In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico

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Personal life and education

Jurgen Buchenau | University of North Carolina at Charlotte -

As a journalist who has worked in the Middle East, I rather doubt it. There are in any case other corners of the planet where the wounds inflicted by conflicts predate the U. Witness the case of Serbia and the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo, where differences over land and culture go back to the Middle Ages. Prevailing views of the United States were by and large favorable when Mexico finally won its independence from Spain in after a bloody rebellion that lasted over a decade.

From its federalist framework and the formal separation of powers among the executive, 63 Ch The problem is yet to be solved. De Zavala left Mexico in Ch That prompted de Zavala to resign his diplomatic post in protest and move from Paris to New York City. De Zavala eventually resettled in Texas, where he owned land and which at the time formed part of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila and Tejas.

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In he made common cause with the American settlers who took up arms to gain their independence from the Santa Anna regime in Mexico City. De Zavala helped write the constitution of the newly independent Republic of Texas, and in the spring of he was elected its first vice president. He died of pneumonia barely a month later at the age of forty-eight, a bitter and disillusioned man. In a remarkable passage in the opening pages of the book, he drew a most unflattering comparison between his compatriots and his American hosts.

The North American works, the Mexican has a good time; the first spends less than he has, the second [spends] even that which he does not have; the former carries out the most arduous enterprises to their conclusion, the latter abandons them in the early stages; the one lives in his house, decorates it, furnishes it, preserves it against the inclement weather; the other spends his time in the street, flees from his home, and in a land where there are no seasons he worries little about a place to rest.

In the United States all men are property owners and tend to increase their fortune; in Mexico the few who have anything are careless with it and fritter it away. AntiAmericanism became deeply entrenched in the political culture during the U. As the U. On one side of the aisle stood Ch As in past decades, anti-Americanism in late-nineteenthcentury Mexico was in large part stoked by the Catholic right. Baptist missionaries in the northern border state of Coahuila.

Some of his published work evokes the gushing Ch The first took place against the turbulent backdrop of a bloody coup that killed Madero in February When the democratically elected Mexican president was toppled by his own army commander-in-chief, General Victoriano Huerta, the U. Fourteen months later, President Woodrow Wilson sent U. John J. Pershing entered the northern state of Chihuahua in pursuit of Pancho Villa after the bandit-turned-revolutionary staged a bloody raid on the border town of Columbus, New Mexico, that killed seventeen Americans.

Pershing and his men roamed the arid Chihuahua desert in search of Villa for eleven months before leaving Mexico empty-handed in February But the damage to American prestige and credibility had been done.

Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles: Strengthening Their Ethnic Identity Through Chivas USA

Ironically, the revolutionary leader whom President Wilson eventually settled on to replace the disgraced Huerta as chief of state, former Coahuila state governor Venustiano Carranza, wasted no time in distancing Mexico from the United States when he consolidated his presidential powers in When Calles sought to renegotiate the concessions awarded to American oil companies, U.

President Calvin Coolidge declared that Mexico could end up receiving the same treatment that had recently befallen Nicaragua, where the marines had landed the previous year to prop up an unpopular right-wing dictator. The same deft blend of courtesy, shrewdness, and respect that had served Morrow so well at J. Morrow helped hammer out a new deal with Calles under which judgments that were favorable to the oil companies would be treated as legal precedents.

He displayed his formidable public relations skills by donning the fancy duds of a Mexican charro cowboy and bringing down his son-in-law, the celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh, to pay a goodwill visit to Mexico City. Roosevelt introduced after he became president in In the two countries signed an agreement that settled all outstanding claims between the United States and Mexico dating back to the Mexican Revolution.

That was followed by a trade treaty that lowered import duties on both certain U. Trade between the two neighbors soared as a result, but that was not all.

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Washington and Mexico City negotiated a pioneering guest-worker program to supply the United States with labor at a time when millions of able-bodied Americans were serving their country overseas in World War II. In this, Mexico was hardly alone: as the Eisenhower administration flexed its political, diplomatic, and military muscles in the mid- and late s, a resurgence of anti-Americanism swept across much of Latin America, triggered in part by the CIA-backed coup that toppled a democratically elected left-of-center government in Guatemala in With tensions between Washington and Moscow at an all-time high in the s, Mexico refused to sign a military assistance program with the United States, and the trade treaty signed in died a quiet death.

In his magisterial biography of Pancho Villa, the historian Friedrich Katz states that hostility to Americans was far less widespread in the countryside than in the cities during the Mexican Revolution. With the creation of the National Revolutionary Ch But the Americanized veneer wanes over time, and by the end of the movie the youth has embraced anew the culture and customs of his native land. Only after the death of a brother do the Americanized youngsters return to their roots and take their places in the family-owned business making tortas sandwiches.

That was documented by a series of opinion surveys that uncovered surprisingly benign views of the United States among the population at large. During the decade that witnessed the beginning of the NAFTA era, the percentage of Mexicans who endorsed greater economic ties with the United States rose significantly, from 57 percent in to 63 percent ten years later.

Nearly half held their government responsible, 18 percent Ch It has been a weapon used by Mexican governments time and again, but is not supported by the facts. Six months into his presidential term, the U. The opinion survey uncovered surprisingly positive attitudes toward the United States among the respondents. As president, he abolished quotas on the importation of books in Spanish and Ch Salinas de Gortari eased restrictions on foreign participation in electronic media and amended an intellectual property protection law to make way for an invasion of established U.

A binational opinion survey sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and two Mexican nongovernmental organizations found that an overwhelming majority of Mexicans 81 percent and Americans 75 percent regarded international terrorism as a critical threat to their vital interests. Nearly two-thirds of both Americans and Mexicans disagreed with the notion that rich countries play fair in trade negotiations with poor nations.

A majority of Americans and Mexicans agreed that the United States should not play the role of world policeman and believed the United Nations should be strengthened, in part by giving the U. Security Council the right to authorize the use of force in the face of various security, political, and humanitarian crises. Mexican and American participants said they had generally favorable opinions of each other and also held positive opinions of Canada and friendly European countries. Solid majorities among both nationalities expressed support for a quid pro quo agreement Ch In his published works, the writer and social critic has displayed a nuanced understanding and appreciation of American culture and consistently resisted any recourse to facile stereotypes about the Great Colossus of the North and its people.

Now in his seventies, the Mexico City native has seen how the steady penetration of Americanizing influences has picked up in pace. Such a Mexico never Ch It is, in other words, a two-way street, and Mexican identity is not threatened with extinction in the process. It is a changing identity, continually enriched with the talk of the poor, the contributions of the mass media, the academic renovations, the ideological discussions, Americanization, and resistance to the widening of misery. The resort hotel appears in the opening pages of the book, and Lowry is unsparing in his description of its already dilapidated state.

You may not even dice for drinks in the bar. The ghosts of ruined gamblers haunt it.

Tatiana Clouthier

No one ever seems to swim in the magnificent Olympic pool. The springboards stand empty and mournful. Its jai-alai courts are grass-grown and deserted. Two tennis courts only are kept up in the season. The Casino de la Selva soon emerged as the cultural epicenter of Cuernavaca, where visiting artists, writers, and political activists could 87 Ch That spelled the beginning of the end for the storied Casino de la Selva.

The suddenly endangered status of the murals galvanized environmentalists and political activists into forming a grassroots organization to halt the wholesale razing of the complex. The protest campaign culminated in August with an extended sitin by demonstrators who wanted access to the hotel grounds in order to count the number of trees that were still standing.

On the evening of August 21, hundreds of state and municipal policemen descended on the site and arrested thirty-three protesters on criminal charges ranging from Ch The heavyhanded tactics used in the police crackdown triggered a protest march six days later that drew 15, onto the streets of downtown Cuernavaca. Where lush trees, shaded walkways, and quiet cabanas once stood, a vast sea of asphalt has been neatly partitioned into parking spots for shoppers lured by the bargain prices for soft drinks, breakfast cereal, automobile tires, and sporting goods.

A self-taught artist who has devoted much of her adult life to political causes ranging from environmental issues to supporting the Zapatista guerrilla movement in Chiapas, Guerrero grew up in a household rich in culture. Flor Guerrero is a quietly elegant woman whose slender figure belies her middle age, and her politics are decidedly left of center. But it would be misleading to describe Guerrero as anti-American.

Her husband of twenty-four years is a U. The Casino de la Selva is a dramatic case that should be held up as an example on a global scale.

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  • It was a devastating attack against our culture, our art and our environment. The prospect of seeing the golden arches on a storefront in the heart of the city spurred many longtime Oaxaca residents to take action.

    Political career

    A Gigantic Steamroller Big American companies did not figure prominently in most of the major privatizations of state-owned firms and banks carried out in the s under President Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Wal-Mart has also acquired a loyal clientele: in a single year, customers visited its cash registers million times. Small wonder that Mexican critics like Flor Guerrero challenge the claims by big American retail companies that they are doing the country a great service. But what kinds of jobs do we see?

    The salaries are terribly low, but the unemployment rate forces people to take those jobs. Besides, the Casino de la Selva hotel never belonged to the people. Among human beings there is an enormous, spiritual vacuum, and one way of filling that hole is to go shopping at these megastores. The free trade treaty that took effect on January 1, , paved the way for an explosion in U. Over the ensuing eight years the total amount of U.

    In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico
    In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico
    In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico
    In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico
    In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico
    In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico In the Shadow of the Giant: The Americanization of Modern Mexico

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