Thursday, September 16, 2010
Today Mexico celebrates 200 years of independence -but not quite. A liberal holiday for Mexican republicans in general, this is not the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence but rather the 200th anniversary of a call to arms by a revolutionary, heretical priest (Father Miguel Hidalgo) who *might* have called for independence while inciting a race war in colonial Mexico which launched a failed effort to kill off the European-blood population. The man who actually secured Mexican independence, a conservative former Spanish loyalist who later became Mexico's first emperor, is largely ignored in Mexico. Father Hidalgo left behind no plan, no political manifesto and did not specifically call for independence or the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy in Mexico, which is often assumed, but rather simply incited a race-war in which he was unsuccessful and led to him being defrocked and declared a heretic by the Inquisition, declared a traitor by the state and ended in his execution by a Spanish firing squad. His cry, the 'Grito de Dolores' nonetheless became an established tradition, reenacted by Mexican leaders ever since. After coming to Mexico even Emperor Maximilian carried on the tradition. Nonetheless, monarchist Mexicans will have to wait until September 27 for their own, unrecognized, holiday.
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There is an even more heartbreaking chapter of the story of modern Mexican independence ... it is that of the legitimate father of Mexico and the liberator of New Spain, Agustin de Iturbide I. Thanks to revolutionary historians, such as Justo Sierra, we have hundreds of thousands of Mexicans pass the remains of the betrayed and wrongfully executed emperor without even knowing who he was or what he did for them. It is not surprising for me, since I know how Mexico is in love with losing, but it does smack a tad bit ungrateful. Mexico derives her name from the tribe that lost the war of Spanish invasion of 1519 - 1521 - The Mexica. If traditional logic prevailed amongst Mexican intellectuals and historians, the country would be named Tlaxcala since it was the Tlaxcalteca that made the Spanish victory possible. Then they embrace Miguel Hidalgo as the father of their independence. He, and his dream of a "gachupin" (Spaniard) free Republic died with him in 1811 a full ten years before Independence was achieved (1821). It was the descendendant of Spanish nobles that finished the job and became Mexico's first and forgotten emperor. He was not only forgotten, but ultimately substituted with a defrocked, narcissistic and beheaded coward. It is my hope, however, that this love affair with losers will someday dissapate and Mexico will be returned to her natural Monarchical state.ReplyDelete