This collection of essays by Carlos Fuentes, Mexican intellectual, man of letters, and erstwhile diplomat, seeks to place his country's current convulsive state in a wider historical perspective. He discusses the Mexican Revolution of 1910 as a liberating moment, counterbalanced by a tendency toward a centralized authoritarianism that created the monolithic ruling party, the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI. Fuentes considers that the PRI was a progressive force originally, but that it became corrupted by the Mexican ruling class' elevation of Anglo-American forms of government, and the application of "savage capitalism" to the detriment of the Mexican people. Fuentes also talks about recent events, including the assassination of his friend, Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI presidential candidate, and he includes an exchange with Subcommander Marcos, the Zapatista leader.
From Publishers Weekly
In these vigorous essays, eminent Mexican novelist, critic and ex-diplomat Fuentes calls on Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo to take definitive steps toward a full democracy?electoral reform; equal access of candidates to the media; independent, aggressive labor unions; and, above all, true separation between the ruling party and the government. Arguing that NAFTA merely institutionalized the growing economic interrelationships of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, he charges that Americans, ever in need of an external enemy, unfairly characterize Mexico as unreliable, unable to govern itself and financially inept. He views the recent guerrilla uprising in Chiapas as symptomatic of a country divided between a relatively modern, prosperous north and an oppressed, backward south. Adding that the Chiapas rebellion has revealed the deep-rooted racism and intolerance of many Mexicans, Fuentes pleads for social justice for Mexico's Indian communities, devastated by poverty, alcohol and lack of social services. Offering lapidary, lyrical meditations on Mexico as a land of continual metamorphosis, Fuentes nostalgically reminisces about his home in Veracruz, whose port his father defended against a Yankee invasion in 1914.
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