ThinkMexican

Your source for Mexican history, cultura, news and sports. An online community of artists, scholars and activists. From Chiapas to Chicago, we're connected! Editor: ChepeMX

Escuinapa, Sinaloa: Town of Bicycles

Who says Sinaloa is all drug cartels and violence? In Escuinapa, a town of 30,000 located about 50 miles to the south of Mazatlan, bicycles and mongos are a big part of local culture, and by the looks of it, it seems like a really nice town.

Bicycles, in particular, are such an important part of Escuinapa’s identity that they even have a monument and a festival dedicated to it there.

Read more about Escuinapa and other parts of Sinaloa at former LA Times reporter Sam Quiñones’ blog. According to him, this video is one of his first attempts at digital storytelling. Not bad. Check out his YouTube channel to see more videos.

Pedro Infante Forever 

On April 15, 1957, 57 years ago today, Mexican film star and singer Pedro Infante died tragically in plane crash in Mérida, Yucatán. He was 39.

Born José Pedro Infante Cruz on November 18, 1917 in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Infante began his career as an performer in 1939. He would go on to star in 62 movies, and record about 350 songs.

Infante is best known his role as Pepe el Toro and Tizoc, for which he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival.

Known as the “Idol of Mexico,” Infante continues to bring joy to millions of Mexicans and others around the world for whom his films and songs are timeless.

Read more about Pedro Infante: http://thinkmexican.tumblr.com/tagged/Pedro-Infante

#pedroinfante #elidolodemexico #pepeeltoroesinocente #pedrobueno #tdih #thinkmexican

Pedro Infante Forever

On April 15, 1957, 57 years ago today, Mexican film star and singer Pedro Infante died tragically in plane crash in Mérida, Yucatán. He was 39.

Born José Pedro Infante Cruz on November 18, 1917 in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Infante began his career as an performer in 1939. He would go on to star in 62 movies, and record about 350 songs.

Infante is best known his role as Pepe el Toro and Tizoc, for which he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival.

Known as the “Idol of Mexico,” Infante continues to bring joy to millions of Mexicans and others around the world for whom his films and songs are timeless.

Read more about Pedro Infante: http://thinkmexican.tumblr.com/tagged/Pedro-Infante

#pedroinfante #elidolodemexico #pepeeltoroesinocente #pedrobueno #tdih #thinkmexican

Stories From the Real Coachella

Below is an excerpt from “How the P’urhépechas Came to the Coachella Valley,” an oral history of Pedro Gonzalez, one of thousands of P’urhépecha farmworkers living and working in the Coachella Valley of California. In an interview, he recounted the history of the P’urhépecha migration that created the Duros and Chicanitas labor camps located on the Cahuilla Indian Reservation:

I grew up in Ocomichu, Michoacán, which is a P’urhépecha town. When I was growing up, nobody knew how to speak Spanish. When you asked something in Spanish while they were working in the fields they would run, because they didn’t understand what you were saying. You suffer when you don’t know the language. My father wasn’t P’urhépecha, though, just my mother, so he taught us Spanish when we were young.

I first came to the U.S. in 1979. When I first arrived in Riverside I didn’t get a paycheck for two weeks. We survived off tortillas and oranges. We were working in the orange fields, and ate them for every meal. Someone lent us a couple of dollars and we would buy a package of tortillas. We needed to help each other, even when someone just needed a dollar. I just felt like crying back then, not knowing what to do.

Today in Duros or Mecca you can practically go anywhere and speak P’urhépecha with anyone. It wasn’t like that when I got here. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I lived with an African-American man in Palm Springs for two months and felt very lonely. Nowadays the younger generation says our memories of what we suffered are exaggerated. That makes me feel bad. We walked two nights and two days crossing the border back then. Now it costs as much as $3,000 to cross the line. You have to work for more than two or three months to earn that much. It used to be that you didn’t have to pay another person to help you cross. Now it’s much harder and the coyotes charge so much. I used to help people cross for $300, and it was no big deal. I’ve helped others cross and they’ve never paid me. They forget.

I would say we have about three thousand P’urhépecha people in this area now. There are a lot of us. In Riverside alone I think there must be fifteen hundred people. Our hometown in Michoacán has also grown a lot. It used to be a small town, but it’s now a lot bigger. A few years back, they conducted a census in Mexico and determined there were about eight thousand indigenous people living in the hills of that area of Michoacán. I would say most are still there, but there are many of us now all over the U.S. We’re spread out in Palm Springs, Coachella, Indio, and Riverside.

Here in the Duros trailer park, there were only four trailers when I came in 1999. Slowly, people started arriving and everything started growing. Now I think there must be hundreds of people in these two parks, Duros and Chicanitas.

Most of us here work picking lemons and grapes, depending on the time of year. I like working the lemon harvest the most, because it pays piece rate (and not by the hour). If you work by the hour, it’s just over $7. On piece rate you can make about $1,550 every two weeks. If we do odd jobs here and there, it’s enough for us to live on. But piece rate makes you work fast, and some people don’t like it because they don’t like to work hard. For example, today I finished nine rows while some others only did five.

The owner of the park is a good man, a Native American. He even helped me fill out the immigration paperwork for my family, and only charged $500 when others would have charged $2,000.

But we used to have a lot of problems before the state took control of the park. A big one was the lack of security. Once, my wife heard knocking right after we’d left for work. She thought we’d come back, so she opened the door. It was an intruder. She yelled and he ran off, but the security guards wouldn’t do anything to protect us.

Rent on the trailer here costs us about $250, and with garbage, water, and security it goes up to $300 a month. If you’re getting paid $7 or $8 an hour, that’s hard. Gas prices keep going up and our wages don’t. Food prices are high. I spend more than $300 every time I buy food. If people got together and decided not to work for one day, it would have a tremendous impact on the economy; but people don’t do that because they are in need of money. We participated in a strike once. But there were other people who really needed work. They went into the fields to work even though we told them not to.

My kids are here legally now, and I’m in the process of obtaining legal residency for my last child. They all speak P’urhépecha, which is what we speak in the house. My wife doesn’t speak Spanish too well. She refused to learn it in the beginning because she said she wouldn’t need it. But now look at how necessary it is to speak English in this country. When my kids were young we had such a humble life in Mexico. They used to run around with holes all over their clothes. But our life has changed. Now if they have a little tear, they want to throw the clothes away. They even waste a lot of food. They don’t know how to value things. My family still has land in the ejido. My brother sold his plot when the land reform law changed, but I still have mine. My father died but my mother is still alive, and my wife’s mother is as well. We never forget about them, and send them money continuously. I don’t think my kids will return to Michoacán to live, though. Even though some were born over there, when we go to visit they always want to come back. But I don’t think they will lose their language and culture living here. We hold onto the P’urhépecha traditions with dances, weddings, baptisms, and quinceañeras. We all help each other out. There are many P’urhépechas here so everyone feels at home. I might go back to Mexico to live someday, but I don’t know when. I haven’t been there in years. I don’t even have my voter card. I’ve never voted in my life.

Read more at New America Media

Photos and interview by David Bacon

Salt of the Earth

Based on an actual strike against the Empire Zinc Mine in New Mexico, the film deals with the prejudice against the Mexican-American workers, who struck to attain wage parity with Anglo workers in other mines and to be treated with dignity by the bosses.

The film is an early treatment of feminism, because the wives of the miners play a pivotal role in the strike, against their husbands wishes. In the end, the greatest victory for the workers and their families is the realization that prejudice and poor treatment are conditions that are not always imposed by outside forces.

Resources:

Study Guide

Lesson Plan

Salt of the Earth: Labor, Film, and the Cold War

44th Chicano Park Day Celebration

Organized by the Chicano Park Steering Committee

The 44th annual Chicano Park Day celebration will be held on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 10 am to 5 pm in historic Chicano Park, located in the Barrio Logan community, south of downtown San Diego, under the San Diego-Coronado bridge. This family event is always free and open to the public. The theme for the 2014 celebration is “La Tierra Es De Quien La Trabaja: The Land Belongs To Those Who Work It.” 

Visitors to Chicano Park Day will experience traditional music and dance, including one of the most beautiful performances of Aztec Indigenous dance, coordinated by Danza Azteca Calpulli Mexihca. Other dance groups include ballet folklorico troupes, Ballet Folklorico Tierra, Flor y Canto and Ballet Folklorico Azquetzalli and danza Zapateado rebelde by Mujeres en Resistencia. The event will also include a blessing by Tim Red Bird and the Red Warriors.

Live bands performing this year include Chocolate Revolution, Los Nativos, Sumatra, Big Quarters, Ruby Clouds, Trigger Nasty, Mariachi Imperial de San Diego, 2MX2, Project Unknown (Logan Teen Music Program), Back N Time, Radio La Chusma and Bill Caballero and friends. Speakers include Georgette Gomez of the Environmental Health Coalition and Rudy Gonzalez, son of the late Rodolfo ‘Corky’ Gonzales from the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado and representatives from the Brown Berets de Aztlan, Amigos Car Club, Via International and the Chicano Park Steering Committee.

In addition, there will be a display of classic lowrider cars organized by the Amigos Car Club, kids (all ages) art workshop and various informational booths. Food, arts and crafts vendors will be selling their specialties throughout Chicano Park.

For more information, visit Chicano-Park.com and the Chicano Park Steering Committee Facebook page.

44th Chicano Park Day Celebration

Organized by the Chicano Park Steering Committee

The 44th annual Chicano Park Day celebration will be held on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 10 am to 5 pm in historic Chicano Park, located in the Barrio Logan community, south of downtown San Diego, under the San Diego-Coronado bridge. This family event is always free and open to the public. The theme for the 2014 celebration is “La Tierra Es De Quien La Trabaja: The Land Belongs To Those Who Work It.”

Visitors to Chicano Park Day will experience traditional music and dance, including one of the most beautiful performances of Aztec Indigenous dance, coordinated by Danza Azteca Calpulli Mexihca. Other dance groups include ballet folklorico troupes, Ballet Folklorico Tierra, Flor y Canto and Ballet Folklorico Azquetzalli and danza Zapateado rebelde by Mujeres en Resistencia. The event will also include a blessing by Tim Red Bird and the Red Warriors.

Live bands performing this year include Chocolate Revolution, Los Nativos, Sumatra, Big Quarters, Ruby Clouds, Trigger Nasty, Mariachi Imperial de San Diego, 2MX2, Project Unknown (Logan Teen Music Program), Back N Time, Radio La Chusma and Bill Caballero and friends. Speakers include Georgette Gomez of the Environmental Health Coalition and Rudy Gonzalez, son of the late Rodolfo ‘Corky’ Gonzales from the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado and representatives from the Brown Berets de Aztlan, Amigos Car Club, Via International and the Chicano Park Steering Committee.

In addition, there will be a display of classic lowrider cars organized by the Amigos Car Club, kids (all ages) art workshop and various informational booths. Food, arts and crafts vendors will be selling their specialties throughout Chicano Park.

For more information, visit Chicano-Park.com and the Chicano Park Steering Committee Facebook page.

Free Escuelita Zapatista Textbook in English: Autonomous Government I

DOWNLOAD HERE

For those who couldn’t attend last year’s Escuelita Zapatista, here’s your chance to study from the very same textbooks given to students. 

The first text, Autonomous Government I, studies the history, roles, duties, rights and obligations of an autonomous government and its members. More textbooks to be uploaded as they become available. 

Thanks to Intercontinental Cry Magazine for sharing the link.

Free Escuelita Zapatista Textbook in English: Autonomous Government I

DOWNLOAD HERE

For those who couldn’t attend last year’s Escuelita Zapatista, here’s your chance to study from the very same textbooks given to students.

The first text, Autonomous Government I, studies the history, roles, duties, rights and obligations of an autonomous government and its members. More textbooks to be uploaded as they become available.

Thanks to Intercontinental Cry Magazine for sharing the link.

Emiliano Zapata Spoke and Wrote in Nahuatl

Part of a message written in Nahuatl to supporters of the Mexican Revolution sent from the headquarters of the Liberation Army of the South in Tlatizapán, Morelos, on April 27, 1918 by its Commander in Chief, Emiliano Zapata:
 
“…Axcan ocachi que me aic monequi ti mo zepampalehuizque ica nochi to yolo ihuan ica nochi totoyoquiliztli itech inon huei tequitl de necetiliztli mahuiztic, huelneli de necate tlen qui pehualtihque netehuiliztle tlen qui yolóhpia chipahuac nin pehualoni ihuán ámo qui poloa nin neltocaliz de cuali-inemiliz…”

“…Now more than ever we need to help each other with all our heart and with all our efforts in this great task of unity, which is truly the work of those who got into the fight, to keep their heart clean with those principles and to not lose faith in a life of respect…”

“…Ahora más que nunca hay necesidad de que nos ayudemos entre nosotros con todo corazón y con todo nuestro empeño en esa gran tarea de unificación digna, que es verdaderamente la tarea de los que se metieron a la lucha, que conservan limpia en su corazón esa empresa y que no pierden la fe en una vida de respeto…”

via comoespinademaguey

Emiliano Zapata Spoke and Wrote in Nahuatl

Part of a message written in Nahuatl to supporters of the Mexican Revolution sent from the headquarters of the Liberation Army of the South in Tlatizapán, Morelos, on April 27, 1918 by its Commander in Chief, Emiliano Zapata:

“…Axcan ocachi que me aic monequi ti mo zepampalehuizque ica nochi to yolo ihuan ica nochi totoyoquiliztli itech inon huei tequitl de necetiliztli mahuiztic, huelneli de necate tlen qui pehualtihque netehuiliztle tlen qui yolóhpia chipahuac nin pehualoni ihuán ámo qui poloa nin neltocaliz de cuali-inemiliz…”

“…Now more than ever we need to help each other with all our heart and with all our efforts in this great task of unity, which is truly the work of those who got into the fight, to keep their heart clean with those principles and to not lose faith in a life of respect…”

“…Ahora más que nunca hay necesidad de que nos ayudemos entre nosotros con todo corazón y con todo nuestro empeño en esa gran tarea de unificación digna, que es verdaderamente la tarea de los que se metieron a la lucha, que conservan limpia en su corazón esa empresa y que no pierden la fe en una vida de respeto…”

via comoespinademaguey

¡Zapata Vive, La Lucha Sigue!

On the 95th anniversary of Emiliano Zapata’s death, campesinos, civil groups, and community members gathered at the site of his assassination in Chianmeca, Morelos, the Hacienda de San Juan.

The hacienda is today site of a museum, and a statue showing Zapata on horseback.

Read more about Zapata at our blog: http://thinkmexican.tumblr.com/tagged/Emiliano-Zapata

Foto via El Barzón Nacional

#emilianozapata #zapatavive #chinameca #morelos #mexico #mexicanrevolution #mextagram #thinkmexican

¡Zapata Vive, La Lucha Sigue!

On the 95th anniversary of Emiliano Zapata’s death, campesinos, civil groups, and community members gathered at the site of his assassination in Chianmeca, Morelos, the Hacienda de San Juan.

The hacienda is today site of a museum, and a statue showing Zapata on horseback.

Read more about Zapata at our blog: http://thinkmexican.tumblr.com/tagged/Emiliano-Zapata

Foto via El Barzón Nacional

#emilianozapata #zapatavive #chinameca #morelos #mexico #mexicanrevolution #mextagram #thinkmexican

Indigenous Communities of Pómaro, Michoacán Oppose Disarming Autodefensas, Transnational Mining

The Nahua-speaking coastal communities of Pómaro, Michoacán, where 84.14% of the adults speak an Indigenous language, have suffered for years the plundering of their natural resources by foreign corporations. The Mexican Constitution clearly states that they must have the approval of Indigenous communities to extract its riches. Given the refusal of the villagers of Pómaro, these transnational corporations have used the Caballeros Templarios Cartel to sow death and extortion, buying off authorities in order to achieve their goal of operating in the area.

La Costa Michoacana is peaceful for the moment. Comunitarios managed to scare off the Templarios who now hide in the city of Lázaro Cárdenas. Comunitario members have set up checkpoints in the Duin, Cachán, Tizupan, Huahua and Caleta de Campo, but warn that the federal government’s announcement to take away their guns have left them with no choice but to resist, as disarmament would result in the return of the criminal element.

Video via Tejemedios

Guadalajara Citizens Build Bus Stop Where City Fails to Provide Service

In Guadalajara, citizens continue doing the work of the government. In the past, they’ve painted bike lanes; now they’ve built and have put up bus stops that provide seating and shade for public transportation users.

City officials have unfortunately taken it down. Nevertheless, it’s another example of Mexican ingenuity and solidarity. Read more at Animal Político, and for more information on this project, follow TuParabus on Twitter.

Mexican Actress María Félix Celebrated on the Centennial of Her Birth

Today marks the centennial of the birth of famed Mexican actress María Félix. Born María de los Ángeles Félix Güereña in the small town of Álamos, Sonora, María is said to have been discovered as she was walking down a street in Mexico City, where she moved soon after divorcing her first husband at the age of 24. She would be married another four times. Once to fellow actor, Jorge Negrete, and another to musician Agustín Lara, who composed “María Bonita” as a loving tribute and wedding gift.

Considered brash and arrogant by some, but admired for her wit and impeccable style by many more, María Félix is widely considered the most beautiful and charismatic leading lady of Mexican cinema’s golden age (Época de Oro). Nicknamed “la doña” (the boss lady), her bright star still shines for many inspired by her words and style.

Theaters, museums, and civil institutions in Mexico City, New York City, and other parts of the world, honored María Bonita today by recognizing her contributions to the arts.

Félix died 12 years ago today on her birthday, April 8, 2002. She was 88.

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Photo Exhibit: Frida Kahlo, Her Photos

Frida Kahlo, Her Photos presents over 200 images from Frida Kahlo’s personal Casa Azul archive in Mexico City. MOLAA’s featured spring exhibition includes images of Frida, by Frida and for Frida. Represented here are a wide range of photographs that shed light on a more personal side of Frida’s life, from family photographs, both traditional portraits and candid shots at the Casa Azul, to mementos of pain, love, and the artistic, intellectual and political milieu in which she lived. This selection from the Casa Azul trove also includes images by Lola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Man Ray, Tina Modotti, and Edward Weston among others.

Exhibition on view through June 8, 2014 at MOLAA in Long Beach, CA

Fernando ‘El Toro’ Valenzuela

“And he still matters, I think, to a generation of Mexican Americans for whom he was our first hero.”

- Estela López from the documentary “Fernando Nation”Why do the Los Angeles Dodgers have such a strong Mexican fan base? Obviously, a big reason is that the Dodgers play in eLAy, city with a huge Mexican community. But the real reason may be because so many of us remember “Fernandomania,” and the pride they felt in seeing a fellow Mexican triumph in the Major Leagues. That pride has since been transmitted to other generations, creating such a sizable group of loyal fans.

Fernando ‘El Toro’ Valenzuela

“And he still matters, I think, to a generation of Mexican Americans for whom he was our first hero.”

- Estela López from the documentary “Fernando Nation”

Why do the Los Angeles Dodgers have such a strong Mexican fan base? Obviously, a big reason is that the Dodgers play in eLAy, city with a huge Mexican community. But the real reason may be because so many of us remember “Fernandomania,” and the pride they felt in seeing a fellow Mexican triumph in the Major Leagues. That pride has since been transmitted to other generations, creating such a sizable group of loyal fans.