No Politics Here

Similiar to me, I assume everyone needs a government to function. However, if you assume that like I did you would be wrong. The town, Cheránlocated in the violent state of Michoacán, will not be taking part in this years Mexican Election.

“The only thing the parties have done is divide us,” said Salvador Ceja, Cherán’s communal lands commissioner. “Not just here – in the entire country.”

With the corrupt police and local politicians with the protection a local drug cartel has, Cherán’s people decided they’d had enough. In April 2011, the people kicked out the mayor and banished political parties as well, convinced of the notion that the government’s infighting had allowed their town to fall into crisis. This constant arguing between politicians seen here is similar to the U.S. because the people felt that this constant arguing meant that “the villagers could not come together to confront major problems.”

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After they kicked the mayor out of office, Cherán now run their town with a council made up of 12 people. They will elect a new council on July 1st, the same day as the presidential election, but if anyone wishes to vote for the president they will have to travel elsewhere because Cherán will have no ballot boxes for the presidential election.

According to the article before the uprising, “local politicians not only turned a blind eye to drug trafficking and extortion, but financed their campaigns with illegal logging and attempted to seize control of common lands.”

Studies have shown that the council they now have managed to contain most of the corruption. From what I see, all Cherán wants is peace. They want safety for their people, their own lives, and most importantly their entire community and government. Having the government they had previously didn’t do the job for them. A community should be allowed to change the government or not take part in it if they believe it causes more harm than help.

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Mexican Poet: Carmen Boullosa

Poetry is one of my favorite genres of literature, so I decided to look up some famous Mexican Poets. The one I stumbled across was Carmen Boullosa. Born in Mexico City, and not only is she a poet but she is also a playwright and novelist.

Her writing focus’ on feminism and gender roles within Latin America. She has written seventeen novels that are all different from one another not only in theme but style as well.

This is an excerpt from her collection of poems, Hamarita (o hacha), the author who transcribed these poems met with Boullosa herself to go over the translation from Spanish to English to ensure that it was correct.Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 7.57.35 AM.png

Within the article are three other translated poems, and just from reading those I would absolutely love to read more of her work.

Mexican Style Ice Cream?

The only types of Ice Cream that I was aware of was gelato and frozen custard, but Carlos Guizar from San Jose has developed a Mexican style ice cream– which consists of original combinations of fruit and ice cream.

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Growing up, Carlos’ father worked San Jose running his business while Carlos and his mother moved back to Michoacan. He moved back with his father when he was fifteen and split his time between his fathers’ businesses and getting his high school education. Now, Carlos owns two taquerias along with his two fruit carts he’s work at since he was a kid and he operates at outlets.

The inspiration for this Mexican Ice Cream was based on the fact that Carlos wanted to do more and expand into traditional Mexican snacks. He is doing so much with his businesses and being busy with his family, however, Carlos is looking forward to what he will accomplish next.

This Mexcian Ice Cream stand, All Natural Paleteria, is open weekdays from 10am to 9pm and weekends 9am to 9pm.

The REAL People of Coachella

Everyone knows about Coachella, and even if you haven’t gone to Coachella or aren’t going to it at all, everyone knows you still watch the Snapchat’s, Instagram stories and youtube videos that tell you all about it. Coachella is an unavoidable aspect of present-day life.

170301_coachella.jpgAccording to Arellano, the author of the article and Taco USA, last Coachella had an average attendance of 125,000 and $114 million in gross revenue, along with the impact of the Coachella events adding up to a total of $704 million. And none of this money goes to the REAL people of Coachella- the Hispanic and Latino Communities who live there the rest of the year and not just for the three day weekend. According to statistics, 39% of the population in the Eastern Coachella Valley live in poverty and in the Coachella school district, 99% of the students are Latinos.

Residents live in substandard housing and work under a brutal sun to fuel a multimillion-dollar agricultural industry powered by dates and melons. They’re terrified of the Trump administration but trudge on with life. (Arellano)

According to the Coachella website, they donate to charities and places such as the Coachella Valley History Museum and the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs. They’ve even given over 1,000 festival tickets to high school students since 2011– however, none of these actions seem to make up or even help these struggling people after the three days have passed.

It’s just sad to see how many people, celebrities included, flock to Coachella from all over, only to not give a crap about what happens to the people are left in Coachella after Coachella actually over. The people in that community matter too, and if they’re hosting such a big event that makes a total of 704 million dollars shouldn’t at least a part of the earnings go to the town that lives there?

Frida Kahlo Barbie: Continued

Previously, I wrote about how Barbie was planning to release a Frida Kahlo Barbie doll, and it seems they succeeded. However, they succeeded to a degree. Currently, Mattel, the toy company, is blocked from selling its “controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll” in Mexico.

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The details of the lawsuit regarding the doll haven’t been changed (visit my first post here to read about them), however, what has changed was that Kahlo’s relatives who started the lawsuit won a temporary injunction with the continued argument that the company didn’t have the right to use the artist’s image. The defense from Mattel to this claim is that they obtained the rights from the Frida Kahlo Foundation.

However, while many of the points are very much the same as when the lawsuit first started- the most significant update is that these dolls are not allowed to be sold in Mexico at this time. Not only are Kahlo’s relatives against this, but also Salma Hayek who portrayed Kahlo in the film Frida stated on Instagram

#fridakahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie No puedo creer que hayan hecho una Barbie de nuestra Friducha que nunca trató de parecerse a nadie y siempre celebró su originalidad 👎👎#body image

Currently, Mattel is the move everyone is waiting on, will they recall the dolls and respect the families wishes or continue legal action to sell these dolls?

Liz Balmaseda

I had the pleasure of meeting Liz Balmaseda a couple years ago while I was staying in Miami with my cousin. My cousin called her because they were family, and before this initial meeting, I had no idea who she was. Even at the time, I was aware she was a food critic, but I didn’t know the extent of her accomplishments.

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In 1993 she won the Pulitzer Prize while writing for The Miami Herald, “For her commentary from Haiti about deteriorating political and social conditions and her columns about Cuban-Americans in Miami.” In 2001 she was accredited with another Pulitzer Prize given to the reporting staff of the Miami Herald who wrote about Elian Gonzalez, whose mother died while escaping Cuba leading to a legal battle between his relatives in Miami and his father wanting him back in Cuba. Specifically, she wrote a commentary piece called, “.” That same year she was also honored with the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature.

Now, she is a food critic for the Palm Beach Post. From what I remember of our conversation, she told me that opportunities will come and sometimes they might not be great, however, doing the work other people won’t do will eventually get you somewhere. It was so long ago that the advice I just said she gave me could have all been made up- but she’s worked in so many different aspects of journalism and now is an amazing food critic- and I believe that really speaks for itself.

Wonders of Mexico Rebuilt

People travel to Mexico for many reasons, however, the main reason tends to be for vacation. Vacation could mean spending it at a resort, going to the beach, stopping in Mexico as a part of a cruise stop, or even to visit wonders of the worlds. However, these massive structures though amazing are not immune to decay and destruction, so sometimes when visiting these wonders it’s hard to picture what it used to look like. However, people have designed GIFS using today’s technology to show people what the structure was originally intended to look like.

For example, we have Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Coba. Located in Mexico’s Yucatan jungle and due to this it hasn’t seen as much tourists as other sites, however, it still shares a common decaying or demolished structure. This is the GIF that shows what the pyramid looks like today as well as what it used to look like.

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Another is The Pyramid of the Sun located in Teotihuacán. It’s the largest building there and the third largest pyramid in the world. Built in 200-100 BC, the purpose of this building has not been tracked down or discovered yet, only speculation about it. It’s still possible to climb this pyramid, and from the top of it, you can see an amazing view of what is coined “avenue of the dead.” It still has the most of the same shape it was originally built with, however, it seems most of the details and some of the outside structure has been destroyed.

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Muxe Mexico

Transgender people have struggled not only in America but also all over the world. It’s not something that only occurs exclusively in America. Mexico is no different, except for some places like the town of Juchitán, an indigenous community located in the southern state of Oaxaca. There, the local “Zapotec” people have made a new name for people who identify as transgender, they’re called muxes, “men who consider themselves women and live in a socially sanctioned netherworld between two genders.”

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This word, muxe, is reserved for males who have felt drawn to living as a woman from a young age. This indigenous community is accepting of these people, specifically men who want to be women. Not so much is mentioned in regards to the treatment of women drawn to being men, however, from the attitudes seen from families presented in the article, it’s hard to assume they are treated in a negative way.

A boyfriend of an identified muxe states, “I don’t care what people say. There are some people who get uncomfortable. I don’t see a problem. What is so bad about it?” And the grandmother of another stated, “It is how God sent him.”

The people in this community are so accepting of a group of people that are still treated so terrible and unjust in today’s American society. Donald Trump preaches how Mexico and its people are so terrible, but they aren’t. This article even proves that they share more compassion and humanity for transgender people then some Americans do. I’m not saying all of American society is to blame for the treatment of transgender people, but I do think that there is a valuable lesson to be learned from the people of Juchitán.

Eugenics?

Before a couple days ago- I had no idea about half of the things mentioned in this article, I didn’t even know what Eugenics was, however now unfortunately I do. Eugenics is known as “the set of beliefs and practices which aim at improving the genetic quality of the human population.”  It’s a practice that started in the United States, where we had California eugenicists writing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization, information that was eventually sent overseas to Germany to scientists and medical professionals. To make a very long story short, the forced sterilization program created by the Nazis in World War II was ‘partly’ inspired by the information given to them from California.

Now, this is a Taco Literacy blog, so how in any way does this relate? The eugenics movement became very popular in California. And in March 1934, Mary Franco, a fourteen-year-old girl, was sent to the Pacific Colony asylum where they diagnosed her with “feeble-mindedness, tied to social deviance” and corrected this issue by giving her a salpingectomy. A procedure where fallopian tubes are removed. Franco was eventually released, however, her great-niece interviewed her for a Chicano studies class before she passed in 1998.

Mary Franco was a Mexican-American and through research from the files at the California facilities, it has been found that mental health wasn’t the only thing doctors considered when deciding who to sterilize. The also took into account race, and among the most affect race by this was found to be Mexican- Americans. Latino men were 23% more likely to be sterilized compared to non-Latino men, and Latina women were 59% more likely to be sterilized than non-Latina women.

According to statistics, in the first half of the 20th century, approximately 60,000 people were sterilized under eugenics programs in the United States. At the time certain government officials had the power to label someone “unfit,” and those considered unfit eventually became infertile.

Eugenic ideology was used to support racist policies such as the Immigration Act of 1924. Specifically,  anti-Mexican sentiment was encouraged by theories that Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans were at a ‘lower racial level’ and government officials would even go as far to describe Mexicans as “inherently less intelligent, immoral, “hyper-fertile” and criminally inclined.” Mexican descendants, most commonly Mexican Americans were described as immigrants of an undesirable type thus leading to the idea that “if their existence in the US was undesirable, so was their reproduction” making them perfect candidates for eugenics programs.

There is obviously more information available on this subject, especially research upon the targeting of Latinos- however, I think its unsettling to know information such as this because not only is it not really spoken about- it’s also not well heard of. The government was using racial biased to decide mental health treatments. Not only is this an example of the government taking advantage of their people, it’s also an example of how toxic ideology can pollute a society into thinking like this.

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