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Mexico: Is the End of “Magic Imperialism” Approaching?

Mexico:  Is the End of “Magic Imperialism” Approaching?

You all understand how the saying goes: “Poor Mexico – too far from God, too close to the United States”.

This proud, lovely and deep half of the world has been plundered, ravished and humiliated for a lot of centuries, first by the Europeans (each the Spaniards and French), then by the Norteamericanos.

The vulgarity and brutality of the conquest had typically been unbelievably grotesque, unreal, insane – to the level that I made a decision to call it a “magical imperialism” (or name it ‘magical colonialism’ if you want).

Nice cultures created by Mayas, Aztecs and different native individuals – cultures rather more superior than these of the Europeans, have been crushed, tricked, cheated, and eventually pressured into submission. Native gods have been ‘sent to a permanent exile’ and Catholicism, underneath the menace of dying or torture or each, was pressured down the throat of everybody.

Sure, Western colonialism typically takes really weird, surreal, varieties. What instance ought to I present, as an example ‘magic imperialism’? For instance, this one: in Cholula, close to the metropolis of Puebla, Spaniards slammed their church on prime of the largest (by quantity) pyramid on Earth – Tlachihualtepetl. It’s nonetheless sitting there, even now as I write this essay: the church is sitting on prime of the pyramid, unapologetically. Native authorities are even proud of its presence, selling it as a ‘major tourist site’. I hope, in the future, UNESCO consists of it in the “memory of humanity” record, as a logo of cultural vandalism.

Catholic church arrogantly slammed on prime of the largest pyramid in the world, outdoors Puebla

I summoned the curator at an area museum, Ms. Erica, asking her about this madness. She defined, patiently:

We’re strongly discouraged from talking about brutality of the previous. Mexico’s angle in the direction of its personal historical past is actually schizophrenic. On one hand we all know that our nation was plundered, raped and abused, by the Spanish colonizers, by the French, after which by the U.S. However we, students, academics, curators, are actually ordered to disregard it, to ‘be positive’; to ‘look for good things’ in what was carried out to us, and what we inherited.

Clearly, Ms. Erica has had sufficient. She speaks brazenly, passionately:

In the previous, the church had been hit and broken by lightning, on a number of events, and the native individuals consider that it occurred as a result of of the wrath of native gods, who have been protesting towards the desecration of their website and an architectural masterpiece – the pyramid. Nevertheless, the construction was all the time shortly restored by the spiritual and state authorities. The church nonetheless dominates the panorama, seen from so far as the metropolis of Puebla, whereas the grand pyramid seems to be humiliated and belittled, like nothing greater than a forested hill.


Mexico suffered for hundreds of years, and it’s struggling now.

It’s one of the biggest nations on Earth. Actually, it isn’t only a nation, however a universe, not in contrast to these ‘universes’ created by different nice nations, like ‘universe China’, ‘universe India’ or ‘universe Russia’. Mexico is historic and deep, and as talked about above, it gave start to some monumental civilizations, which have been self-sufficient and far more superior than the cultures of those that got here to assault it, to plunder and enslave it.

These civilizations, nevertheless, have been robbed of their id by the invaders, forcefully Christianized, then decreased to the degree of ‘minorities’ in their very own land. Natives have been pressured into slave labor, and used to mine their very own silver and different uncooked supplies, which have been shortly shipped distant, enriching first Europe and later North America.

Initially, all this was finished by the colonists from overseas, and later, by the native elites on behalf of the West.

The identical story could possibly be traced to all corners of Latin America; and an analogous story to so many elements of the world.

All this was executed straight-faced. The West isn’t well-known for soul-searching or spasms of guilt. No justification was offered. In any case, there was a Cross above the nation named Mexico, and an imaginary ‘banner of civilization’ (Western one, naturally).

I name all of it a ‘magic imperialism’, as a result of the entire destruction of this historic and delightful world was carried out in an virtually ‘poetic’ means: constructed on faith-based dogmas, in addition to on army and expansionist theories, and the myths of racial, cultural and non secular supremacy.

All this passed off throughout the colonial interval, and it’s happening now, in the days of ‘free market fundamentalism’.

“Is all this good or bad for the Mexican people?” Who cares! Such questions aren’t allowed. Mexican individuals are purported to pay attention, settle for, and obey the West, just because the West is the most enlightened half of the world, as a result of ‘it knows better’. The phrase ‘superior’ is hardly used (as it’s ‘politically incorrect’), however it’s presumed.


Now Mexico is boiling. It has had sufficient of being handled like a toddler, like a slave, like an inferior half of the world.

This time I travelled for 3 weeks throughout the nation, revisiting my ‘old places’. I needed to listen to what individuals assume and say.

I used to stay on this nation, for a whole yr, some 20 years in the past. Deep in my coronary heart, I by no means actually left.

Now, the whole lot appeared each acquainted, and at the similar time, overseas. I spoke to individuals in Mexico Metropolis and Puebla, in Guadalajara, Tequila, Tlaxcala, Tijuana, Merida, Oaxaca, and I went deep into the countryside. Wherever I used to be, I felt worry. I detected nervousness, horrible nervousness.

Sure, there was worry, but in addition willpower to vary every part, and to start out from scratch.

I used to be filming a documentary right here, with the working title: “Mexico – Year Zero”. It was not a binding title, however I used to be getting used to it, it was by some means becoming.

Left-wing politician Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (often known as AMLO) gained the Presidential Elections, securing nice help in all however two states of the nation.

This will imply complete overhaul, true change, a brand new starting, if Obrador fights, if he’s decided, if he serves the pursuits of his individuals. Or it might imply nothing, virtually zero, if he hesitates, loses guts and surrenders to inertia.

I spoke to no less than 100 individuals, in lots of elements of the nation, maybe many extra. Not one, not a single one stated, that his or her nation is doing nicely! This, regardless of all types of constructive financial indicators, regardless of a superb place on the Human Improvement Index (HDI), and the undeniable fact that Mexico is, in any case, an OECD nation and the 15th largest financial system in the world.

‘Magical imperialism’ introduced this nice nation to its knees.

The whole lot right here is full of contradictions.

Mexico has a lot higher tradition and way of life than the United States, however it’s subservient to the North. 90% of its exports go straight to North America (U.S. and Canada). The Mexican view of the world is absolutely formed by the brainwashing right-wing propaganda, actually flooding the nation via such retailers like CNN en Español and FOX.

Outraged by North American conduct, Mexico is however pressured to see the world by way of the eyes of its nice tormentor. RT, CGTN, PressTV, and even Telesur, are solely obtainable by means of the web.

This has to vary. Everyone is aware of it has to, someway. However how? Thus far, there isn’t any plan. Is the President-elect going to provide you with the one? And if he does, can he survive, or will he be harassed and even kicked out from his submit or killed, as has occurred to so many others, together with Chavez and Dilma?

Can any Latin American nation achieve its true independence from the international dictatorship of the West? Cuba did! Or ought to I write: to date, solely Cuba has. And Venezuela, to a terrific extent, however each are paying a horrendous worth.


Throughout Mexico, there are reminiscences of the Western ‘involvement’, or ought to I say ‘monuments of barbarity’. Typically, one has to seek for them, and even learn between the strains, to be able to determine them.

Spanish conquest, inquisition, large theft of land, pure assets, after which massacres, massacres, torture…

On February 7, 2016, Telesur reported:

The Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan, Mexico, accused the Catholic Church of being complicit in the killing of over 24 million Indigenous individuals.

Some 30 Indigenous communities of Michoacan, Mexico, have launched a press release demanding Pope Francis apologize for the genocide dedicated with the complicity of the Catholic Church towards their individuals throughout the Spanish invasion of the Americas in the 16th century.

“For over 500 years, the unique individuals of the Americas have been ransacked, robbed, murdered, exploited, discriminated and persecuted,” the Supreme Indigenous Council of Michoacan stated in a assertion.’

Nicely, Pope Francis, any feedback; at the least some want to discuss justice?

The USA invasion, and the seize of monumental Mexican territory:

…The Mexican Conflict was instrumental in shaping the geographical boundaries of the United States. At the conclusion of this battle, the U.S. had added some a million sq. miles of territory, together with what at present are the states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, in addition to parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada…

Studying what it says above, one would consider that this account can be adopted by the expression of horror at what took numerous lives of the Mexican individuals, and resulted in the theft of large territory. However no; of course, no! This quote is from the introduction written by John S. Brown, Chief of Army Historical past, to a brochure (the Occupation of Mexico Might 1846 – July 1848) described as being “produced by in the U.S. Army Center of Military History by Stephen A. Carney.” As an alternative of apology and indignation, the additional quote follows:

…The Mexican Warfare lasted some twenty-six months from its first engagement via the withdrawal of American troops. Preventing occurred over hundreds of miles, from northern Mexico to Mexico Metropolis, and throughout New Mexico and California. Throughout the battle, the U.S. Military gained a collection of decisive typical battles, all of which highlighted the worth of U.S. Army Academy graduates who again and again paved the approach for American victories. The Mexican Warfare nonetheless has a lot to show us about projecting pressure, conducting operations in hostile territory with a small pressure that’s dwarfed by the native inhabitants, city fight, the difficulties of occupation, and the braveness and perseverance of particular person troopers…

The self-congratulatory, virtually poetic language of each the brochure and the introduction to it sounds really, as whether it is making an attempt to suit right into a magic imperialist realism. However it isn’t: it’s simply how historical past is taught in the United States, in Europe, and sadly, in many faculties in the previously and presently colonized nations.

French intervention in Mexico

Then the French massacred individuals in Mexico Metropolis, in addition to throughout the territory that was left to the Mexicans after the 1846-1848 U.S. invasion. The French ‘intervened’ in Mexico on two events: from 1838 to 1839, and from 1862 to 1867, by which battle, a minimum of 12,000 Mexican individuals have been killed. The French have been killing, plundering and imposing their dictate, shamelessly and mercilessly, however that was not likely ‘something exceptional’, as they have been doing exactly the similar, or worse, throughout Africa, Asia, the Center East, Caribbean and Oceania.


Now, proper at the northern half of the monumental metropolis of Tijuana, the U.S. authorities and their contractors, are constructing an unlimited wall. It does one way or the other not look in contrast to the ‘perimeter’ constructed by Israel, between the occupied Golan Heights and Syria correct. However then, many issues look suspiciously comparable, lately.

This was a fantastic proud hacienda of Yucatan

This wall is a transparent expression of a radical imperialist insanity. This complete land used to belong to Mexico, earlier than the 1846 invasion, or name it ‘officially’ Mexican-American Warfare. Each nations are half of one continent. Each side of the border are inhabited by primarily the similar individuals. There are tens of millions of Mexicans dwelling in California, and there are hundreds of thousands of North People who’re in search of higher life south of the border – in Mexico – both in the retirement colonies, or, for example, as college students at less expensive and good Mexican universities, or as artists. North People journey to Mexico to get their tooth fastened, Mexicans go north to get higher paid jobs; the border space is principally an built-in zone, with its personal music, traditions, historical past and folklore. I do know it properly, and I do know that it used to have its personal magic and, sure, its realism too.

Now it’s gone, completely ruined.

Elites partying

However as if in a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, even by means of all that mud and madness, one can nonetheless really feel the magic. Right here, I’m nonetheless in Latin America, at its edge, at the final inch. And, screw the wall!

I shout at a U.S. contractor, by means of the bars. I need to know what he thinks about all this, if he truly thinks in any respect. He replies truthfully and phlegmatically: “I am not allowed to speak about this.”

I face a Mexican lady; whose again is towards the U.S. constructed wall. Her home is only one meter from the perimeter. If she sticks her finger via the bars, she is technically in the United States. Her identify is Leticia.

She doesn’t care about politics. Her largest worry is that the creatures inhabiting this space will get harm:

They’re chopping the pure stream of water on this space. This won’t finish properly. And the animals can’t migrate, anymore. That is so brutal. I’m completely happy the place I’m, and so is my household. At this aspect, I’m advantageous. However you realize, the creatures are totally different – they should transfer…

She virtually brings tears to my eyes. A narco, a ‘small fish narco’ who’s accompanying me to the wall, explaining ‘the reality of the border’ and the way the drug cartels right here work, all of a sudden produced one brief and loud sob. He’s a Latino, in any case. He could also be a gangster, however he has a coronary heart.

I do know, principally it isn’t Mexicans who’re making an attempt to leap the fence. The bulk of Mexicans are center class, and the center class lives a greater life right here than in the always confused and overworked U.S. It’s these determined individuals from Central America who’re risking their lives, crossing – from Guatemala, Honduras – individuals whose governments have been overthrown by Washington, individuals whose nations have been destroyed. People who find themselves affected by gangs and narco-mafias – direct penalties of the civil wars triggered by the West.

These individuals are touring on the monstrous Mexican cargo trains referred to as “La Bestia”, “the beast”; they’re having their limbs minimize off once they fall from the roofs down onto the tracks. I comply with them, I movie them, I speak to them. They’re on the transfer, from the southern Mexican border cities all the solution to the north; to the U.S. border. They haven’t any selection. And Washington is aware of it. It took socialism away from them – in Honduras and Guatemala it did. Then it rewarded them with this rattling wall.

Magic imperialism!

Central America is in ruins. Mexico, probably one of the biggest nations on Earth, is stagnating, dwelling in worry, affected by corruption and crime, from servile and obedient (in the direction of the West) elites. This complete mess has been triggered by neo-liberalism, in addition to the egocentric over-indulgence in the North.

Comes Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Mexico is drained. It doesn’t consider in itself, anymore, however it voted, clearly and proudly. It needs to hope. It needs to consider. It needs to stay. It tries.

Individuals spoke, individuals voted.

For them, Mexico has to vary

They haven’t any clue what is going to come subsequent. Is the man they voted for actually with them?

Radical intellectuals at UNAM don’t assume so, they informed me. However the poor Mayan and Azteca villages, the core of this nation, are with him. They belief him. They hope. He has no proper to fail them.

“If he fails the poor, there will be a civil war. He is our last hope,” I used to be informed in Tijuana.

Once more, and once more, I recall what I used to be advised by one of the biggest South American writers and thinkers of all occasions, Eduardo Galeano:

Hope is all that poor individuals have. That’s the reason, comrades, do by no means play with hope!

If Obrador succeeds, if he delivers even half of what he promised, Mexico will dramatically change. The complete Central America will change, maybe the complete Latin America will. That is the most populous Spanish talking nation, a cultural and mental powerhouse that has been asleep for a lot of lengthy and painful many years.

That is the place magic realism rubs shoulders with that magic imperialism imported and carried out by the West.

I landed right here, symbolically on September 14, the night time when Mexican Independence Day is, traditionally, celebrated. I didn’t sleep. I went to Zocalo, to see the individuals. Monumental fireworks illuminated the sky of the metropolis the place the Spanish cathedrals are constructed on prime of the ruins of the nice native civilizations. Poor and wealthy have been standing, watching the colourful present, taking a look at an unlimited flag.

Independence Day in Mexico Metropolis 2018 — new starting?

The day after, I used to be filming at the splendid Bellas Artes, one of the most lovely theatres on Earth. There, a Soviet-trained conductor was dealing with an excellent ‘youth orchestra’, which consisted of as soon as poor girls and boys from disadvantaged communities. On the stage, the legendary Folkloric Ballet of Mexico was performing; with proud native themes, and with younger ladies holding rifles, marching in the direction of the redness of the revolution. The viewers roared. Individuals, strangers, have been embracing, shaking palms. There have been tears; tears of pleasure.

At Bellas Artes, Soviet-trained Mexican conductor evokes nice delight in viewers

Oh Mexico! 2018. Yr Zero, I name it. Sure, that is how I’ll identify my movie.

Yr Zero. The revolution, hopefully. The brand new starting. The independence. Hopefully.

Sure, I wrote it, of course, I did: “People are reluctant, skeptical.” However they’re each – reluctant and full of hope. I used to be informed in Guadalajara, by an accountant who was pressured by circumstances, to drive a taxi:

I didn’t vote for Obrador, as a result of I don’t consider that what he was promising throughout his marketing campaign, might be achieved. However I hope that he’s actual. If I see that he’s actual, I’ll drop every part and dedicate my life to supporting him.

To save lots of Mexico is to cease neo-liberalism, dependency on the West, and to hitch nations which might be preventing towards the international dictatorship. Can it’s completed? Will it’s accomplished?

I belief Obrador. I’ve no different selection. I travelled all the means right here, to the nation that I nonetheless love, profoundly; I travelled right here with a purpose to supply my assist. I’m not an ‘impartial spectator’. This isn’t the time for these…

In a couple of brief months, the destiny of these humble villages of Yucatan and Chiapas shall be determined. The whole Latin America is watching.

To vary Mexico seems like an unimaginable activity. Nevertheless it needs to be carried out. True revolution ought to put the Mexican individuals first, and put the last finish to these horrible centuries of plunder, humiliation and terror.

To hell with magic imperialism. To hell with any imperialism, full cease.

Viva Mexico! Viva Patria Grande!

• Learn Half One right here:

• First revealed by NEO – New Japanese Outlook

• Photographs by Andre Vltchek