Things that occur to us in Latin America, and other matters

Nestor Gorojovsky nestorgoro at
Tue Nov 4 14:43:27 MST 2003

Jeff R., mistaken:

"I live in a former Spanish territory, but it wouldn't occur *to
you* that the state of Oregon was one such"

Hi, Jeff:

Not only it _does_ occur to me. I _knew_ that (though in the case of
Montana the Spanish belonging was quite formal, as compared to areas
further South). Look, Jeff, I even know who Juan de Fuca was, for
example, and I have a hunch on why does Cape Mendocino bear that

And I also know that the Cabot family from Boston, in fact, comes
down from an Italian family who earlier had worked for Spain and in
such character had founded the first towns in the River Plate area.
Moreover, I live on Caboto street in Buenos Aires, which is, in
English, "Cabot" street.

For a change, maybe it wouldn't occur *to you* that a good deal of
Georgia, Mississipi, and Florida (yes, this one I am sure you know
about) were also Spanish territory. And that California was, for a
short time, Argentinean territory. And that the first independent
nation in recognizing the independence of Latin American countries
was a kingdom in the Pacific, which is known in our day as Hawaii.

Look, Jeff, there is hardly a bit of American land that originally
belonged to Spain or to Mexico that a conscious Latin American does
not know about.

One of the old members of this list, Jim Blaut,  even wrote a very
compelling article on an academic magazine defending the thesis that
New Mexico "Hispanics" (who 'enjoy' a near second-rate citizen
status) are, in fact, Mexicans that have been pocketed by Anglo
settlers after 1848.

Jim, by the way, was not only a Chicago resident, a Jew of Latvian
origin, an outstanding geographer and a great polemist. He was also
married to a Puerto Rican politician. And he dedicated most of his
academic life and activity to struggle for Puerto Rican independence
from its semicolonial status.

Maybe a reading of his work on Puerto Rico and on the national
question (which was obviously generated by his involvement in the
struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico) can clarify a lot of
things to you.

And, sorry to tell you, Jeff, referendums under colonial occupation
never render "independentist" results. This is an old imperialist and
colonialist trick, which was already performed by the Nazis in
Austria (where there was no occupation but simply a menace of
occupation) and in the Sudetenland. And I mention them because it is
usual to blame Nazism as the ultimate Evil, but, as Hitler himself
explained, "we didn't do anything that Americans had not done to the
Indians first".

As to "I know a Johnnie [Walker] by reputation", I must add that I
have quite a close acquaintance with him. Nothing to be amazed about.
Typical colonial economies introduce foreign (usually imperialist-
provided) beverages instead of home brewed ones. Two of the clearest
signs of American independence from Britain  were the shift from tea
to coffee, and the shift to home made whiskies in the Allegheny
Frontier. One of the clearest signs of Latin American semicolonial
status is the replacement of our excellent beverages by European
ones, first and foremost Dutch gin in the River Plate area (as far
back as the 17th. century), and American whisky in Venezuela (a
country whose rhum can beat anybody else's) BTW I have been told,
recently, that imported whisky is under replacement by home made beer
in Venezuela. Not exactly rhum, but OK with me.


"I remember Pinochet just fine for someone born after 1973; do you
remember Ulbricht, Noor Mohammed Taraki, Hoxha, Ceausescu?  The
Monroe Doctrine has defects of its virtues, it's true, and I'll
concentrate on the defects for you if I'm permitted to know there are

Of course I remember Ulbricht, Hoxha, and Ceausescu. About Taraki I
am less garrulous, we Argentineans, you know, are too, ahem,
"Eurocentric". But of the three above I can only say that they were
the direct consequence of imperialist and colonialist encirclement of
the first socialist revolution. In a sense, they are the face of
Western colonialism, first and foremost. There is some Vadim Stolz on
this list who can explain you a couple things, dear Jeff. As to the
Monroe Doctrine, it has a single virtue: someone it will end.

It has never served Latin Americans, it has served the US only. Last
time I remember a Latin American country made a call in the name of
such doctrine, British troops were invading Latin American soil, and
the US were frantically helping those British troops. Maybe it is a
matter of chance, but the country where this event took place happens
to be --Argentina. And the date, 1982. There was an earlier date,
when the Doctrine had just been inaugurated, in 1832, when an
American warship cleared the way for British invasion of the
Malvinas. The Doctrine had just been issued. Luckily enough, Juan
Manuel de Rosas, the then Governor of Buenos Aires and international
representative of the Argentinean Confederation was never suckered
into believing this Doctrine to be true, thus avoiding us the shame
of requesting protection from the same power who helped our enemy in
the Southern Atlantic.

The whole meaning of the Monroe Doctrine is -- "America [all of the
American Hemisphere] for Americans [the US bourgeoisie]". Anything
else is sugarcoating. There is a Mexican historian, of Socialist
origin, Carlos Pereyra, who can explain you a good couple of things
about the Monroe Doctrine.

"I've known plenty of Pinoys in my life, thank you; they are indeed
opposed to Puritan hypocrisy, because they're Catholics.  You know,
it's a multiethnic country even if you don't like it."

Yes, that "Puritan hypocrisy" line was nasty. The Filipinos not only
are Catholics, dear Jeff. They are not only a "multiethnic country".
They are a Nation that American occupation hasn't allowed to mature
to the end. "Multiethnicity" is the civilized way to speak of
"separate development", that is of "apartheid". It is a
characteristic Anglo invention, if one is to believe both the
testimony of facts (miscigenation in Latin America versus color
barriers in Anglo America) and of the British historian
G.M.Trevelyan, who blissfully explained that "the English race has a
higher color sensitivity than others".

The "multiethnic country" stuff has nothing  to do with the history
of the Filipinas before the American invasion and colonization. It is
a consequence of a racist invader who imposed its own patterns of
thought and sensitivity on the privileged layers of a downtrodden

Filipino Catholicism may well be the single bulwark they have against
full, complete, and permanent degradation of their national fabric
and consciousness. It is not a matter of chance that the _single_
Christ in Rage is on a Filipino church wall painting.

I did know some Filipino myself, too, and they were charmed to
discover what their forefathers knew: that in Latin America they felt
completely at home.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
nestorgoro at

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"Sí, una sola debe ser la patria de los sudamericanos".
Simón Bolívar al gobierno secesionista y disgregador de
Buenos Aires, 1822
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