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Posts Tagged ‘Benito Juárez’

Currently, View from Casita Colibrí is being brought to you from el norte.  Alas, tax season has come around again and mine need to be prepared.  Then there is never-ending house maintenance and repair.  I admit, it’s not all work and no play; being here means I get to spend time with family and friends, eat sushi, and give my regards to the Pacific Ocean. 

However, despite the ease of grocery shopping when one has use of a car, pricey supermarket herbs packaged in puny plastic boxes don’t feed my soul and delight my senses the way the stalls overflowing with fresh and dried herbs at Mercado Benito Juárez in Oaxaca do.

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Speaking of  the former governor of Oaxaca, Mexico’s much beloved five-term and only indigenous (Zapotec) president, Benito Juárez, his birthday is coming up on March 21.  He is the only individual in Mexico to have his birthday designated as a national holiday (celebrated this year on Monday, March 20). 

We would all do well to remember AND practice his famous words:  Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.  (Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.)

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At a busy intersection, on a small concrete island, sits the bust of a woman.  Who is she?

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This is where Pino Suarez and República both meet Niños Heroes, traffic comes in at “unnatural” angles, and my attention is usually laser focused on attempting to look in the right direction, deciphering which traffic lights do what, and keeping my adrenalin in check as I determine the safest moment to dash across each street.

However, a few days ago, on my return to El Centro, after having walked far up into Colonia Reforma, I decided to take a break and investigate.  Just who is this indigenous woman who presides from her triangular perch.

P1010334Meet Brigida Garcia de Juárez, from the mountain village of Guelatao, Oaxaca — mother of Oaxaca’s beloved favorite son and Mexico’s revered former president, Benito Pablo Juárez García.  She died when he was only three years old.

The plaque that rests at the base of the monument reads, “Madre de Benemérito de America – H. Ayuntamiento – 1984.  Mother of the distinguished national hero of modern Mexico.

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Last night I walked down to Oaxaca’s Palacio de Gobierno at the south end of the zócalo.  This former government palace is now a museum and I was headed up to the second floor to see two more Oaxaca FilmFest3 films.  I was early, the building was mostly empty, and so I took the opportunity to really study the mural that graces the walls of the main staircase.  Painted in 1980 by Arturo García Bustos, the mural depicts the history of Oaxaca.

Coming up the stairs, to the left, the customs and lifestyle of the Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Aztecs of pre-Hispanic times unfold.

As you ascend further, on the right wall the Spanish conquest is portrayed.

However, it is the center section of the mural that grabs the attention.  Best seen when one reaches the top, here Bustos, pulls out all the stops in representing the one hundred years from the War of Independence through the Reform Movement to the Mexican Revolution.

Featured in the upper right corner of this panel, wearing his signature red bandanna, is War of Independence hero, José María Morelos y Pavón.  He can also be seen in the lower right with a printing press, in his role as publisher of Oaxaca’s first newspaper, El Correo del Sur.  On the upper left is anarchist and Mexican revolutionary hero, Ricardo Flores Magón.  He is also pictured holding a banner reading, Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty).  Flores Magón is the namesake of the street that borders the west side of the Government Palace.

However, front and center is Oaxaca’s favorite son, Zapotec, former governor of Oaxaca, and Mexico’s much beloved five-term president, Benito Juárez.  He and his Oaxaqueña wife, Margarita Maza, hover prominently above his Reform Movement cabinet.  The full text of the ribbon is a quote by Juárez, “El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz” (Respect for the rights of others is peace).  It appears on the State of Oaxaca’s coat of arms.

Juárez is also pictured along with the cabinet and third from his right stands another Oaxaqueño, the young, menacing-looking, and far from beloved by the 99%, Porfirio Díaz, trademark epaulettes and all — a portend of things to come.

Following his death in 1872, the city and municipality of Oaxaca honored Benito Juárez by changing its name to Oaxaca de Juárez.

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… and fish and turtles and ducks.  On August 31, as the rain fell, all of the above and more, assembled at Templo de Nuestra Señora de la Merced for the annual Bendición de los Animales.  Animals and their human keepers were there to celebrate the feast day of San Ramón de Nonato, patron saint of women in labor, persons falsely accused, and keeper of animals.

There were some familiar faces, both human and animal, from last year’s blessing.  However, this year the dogs were extremely vocal and, on occasion, tested the strength of the human at the other end of their leash — perhaps it was in anticipation of the evening’s “blue moon” or maybe being restrained and made to just sit or stand in the rain made them grouchy.

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This morning’s article in Noticias covering the blessing, led off  with this quote from Benito Juárez García:

La protección de los animales forma parte esencial de la moral y de la cultura de los pueblos civilizados.  (The protection of animals is an essential part of morality and culture of civilized people.)

For more on this year’s Blessing of the Animals, head over to Oaxaca-The Year After.

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…fighting in Oaxaca.

Colorful gigantic papermache bull

Corrida de Toros, as it is known in Mexico, was outlawed by, then governor of Oaxaca, Benito Juárez.  The ban was instituted throughout Mexico in 1867 by Juárez during his presidency.  Some say it was to “civilize” Mexico, but others contend it was for nationalistic reasons, as bullfighting had been a legacy of the Spanish conquest.  I tend to think the latter tipped the scales.

Close-up of the head of a colorful giant papermache bull

However, Porfirio Díaz reinstated it during his presidency, but the ban remained in Oaxaca in honor of her favorite son.  And thus, on the Plaza de la Danza, we have only a paper mache bull ready to charge at his shadow…

Design of fish heads, Mitla frets, triangular mountains, etc.

and serve as a canvas for imagery, ancient and contemporary.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one who has made the journey from Oaxaca to California.  The San Francisco Bay Area has been basking in sun and Oaxacan-blue-skies.  Even though the temps don’t match-up, the coast beckoned…

Wall art on sea wall

And, wall art greeted us in Bolinas.

Wall art of surfer in wetsuit carrying surfboard

Gosh, except for the subject matter, I felt like I was in Oaxaca!

Wall art of whale on seawall

Wait!  Who is that I see?

Wall art of Benito Juárez on seawall

None other than Oaxaca’s favorite son, Benito Juárez.  The subject matter IS the same!!!

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