Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

In Mexico, the Story Still Has No Happy Ending

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

In Mexico, the Story Still Has No Happy Ending

Article excerpt

Stories about the Chiapas uprising quoted a refugee from the indigenous community saying he left his village in fear that there would soon be bombings. Others also would be leaving. Later, I saw the faces of these refugees on television. Their words and pictures sank deep into my soul.

When we were very young, my parents shared with their children the story of their coming to the United States during the revolution of 1910. They left Mex- ico because of the danger in their villages and haciendas. They did not own the haciendas: They were the workers left behind as the landowners fled to safer areas.

My father used to recall the stories his father and grandfather told. Men would come to their homes, knock and yell out, "Quien vive?" (Who lives?) The question really meant: Whose side are you on? If the people inside the house did not answer with the correct side, they were shot. They feared not only being shot but being taken against their wills to fight. And they all feared the women would be abused or violated. So they fled to this country.

This period was responsible for the largest migration into the United States from Mexico. This is why the stories arid faces of those indigenous people strike a profound chord in me.

Last week, we celebrated my father's 84th birthday. On his day, he and I discussed the events in Chiapas. He is saddened by what he feels is a repeat of history. He wonders, Will things ever change? Afterward, I reflected on the changes that have occurred in both countries in 84 years. …

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