19 May 2006

¿Somos amigos?

I had wanted to post something on this news story myself.  But Jake Jacobsen pretty much sums it up for me.

I will add this, though.  According to (Mexico’s) presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar, “Most countries want to bring their people together and tear down physical, commercial and cultural barriers.  “Anyone who proposes separating them is out of line. Walls are a sign of distrust, and that will never be the basis of a good friendship between two countries.”

He must be looking at a different map of the world than the one I’m looking at.  It doesn’t look to me like “most countries” want what he says they want.  Moreover, as a politician, Aguilar, no doubt knows that what most countries want, they want for their own self interests.  If it were to “most countries’” advantage to bring their peoples together and tear down physical, commercial and cultural barriers, then they would do so.  Here, the interests are a bit out of balance.  It is certainly to Mexico’s advantage for us to maintain the status quo.  Mexico can just keep trucking along, doing relatively nothing to create a strong middle class, upon which a strong economy depends, thus “permitting” us the privilege propping up their nonexistent economy, and trying to make us feel guilty, or “out of line” if we object.

Aguilar also says that “separating [countries] them is out of line. Walls are a sign of distrust, and that will never be the basis of a good friendship between two countries.”  Apparently, the moves of one nation (i.e., Mexico) to undermine the sovereignty of another is the basis of “a good friendship between two countries.”

Really, though, why should we distrust Mexico?  It’s not as if for years their history textbooks have been teaching their people that the U.S. stole the American southwest from them.  And it’s probably only the slightest coincidence that the people who have been told we stole that territory and moved the border, now traipse across that border as if we don’t have a right to enforce it.  And defy us even to try to enforce it.  I’ve said it before: friends don’t ignore each other’s borders.

¿Piensa que nosotros somos desconfiados, Señor Aguilar?  Pues, por nuesta punta de vista tenemos razón, hermano.


Anonymous said...

The problem with the sucession of Mexican governments is, I think, not only an issue of respecting one's borders. The issue is deeper: they are simply dumping their excess/surplus/whatever unqualified workforce on the U.S., and they prefer to alleviate their own social problems this way while opting for conveniently looking elsewhere.

I see the erection of walls as a sad thing, and I can understand why the Fox administration might be upset; but the fact is, they are also responsible.

For our mutual understanding, and for the strategic advantage that would imply a better acceptance of U.S. positions in Latin America, I hope this could be sorted out the best way possible.

A nitpick: The last sentence you wrote should read,

"Pues, según nuestro punto de vista tenemos razón."

(minor grammatical corrections and, also, we don't call among ourselves "hermanos" even when we are in fact brothers).


Asunción, Paraguay, South America
Former Lawful U.S. Resident
and Holder of A SS Number.

James Frank Solís said...


Thanks for your comment. For whatever it may be worth to others, you and I agree that much of this is Mexico's responsibility. As for myself, I used to be much better disposed toward Mexico: for much of my family, Mexico is the "old country" (but then, for others, so are Spain, Norway and Scotland).

As for your corrections of my spanish: (1) yes, it should have been "nuestro punto de vista" (this is what happens when I rush--in any language); (2) I selected "por" rather than "según" because I was thinking of our point of view as the cause of distrust, rather than the justification, or warrant, for thinking that we are right to be distrustful; (3) no, you S. Americans do not refer to each other as "hermano" even when you are, but in many places, we N. American hispanics do so even when we are not (actually it's usually 'mano), and my use of the term with reference to Sr. Aguilar was intended to achieve a certain sense of sarcasm: not only are we not brothers, but our two nations, at present, cannot possibly be said to be friends either.

(I suppose I open myself up to further criticism for making so much of these sorts of verbal nuances. But I'm a philologist; it's what I do.)

I am 41. I have lived in the U.S. now since I was 3. I will be the first to admit that my Spanish is now written and spoken in English/N. American thought-forms. My mother and grandmother keep correcting me too. I don't know, my friend: could be a lost cause after all this time.

Former lawful resident of Mexico

Anonymous said...

Languages are living things, if they can be refered to as "things." It is especially intriguing when the language is separated from its indigenous culture. One should not expect that an American Spanish speaker would use the language in the same way that a South American would use it. After all, an American is not a South American. Language is more than words, it is an expression of thought forms (I shamelessly insinuate a reason for a unified, national lanaguage). American thought differs from Mexican or South American thought and rightfull so. Thus, American Hispanics, I suspect, would tend to find a variety of expressions that would not necessarily equate to the expression of Spanish speaking cultures. Fascinating stuff...for language lovers...everyone else probably thinks we're just weird.

The Oracle

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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