Tag Archives: opinion

How former Mexican president Fox’s words against Trump exposes way of doing things

The manner Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, expressed his disapproval of Donald Trump’s wall exposes the irate, compulsive, and demeaning ways Mexican leaders have ruled over the Mexican people for centuries – but barely no one in the world noticed.

Even though Fox is one of the few (very few) Mexican presidents actually elected by the people, a dictatorial way of doing government has endured to our days. If not ask the Texans, who noticed this issue and did not wait to separate from Mexico — or unsuccesfully Yucatan, the Rio Grande Republic, Guatemala, and Chiapas. Many have pointed out that Mexican presidents rule with insults, racism, bullets, and dangerous improvisation.

Only words.

Many would say Fox leveled in tone with Trump. But bare in mind that Trump is a candidate in his own party. Fox has already been the ruler of a 100 million Mexicans plus the 10 million illegals in the US he wanted during his campaign to vote for him so he could bring them back. His words have always been that, words. He made wild promises of change, democracy, and creating jobs so that people wouldn’t have a need to migrate to the United States. The result was an utter sham.

Not only he didn’t bring illegals back to Mexico, but his only economic goal of 7% growth was a flop. So Mexicans fled, not only to the US but elsewhere.

With Mexican economy stalled Mexican Congress became overrun by opposition, so that Fox became a sitting duck – our Mexican version of Obama if you will (except a right-winged Obama). Fox started a dirty media campaign against a promising left-winged Mexico City mayor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. Insult after insult, a one-sided war of words against a man who was the de facto candidate for all leftist parties. He even orchestrated his political demise through shadowy maneuvers, which made Obrador even more popular. Sounds familiar?

The dawn of war.

Fox’s legacy are not just words and his flamboyant insults, but his ineptitude to rule a nation. The job is simple, but his obsession to destroy Obrador and his “populist” menace blinded him to urgent matters in Mexico. After all, the country is vast in territory – danger brewed in its northeastern corner.

In 2003 new drug cartels appeared in Tamaulipas. Yes, there were drug cartels in Mexico, but this new breed stormed in with freighting military tactics and such hatred against the population as a whole. Previous cartels have only operated against Mexico military. Many of the old cartels faded under the blood-thirsty new ones, who executed people in the streets and performed terror attacks at public places. Other cartels adapted at such wrath, such as El Chapo. But Fox did nothing, for words and insults could not make this away.

As his non-democratic predecessors of the 20th century, he controlled the media, so “nothing happens” was the motto. We don’t have to be historians to know how this developed, and how it has prompted Trump to build the wall at the border.

Lack of policy

I’ve come to the conclusion that Mexican presidents become dictatorial because they have no policies or ideals. Mexican presidents (and emperors) with clear policy making ideals die or are killed. After all, we Mexicans have lived under dictators under 500 years. Invaded by the Hispanics, for us government is one person laying down our destinies for his personal gain.

There is a (not so unreal) joke about Mexican presidents here in Mexico: “What time is it” asks the president. A lackey answers, “Whatever you want it to be.”

This notion that Mexican presidents can get away with murder (literally) is engraved in all Mexicans. This makes them crazy with power. Not one (except for a few cases, again) have they used their kingly power to do good.

Everything has to do for personal glory or business. There is no government policy ever made that the president in turn doesn’t have an economic or business advantage. Thus, a systematic machine of corruption, racism, and gestapo-like police is in place. American criminals always flee to Mexico because there is a sense of lawlessness when it actually has harsh non-sequitur laws… unless you are out of sight of the government (Federal, state or municipal).

One thing is the leadership

Just as Americans as uncomfortable on how things are run in Washington, so the majority of people in Mexico thinks of the Mexican government and special interest groups. Did you know that after the Arab Spring young Mexicans rose against the government in social media? And did you know that the internet was almost, almost in peril of being shut down in all of Mexico? Did you know there are political prisoners right now? I’m not talking about Cuba but Mexico. Did you know the upscale children of Mexican politicians are right now vacationing on yachts in Europe or doing safari in Africa?

Please, dear Americans or foreigner — whether you’re left or right-winged, liberal or conservative – one thing is the corrupt and racist Mexican government, politicians and criminals. Then there’s the rest of us. Whatever Mexican leaders say or do is in their interests, not in our name. And remember they have Mexican and Spanish-speaking media under their sleeve for that same reason.

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School systems have failed

School systems world wide have failed.

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Every school in every city in the world is failing as you read these lines. The argument defending school systems is is laughable when we see the world we live in — violence, numb sleepy minds, disregard for nature, wars, no jobs, racism, and rampant ignorance.

To defend the world’s school systems is to be blind to the chaos we’ve been spiraling into. We erected part-time jails for our children (yes, I have children) to waste years and years of their lives in useless trivialities with the utmost stupid way of evaluating them.

It’s like having Ussain Bolt learning all-things skiing, and telling him the goal in life is to ski at Aspen. Poor Ussain Bolt wouldn’t be the fastest human on the planet, but surely the most frustrated one. Well, all kids are having this problem. We all had this issue.

And those are first-world problems to say the least. In countries like here in Mexico children are taught to be employees or factory workers, not innovators. Systems like these only create robot-like flocks instead of artists and scientists.

You wonder why there is no cure for cancer? It may be locked in one of the millions of numbed minds in the workforce (or unemployed). Worried to pay bills, watch sports, and envy on materialistic things, the cure for cancer may be doomed to never be known. Or teleportation for that matter, or the solution for peace in the Middle East, and such.

Schools are so important that the moment they failed (and they did) the world begins to look as the dark ages or Colonial Mexico. With inquisition-like institutions and lack of quality debate. The way we think has become less scientific, less spiritual, less artistic, less free, while being more stupid and frivolous.

If you’re interested in fighting the system check my novel, Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

What is to be a father?

By Miguel Omaña.

Now that the whole Father’s Day upheaval has settled down we can really ponder with clarity of mind what a father is. Not that we are not able of talking about it days before or during our day (me being also a father), I’ve found things become more real and steady after such celebrations, very much like New Year’s.

So what is to be a father?

Perhaps the answer I’ve come up with may be so simplistic and perhaps bland. Still, after my mind has gone over it several times and based on personal experiences (good and bad) this is what I consider it to be. A father is one that’s there, no matter what.

Pretty broad definition, huh? Well, I thought so at first. But you see, when you think of it, we’re all sure what a mother is — one that brings into life her child, feeds him/her, and the such. This applies to adopting moms, or even gay couples — you gotta grant me there’s a mommy figure. Nowadays many moms work or earn money, so that 1950’s idea of mommy at home and daddy at work is not only undoable but preposterous for many out there.

We need good fathers in a time where society has grieved and suffered too much.

But the concept of what is a father can be sketchy at best. In an era of high divorce rates and destroyed families, we better come up with a good idea of what a father should be. We need this, in a society that’s seeing too much grief and pain because of a bad family environment — a problem not only endemic to inner city communities but also to suburban areas.
There are dads that go the extra mile, and those that don’t. Don’t mind the latter.

A father is one that’s there, no matter what. This means that someone (anyone) that stays along their kids, her partner’s needs, and present in family issues is a father. I may be criticized for being to lose on such an important figure of a family, but believe me — for a man to do that is way too much in these days were fathers are prone to split away and never look back. There are dads that go the extra mile, and that’s worthy of note. But… and here’s the ugly but… many dads don’t tend fully commit to a family they formed in the first place, to a partner they chose to begin with, in a life they knew they were getting into.

The just ones pay as sinners.

Here we have a saying that says “Justos pagan por pecadores” roughly translated as “the just ones pay as sinners”. These means just because fathers in general have a bad rap it doesn’t mean all dads are spineless weasels that don’t care about their family well-being. Newsflash, there are good dads out there, more that you can imagine. And still, the bad apples may outweight what we good dads may be trying.

Dad, start from the little details. No biggie.

Being there for your family doesn’t only mean physically but also in state of mind. One that is worried about how your little girl is doing in Math, or when the new movie your wife wanted to see comes out. Details, people! Such details count in a life of a family. Yes, there are also bills to pay, errors to mend, and bad habits to control. But what if we start from details only to build up to the bigger issues?

Common ground on what a father should be.

I’m not religious, I’m not left or right winged, but I have found based on personal experiences there is a common ground on what a father should be. Don’t worry what a father should not be, focus on what a dad can do to make a better life for their kids and wife/partner.

How can a pompous LeBron James be a role model to society?

Please explain to me… how can an egotist still be considered a role model after not delivering his own boastful expectations of himself?

Looking up to someone who doesn’t walk the talk.

Let’s face it, whether we’re talking about a political officeholder, a scientist, or a basketball player, one who doesn’t walk the talk is (or should) not be taken seriously. That’s how incumbent politicians are defeated in elections and researchers deprived of grants. But what to do with public figures like LeBron James who may be more of a role model to kids and society? He sure lost the NBA Championship to Golden State Warriors.

One thing is individualism, and another hollow vainglory.

A boastful, self-centered man (forget his a well-paid athlete, if you can) who considers himself the best in the world (literally) yet constantly failing to achieve his only goal in his line of work. People may come up with tons of stats data about how he’s good (and as his fans say, his teams are not). But no one can explain why groundless individualistic narcissism can be admired over and over. Don’t get me wrong, one thing is the individualistic effort to overcome obstacles — into which for good or ill Western culture has fostered — and another having a hollow vainglory.

One day we will forget what victory or advancement was.

A self-declared historian of basketball, LeBron James has called himself the best in the world while blaming his teammates (or fate) after each loss. Last time I checked, that’s not role model material. Sorry, but there are far better examples of people who have excelled through adversities and still managed to retain a healthy dose of sober composure. It is dangerous for a society to lookup to people like him, or else one day it will be a norm to boast about oneself while not showing it. We will become the “I’m the best but you don’t know it yet” people instead of the “I will work hard to become the best” kind of thing. With faux heroes omnipresent in our daily lives that one day we will become so fake, that advancement and victory will be blurred to mere boastful words.

Let’s just hope real role models don’t become extinct.

So much role models, inside and out of the NBA, and we tend to pick the worst of them all. We as a society need to remember what it takes to be a winner, a victor, an achiever — and if not, there are still very good examples nowadays. Let’s just hope those role models don’t become extinct by the sea of vanity.

Mexico’s most dangerous elections to be held in a few hours.

In a couple of hours Mexico will have the most dangerous elections in the worst political climate ever. A complicated situation that has been amounting for the last 500-plus years. Midterm elections are tomorrow morning in a nation disenchanted by democracy, the worst approval for a president, omnipresent state-sponsored racism, followed by massacres and protests.

The fail state environment is undeniable thanks to social media.

It is the toughest moment of Mexico and yet the government and electoral body are playing it 20th century style, unwilling to recognize people are more knowledgeable thanks to social media and the internet. The monolithic Televisa, ever-present TV network was once responsible for the cover-ups of much of the governments wrongdoings. Most notably the 1968 student massacre, the 1970’s “dirty war” against communist rebels, the 1980’s economic debacle, the 1990’s political assassinations, and the 2000’s drug war. But now, in the 2010’s the fail state environment is undeniable thanks to social media, internet, and foreign media coming into the country by cable or internet. Televisa and the government are still operating as in the 1970’s, having major headlines of troubles in Venezuela, riots in the United States, and the Middle East, but oddly in our facebook and twitter accounts Mexicans are sharing and commenting on news generated by citizens itself.

Democracy is undermined in Mexico.

The key is information. For so long there has been an institutionalized effort to block information from the common Mexican. They have gone from the patriotic extremes, like prohibiting the old movies that recounted the El Alamo battle in Texas, to the annoying “nothing is happening” ideal of a make-believe nation. But now almost anyone who can fairly handle a mobile phone with camera can record video or photographs of things happening in Mexico — from police corruption, politicians sex escapades, and worldwide violence (literally many are battles in the drug wars). If not, we can see it at Fox News, CNN, or other media. This has undermined president Enrique Peña Nieto and his presidency and the belief of democracy.

A few hours ago the military and federal police were deployed to four states awaiting violence.

Now many municipalities and states are tonight in a true state of rebellion. A few hours ago the military and federal police were deployed to entire states like Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Puebla. Teachers, students, natives, and community vigilantes have stormed in the last days into INE (National Electoral Institute) facilities, offices, and warehouses were electoral material is kept. Some political party offices have been burned in Chiapas. INE offices have been bombed in Puebla. Tonight there is no access to many towns in Oaxaca and Guerrero, taken by the people itself to impede elections from happening. In an electoral office in Oaxaca the soldiers fled from the people who were burning ballots. People in Oaxaca still reported in the afternoon many helicopters continually hovering over cities and towns, as if prepared for the worst.

It may not be as fast as the Arab Spring, but the uprise in Mexico is happening.

We don’t know, and I guess no one can know, what will happen. This never happened in Mexico. Something similar, but not so grave actually, started what we all now know as the Mexican Revolution. If you know Pancho Villa, you know something about that uprise that exploded in 1910. 105 years later here we are. Many people are actually surprised there hasn’t been a proper revolution in Mexico. Although after the drug cartels took hold of many places, citizens rose in vigilante groups against them and the government alike. Many towns in Michoacan are self-ruled, and many more in Guerrero state want to be the same. It may not be a revolution that may start as fast as the Arab Spring, but slowly but surely things are becoming more violent in a nation that has endured hardships, violence, and poverty.

Let us live and love freely.

Let us live and love freely — war is more cruelly! And yet, you have chosen. We may back down at many things but never in matters of life and love.

Excerpt from Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

We live in a time very similar to that which Yacanex along her beloved Atotoztli lived in the late 1200’s. The moment when governments impose upon us how to live and whom to love is a decisive moment to either stand down or face injustice. Just like it happened to Yacanex, it is the authority who has chosen the confrontation, not the we the people.

Pass it on! Fight for love!


You can find links on where to download my novel here or at online book retailers. 


Photo I shot at northwestern Mexico City.

Yacanex. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Yacanex. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

The future is based on our past — Op-ed

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

The past is about discovering who we may become or accomplish, the good and the bad.

I tend to write, research, paint, and talk about the past — a lot, especially of indigenous Mexican history. Many don’t see the point of bringing to the light about things and people from years past. It may well seem as if I may be stuck in the past, when in fact it is about discovering who we may become and what we can accomplish — the good and the bad as well.

If our ancestors were able to overcome the obstacles of their time way before the Internet, why can’t we?

To glance into the past is to see what we are capable of. We are surprised to see how Sumerian cities were organized, Egyptian pyramids erected, ancient Chinese achievements, otherworldly amazing artistry from India, and the sculptural and writing feats of the Olmecs… well before iPhones, laptops, the internet, or electricity for that matter! If our ancestors were able to overcome the obstacles of their time, why can’t we? It is safe to assume that if they did those things we can do better, and yet we don’t.

Newsflash, the future can actually be more awesome that we imagine.

The key is in our past. People dream of a future with flying cars, floating cities, space rockets coming and going, and magical pills. Reality check, this isn’t the 1950’s anymore. Newsflash, the future can actually be more awesome than we may imagine (literally!). We don’t need magic pills because in Mexico there were ancient remedies for todays maladies, and it is not that much of a secret. We just have to delve into our past.

Before hipster lean meals there was amaranth.

Prickly pear cactus (yes, like the thousands that grow in the Northern Mexican desert) can control diabetes and lowers cholesterol. Aspirin is an artificial ripoff of remedies done with salicylic acid from Mexican Willow trees called Huexotl. Way before over-processed powerbars there was (now called) Spirulina, a rich algae from Lake Texcoco that the Mexica Aztecs considered it gold (than actual gold) for its stunning nourishment effects. Before hipster lean meals there was amaranth, which today’s experts say it has the properties of cereals… plus everything else, without the fat. Our ancestors used to be so cool, that not only they knew how to cure illness or take care of a fit body, but also invented chocolate for dessert (originally it was called xolocolatl and it was a beverage) way before the Belgians added sugar into the frankenstein-ish thing we now know as chocolate.

It’s not about getting stuck in the past.

We need the past in order to have a future. We need to see what worked and what not to “move on” as hip progressive and conservative people tend to say. Many problems that afflict us today were those of our ancestors, how they solved it or not is important to us (or it should be). Climate issues, food shortage, social issues, technological hurdles — our ancestors around the world had the same troubles. It is not about getting stuck in the past, it is about letting our past light our future.

Photo I shot at Tepojaco, Mexico.


If you’re a history buff, you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes. Set in Ancient Mexico based in true events, a story of forbidden love.


Tepojaco, Mexico. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.
Tepojaco, Mexico. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.

How can state-sponsored racism in Mexico exist in the 21st century?

Please explain to me…

How can state-sponsored racism in Mexico (and the rest of the world, for that matter) exist in the 21st century?

A few days ago an audio recording emerged showing how a high Mexican official insulted the way of talking of indigenous native Mexica, specifically those from Guanajuato state. Lorenzo Cordova, head of the National Electoral Institute mocked a Chichimec leader and even compared his interview with their leader as a laughable Lone Ranger situation.

Lorenzo Cordova refuses to resign after racist remarks. Lorenzo Cordova refuses to resign after racist remarks.

Lorenzo Cordova is not only a high official within Mexican politics, he’s a key person. The Electoral Institute, INE, is the body that set federal elections nationwide. This institute was created after a much debated presidential election in 1988. To avoid a violent uprise the Mexican government allowed the opposition motion to create an independent-ish body to establish federal elections, oversee political parties, and hence declare winners in an allegedly democratic manner. In the 1990’s the then called IFE worked, so much that after 71 years of the ruling PRI party the opposition won the presidency in 2000.

A person invested to protect plurality is ready to provoke upheaval.

But now the Electoral Institute is under fire. Amid a political crisis in Mexico, these recording of the highest official representing democracy in Mexico insulting natives have spurred heated reactions from the people and obviously from yours truly. How can someone who is supposed to guard democracy and equality in modern-day Mexico operates with such bigotry? It is hurtful that a person invested to protect plurality in a wounded nation that strives to overcome a past of confrontations is ready to provoke such upheaval with such childish remarks.

Like in colonial times, empowered white Mexicans rule with cynicism over the masses.

He’s been called to resign, and naturally he refuses to leave. This white man who rules over the “democratic” body mocks the origin and way of life on millions of Mexicans, and insults whatever little hope remain for democracy in this nation. People are disenchanted — and with good reasons with the racist actions of Mexican ruling class. This sounds exactly as colonial times, where the empowered white Mexicans ruled with cynicism over the masses of natives. Not all white Mexicans should be stigmatized, after all a white priest from the same state Lorenzo Cordova insulted rose to war to declared Mexico an independent nation from gachupines (a name given in colonial times to Hispanics mainly from mainland Spain). Perhaps the gachupines are still amongst us in Mexico, not living an honorable life, but a disgraceful life driven by intolerance. Will such reckless attitude not leave Mexico but take root and eternize into 21st century Mexican social landscape?

Please explain to me… why a father can’t fill mom’s shoes?

“It’s the 21st century”, a liberal might cry.

One would expect a father to be there, and if not he may be slammed about it. That’s what we are fed by the media and our societal mindset. Nobody applauds a father for being careless, abusive, or absent. And yet, when a father is readily present at their children needs I’ve noticed people tend to push them back. Wait a minute, if mom couldn’t make it to school meeting, dad can be there as well.

If mom’s not there, dad can be.

This falls into the whole issue of gender roles — which this two-faced modern society still abides. People expect mom to be there for their kids, and sure, that’s great. But what of dad? If mom works, has fallen ill, or is simply absent (oh yes, moms can leave as well), then dad can and may step in. Society sees this oddly. Can a teacher explain a father the deficiencies of his child at school? Yes they can… but for what I’ve seen it can be hard for them to build rapport with a father. Really hard.

“It’s the 21st century”, a liberal might cry. And he/she may be right, though the point is not merely that. Its simple math and ease of logistics — if mom’s not there, dad can be. That simple! No need to invoke bumper-sticker tag lines.

Colophon.

I wonder how this plays for gay couples — father and father for instance. Whatever the circumstances, I guess being an involved father can have its perks (of course) but also its hurdles.

Please explain to me. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Please explain to me. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.