I was having dinner with a friend recently when she firmly asked me, as if it suddenly became an important question to her, “Why don’t the people in Mexico protest against the government?” It wasn’t as much of a question as it was a demand for an answer. I was quiet as I stared into my dish as I considered an answer for her. I picked up my gaze to look at her inquisitive eyes. She wanted an answer!
I have to ask for patience within myself sometimes when people question me about my country. I must be sensitive to their questions, understand their perspective, take a breath and not feel the defensiveness that rushes through me when these sorts of questions are asked. Mexico is a misunderstood country as are all of the Latin American countries (all 20 of them). Each one has their struggles with their government: corruption, poverty and exorbitant amounts of wealth.
The truth, I tell my friend, is that people DO take to the streets and protest. You can see it in the news. Latin America has a long history of protests. In fact, there is a whole culture of protesting! From the indigenous people claiming their land rights to the mother’s in Argentina who still, even after some forty years are still protesting the loss of their kids, los desaparecidos. All different reasons to protest. All vehemently being protested.
Maybe my friend’s question was more of an inquiry as to why there is no CHANGE in Mexico and other Latin American countries. It seems that in the United States, people rarely protest and when they do, action is taken by the government. You might not think so but coming from my country, it does look like this. The Civil Rights movements brought an enormous amount of change. Environmental stand-downs in the eighties have also brought change. And now, maybe there will be gun reform? Why are our protests in Latin America so passionate, yet not much change occurs? Pshhht…. This requires a whole lecture in a Political Science class.
In the United States we “live” in a bubble - particularly in Santa Fe. We live a comfortable, sheltered life protected from the problems of the world. Sometimes I feel guilty about this. It feels like all we need to worry about is what shoes we are going to wear and at what restaurant we are going to eat. Of course, I am exaggerating but you get my point. I do know plenty of people here who do get involved and worry about making this world more just. And, I am grateful for them.
But enough of me and this heavy subject.
Let’s enjoy the Spring and I hope to see you at the store! Or write me! Guada755@outlook.com