By RICARDO CASTILLO
Snafu over Gay Zapata Painting
Mexican revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata was murdered 100 years ago, on April 10, 1919. Over the last century, he became a Mexican Revolution icon, a magic figure with a holy aura.
But all hell broke loose this week at Mexico’s Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace) when, in an exhibit to commemorate him, an artist painted him as a naked drag queen riding a white horse.
This being modern Mexico, nobody even batted an eyelid over the painting, except the family which runs the National Union of Agriculture Workers (UNTA), who broke into the Fine Arts Palace on Tuesday, Dec. 10, a week after the opening of the exhibit, and began battering every individual they considered to “look gay,” mostly all present since members of the LGBTQ community were celebrating the exhibit, which included the painting by Chiapas artist Fabián Chaired in the show curated by official Belles Arts curator Luis Vargas.
The confrontation led to a minor brawl, but when it all calmed down, the relatives of Zapata as well as a good-sized contingent of followers, threatened to sue the painter, the Mexican Culture Secretariat and the Palace of Fine Arts management for the “denigration” of the memory of the revolutionary hero for painting him unclothed and wearing high heels and his huge pink traditional Mexican farmhand sombrero.
On Wednesday, Dec. 11, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) had to step in and, during his press conference, he recalled that his political motto states that “it’s prohibited to prohibit.” AMLO summoned the UNTA leaders, several of them Zapata descendants.
The question in the air was whether the revolutionary hero of the masses was, in fact, gay, as painter Chaired depicted him. About the only mention in history books is the one made by gringo author John Womack in his stupendous narrative “Zapata and the Revolution,” in which, in one scene toward the end of the book, Zapata attended a luncheon fiesta staged by one of his bravest generals who “loved cooking and boys.” Womack mentioned that Zapata attended the party, but that’s about as close as one can get to concluding that Zapata was gay. Honestly, nobody ever even considered the matter up until now, and much less imagined him mounted on a white horse wearing stiletto heels.
AMLO said he was stepping in because “it is a special matter and it is reprehensible for differences to be settled with the use of the force.”
“What’s this about storming into the Fine Arts Palace and beating people up?” the president asked rhetorically.
He added “artists have all the freedom and there can be no censorship.”
By the way, the exhibit it due to remain on display through Feb. 15.
Evo in Argentina
Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard confirmed on Thursday, Dec. 12, that he had received a phone call from deposed Bolivia President Evo Morales from Argentina.
The last time Ebrard spoke about Evo was Friday, a week ago, when Morales was flown to Cuba in a private airplane that took off from the Toluca airport.
At that time Ebrard complained: “He didn’t say goodbye, so he may return.”
Morales left all of the sudden as Mexico and the United States were shaking hands and exchanging smiles over the visit of U.S. Attorney General William Barr to AMLO, bringing about suspicions that he perhaps was invited to leave, along with an entourage by several undisclosed ministers of his former cabinet.
Ebrard, however, commented that in his call Morales said he “was grateful for the generosity of the people and government of Mexico.”
Morales will remain indefinitely in Argentina as a political refugee.
Industries on the Skid
The October version of the Monthly Industrial Activity Indicator issued by the National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI) showed that industrial activity in the nation fell by 2.8 percent.
With October, the indicator adds up 13 consecutive months on the skids, dropping to an annual descendent “stationary” rate of 8.9 percent of the current growth rate.
Also down were mining and manufacturing by 2.1 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.
On the growth side, electricity (generation, transmission and distribution) grew by 4.4 percent, along with water supply and gas ducts for consumers, as compared to October 2018.
In a tweet, Inegi Director Julio A Santaella also reported that the industry subsectors with greater losses were specialty construction. with minus 15 percent, printing and related trades with minus 13.2 percent, and design and manufacturing of transport equipment with minus 9.2 percent.
Mystery Labor Addition
Mexican United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) negotiator Jesús Seade Kuri said that the last-minute clause on labor tagged onto the treaty that stalled negotiations was a mystery to him.
“I don’t know where it came from,” he said.
“I’d like to have someone explain it because it is not in the text of the treaty. It’s not anywhere. This is sheer madness and I don’t know who invented it. It was never discussed even remotely.”
Without mentioning her by name, the negotiator said that the source might have been a meeting U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi had with the Democrats to discuss the vote on the USMCA in which “erroneous information may have been added to the addendum on the treaty.”
He denied that Pelosi might have given Democratic congressmen an ultimatum to vote for the USMCA and to drop all questionings on labor practices in Mexico.
AMLO’s Little War
The fierce criticism and attacks on the AMLO administration from the president of the Mexican Employers Confederation (Coparmex), Gustavo de Hoyos, claiming that López Obrador was “just like Santa Anna, selling Mexico to the United States,” were answered Wednesday, Dec. 11, by the president during his daily press conference.
“De Hoyos is carrying out a political campaign because he wants to be the candidate of a political party for governor of Baja California,” AMLO said. De Hoyos, a Tijuana resident, is also a ture-blue National Action Party (PAN) member.
De Hoyos said that Mexico ceded too much to the United States and Canada and that AMLO was repeating “Santanismo,” referring to Antonio López de Santa Anna, who was made a prisoner after the battle at the Alamo.
AMLO, very much in keeping with the Mexican political style of answering questions that might be irritating by attacking the source, tried to disqualified De Hoyos by saying “he does not represent real businessmen, but rather he is sort of leader of a political party.”
We’ll see what the next round of verbal boxing brings.
Sports: Soccer Final Delay
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is currently holding its World Club Cup of Associations in Qatar, as a prelude to the World Cup which will be also held in that Middle East nation.
For Mexico, the Monterrey Striped Gang (Los Rayados) will be playing as of Saturday, Dec. 14, against the local Qatari representative.
The presence of “The Gang” in the World Cup of Associations representing the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) caused some scheduling problems since Los Rayados were supposed to play this week against the America Eagles for the national championship.
The home and away matches between Monterrey and America have been postponed for the weekend after Christmas day.
Monterrey will play at home at the BBVA Stadium on Dec. 26, while the return match will be held on Dec. 29 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.