ethel’s words

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THE WEALTH OF MEXICO

When Bernal Diaz del Castillo wrote to the royalty of Spain about the Conquest of New Spain, he lavished praise on the treasures, the stupendous wealth, of the “discovered” New World.

So Spain decided to conquer (not vanquish) Mexico (Tenochtitlan) not so they could Christianize the poor lost Indios (then Aztecas?) but for the riches--the imaginative art, the gorgeous feather-crafts - though artifacts of gold were melted down to feed the obsession for wealth already gripping humans.

Where, today, is the wealth of Mexico? The ancient treasures were seized and shipped to Spanish treasuries, in the conquerors’ mode--as the art of China, Africa, and India was plundered to enrich foreign museums. But the skills are still there, evinced by the great muralists (The Three, and many); the weaving; the jewelry, now perhaps somewhat degraded to satisfy the tourist trade, a means to support life rather than fulfill the human urge towards spirituality and creativity that is their fountainhead.

But with the store of knowledge, the centuries of practicing horticulture, the natural abundance of foods fit for royalty--the land is still inspiring those skills.

So why is rich Mexico deporting (yes!) its great asset--its people? What underlying destructive force is compelling its laboring people to seek dollars instead of pesos, dollars instead of own-grown food? If there is food plentiful enough to export, there is enough to keep workers fed at home.

Ah, hah! The Profit System. Yes, yes. That’s the easy answer, but not adequate. Who gets the profit? Who owns the oil? Is there still gold? Who owns the plantations? Who manipulates the politics?

What can friends of Mexico’s workers do to help Mexicans stay in Mexico in good health with a comfortable life--despite the fact that the United States of America stole such an enormous chunk of their territory?

No one can predict when borders of nations might be erased--or even “if”. It is possible to abhor borders, yet reverence the differences in peoples, the richness of varied cultures, the fascinating faces of humans--no two alike, yet ethnically identifiable--sometimes! It is appropriate to question the fairness and the wisdom of great migrations of peoples to leave behind the problems that are their national failures (or their enfeeblement due to exploitation by nations with The Gun).

It should be possible to use magnets rather than borders, to hold peoples to their own land. Barring danger and severe privation, most people feel bonded to their mother-land. Is not the need, or the greed, for wealth or even bare sustenance the compelling cause for most of the world’s woes?

Are humans so totally inept at educating that they end up giving their blood, their brains, their energy, their allegiance--to a corrupting Profit System that was never recommended by Constitution, nor chosen by voters?

It seems, “yes”.

Ethel C. Hale