Happy Bicentennial Birthday, Mexico!

15 09 2010
The Mexican Flag at the Zocalo in Mexico City

The Mexican Flag at the Zocalo in Mexico City

Happy Birthday, México!

México, – the Estados Unidos Mexicanos – my beloved country, celebrates its 200th birthday tomorrow. The milestone is not to be taken lightly, as the struggles, passion, efforts, mistakes and achievements of millions of individuals had made it possible.

México’s 19th century proved to be a very intense welcoming to the new nation: we went from infancy to semi-adulthood through fire, wind and dust. In less than 80 years we:

  • attained independence from Spain when the European nation were menaced by the power of Napoleon;
  • endured two Emperors – one local and one from Austria;
  • bounced back and forward between centralist and federalist governments – with some civil war episodes;
  • had more than 6 provisional and “permanent” constitutions;
  • were invaded more than once by distant and close neighbors – and in the process got the strangest and most childish name for a war: the Pastry War or Guerra de los Pasteles;
  • had a president of humble origins, lawyer and judge that fought and won on the issue of separation of state and church;
  • had two long-governing dictators, one of them one-legged, the other an almost self-declared Francophile;
  • managed to have some of the most brilliant legal minds of our country, with the Amparo law as the jewel of Mexico’s very early contribution to the protection of human rights;
  • named at least two native Mexican presidents, both from the state of Oaxaca: the Francophile and the one from humble origins;
  • enjoyed relative peace and prosperity at the turn of the century – but at the cost of extreme inequalities that created the conditions to the first big revolution of the 20th century.

The 20th century allowed us to transit towards a grown-up country, after said revolution, the creation of an omnipresent political party that managed to remain in power from 1929 until 2000, a paternalist state, flirtation with the open market, a free trade agreement with Canada and the U.S., and finally a fully-democratic lifestyle in 2000 with the first opposition president.

Nowadays we struggle with the necessary complications of incipient democracies, and the complications of old ballasts and weights. But beyond the historical anecdotes, [We, the] Mexicans manage to live joyful and festively through our 200 years. Our food is the best – said the Mexican; tequila – this one, but not that one – is useful to celebrate, forget, and even ease the pains of teething on toddlers.

Here, here for the birthday boy country: ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡VIVA MÉXICO!

(I apologize for the uber-use of Wikipedia as a source, but the temptation was too big to resist).

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