Mexico City Interlude

30 June 2012


This time (unlike two days ago) my flight from Lima occurred as planned, and I arrived in Mexico City about 7:00 pm, with my flight to the US not until the next morning at about 7:00 am. Since I had twelve hours in Mexico City, and I honestly don’t know if I will ever again visit Mexico City, instead of killing twelve hours at the airport, or going an airport hotel, I decided to stay right in the heart of Mexico City.

I got a room at the historical Majestic Hotel located right on the Zócalo, and I was given a room on the second floor with a view directly into the center of the Zócalo. Though the hotel was rather run down and had obviously seen better days, the view was remarkable and worth any inconveniences. It was also quite loud because there was an enormous ongoing political rally in the square — a candlelight vigil and speeches and singing and every other conceivable form of expression. I couldn’t follow the speeches, but I picked out enough words to gather the left-of-center orientation of the protesters, since words like “lucha” (“struggle”) and “compañero” (roughly, very roughly, “comrade”) occurred repeatedly. Such words constitute the “identity politics” of language.

In the next balcony over from mine there was a Mexican man also out looking at the demonstration. I asked if he spoke English, which he did, and he told me that the protest primarily consisted of students who were concerned to make a point, on the eve of Mexico’s elections (which is tomorrow), of the need for political transparency and of the problems of corruption.

Later when I was walking around the streets of the immediate area, I saw protesters walking toward the Zócalo with their candles and their signs. Some of the signs said, “Yo soy 132” which I remembered in order to look it up later, because by this time I was curious about what was going on. There is a Wikipedia article on the Yo Soy 132 movement, which it describes as, “an ongoing Mexican protest movement centered around the democratization of the country and its media.”

The activities in square continued on late into the night, and if I was to get any sleep at all I had to get to bed sooner rather than later, though I would have found it interesting to continue to observe the proceedings.

By the time I left the hotel at 4:30 am (in order to be at the airport by 5:00 am, i.e., two hours prior to my 7:00 am flight), the Zócalo was quiet, and everyone had gone home, but there were still clusters of candles burning. When I arrived at the airport about 5:00 am it seemed to be as busy and bustling as the Zócalo was a few hours previously.

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Grand Strategy Annex

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