Mexamérica / editorial / Mayo de 2018

Guadalupe Nettel

Traducción de: Quentin Pope


As often happens with neighbors, Mexico and the United States have long had a love-hate relationship. Our shared history includes cordial treaties as well as wars and conflicts, not to mention an intense cultural exchange over the years. From the short stories of Ambroise Bierce and the works of the Beat Generation to the novels of Francisco Goldman, Mexico has inspired many US authors. And vice versa. With the recent escalation of tensions between our respective governments and some sections of our populations, some US citizens appear to believe that Mexicans are the cause of all of their woes. The odyssey of undocumented migrants is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of modern times. Their troubles are twofold: uprooted by poverty and violence, migrants are preyed upon as they make their journey northward; and then there are those facing deportation after having survived the journey and adapted to their new country. Despite the ravages affecting the lives of millions of people, this political crisis has at least had one positive effect: intellectuals, artists and social activists in the United States are keener than ever to learn more about their southern neighbors. Many have expressed their solidarity with us and have turned this support into a kind of resistance. Since this conflict’s intensification, the UNAM has provided a space of reflection and understanding. We have organized colloquiums to consider the wall as a symbol and physical barrier, to search for respect and dignity, and to discuss how Mexicans and Americans can create ways of resisting together. The US and Mexico have plenty in common. Apart from our 1800-mile-long border, we also share rivers, coasts, canyons, deserts, mountains, animal and plant species. Many of North America’s native peoples such as the Apaches, the Yoeme (Yaquis), the Tohono o’odham (Pápagos) and the Kikapu have seen their territories curtailed by this frontier. Both countries also have a history of marginalizing and ignoring the existence of these ancestral peoples and their rights. We had doubts about the title we chose for this issue. America is the name of a continent stretching all the way from the Arctic down to Patagonia. However, the term “Mexamerica,” first popularized by Joel Garreau in 1981 and later resurfacing in the title of Fey Berman’s recent book, has become the name of a flourishing cultural space, an underground society, an amorphous geographical area – “una geografía incierta” as Juan Villoro describes it in Spanish – about which people have become increasingly aware. The texts in this issue address the coexistence of languages, “La Bestia,” and the tribulations facing migrants without papers, daily cultural clashes, as well mutual rejection, attraction, affection and admiration. This issue is dedicated to the Dreamers, to those currently undergoing deportation, to families and communities divided by the wall, to the US and Mexican citizens who lament xenophobia and intolerance. Mexamerica is a rapidly evolving and thriving space; building a wall within can surely hurt it, but it will never suffocate it.”