I probably need to explain a bit more about the Benito Juarez biography I posted last week. This past weekend was the Mexican equivalent of “President’s Day” and the banks were closed to celebrate Benito Juarez’s birthday. If you did read the lengthy post, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the names of all the generals who are mentioned; I tried to keep them apart, but the history is complicated. Virtually every Mexican town has main streets named after one of these guys, Juarez, Zaragoza, Ocampo, Alvarez; not so much Madero or Diaz in this neck of the woods. Locally, they throw in some Sinaloenses like Rafael Buelna and Gabriel Lleyva.
But that aside. A careful reading of Benito Juarez’s history will reveal quite a bit about American history. In 1846-48 the US sent a military expedition to Mexico City’s door to wrest control of Texas and California from General Santa Anna. The leader of that junket was Zachary Taylor and we then elected him president. He died in office the next year leaving quite the mess when his opposition party vice president switched back all the political appointees and reversed his political agenda. Millard Fillmore was the last American Whig president and one of our worst presidents. His successor, elected when a third party, the Know-Nothings, split the Democratic vote, conservative American President James Buchanan, ended up backing the Liberal Mexican party in the ensuing civil war that broke out when Santa Anna was deposed. Six years later, his successor-by-one, Andrew Johnson (of the same conservative Party), turned around and sent weapons to the Mexican Conservatives, allowing them to oust (and execute) Emperor Maximillian I. We did not interfere in their elections, we actively helped to overthrow the government.
I don’t think we do those sorts of things anymore, but the times… they are a-changing.
Let me fill you in on a bit of more recent Mexican history. President Enrique Pena Nieto is nearing the end of his term. His party, the Mexican Conservative Party (PRI) is facing a challenge from its political left that is making a lot of political hay using our current US President’s language as a talking point. Or should I say talking points. Everybody down here has a cell phone nowadays and they are just as busy Tweeting and Whats Apping as anybody. This confluence of events has created some political awareness in the working class people that is, let’s say, not 110% favorable to us Norteamericanos like it used to be.
We used to be untouchable. We aren’t anymore. Please use common sense about traveling after dark. Consider your destination. Stay informed. Ladies, don’t travel alone, even to Stone Island.