Mexico: The Land of the Goodbyes

Everyday people leave the mountains for cities and cities for American dreams. Bus stops are only exciting venues for tourists that you attract with your folklore and warmth, but tears lay dry on their floor. Mothers, wives, and grandmothers hide the humidity in the pupils while their sons, daughters, husbands, go north in search of a better future. You have become the land of the goodbyes.

The highway is two ways, they leave and come, every step is a goodbye. Un adiós to their roots that have betrayed them, to the roots that promised freedom and justice. Dry fields and oppression was all they got.

They moved their cornfield a few times asking to the Virgencita de Guadalupe to guide them in the search of healthier soil. The river became wider and devoured half the crop, the poor fertilizer bathed the field and seeds didn’t have a chance to live. The corn sponsored by NAFTA entered the market and your corn, the one you’ve been loving for centuries, became American too. Just like your people, my people. It was the end of the Mexican cornfield and our hope was swept away.

Young people are abandoning you; they want to be gringos. They go and come back speaking English, mocking your traditions and your pinches pueblos, and driving around in their pick ups with California or Florida license plates. They think you don’t know what development is. US is the shit, ese.

They are lost in two cultures. They don’t belong to neither place; nobody want them anymore. Victims of patterns of migration, victims of too many goodbyes.

And your women. Maybe is my western mind clashing with your traditions, but they are still being sold to the higher bet. And the poverty, the mental poverty that is affecting 99% of the population and it’s spread by the telenovelas, soccer, and the government that want us to stay like this. And your middle-class young people spending thousands of pesos at nightclubs every weekend and snoring half of the cocaine, which final destination is the US.

Your streets hide stories of assassinations and massacres, while decapitated bodies hang from bridges and heads roll through your blood-stained streets. The narcos possess us and our fears. They shoot their American guns wherever and whenever they want, and block our streets when they want to remind us in whose land we live.

The American kids already left one of your cities. I wonder who will take our children away from you. I know you belong to various groups: the powerful, the forgotten, the comfortables, and me. Please tell me, do your insides get torn when you see those old brown hands of the braceros who picked cotton for years and they have nothing more than the stories from when they went to the north? Or when you see the old woman sitting on the sidewalk with her hand open while busy young professionals pass her by unaware of her existence? Or the young guy who protest in front of the city hall with machete in hand for the freedom of his town while the municipal president laughs and the media portrays him as a rebellious indígena? Or when you see me walking through your streets with pen in hand writing about how sad is to see poor kids working on the streets? And what about when we, all your daughters and sons, complain about how much you suck and blame everybody for your state of being, but us?

Did we betray you, rather than you to us? Have we forgotten that we have to fight and speak out against all the powers that are devouring you? Are we the ones who want to be something else, than mexicanos?

Am I sounding chauvinistic? I know I’m being pessimistic, but it is devastating to see how your reality is being polarized by corruption, impunity, and conformity. I wonder: is it you who is now saying goodbye to us?