December is the month of wonderful religious traditions throughout Mexico. Beautiful candle- lit posadas, glorious masses, families and friends gathering to celebrate Christmas and Chanukah, and a general sense of peace on earth. But in this darkest month of the year it is time to remember that beginning with the Spanish conquest, atrocities were committed against residents and settlers in Mexico in the name of religion. Continue reading The Inquisition in Mexico
The story begins in the early morning hours of December 9, 1531, when a 57-year-old Indian peasant named Juan Diego was walking along the path of Tepayec Hill on the outskirts of Mexico City. Continue reading Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady
By Kary Vannice
In nearly every city in Mexico, no matter the size, you inevitably find a Benito Juarez Avenue or Boulevard or Street. And most also have a prominent statue of the illustrious native President.
Perhaps, the most famous Mexican President of all time, Juarez served a tumultuous 14 years in office from 1858-1872. It could be said that Benito would never have served all those years in office were it not for his wife, Margarita Maza de Juarez. Continue reading Margarita Maza: A Faithful Collaborator
By Jane Bauer
The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.
-J. William Fulbright
Here is what I know about you- you have an interest in Mexico and you speak English. Perhaps your interest is only in enjoying this country’s amazing beaches, ruins or sipping a margarita by the pool or possibly by this point your interest has extended and you are curious about its history, its people and its traditions, maybe it is even a place you call home. If you are a regular ‘The Eye’ reader then you may have noticed that our format tends to follow a theme with each issue. This month’s theme took us on a yellow brick road adventure- starting out in Kansas with the broad theme of ‘drugs’ and ending somewhere in Oz with a culmination of ideas. I will admit I had visions of a gritty issue with hot topics such as the poppy fields of Sinaloa or profiles of Mexico’s top crime fighters. Instead the theme of ‘drugs’ took us to healing, to big pharma and since it is November we wanted to include something about the revolution. Of course there are the articles on community happenings such as the upcoming spay and neuter clinics for cats and dogs as well as information about helping villages affected during the rainy season. Continue reading Editor’s Letter
By Monika Maeckle
I made myself a rule several years ago to stop running blindly after butterflies with my net. Too often I had done so, often in the Llano River, chasing Monarchs in the fall when they return to Mexico. Sometimes I would trip on a rock, slip on wet limestone and narrowly avert catastrophe in the middle of nowhere with the closest hospital hours away. Continue reading A Butterfly Bonanza and Blue Morphos to be found in Huatulco
By Carole Reedy
A few months ago, the director of the Pochutla jail, Lic. Homero Gonzalez Ortega, and one of the inmates, Beatriz Arcia, approached the Biblioteca de San Agustinillo (a tiny library in an equally tiny village on the Oaxacan coast) for its assistance in creating a library at the prison. Continue reading In Pochutla Jail: Spreading The Joy of the Printed Word
By Liz Healey
After 4 very successful clinics over the past two Decembers, where over 400 animals have been tended to, Canadian Snipsisters, Heidi Wagner and Shelagh O’Brien, will return once again to the Huatuco area to run spay/neuter clinics for cats and dogs.
The first clinic will be in Barra La Cruz, December 11th thru 14th and the second in Coyula, December 16th thru 19th. Continue reading The Snipsisters are Back for Another Year
By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the temazcal was a village sacrament for Mexico’s indigenous peoples. It involved cleansing body and mind with curative plants, heat and vapor. But it was the ritualistic aspect of the activity, with the uniting of tens of community members at a time, which likely led to the conquistadores outlawing the practice. Even if religion was not specifically expounded in storytelling, chanting and prayer, the mere acknowledgement of the power of nature was surely enough to create unease for those early, very Catholic invaders.
In the village of San Juan Guelavía, a short drive from Oaxaca, Maestro Albino Melchor Cruz explains that while the Spaniards were concerned with permitting the practice of the temazcal as a traditional gathering of many, they were less apprehensive about its persistence on a smaller scale; perhaps an adobe hut into which a couple, or a shaman and an infirmed pueblo member entered. Thus, the more intimate temazcal continued, less threatening to the order the Spanish wished to establish and affirm. Continue reading Temazcal in Oaxaca Instills Sense of Community
By Brooke Gazer
The Mexican Revolution began as a revolt against the established order and morphed into a multi-sided civil war fought with passion and laced with intrigue. The death toll is estimated between 7-13% of the entire population; compared to about 2.5% during the American Civil war. This was a revolution of simple men rising up to against tyranny to assert their fundamental rights, and became one of the most important socio-political events in the last century. Continue reading Viva La Revolución