the last three years.

All things considered, do we really want to be invoking the term "guerra sucia" for nasty political tricks? Although, considering some of the allegations blowing around, perhaps we are talking about more than tricks and a little more "guerra."

That aside...considering the lovely imports that US "advisers" bring, I love this comic by David Horsey of the Seattle PI....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mexican Violence Spills Over...

Mexican drug cartels put more notches in their belts in early 2009 as violence from the border spilled over to Binghamton, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Pinelake, NC, Santa Clara, CA, and Geneva, AL. (I actually think I missed a couple.)

Conservatives have resolved to remedy the problem of violence in the United States by building a wall across private land in Texas and raiding the Home Depot parking lot in San Gabriel, California.

Guns don't kill people, a psychic link to violent Mexican culture kills people.
Having had to cancel a course that would travel to Mexico because parents have panicked about "violent" Mexicans, I was struck by the absurdity of two people being gunned down last week in our small town. The news has been dripping with mass killings and here in Texas local legislators are introducing a bill to allow university and college students (STUDENTS!!!) to carry weapons in the class room. Violent society? This is surreal ... an exploration of the absurd.

For conservatives ready to go after Mexico on "violence" in society, pick up your own "guiding set of principles" and read St. John 8:1-9.