Home 603 Mesoamerica Cultures

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Week 1-2 Carmack

Week 3 Whisnat

Week 4 Whisnat

Week 5 Whisnat

Week 6 Nash

Week 6 Essay 1 Question

Week 6 Essay

Week 7 Nash

Week 8 Manz

Week 9 Manz

Week 10 Binford

Week 11 Binford

Week 12 Oppenheimer

Week 12 Quinones

Week 12 Essay 2 Question

Week 12 Essay 2

Week 13 Oppenheimer

Week 13 Quinones

Week 14 Dow

Week 15 Dow

Final Paper

 

Victoria Kline
Anthropology 582: Mesoamerican Cultures
November 24, 2004
Dr. Ramona Perez

True Tales from Another Mexico Part II

Chapter 9 The Bronx a very boring story about a section of the Mexican Congress that spends its time in session heckling all speakers opposed to the lead PRI speaker from the “Bubble” the central section of the congressional floor that contains those that are allowed to speak and have input. The story is told, I think, to show how ineffective the Mexican Congress was and the evolution of the Bronx section in congress. The worse story so far. Too much information

Chapter 10 Leaving Neuva Jerusalen is a crazy story, but one Quinones says is not isolated within Mexico. Again the theme is PRI pays for supporters. In this case 75 families were ousted from their community because they would not go along with or were accused of opposing the very weird religious leader of Nueva Jerusalen Padre Nador. I say he is weird because he rules the town in the name of God, as a good Catholic padre. He  says he has visions, and the people of Nueva Jerusalen believe him. His “helpers” sometimes introduce hellacious predicaments for the children. At this particular time when the 75 families were ousted it was because there was a mini-rebellion going on among the teens. Padre Nador was imposing strict rules of dress and behavior on all the people of the community, it was most resisted among the teens, and their families were kicked out. The families were required to depart so quickly from Nueva Jerusalen that all their belongings and livestock had to be left behind. Their land was thus forfeited. This treatment is allowed to go on as the PRI turns a blind eye to the bending of Mexican law there because Padre Nador, leader of Nueva Jerusalen, guarantees all the townspeople will vote for the PRI party! There is a history of feuding in the area and one family, the Villasenors, from a neighboring town that rose to power and lost it in the lawless frontier of Turicato. Good story. He is going for the story and he cannot deny that. Neuva Jerusalen makes for a much better story than the Bronx, has more shock value.

Chapter 11 Jesus Malverde is a legendary bandit from the Porfiriato era. There is no historical proof of his existence, but he may be the combination, in legend, of two historical bandits: Heraclio Bernal and Felipe Bachomo. According to this legend Malverde was Mexico’s Robin Hood. There are many versions of the tale; various occupations he was supposed to have had, reasons why he began his life of crime, circumstances leading to his capture and variety of endings of his life. Since his death he has become the patron saint of narcotics sellers and traffickers. A shrine is erected for him in the town of Culiacan. The people pray to him and say he performs miracles!
Obviously the belief in the thing carries more reality that what is real. Blind faith? Is that what we humans are all about? Or is it better to be depressed and cynical but living in reality? The belief in the miracles performed by this dead bandit probably comes with a feeling that good things can happen. Malverde is really a saint to pray to for individual needs: a selfish saint.

Chapter 12 Tepito is an old barrio in Mexico City that has resisted urban renewal. In the last century it has been a place where the trades grew up out of recycling and refurbishing. Many artisan/craftsmen lived in this are of town. It was a place that you could get your shoes resoled, or buy a pair of used resoled shoes, or a place where a tailor could make a new coat out of your old one. The craft centers were built around the housing style of the viencindades, a central plaza surrounded by attached family dwellings. Families living in viencicdades saw each other daily, and the living areas were arranged for the recycling crafts that each did. They essentially formed artisan complexes and were a major foundation in the lives of the people living in Tepito.

A change in the way the people did business came with the sale of illegal imports, or fayuca. By bypassing the import tax, the goods could be sold much cheaper. Mexico City residents flocked to the old barrio to buy merchandise at discounted prices. This illegal trade made some Tepito residents very wealthy.
Then two things happened to interrupt the newfound wealth creating ventures. With the passage of the free trade agreement import tax was lowered so as to allow legitimate stores to sell the same merchandise at comparable prices, and an earthquake knocked down many of the viencindades, which were replaced by the government with apartments. The replacement housing did not allow for the communal type living that had been the norm in the viencindades. The living situation for residents became fragmented. New merchandise in the form of drug trade took the place of fayuca.
My favorite part of this story is this paragraph on page 237:

The ability to extract value from almost anything, letting nothing go to waste, applied to food as well…Tepitenos invented las migas, a soup made from spices and stale bread, with cow bones added for taste. A few neighborhood cafeterias still sell it. No one serves escamocha anymore, probably because it was, literally, garbage. A few Tepito vendors toured downtown restaurants every night, gathering in large barrels whatever customers didn’t, or couldn’t, eat. They’d sell the concoction by the kilo back in Tepito. Mothers would pick out the cigar butts and other inedibles and stew up the rest.

This is a quote about the period of time before the fayuca when Tepitanos had to use what was available. What they were doing by collecting the waste food from the restaurants is what some pig farmers do here in the US. They just cook it all up and serve it as pig slop. Who knew a person could live on it. I imagine that food poisoning was a possibility. But it goes along with the recycling and making something out of nothing that the people of Tepito were so adept at.

Chapter 13 The Last Valiente: the Valley of Jaripo, in northern Michoacan is where the last valiente lived according to this story. A valiente is a man who stands up to authority, does not let himself be pushed around, is considered courageous or romantically courageous, will take revenge when necessary, and is kind of an all around action hero. The valiente is a man who corridos are sung about and stories are told. People shudder to meet him on the street. The valiente is associated with the Mexican rancho.

Chapter 14 The Popsicle Kings of Tocumbo now here is a really great story of people helping people get out from under the burden of poverty by going into the ice cream store business. The number of these paleterias opened since the 1950s in the tens of thousands in all areas of Mexico. Ice cream stores in the 1950s were few and far between. Two men, unbeknownst to each other, had the same idea of starting their own stores at about the same time, then expanding and opening others. Sometimes they would keep the original, others they would sell to one of the employees and the employee would build up the business, hire someone to run the store and go out and open another one. This process of build and sell just took off. The results are that there is a fine village in Tucumbo that ice cream money has built, but the residents are gone for most of the year taking care of their ice cream stores.

Chapter 15 Nuevo Chupicuaro: this story is similar to the Popsicle King story.
In 1949 the Mexican government relocated the residents of Nuevo Chupicuaro, to make way for a dam project, to an area that was not good for growing. An alternative for residents unable to farm their own land was to go work in the US for a major part of the year and send money home. So many of the residents ended up doing this, and making good amounts of money to send home that the town now has many nice houses that are unoccupied most of the year. The residents are only able to return in December or January each year. In the meantime, the children of these families grow up and become established in the US job market and culture and have no desire to return to the old country.

 

Source

Quinones, Sam
2001    True Tales from Another Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.

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