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Posts Tagged ‘José María Morelos y Pavón’

September 16, 2015 marked the 205th anniversary of the beginning of Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.  Like all such occasions worldwide, it was celebrated with patriotic parades.  Here in the city of Oaxaca, civic and military contingents marched from the corner of 20 de noviembre and Trujano, passed the Government Palace, east on Guerrero, then north on Pino Suarez, to wind up at Paseo Juárez (aka, Llano Park).

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Oaxaca’s Palacio de Gobierno, with images of Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez and José María Morelos y Pavón, two of the heroes of struggle for independence.

Before you could see a contingent, you could hear it; often drums and drummers heralded the arrival of both school and military groups.

IMG_9648IMG_9653Like most patriotic parades, military and police elements dominated the civic.  In Oaxaca, we are talking federal, state, and municipal, including units from the thousands of members of the Gendarmaría Nacional, who have been in town for at least a month.  I do have to say, besides the usual, some of the camouflage face paint had an “only in Mexico” flair.IMG_9691

IMG_9719IMG_9717copySpectators lined the streets along the route, but mostly reserved their applause for the bomberos (firefighters)…

IMG_9710IMG_9711Cruz Roja (Red Cross) workers, especially the canine unit and young volunteers…

IMG_9731IMG_9727and, last but not least, the riders from the Asociación de Charros de Oaxaca, who brought up the rear.  I guess the thinking was to keep the streets free of horse manure until the end!

IMG_9742IMG_9743IMG_9758IMG_9757IMG_9750That’s all, folks!

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Early Wednesday evening, I walked down to the Palacio de Gobierno to see Dreamer, one of the Oaxaca FilmFest4 offerings.  It had been raining on and off all day and so, to lighten my load and make room for my umbrella, I left my camera at home.  Why would I need it?  I was just going to be sitting in a small dark theater.  Sheesh, was I mistaken!  It was twilight when I entered the Palace via the side door on Flores Magón, but we were directed to exit through the main front entrance — and I was blown away by the scene before me.  The rain-soaked zócalo glistened and glittered, awash with El Mes de la Patria green, white, and red lights.

Needless to say, last night when I returned to watch, Twenty Million People, I took my camera!

Government Palace lit with green, white, & red lights

Heroes of the independence movement, Hidalgo and Morelos in the spotlight as they gaze down from the Government Palace.  I always forget how beautiful the zócalo is at night!

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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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As I write, it is late on September 15, and all over Mexico El Grito de Dolores, also known as El Grito de la Independencia (the Shout of Independence), is echoing from government buildings throughout the country, from the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City to Oaxaca’s Palacio de Gobierno to ayuntamientos (city halls) in small towns.

Mexicans!
Long live the heroes that gave us the Fatherland!
Long live Hidalgo!
Long live Morelos!
Long live Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez!
Long live Allende!
Long live Aldama and Matamoros!
Long live National Independence!
Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico! Long Live Mexico!

Portraits of the above listed heroes of Mexico’s War of Independence from Spain hang from the Government Palace in Oaxaca, as well as from the Municipal Building facing the Plaza de la Danza.

Massive 3-piece banner portrait of Morelos hanging from wall of Oaxaca's Municipal Building

And, this year, José María Morelos y Pavón is honored with a second massive portrait on the outer wall of the Municipal Building.  Last year, it was a reproduction of Orozco’s dramatic painting of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla.

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196 years after his execution, Generalísimo José María Morelos y Pavón has returned to Oaxaca.  Filming is underway on the film tentatively titled “Morelos,” chronicling the last three years of the life of one of Mexico’s most revered heroes

José María Morelos y Pavón painting

Costumes hang ready for quick costume changes.

Men's costumes hanging on rolling rack.

Mexican independence fighter extras await the Spanish language equivalent of ACTION!

Male actors in freedom fighter costumes stand on sidewalk

Serious cameras are ready to film the action.

Large professional film camera

Horses and their riders have taken over the surrounding streets.

Man in freedom fighter costume riding a horse

Like all movie sets, it’s, hurry-up and wait!

Independence fighter standing next to horse.

Muy guapo, is all I can say!  The horses… the horses…

Independence fighter walking towards camera, horse in background

You can lead a horse to water…

Independence fighter in between two horses drinking water from a trough

The set designer has taken Constitución back two hundred years…

Camp site

The newly paved cobblestone street and sidewalks have been covered in dirt and buildings and even trees have been aged.

Dirt sidewalk and aged looking buildings and tree.

Though the film is covers a time in the life of Morelos that is distinguished more by politics than military action, “dead bodies” line Constitución.

Three "dead" dummies on dirt street

“Morelos” is directed by Antonio Serrano and stars Dagoberto Gama, in the title roll.  Filming is also scheduled to take place in Veracruz, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Hidalgo, Morelia (named for Morelos), and Mexico City.   It is produced by Luis Urquiza and los Estudios Churubusco, with support from Conaculta, Imcine, and the governments of the states.

Freedom fighters sitting and waiting

I imagine it’s release will be a major event… can’t wait!

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In Mexico, from small pueblos (villages) to large ciudades (cities), most all have calles (streets) named Morelos and Hidalgo — some, like Oaxaca, have more than one, which can be very confusing when trying to find an address, to say the least!  The names Vicario and Ortiz de Domínguez aren’t nearly so commonplace.

However, two of the women (among countless unsung heroines) who played a major role in the struggle for independence from Spain were Leona Vicario and Josefa Ortiz Domínguez.  In a fitting tribute to their importance to the Independence movement, their giant portraits currently hang on the outside wall of the Municipal Building overlooking the Plaza de la Danza, along with those of Miguel Hidalgo de Costilla and José María Morelos y Pavón.

Portrait of Leona Vicario

Leona Vicario, 1789-1842

Leona Vicario provided money and medical support, helped fugitives, and served as a messenger.  After escaping from prison, she helped her husband, Andrés Quintana Roo, plan strategies on the battle field.

Portrait of Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez

Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, 1773-1829

Confined to house arrest after a co-conspirator betrayed the upcoming plans for revolt by the Independence movement, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez was able to smuggle a message out, warning of the betrayal.

Portrait of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, 1753-1811

As a result, in the early morning of September 16, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang the church bells in Dolores, rallying the rebels, and issuing, what has come to be known as Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores), the signal to begin the War of Independence from Spain.  It is an event that is recreated all over Mexico at 11 PM on September 15.  (See the link re why it isn’t done in the early morning of September 16.)

Portrait of José María Morelos y Pavón

José María Morelos y Pavón, 1765-1815

The last portrait on the wall is that of José María Morelos y Pavón, of Afro-mestizo heritage, and, like Hidalgo, also a priest.  He was a capable military commander who assumed leadership of the independence movement after Hidalgo was executed.  For a local connection, on November 25, 1812, in what is thought of as a brilliant victory, Morelos, along with the support of Mariano Matamoros and Miguel Bravo, took the city of Oaxaca.  Fittingly, the streets Morelos and Matamoros run parallel and M. Bravo intersects them just a few blocks from the Municipal Building and the Plaza de la Danza.

(ps)  These portraits are painted directly on fine mesh screen… thus, the window bars showing through.

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