From The Publisher

February 22, 2016 Edition


Did we all watch the Pope’s visit to Mexico last week? Most of you probably watch Shaw, (a shout-out to our Canadian friends), or Dish or Apple TV, or some other illegal method of getting the news from an American perspective. No matter, we aren’t the communications police. The point is, unless we were under a rock, we were all bombarded with images of the Pope as he visited five areas of Mexico in five days.

As a Mexican, I’m angry at the way he cherry picked only our trouble spots. Here’s this guy who comes into our house, (Mexico), and looks around for dirty underwear on the floor and dust under the bed. And then he holds it up for the whole world to see. People in Europe and South America, and even Asia are watching the Pope as he shames us with images of our dirty laundry being held up for public scorn.  He flew around to our least attractive areas, areas with drug violence and areas in the south of Mexico that have indigenous people so entrenched in the old ways, and so poor and so uneducated that many of them don’t even speak or read Spanish. He stood in the middle of these problem areas and invited world wide photo ops.

The Pope did not promote a photo op of our mighty modern cities with our museums, our performing arts centers, our universities with surrounding barrios of coffee houses, galleries, and book stores. No, the only part of the diverse city of Mexico City that he visited was the barrio Ecatepec, a slum. C’mon, every city has it’s slums. I’m not asking not to visit them, those people certainly need ministering to, but how about a balanced and accurate view to the city? Of the country?

And it’s easy for him to say fix what’s wrong, but you notice he didn’t come up with any concrete ideas, nor even acknowledge that it’s a tough slog. Nor did he acknowledge that we’re trying. It was all criticism. In every single stop he criticized our government corruption and drug violence. He pounded relentlessly on those two issues.

Then he goes up to Juarez, a city that has been ripped apart by the drug wars, as have its people. He stands at the border and shouts over to the U.S. to “tear down this wall”. Like anyone in the United States is listening.

So who was listening to the Pope? The people he was trying to retain in the church.  The poor, the uneducated, the discontent; the people who feel the deck is stacked against them and that the government isn’t doing enough for them. He was pointing out what a lousy world they live in and that salvation from that misery is the church. He’s making Mexico look bad to obtain and retain recruits to the church. Many leaders use a boogyman to drive followers to them and I for one resent him using our problems to obtain his goals.

Whoops. I forgot for a moment there that actually I’m not a Mexican and sadly can never be one. It took me 14 years of heroic and expensive effort just to get a work permit. Of course that deportation stumble along the way didn’t help my status any. Nor the numerous amparos, (restraining orders against the government), nor trips to immigration to explain certain articles published in this paper. Those little blips didn’t help my reputation nor my quest for citizenship. But I feel so Mexican, I can’t help but get angry at outsiders criticizing us, and in front of the whole world.

Things are changing in Mexico. I see it, I feel it, I live it. There is a peoples’ movement, over on the mainland that is like a tsunami, and it’s aimed at curbing government corruption. Also, we really are trying to fight the war on drugs, even if that’s not going so well.  And our last three presidents have given more to the country than they’ve taken. And right here in Los Cabos our new city administration is trying very hard to turn our city around. The changes our new mayor has implemented in a short period of time is amazing, and it shows me what one honest man can do. I believe the number of  honest people in Mexico far outweighs the bad. 

So, even though I can never be a real Mexican, please allow me to be angry at outsiders criticizing us.