Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Xinhua


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) led the country in its traditional Independence Day “Grito” late Tuesday, Sept. 15, but in a ceremony unlike any other due to social distancing measures imposed because of the covid-19 pandemic.

The traditional “Viva México” Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) is intended to echo the call for national independence screamed out by the Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the central Mexican town of Dolores, Hidalgo, when he rang his church bell and gave a call to arms in the late hours of Sept. 15, 1810, an act which would trigger the start of the Mexican War of Independence.

Each year, the Mexican president in turn traditionally reenacts the cry from the balcony of the National Palace in downtown Mexico City, while ringing the very same bell Hidalgo used in 1810.

This year, AMLO, accompanied by his wife, Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, dispensed with the usual large crowds and the protocol courtesy of inviting members of the international diplomatic corps in order to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus responsible for covid-19 infections.

Calling out to an essentially empty Zócalo (which was closed by authorities starting late Sunday, Sept. 13, to avoid crowds), the president offered seven standard historical gritos: “Long live independence! Long Live Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla! Long live José María Morelos y Pavón! Long live Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez! Long Live Ignacio Allende! Long live Leona Vicario! Long live the heroic Mexican people!”

He then proceeded to add his own series of 10 “long lives,” including “vivas” for the country’s indigenous communities, Mexico’s vast cultural heritage, freedom, justice, democracy, equality, sovereignty, universal friendship, love of one another and hope for the future.

AMLO concluded his grito by declaring “Viva México,” which, in keeping with tradition, he repeated three times.

After the president’s Grito, there was a fireworks display to commemorate the country’s 210th Independence Day.

…Sept. 16, 2020





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