7. But, It is not our fault!
"The first step to wisdom is the recognition of our ignorance".
The word introspection exists in the Spanish language (introspección). Nevertheless, Mexicans do not appear to be aware of the word, or act, of introspection.
Mexicans are unwilling, or unable, to look at themselves and say. "We have a wealthy country, we have a wonderful geography, we have a wonderful climate, we have a wonderful assortment of foods, and we are at peace with all countries. Yet, poverty and violence persists and our people desperately abandon the country. What are WE doing wrong?"
Instead, Mexicans project their inadequacies and blame other countries for their social and economic maladies.
Before I continue, I will provide you with my background:
I am from the city of Tijuana, Mexico. As a child, I lived one block from the point of entry to the United States. The nearest grocery store was two blocks away, one block inside the United States. At that time, we did not have a fence at the border. We could go back and forth without any impediments. A shopping trip for clothing would be to downtown San Diego. We would visit the San Diego Zoo. I remember crossing to Coronado on a ferryboat. I was exposed to Americans at an early age. Our livelihood depended on them. I learned some English from American missionaries who would go to Tijuana to teach children. The currency we used was the U.S. dollar. Baja California Norte was a territory, not a state. Tijuana was controlled by Mexico City, which is 1,500 miles away.
I am fortunate that I was raised in Tijuana. I was exposed to two cultures, and from our isolated corner of North America, I could learn from two cultures.
In Mexican school, I finished what would be the equivalent of Junior High School. English was a mandatory class in the last three years of Junior High.
At age 16, my mother took me to live with her in Los Angeles, California. I graduated from a U.S. High School at the age of 18. Uncle Sam drafted me into the U.S. Army. I served in the Signal Corps. After my discharge in 1968, I took advantage of the opportunities that this country offers and I obtained a B.S. in Business Administration, with a minor in Economics, then I became a Certified Public Accountant, and eventually, a lawyer.
I write this chapter based, not on statistics, but on my observations. I write as a person who has knowledge of both the Mexican and the American culture.
I ask the reader to apply common sense and determine if my observations are valid.
It’s the fault of the Spanish!
Blaming the Spanish is a song (more likely a chorus) I have heard all my life.
Mexicans, primarily those of Indian ancestry, of course, blame most of what is wrong with Mexico on the Spanish.
For example: There is a Facebook posting on the internet with the following words:
|"Si los españoles no hubieran llegado, el imperio Azteca hubiera dominado todo México y seriamos una superpotencia. Los españoles y sus aliados solo terminaron arruinando un prometedor futuro".
Emman Patiño. 19 de octubre de 2014.
|"If the Spanish had not arrived, the Aztec Empire would have dominated all Mexico and we would be a superpower. The Spanish and their allies only ended up ruining a promising future".
Emman Patiño. October 19, 2014.
A lot of hoopla has been made about the Aztec "civilization".
The Aztec were Stone Age people. They did not know the wheel, the use of hard metals, nor they had a written language. The Aztec were a warrior people, similar to the Spartans. They lived only for war. They lived in a world immersed in superstition. They spent their energies on the continuous sacrifice of their subjugated victims. They were not builders nor scientists. Other groups of Indians, such as the Toltec and the Maya, built the pyramids that we associate with Mexico.
The Aztec were not native to Mexico. Seven tribes, known collectibly as Nahua, invaded Mexico in the early 1300’s. No one knows where they came from. Chicanos claim that the Nahua came from the Southwest of the United States. That is the Chicanos’ claim for ownership of the Southwest. However, if you abandon a place, can you, centuries later, claim its ownership?
ztec is a misnomer. The proper name for them is "Mexica", hence the name Mexico. The Mexica were one of the seven Nahua tribes. They arrived to Mexico as conquerors about 150 years before the Spanish arrived. They were the original Conquistadores
ith their ferocity and viciousness, they soon conquered and subjugated the tribes in Mesoamerica, in the center of Mexico.
When the Spanish arrived in Mexico, they found a societal structure ripe for exploitation. The people venerated their emperor as a deity. He had unconditional power of life or death over them. His word was the absolute law. He was a complete despot. All the power was concentrated in the emperor and a few nobles. The noble class was composed mainly of the priests and a warrior upper class. There was nothing in between. It was a societal structure based on servitude. Even the nobles were servants of the emperor. There was no Magna Carta in Mexico.
What the Spanish did when they arrived was simple. Kill the emperor. Kill the nobles or marry them. Accustomed to servitude, the rest of the Indians followed blindly.
A good example of the servile mentality of the Mexica is a battle that took place between the Spanish and the Mexica. This was the battle of Otumba. At Otumba, about 450 Spanish and a handful of their Indian allies faced a Mexica army of over 200,000 warriors. The Spanish were running away from Mexico City, did not have any cannons or powder, and had only twenty-two horses. The Spanish won the battle by attacking the Mexica generals. The Mexica generals were easy to spot. Servants carried them on hammocks to the battlefield festooned with colorful plumage. The Spanish targeted the generals, killed them, took their standards, and the rest of the Mexica ran away.
Mexico, pretentiously, shows mockups of the city of Tenochtitlan, the city-state of the Mexica. What Mexico does not say is that only the emperor, nobles, priests, and top-level warriors inhabited that city. The overwhelming majority of the Mexica lived in straw huts, caves, and among the cornfields, in desperate poverty. Similar to the way they live today.
Could such a group become a superpower?
The general conception of the conquest of Mexico by the Spanish is that Spain sent a vast number of soldiers, with superior modern weapons, to prey upon noble and helpless victims.
That is rubbish!
Mesoamerica, at the time that the Spanish arrived, had a population estimated to be from four to five million people.
The Spanish were less than six hundred men and not professional soldiers. They were a rag-tag group of mercenaries of various nationalities, not sanctioned by the Spanish crown, equipped with whatever weapons each of them could buy. They never had more than eighty horses.
The main weapon of the Spanish was the hate that Indians had for each other. The Mexica (Aztec) were vile, cruel, despotic, blood thirsty and abusive towards its subjugated vassals.
Human sacrifices were a daily ritual. Sometimes several victims would have their heart cut out simultaneously, then offered to their gods and the hearts and bodies consumed in cannibalistic rituals. In their many festivals, their victims numbered thousands in a couple of weeks.
The defenders of the Mexica justify these atrocities by saying that their religion required that the Mexica offer these sacrifices to maintain order in the Universe.
However, the Mexica did not sacrifice themselves to maintain order. They sacrificed their neighbors!
The result of this barbarism was hatred.
When the Spanish arrived, the victims of the Mexica saw the Spanish not as conquerors, but as liberators. Thousands of Indians from many different ethnic groups allied themselves with the Spanish.
When the Spanish and their allies sieged Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City), the attacking force was composed of around six hundred-thousand Indians and less than six hundred Spaniards.
The conquest of Mexico was not an invasion by a foreign force, but a war of Indian against Indian. Without the willing fratricide of the Mesoamerica Indians, there might not have been a conquest of Mexico by an European power.
The Spanish perceived this hatred among the Indians, and utilized it to their advantage.
What does your common sense say?
This tradition of fratricide exists today. Mexico is a violent country where Mexicans keep killing each other. Whether it is the cartels, the military, the police, or street gangs, the tradition continues. Even in the United States, Mexican-American gangs are killing each other. The drive-by shootings, generally, are not against members of other races. They are of Mexican-Americans against Mexican-Americans.
Who can you blame for this? The Spanish are now long-gone.
The Spanish did leave a legacy in Mexico. A legacy of corruption and bad administration.
It is not that Spain is a corrupt and badly administered country. I do not know Spain and I refrain from categorizing it in any manner.
The problem is that the Spaniards who came to the Americas were not the cream of Spanish society. They were adventurers who came to find their fortune, similar to the carpetbaggers who plagued the South of the United States after the civil war.
They were ruthless and greedy, and not of the highest moral character. The Spanish government would take prisoners and press them into service in the American colonies.
The result was an ambiance of disrespect for law, disrespect for humanity, particularly towards the indigenous people, and of course, corruption. The Spanish government would give, or sell, what is called an "Encomienda". The Encomienda was a granting of a group of Indians to a lord "for the purpose of protection and Christianization". The Indian was not a slave, but he had to pay for his "protection and Christianization" with labor. The Indian could not be "protected" by anyone else. This was indenture, a "noble" type of slavery.
This abuse created disrespect and fear for authority among the Indians, and corruption among the government officials who would grant the Encomienda.
These factors are the basis for the social system in Mexico today.
Exploitation by those in power, and disrespect and mistrust of law by those who are not.
Those who are not in power are, generally, the ones migrating to the United States and bring with them that atmosphere of disrespect for authority, and mistrust for law, since, in their experience, the law is not there to protect them. The law exists to protect the powerful, their lord.
Does that make sense?
It’s the fault of the Americans!
"If the Americans had not taken all that land from Mexico, we would be a great country
I have heard this mantra all my life. Supposedly, if the United States had not taken the fertile lands of Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, the richness of the Golden State of California, and the wealth of the oil of Texas, Mexico would be a leading economic powerhouse in the world.
I will repeat what I wrote in Chapter 5, first and second pages. "Mexicans choose to ignore that the land taken by the United States did not belong to Mexico. This land belonged to the original North American natives".
Let us assume that such land had belonged to Mexico. What would be the status of such land today?
California is a wealthy state. It is because, what (until recently) was good management, transformed it.
Let us compare Southern California with the state of Baja California, in Mexico. Both areas are arid land. By building dams and irrigation structures, the United States government transformed Southern California into one of the most desirable places on earth. Compare this to Baja California, what is there? A wealth of undeveloped natural resources! Good administration would generate great economic benefits to Baja California.
The same is true for Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. If these states were part of Mexico, Mexican politicians would have exploited Texan oil without benefiting the Mexican people (remember, the government owns the oil in Mexico). They would not have developed Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.
The point here is, if Mexico still had this land, it would not have had much impact on its economy, because corruption and bad administration would have negated the benefits.
So, why blame Americans?
Are my observations logical to you?
A commentary that I hear and read often is that "Mexico’s problems with violence are due to the insatiable appetite for drugs in the United States".
True, the United States has a serious drug use problem.
However, if you find out that your neighbor’s children are smoking marijuana, are you going to start planting marijuana in your back yard and sell it to your neighbor’s children? You would not be a good neighbor!
Instead of helping the United States to solve this problem, Mexico is magnifying this problem by facilitating transport of drugs from South America, and planting and manufacturing its own drugs for export to the Unites States, sometimes under the protection of the government.
I ask you, is Mexico a good neighbor?
The meaning of my observations is that Mexicans need to stop blaming anyone else, look at themselves, and ask:
What are WE doing wrong?
I can mention one thing that is wrong with Mexico: There is no law, and no due process.
Succinctly, there is no justice. Correction; there is all the justice that a person can buy.
Mexico has written law, as well as the United States. The difference is that it is rare that the Mexican authorities adhere to it.
Due process, by personal experience, does not exist. No one is equal under Mexican law.
I will relate my experiences about the Mexican legal system.
I have visited the prison of La Mesa in Tijuana, Mexico. This prison had a rectangular shape, surrounded by walls. From the outside, not different from a U.S. prison. The inside had a large building that covered about two-thirds of the grounds. This building was where the prisoners were "housed". I did not go inside this building. On the left side of the building, still inside the outer walls, there was a tenement composed of cubicles about 6x10 feet in size. There were about ten to fifteen of these cubicles.
I entered one of the cubicles where the person that I visited lived. There was a door to enter, just like any house. Inside, the prisoner had a television, stove, radio, a small heater, kitchenware (including knives), and yes, a bunk. This was like a small studio apartment.
The prisoner had better living conditions in prison than many poor Mexicans have on the outside.
The prisoner was sentenced for drug trafficking.
This prisoner was paying "rent" to the prison warden so that he could live in that space, otherwise, the warden would have thrown him inside the big house. I never found out, nor wanted to find out, what the living conditions were in the big house.
The point? Even if you are in jail, you can buy the life style that you can afford.
In another occasion, I visited the same prison with some fellow attorneys.
Attached to the "Big House", but inside the walls of the prison, there was a smaller building, about 1,000 sq. ft. in size.
Inside this building, there were three small offices. One office was the Judge’s Chambers. It had a beat-up desk that I doubt Goodwill would accept. This showed me how much respect Mexicans have for the judiciary.
The next office belonged to the prosecutor; the other office was for the public defender. Both of these offices had furniture similar to the furniture in the Judge’s Chamber.
The rest of the building was a single room. On one side, there were some tables for the judge, the prosecutor and the public defender. In the opposite wall, which was part of the place where they housed the prisoners, there was a hole about three feet in diameter with horizontal bars. It was not round, because it was of an irregular jagged shape. It appeared that this irregular hole was made with a chisel. The hole was at head level. The tour guide told us that when there was a judicial hearing, the guards would position the accused on the other side of the wall, in front of this hole. The only visible part of the accused would be his head, behind bars.
There was another table on one the side of the room with a coffee pot and some empty mugs. One of the attorneys in my group asked the tour guide, "Who uses this table?” The guide answered, "This table is used by the judge, public defender, prosecutor and other employees".
Another of the attorneys asked, "You mean they all have coffee together?" The response was "Si" (Yes).
We were aghast. Where is the impartiality? Where is the adversarial system when the judge, prosecutor and public defender are "coffee brake buddies”? How can an accused, shown already behind bars, have a fair trial by three buddies?
As to trials:
There is no jury system in Mexico. Furthermore, the trials are, for the most part, in writing. There is no cross-examination. Nobody can create a "Law and Order" series out of Mexican trials.
By the time they bring the accused in front of the judge, the judge has already formulated his decision. In Mexico, you are presumed guilty, and if you are lucky, or have enough money to bribe someone, you may be found innocent.
Bribes are the foundation of the Mexican legal system. I have a close friend of mine who is a Mexican lawyer in a large city in the center of Mexico. I visited his city once. At the time, he was the assistant to a judge. At point-blank, I asked him, "Do you accept bribes?” His answer was "Not on dispositive matters." I guess he meant that bribes on dispositive matters are the realm of the judge.
For a taste of the Mexican justice system, visit the true case of the documentary "Presumed Guilty" on YouTube.
Please, invest the time. It is really worth it.
First, watch the interview with the lawyers who helped the victim at:
Then, watch the documentary at: Presumed Guilty!
(1 Hour 28 minutes).
Compare what you see with my description of my visit to the prison in Tijuana.
In Chapter 4, I mentioned one of the objectives of the Merida Initiative is to establish judicial Due Process and institute an oral Jury System in Mexico. I repeat, why do the United States taxpayers have to bribe the Mexican government to create a fair system of justice for its citizens? By bribing the Mexican government, we become co-conspirators.
Since the legal system in Mexico is unfair, does not protect the rights of the innocent, and allows the guilty to be free, there is disassociation between the legal system and the minds of the people.
Disrespect for law and order is prevalent. Civil Law, Criminal Law, Traffic Law, City Ordinances-which are practically non-existent-, are ignored by the majority of the people.
A few years ago, I visited a doctor client of mine in Tijuana. I stopped at his clinic; from there he drove me to his home (about five miles) to review the legal documents. On the way, he ran five stop signs. And this is an educated person!
Unfortunately, the illegal Mexicans who slip into the United States bring with them a disposition of disrespect for the law.
Just entering illegally indicates their temperament. They are bringing Mexico to the United States, instead of embracing the legal idiosyncrasies and social principles of their host country, America.
The "Ahí Se Va" philosophy.
Ahí Se Va
is the workmanship standard for Mexicans. The equivalent for this expression in English is "That is good enough, let it go". They do not strive for excellence.
You can see this attitude in their buildings, street construction and general upkeep of their properties: car, house, business, etc. in Mexico, and in the United States.
Once, a friend of mine asked me to accompany him to the Los Angeles International Airport to pick up his parents. They were arriving from Mexico. I asked him, "Do you know where the Mexican terminal is"? His answer was, "It is easy to spot, just look for a sign that has some letters missing". He was right! When we arrived to Aeronaves de Mexico, a few letters were missing from the sign. True story.
A good example is the following picture, which I found in the internet. Could not the sign maker take just a couple of minutes to make a better sign? Even if the child made the sign, his parents should have shown him how to do it right. This sign represents them.
Do not take my word for it. Take a stroll in the eastern areas of Los Angeles County, or visit Puerto Vallarta (but the residential sections, not just the hotels selected for tourists).
Mexicans are hard workers, but not endeavoring workers. The majority believe that if you are not working with your hands, you are not working. They are content with "putting little boxes inside big boxes" and let somebody else do the thinking.
This attitude is one of the reasons we find such small representation of Hispanics in engineering, business, medicine, law, science, etc. in our schools.
Compare them to the immigrants from Asian countries.
Generally, Mexicans bring such anemic goals to the United States, particularly those who are illegal, since they have lesser education.
Mexicans need to correct this attitude, if they want to compete with European and Asian work ethics, and cease being the underclass.
For Mexican political cartoonists view of Mexico's society, click: Here.