Mexico on the Bicentennial of its Independence: Ever Closer to Our America and Farther from Empires

By Arleen Rodríguez Derivet on September 16, 2021

Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel and his wife Lis Cuesta are greeted as special guests by Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and his wife Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller. photo: @GobiernoMx

Mexico is a lot of Mexico. And it doesn’t mess around. Here, everything is big. If proof was missing, the celebration of the Grito de Dolores in the year of the Bicentennial provided it. A dazzling play of lights and fireworks illuminated the night of the eve, in the central plaza of the Zócalo, full of pre-Hispanic images and symbols, but also of figures of heroes animated by video mapping, while the most popular songs of the music that identifies the various regions of the country were heard through the local audio system.

Not a single spectator in the Plaza due to the epidemic of COVID 19, but sentimentally overflowing with libertarian spirits. And with a notable Latin Americanist breath. For those who did not notice, there was only one singer and one song: the very revolutionary song “Latinoamérica” by Calle 13 in the voice of Lila Downs.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO to the Mexican people, had announced a surprise for that night that people traditionally celebrate to the point of exhaustion in all the main squares of the country, and there were many expectations among his compatriots, because gathering in the Zocalo is something that has not happened in the last two years. Covid 19 statistics are alarming here, where more than 200 thousand deaths and more than 30 million contagions have already accumulated.

It is said that there were dozens of people from the capital who insisted on jumping the fences, nostalgic for their main celebration in the year of the bicentennial of independence. But there were no concessions. The parties were held in the privacy of homes, with the same discipline with which the inhabitants of Mexico City themselves wear their masks at all hours and everywhere. And at 11 o’clock sharp, even the most reluctant to turn on the television were hooked on the transmission of the commemorative act.

AMLO and his wife Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, standing on the presidential balcony of the Government Palace, observed a minute’s silence for all the victims of the omnipresent pandemic. Then came his words, so much his own, so much the same and so different from those of previous presidents. Equal in the three vivas to Mexico and the mention to the fathers of the nation. Different in the mention of the anonymous, in the cheers to honesty, equality, love of neighbor…. Then the tricolor national flag waved in the hands of the President. And then began the surprise, that wash of lights, color, but especially of emotional outpouring to the great nation that this laborious and noble, passionate and supportive people have raised above the ashes left by three centuries of colonialism.

Obrador recalled in his vivas the heroes of Independence such as Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, Ignacio Allende, Leona Vicario and Vicente Guerrero, as well as the anonymous heroes.

The statue in honor of Columbus is no longer on the great Paseo de la Reforma. It has been replaced, at least temporarily, by the head of a Toltec woman. It is one of the actions promoted by the head of the Mexico City Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, a name cited in Mexico along with that of Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard as possible Morena candidates for the presidency to give continuity to the already historic six-year term of AMLO.

Today Mexico has welcomed and granted special guest status to the First Secretary of the PCC and President of the Republic of Cuba, Miguel Díaz Canel Bermúdez, so that he, his wife Lis Cuesta and several representatives of the Cuban Government will accompany him in the presidency of the Military Civic Parade for the Bicentennial of Independence. Cuba will speak to the Mexican government and people, who have been in solidarity since the founding days of the revolutions of both nations.

Tomorrow, Mexico will host the nations that make up the hopeful CELAC. The VI Summit of this integrating mechanism that was forged in another Mexican summit in Cancun in 2010. The summit  promises new ideas and concepts that aim at strengthening the essential group to the dreams of Latin America.

These are facts that history will record when these years go by, but the dazzling and courageous way in which Mexico, free today as ever and more sovereign each time, defies pressures that we cannot even imagine while it embraces the sister nations of Latin America which is already moving to the very root of our souls.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English