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.

Monday, June 29, 2009

This week in Nacogdoches... Violence in Mexico

Aryan Nations thugs kidnapped a girl.

A vagrant tried to kidnap my neighbors three kids.

A football player was shot and killed outside a BBQ joint.

An armored car was robbed at a bank.

A 27 year old woman shot a 5-year old in a drive by shooting.

A 14-year old was stabbed in the gut by thugs.

A man was gunned down by a stranger as he pushed a disabled car across the street.

In the last couple months a man shot and killed his wife through the kitchen window and burglars shot and killed a college student in his apartment...and two traffic accidents of drunk drivers killed 6 or 7 children down the road in Lufkin. Once more, I am AMAZED at the way my students talk about Mexico as a place of violence when the police report for the town they live is worse than they probably even know.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

US/ France DON'T shell Veracruz: You've Come a Long Way, Baby.

Just noticing that this week Mexico is exercising some sovereignty regarding law enforcement. We have the DOJ in the US saying that Mexico can prosecute a better case against Zhenli Ye Gon, the Chinese-Mexican millionaire with shady drug ties and lots of spare narco-cash lying around his Mexico City mansion.

France is managing to deal with the idea that Florence Cassez, the convicted accomplice of a kidnapping ring, is about to do some serious time in a Mexican prison rather than a French institution. However, a few years back there was a stink by Jean-Marc Rouillan in Le Monde that French prisons were a nightmare because they looked like US prisons - but that is still a long shot from a Latin American corrections institution. Thank her lucky stars she isn't doing time in El Salvador or Peru. Anyway....

Point being, France has yet to send an invasion fleet and demand reparations (pastries, anyone) and the US hasn't shelled Veracruz, so maybe we are seeing a maturation on the international scene regarding Mexico. Maybe. Perhaps we'll start treating Mexican citizens like they have rights in the US, next.

Compensating, fellas?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Barrios Norteños

I've been off flitting around Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas the last two weeks (don't ask), and I HIGHLY recommend dusting off that copy of Barrios Norteños.

Last year we had a job candidate give a presentation on labor in Saint Louis, and when I asked about the dynamic of Hispanic labor in the work force he said, with a straight face, that there were not enough Hispanics in Saint Louis to pay attention to. Dude.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Latino/a Names and Food = End of America (!!!???)

The National Review has gone after a Latino/a name: Sonia Sotomayor.
Deferring to people's own pronunciation of their names should obviously be our first inclination, but there ought to be limits. Putting the emphasis on the final syllable of Sotomayor is unnatural in English (which is why the president stopped doing it after the first time at his press conference), unlike my correspondent's simple preference for a monophthong over a diphthong, and insisting on an unnatural pronunciation is something we shouldn't be giving in to.
Oh, brother. And apparently her love of Puerto Rican food is offensive, as well...but I hope that the crack about her love of pig parts and chickpeas was just a joke. Please, please, please let it be a joke.

And for those seeking some Spanish training, here's a great video to help you with your Spanish. (Did I see this on Mex Files? Cyber Hacienda? I can't remember).

And finally, a view of American Food - from the right. :)