Good News and Information about Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México

Category : Culture & Art

Official City Name is Zihuatanejo of José Azueta – Who is He?

By: Patricia Ann Talley, Editor

The official name of the municipality of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero is “Zihuatanejo de (of) José Azueta.The image of José Azueta is also on the city emblem (escudo). The city of Veracruz is also named after him (Veracruz de José Azueta), and he is included in history books and museums throughout the country.

In Mexico, the name of José Azueta will forever be remembered as a significant symbol and permanent example of patriotism and loyalty. But, many foreigners know little about him or the historic times that he represents.

Lieutenant José Azueta Abad: 1895-1914

Zihuatanejo de José Azueta is the official name of the municipality. The image of José Azueta is also on the Zihuatanejo city emblem (escudo).

The world is familiar with the historic accounts of the invasion of Mexico by the United States in the mid-1800s (Mexican American War: 1846-1848). During this conflict, there were six young Mexican cadets, ranging in age from thirteen to nineteen, who died in 1847 defending their military academy at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City. These cadets are honored in Mexico’s history as the Niños Heroes (The Boy Heroes).

But foreigners are probably less familiar with the second invasion of Mexico in 1914, when the USA took occupation of the Port of Veracruz. It is this battle in which the young Mexican Navy Lieutenant José Azueta became famous for his role in defending his country and where he was fatally wounded.

José Azueta, for whom Zihuatanejo is named, is one of the most revered national heroes in Mexico.

José Azueta was born on May 2, 1895 in Acapulco, Guerrero. He was the son of Naval Commodore Manuel Azueta Perillos and Señora Josef Abad. At eleven years of age, José Azeta and his family moved from Acapulco to the port city of Veracruz, a key military point for the country. Little by little, the boy became interested in military life due to the influence of his father. He enrolled in the Escuela Naval Militar de México (National Naval Academy of Mexico), which was the most prestigious in the nation.

Under the guidance of his father, along with his personal motivation, and the best naval instruction in the country at that time, he learned the secrets and disciplines of military combat. He embarked upon his first military ship, “Yucatán” on June 18, 1911. Later, at the Military Base in Veracruz, he progressed to the rank of Tactical Lieutenant of the Artillery and was distinguished for his loyalty, honesty and valor.

But these were the times of political unrest for Mexico and when the country faced international threats from the United States. The Mexican Revolution (Revolución mexicana) was underway (1910-1920); a major armed struggle that radically transformed Mexican culture and government. The United States had invaded Mexico and had taken possession of half the country during the mid-1800’s, and was also involved in Mexico’s revolution, first supporting and then repudiating various regimes- depending on U.S. diplomatic or business interests.

In 1911, Mexico’s longtime head-of-state, Porfirio Díaz, was deposed. Díaz had been strongly aligned with U.S. economic interests that then controlled 90 percent of Mexico’s mineral resources, its national railroad, its oil industry, and increasingly, its land.1 Middle-class and landless Mexicans were resentful of this foreign occupation and control; they overthrew Díaz and installed reform champion, Francisco Madero, as president. Not long after, the Mexican military, under the leadership of General Victoriano Huerta, deposed Madero and executed him.

In 1913, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared that he would never recognize the Huerta government. He sent two diplomatic envoys to Mexico City demanding Huerta’s resignation. Mexico’s political leaders did not comply. So in 1914, having failed at diplomacy, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sent a small naval invasion force to the Port of Veracruz to force Mexico to change its presidency.   

Nineteen year old Lt. José Azueta was on duty at the Naval Academy in Veracruz on April 21, 1914, the first day of the U.S. invasion. He manned a machine gun placed outside of the building facing the incoming American troops, where he fought valiantly to defend his country! 

A statute of José Azueta depicting him manning a machine gun in defense of his country stands prominently at the Zihuatanejo pier alongside the Naval Station. Photo by: Margaret Reid.

On April 24, Lieutenant José Azueta was promoted to captain by Mexico’s president for his performance in combat. On April 29, he was awarded a gold medal. On May 1, he was issued the 3rd Class Military Merit Medal. José Azueta died of his wounds on May 10, Mexico’s Mother’s Day.

Brave men and women do not belong to any one country.

References:

Raúl Román  Román, Memoria Costeña. Zihuatanejo, Guerrero: By the Author. 2010.

Centenario de la Gesta Heroica de Veracruz http://www.centenario21abril.gob.mx/index.html

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua Zeitz, “The Last Time the U.S. Invaded Mexico,” Politico Magazine, February 4, 2017: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/the-last-time-the-us-invaded-mexico-214738

 

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Learn About the Indigenous Cultures of Mexico at the Xihuacan Museum Near Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

You can now learn more about the indigenous cultures of Mexico by visiting the “Xihuacan” Museum and pyramid at the “Soledad de Maciel” archaeological site in Petatlán, located about forty-five minutes south of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo on Federal Highway 200.

More than eight hundred pre-Hispanic pieces are on display at the museum, such as figurines, obsidian vases, works in shell, copper axes, bell necklaces, and ceramics. Among the most remarkable ancient objects at the site is a large, circular stone carved with the name of “Xihuacan,” which is the native Náhuatl word for the geographical area during the pre-Hispanic period.

Stone -Margaret Reid

Pyramid - MR

A pyramid is currently being excavated at the site. Photo by: Margaret Reid of Zihuatanejo.

The first inhabitants in the Soledad de Maciel zone were the “Nahuas” (pronounced nɑ-wɑ-z) in the Preclassic period (2500 BC to 200 AD). Their native language is called Náhuatl. Evidence suggests the Nahua peoples originated in regions of the present day southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. They migrated into central Mexico and spread out to become the dominant people in area. Some of the most important Mesoamerican civilizations were of Nahua ethnicity, including the Toltec and Aztec cultures, as well as the Tepaneca, Acolhua, Tlaxcaltec, Xochimilca, and many others.

According to archaeologist Rodolfo Lobato of the INAH, the Soledad de Maciel zone reached its peak during the Epiclassic period (650–900 AD). During that time, the site was one of the largest and most important ceremonial centers of agricultural and religious rites and was a regional seat of power. The area was gradually abandoned due to flooding that made inhabitants migrate to higher lands.

There are approximately 600,000 indigenous people living in Guerrero, about 20 percent of the total population of the state. There are more than twenty different native languages spoken by its inhabitants, but the principal one spoken is Náhuatl.

Video is courtesy of Mr. Jesus Garcia, General Manager, Sunscape Dorado Resort in Ixtapa.

To reach the museum, travel south from Zihuatanejo on Federal Highway 200 (toward Acapulco) for about forty-five minutes. Directional signs are posted along the highway. The Xihuacan site museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There is no cost for entry.

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The State of Guerrero is Full of Rich History, Culture and Ethnic Diversity

The state of Guerrero, Mexico, in which Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is located, is full of rich history, culture and ethnic diversity. Many other North Americans (yes, Mexico is in North America) are still somewhat unfamiliar with their neighbor Mexico, mainly due to language barriers.

Mexico, officially called the United States of Mexico, is a federal republic, located south of the United States and north of Guatemala and Belize. The country is also bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico is the fifth largest country by area in the America’s and the 14th largest in the world. Mexico has a population of approximately 122 million people, and its capital and largest city is Mexico City, the largest city in North America. Mexico is divided into 32 federal entities, of which 31 are states and one is a federal district.

State of Guerrero

The State of Guerrero, named after President Vicente Guerrero, the nation’s second president, is located on the Pacific Coast and is bordered by the State of Michoacán on the north, the state of Oaxaca on the south, and the states of Mexico, Morelos and Puebla on the east. Guerrero has a population of about 3 million and its state capital is Chilpancingo de los Bravo. Guerrero has seven (7) regions (like counties or providences): Tierra Caliente, North, Central, Mountain, Costa Grande (in which Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is located), Costa Chica, and Acapulco.

Regions 2

There are a variety of different races and ethnic groups living in the state of Guerrero with cultural and linguistic expressions that have given the area a very special image. There are approximately 600,000 indigenous people living in Guerrero, about 20% of the total population of the state. There are more than 20 different native languages spoken by its inhabitants, but the principal one spoken is Náhuatl. Guerrero is also noted for its population of Afromexicans, who are concentrated in the Costa Chica Region of the state.

Danzas2

The “Danza de los Diablos” is a fusion of Mexican and African cultures that is performed in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero.

Guerrero has three main tourists’ destinations, Acapulco, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, and Taxco. In addition to tourism, the state is a main producer of mangoes, coconuts, papaya, fishing, and other agricultural products.

 

Visit the official State of Guerrero website to learn more: www.guerrero.gob.mx.

Enjoy discovering the State of Guerrero! For now, enjoy our cultural entertainment.

Related Articles:

Bronze Statues of Women Represent the Seven Regions of Guerrero

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March is Black History Month in Mexico -Afromexicans Recognized in Mexico City’s Constitution

March is Black History Month in Mexico and, after 500 years in obscurity, Mexicans of African descent are finally being recognized for their presence and contribution to the history and culture of their country. In February 2017, the Mexican people of Afro-descendants were recognized in the Political Constitution of Mexico City (Article 11, Item N). The goal is to achieve recognition as an ethnic group in the federal constitution. This recognition constitutes a fundamental step towards the construction of a more just and egalitarian society where the rights of Afro-descendant people and populations are guaranteed in Mexico.

Mexico City is the largest city in the nation and the largest  city in North America.

In Mexico, the population of Afro descendants has been recognized in the constitutions of the states of Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Coahuila. However, Mexico remains one of the few countries in Latin America that has not recognized these populations in its Federal Constitution, as have Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil. Therefore, the adoption of these actions will put Mexico City at the forefront in legal matters, presenting itself as a city that respects human rights and the cultural diversity that enriches it.

Afro-descendants in Mexico?

Many people in the world and within Mexico are unaware of the African presence in the country. Africans were present in Mexico long before colonial times, but the population increased when enslaved Africans were brought to the country. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, pioneer of the study of black culture in Mexico and author of books such as Mexico’s Black Population, estimates that the Spanish brought more than 500,000 African slaves to Mexico, and during colonial times there were more Africans in Mexico than Europeans. The Afromexican population in Mexico is concentrated in the states of Mexico, Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Guerrero.

Between 1650 and 1860, approximately 10 to 15 million enslaved people were transported from western Africa to the Americas. Most were shipped to the West Indies, Central America and South America. (Source: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History)

During colonial times, Africans outnumbered Europeans in Mexico by three to one! (Source: Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, La pobalcion negro en Mexico, 1946.)

Afromexican Contribution to Mexico City

Mexico City has a significant presence of Afro-Mexican people, that is, people of Mexican nationality who descended from African women and men because they were separated from their communities of origin and forced to the American continent during the colonial times. During colonial times, Mexico City represented one of the main centers of African and Afro-descendant presence throughout the territory of New Spain. The work of thousands of women and men of African origin of all ages, in various labor activities, was central to the economic development of Mexico City. Thus, for more than five centuries, the economic, social, cultural and political contributions of Afro-Mexican people have been extremely significant in the multicultural conformation of Mexico City.

People of African descent in Mexico continue to face serious discrimination and racism according to discrimination surveys. For example, they are arbitrarily detained and required to prove their Mexican nationality when performing institutional procedures or when traveling on public roads; They are denied access to public health systems despite having the necessary documentation; They are discriminated against in educational settings and face violence and bullying; They are denied jobs despite fulfilling all the requirements, and; Are hindered the right to housing, among others. These practices not only represent a violation of human rights, but also affect the equity, respect and coexistence of society as a whole.

The 2015, a national survey indicated that Mexico City currently ranks fifth in the country with an Afromexican population, estimating that more than 160 thousand people in this entity are recognized as Afro-descendants and thousands more identify themselves as “part” Afro-descendant.

In view of the above, and within the framework of the International Decade of Afrodescendents 2015-2024, declared by the United Nations, with the motto “Recognition, justice and development”, the recognition of Afro-descendants In the Constitution of Mexico City, is a step to guarantee to these people and populations the full enjoyment of their political, economic, social and cultural rights. This is a great opportunity to present Mexico City, before the world and the nation, as a city that respects the cultural diversity that shapes it.

“Las Tres Raices (The Three Races) represents the cultural diversity of Mexico – Indigenous, African, and European.

References:

https://www.change.org: Diputadas y Diputados de la Asamblea Constituyente de la Ciudad de México: Reconocimiento de los Poblaciones Afromexicanos en la Constitución de la Ciudad de México

Related Articles:

Mexico Negro Civic Association Gets National Recognition for Civil Rights Activities

Soy Negr@ -Afro Mexicans Seek Constitutional Recognition During UN Decade of Tribute

The State of Guerrero is Full of Rich History, Culture and Ethnic Diversity

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Soy Negr@! Afro Mexicans Seek Constitutional Recognition During UN Decade of Tribute

By: Patricia Ann Talley, MBA and Editor*

Soy Negr@! (I’m Black) is the slogan of Mexico’s African descendants as they rally for self-identity, and call for legal recognition in their national constitution, so they will be counted in the 2020 census. If successful, this social activist movement will culminate during the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 – 2024), and will be an historic step in human rights for the nation of Mexico.

Finally, after over 500 years in obscurity, world history will soon be changed to include the existence, the contributions, and the culture of Africans that is interwoven into the very fabric of Mexico. It was Africans, not the Spanish who comprised the majority of the foreign population in colonial Mexico. Africans accounted for about 70% of the foreigners, compared to the Spanish minority of 30% 1.

Population by Groups in New Spain

Now! It is time for the story of Afro Mexicans to be told. Soy Negr@!

Soy Negro @

Why is this correction in history important to YOU?

The history of the Americas was written from the perspectives of Europeans, who came to these lands and claimed them, based on a fifteenth century doctrine of religious and racial superiority – their “manifest destiny.” Our histories, and the resulting social and economic policies, were based on the conquest, enslavement, and cultural subjugation of the indigenous and African people that were part of this colonization.

Critical to the world today is that the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reports that these fifteenth century doctrines of religious and racial superiority are STILL the basis of international law and many national laws, and are the cause of many of our current social and economic problems!2

Do you want peace in the world? Then, the process starts by us “de-colonizing” our minds, and learning the truth about our common history in the Americas, and the rich past and contributions of its entire people. Together, we can work to change our world to have a peaceful and more prosperous future for all. Let the real “discovery” begin!

Why is this important to Afro Mexicans?

Currently, Mexicans of African descent are counted in the national census as part of the indigenous population. But, unlike the other indigenous groups, Afro Mexicans have no distinct language other than Spanish (there are over 60 languages in Mexico). Therefore, they do not qualify for government and private educational grants and economic development support that are provided to the other indigenous communities that are identified by their language groups. Many Afro Mexicans still live in communities that are geographically isolated, with no roads, public utilities, hospitals, schools, etc., and in post-colonial, post-slavery conditions.

House in Costa Chica

Recognition of Afro Mexicans in the national constitution and counting them as such in the 2020 census will help to change the history of Mexico and the world. But, most importantly, it will help to change the lives and living conditions of many Americans!

We are ALL Americans! Soy Negr@!   

About the Author: Patricia Ann Talley is a Whitney M. Young, Jr. Fellow of Economic Development from the University of Michigan. She has lived in Mexico since 1997, conducting post-graduate research and developing strategies for economic empowerment. She serves on the Council of City Leaders for the International Cities of Peace Organization. mailto:pattalley@imagine-mexico.com.

References:

1.Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, La población negra en México, México, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1946.

2. United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous People: http://unpfip.blogspot.ca/p/framework-of-dominance-preliminary_03.html. In 1835, Judge John Catron (1786-1865), while seated on the Supreme Court of the State of Tennessee (United States),(6) officially identified “a principle” as part of “the law of Christendom”, specifically, “that discovery gave title to assume sovereignty over, and to govern the unconverted [non-Christian] peoples of Africa, Asia, and North and South America”. Catron declared that this principle had been recognized as a part of the Law of Nations “for nearly four centuries, and that it is now so recognized by every Christian power, in its political department and its judicial.”

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President Vicente Guerrero – A Mexican Hero – Died on February 14th

Vicente Guerrero - blackEditor’s Note:  While many people celebrate the tradition of Valentine’s Day on February 14th, this day, in fact, is an important date in Mexico’s history that is not celebrated. On February 14, 1831, Mexico’s second president, Vicente Guerrero, was executed at the hands of his enemies. Vicente Guerrero was a general in Mexico’s War of Independence, he helped write the country’s constitution, and he eliminated slavery during his presidential administration. 

By: Professor Talia Weltman-Cisneros, Department of Classical & Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.  

Celebrated as one of Mexico’s most important, national heroes, Vicente Guerrero played a significant role in the independence of the new nation and in the abolition of slavery of Mexico. In 1782, Vicente Ramón Guerrero Saldaña was born in Tixtla, a city northeast of Acapulco, in what is today his namesake state of Guerrero. Of mestizo origin, including African descent, Guerrero was born into a family that was dedicated to farming. As such, the young Guerrero similarly entered into the agricultural field, serving as a mule driver.

As an adult, Guerrero was attracted to the independence movement and joined the insurgency against Spanish colonial rule by working with his father as an assistant in a gunsmith’s shop. However, his celebrated military career truly advanced in 1810, after meeting with and impressing General José María Morelos, another mestizo of African descent, who commissioned Guerrero to join the Galeana family in attacking the Spanish troops in the South of Mexico. Upon his official insertion into the insurgency, Guerrero had numerous military successes, including at the battle of Izúcar in 1812, and in leading troops in Taxco, after which he would be appointed to the level of lieutenant colonel by Morelos.

Even as the insurgency declined in strength after the death of Morelos in 1815, Vicente Guerrero continued his role as a dedicated and valiant leader of the independence movement.  With fewer resources and manpower, he used guerrilla warfare tactics to surge ahead, defeating Spanish battalions in several cities, thus able to re-arm and increase the insurgency again. As his military successes mounted, Guerrero transformed himself into a great threat to the Spaniards. As a result, the Spanish viceroy, Juan Ruiz de Apodaca, sent Guerrero’s own father to offer him amnesty and persuade the independence leader to give up his arms in exchange for money and the preservation of his military title. However, Guerrero responded with a famous decree that is now inscribed on a plaque dedicated to the hero at his home in Tixtla: “Independencia y libertad, o muerte. Primero está mi Patria que mi padre” (Independence and liberty, or death. My homeland comes first, before my father).

Vicente Guerrero’s valiance and dedication to his homeland further contributed to his leadership role in the independence movement. In January 1821, Guerrero was invited by Agustín de Iturbide, another Mexican independence hero, to discuss a plan for independence known as the Plan de Iguala (Plan of Iguala). The Plan de Iguala served as a constitutional roadmap in the transition of power from Spain to Mexico, fomenting the independence of the new nation in September 1821. In agreeing with the plan’s stipulations, Guerrero handed over control of his troops and was appointed as a general by Iturbide. Iturbide would become the first head-of-state of the new nation with the title of Constitutional Emperor of Mexico.

However, despite achieving independence, political turmoil plagued the new nation. Guerrero and Iturbide clashed due to Iturbide’s imperial designs for the new nation. Iturbide would eventually fall, and would be followed by Guadalupe Victoria, Mexico’s first president, from 1824 to 1829. Again, however, another internal, political rebellion arose, this time led by Nicolás Bravo against Victoria. With the help of Guerrero, Bravo’s rebellion was suppressed, yet a new presidency was in order.

In 1829 Vicente Guerrero’s political career reached its highpoint. With the citizen majority supporting him, Guerrero became the second president of Mexico from April to December of 1829. Although his presidency was short-lasting, it was filled with several important accomplishments. A Spanish attempt to reconquer Mexico was defeated. In addition, an expedition was commissioned to organize a group of Haitians in Cuba that would aid in an uprising against the Spaniards on that island.

Furthermore, perhaps the most poignant accomplishment of Guerrero’s presidency was the abolition of slavery in Mexico. Likely linked to his own mixed origins, Guerrero was steadfast in identifying himself not with a particular ethnicity or caste, but rather as “americano.”[i] His loyalty lay with his “patria,” his homeland, not with any particular segment of the Mexican nation. Thus, it was logical that Guerrero would officially enact what Miguel Hidalgo had originally decreed in 1810—the abolition of slavery in the new Republic. The Guerrero decree stipulated the specifics of this enactment:

The Guerrero Decree

The President of the United States of Mexico, know ye: That desiring to celebrate in the year of 1829 the anniversary of our independence with an act of justice and national beneficence, which might result in the benefit and support of a good, so highly to be appreciated, which might cement more and more the public tranquility, which might reinstate an unfortunate part of its inhabitants in the sacred rights which nature gave them, and which the nation protects by wise and just laws, in conformance with the 30th article of the constitutive act, in which the use of extraordinary powers are ceded to me, I have thought it proper to decree:

1st. Slavery is abolished in the republic.

2nd. Consequently, those who have been until now considered slaves are free.

3rd. When the circumstances of the treasury may permit, the owners of the slaves

will be indemnified in the mode that the laws may provide. And in order that

every part of this decree may be fully complied with, let it be printed,

published, and circulated.

 Given at the Federal Palace of Mexico, the 15th of September, 1829. Vicente Guerrero To José María Bocanegra

Despite such momentous accomplishments and an illustrious military career, Vicente Guerrero’s presidency and life would come to an abrupt end. He left the presidency in December 1829 in order to fight a rebellion levied against him by his own vice president, Anastasio Bustamante. His absence resulted in him being declared unfit to govern the Republic. While continuing to combat the rebellion and hopefully return to power, the great independence fighter was captured through bribery and deceit, and he was eventually executed on February 14, 1831.

While several moments of his life were marred with conflict, the political and military career of Vicente Guerrero would be characterized as heroic. His legacy as a steadfast leader in the independence movement and his unsurpassed dedication to his homeland has been remembered and celebrated throughout the history of Mexico. His famous phrase, “Mi patria es primero” (My homeland comes first) is now the motto for the state of Guerrero, which is also named in his honor. And his most notable accomplishment, the abolition of slavery in the new Republic, has marked Vicente Guerrero as a great leader and freedom fighter for all humanity.


[i] Author’s Note: There are several definitions for what is identified as a continent depending on cultural and geographic regions. In Latin America and some European countries, the continents are America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceana and Antarctica. This is in contrast to the division of continents used in China and in numerous English speaking countries such as the United States, where America is divided into North and South America. Thus, Guerrero’s mention to being “americano” refers to being a citizen of the entire American continent (North and South).

 

Bibliography

“Vicente Guerrero.” Enciclopedia de México. Tomo VII. 1987.

“Vicente Guerrero (1782-1831).” Guerrero. Gobierno Del Estado. Gobierno Del Estado De Guerrero.

“Vicente Guerrero, 1782-1831.” Mexico 2010. Gobierno Federal De Mexico. Web.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Evolution of the “Piñata” – From Mexican Tradition to Spiderman!

By: Laura Kelly

Over 20 million people viewed a YouTube video of a Mexican child who couldn’t bear to beat a Spiderman piñata with a stick. Promised candy or not, the little child bravely defied tradition, dropped the stick, and with tearful eyes, protectively embraced his hero “Spidey” (who happened to be about the same size) and refused to smash him up with the bat!

By: American’s Funniest Home Videos, May 4, 2015

Riding high on the endorphin the tender video evoked, I recalled other piñata sacrificial victims commonly seen at festive events here in Mexico in recent times. My personal favorite is SpongeBob Square Pants, but he’s in good company. I’ve seen Snow White, Buz from Toy Story, and even Santa Claus strung up waiting to be annihilated with a bat by cute little blindfolded kids to a crowd of cheering adulating friends and family chanting and singing “Dale, dale, dale!” (Hit it! Hit it! Hit it!).

Candy pileups are always fun. But in this age of apparently increasing violence, a tradition which strongly resembles children beating to pieces effigies of their favorite sweet personages in order to be rewarded by candy might cause one to wonder . . . Is this a good idea? Don’t get me wrong – it’s fun! But maybe in the back of one’s mind arises the question . . . How did this happen?

The traditional Mexican Pinata derives from a blend of Catholic tradition super-imposed over the Aztec offering to the god of war Huitzilopochtli. In it’s missionaried version, useful for catecism teachings, this Pinata has a special form which represents the seven cardinal sins (google them if you don’t still have them memorized like some of us who may have attended Catholic schools). Emerging from an inner sphere are seven points. This form is decorated with papier machier and streamers and filed with a cache of wonderful goodies.

PIÑATA

Traditionally, the piñata represented the seven cardinal sins. Breaking it symbolized humans receiving the gift of spiritual enlightenment.

The child is blindfolded to represent our blindness as we live without spiritual enlightenment. Though blind, if we valiantly battle these sins until effectively smashing through them (the hold they have on our behavior) we can become liberated. That’s when the real goodies rain upon us!

In those olden days, an event that would have a piñata for the children, would be accompanied by a background of pervasive teachings about all these things so that even the most ardent candy seeking, valiant warrior child swinging a bat blind folded, high on adrenaline pumped up by the cheering crowd, would also deep down somehow be thinking about the importance of overcoming those sins (greed, wrath, …what were the other ones?). The explosion of candy would have come with the open-hearted joy of sharing with the smaller children . . . well a bit anyway.

And Spiderman, Snow White, Buzz from Toy Story, and Santa – had they existed yet – would be safe and sound, held in the bosom of a more innocent childhood.

FUVL3BGGAB5Q9UU.LARGE

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Mexico Negro, A.C. Gets National Recognition for Civil Rights Activities

By: Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello, MBA (translation by Patricia Ann Talley, Editor)

When we talk about the roots that form Mexico, we find that officially there are 62 different ethnic groups, with preserved customs and traditions. When addressing the black presence in Mexico, unfortunately there is little information on the matter, but the black roots of Mexico are so important. The black roots of Mexico are not explained and taught in the school textbooks, therefore still today, many compatriots and people around the world don’t know the importance of our African heritage.

Africans were present in Mexico long before colonial times, but the population increased when enslaved Africans were brought here. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, pioneer of the study of black culture in Mexico and author of books such as Mexico’s Black Population, estimates that the Spanish brought more than 500,000 African slaves to Mexico, and during colonial times there were more Africans in Mexico than Europeans.

Population by Groups in New Spain

For almost 20 years now, I have been working to assess our black roots in my home in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero and Oaxaca. The black presence in our area is manifested in music, dance, poetry, verses, oral tradition, gastronomy and more. In the 1980s, there was renewed interest to conduct investigations into our black culture. Now, we are working with the federal government for constitutional recognition of blacks in Mexico, and conducting a public relations campaign to educate our population so that they will be properly counted in the next census in 2020. DONAJI 8

Professor Candelaria Donají Méndez Tello is a founding member of Mexico Negro, A.C.

Mexico Negro, A.C. (Mexican Black Civic Association) is a non-profit civil society, incorporated in 1997 for the purpose of organizing the communities of African descent in Mexico. The association is directed by Professor Sergio Peñaloza and a group of collaborators of which I am a part. Our mission is: 1) To seek constitutional recognition of the black population of Mexico; 2) to promote the development of Afro-descendant communities in the Costa Chica area of Guerrero and Oaxaca and all states of the country where there is a black population; 3) to rescue, promote and disseminate our cultural traditions; 4) to fight against all forms of discrimination; and 5) to work with the government to eliminate the social invisibility of blacks in Mexico.logomexiconegroac - copia

Our organization also develops workshops for painting; sculpture; drawing of masks; theatre; paper recycling; the preparation of food; medicine; agriculture; percussion and African dance; and the preservation of traditional dances of the area. We dedicate the month of March to celebrate the black population in Mexico.

Our organization participates in numerous regional and international events such as the Forum on People of African Descent; Iberoamericans Against Discrimination; Forum on Afrodescendencia; International Meeting of the Black Family in Windward, Venezuela; and the meeting on the Afrodescendencia in Salvador Bahia, Brazil. We also collaborated with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force in Southfield, Michigan, USA to develop information and teaching materials about Afromexicans in English. We have a website: www.FreedomPathways.org and a travelling exhibition in Michigan.

I am so proud and honored to announce that Mexico Negro, A.C. is now recognized for our work in the area of equality and human rights. It is a long pathway to freedom, but – I have a dream too!

Mexico Negro Honor

* About the Author: Professor Méndez Tello is an instructor at Universidad Autonoma de Guerrero in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. She is an expert in African-Mexican history and co-founder of the Black Mexican Civic Association. 

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Rather Than Santa, Mexican Children Celebrate Arrival of the Three Kings and Camels on January 6th

By: Patricia Ann Talley, Editor

In Spanish countries, the children do not receive gifts in December on Christmas day. Instead, the family exchanges gifts on January 6th of the new year on Three Kings Day – Día de Los Reyes Magos. This celebration stems from the New Testament of the Bible, where it states that the kings, Melchor, Gaspar, and Balthasar, traveled by night all the way from the farthest confines of the earth to bring gifts to the baby Jesus. Arriving from three different directions, the kings followed the light provided by the star of Bethlehem, which reportedly lingered over the manger where the Virgin Mary gave birth for many daysThe Three Kings

Día de Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day) is based on the Biblical story of the kings arriving to give gifts to the baby Jesus.

Three Kings Day is celebrated with festive lights in the streets, Nativity scenes and holiday songs. There is also a joyful parade called the “Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos,” to symbolize the arrival of the kings. The kings ride upon horses or elaborate floats and throw goodies down to the children lining the streets. This is also traditionally the big opportunity for children to ask the kings for presents.

Parade reyes blog

Rather than Santa on his sleigh, Mexican towns have a parade to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings.

In the evening, before an early night in bed, children leave out their shoes in a spot where the kings are sure to see them. The religious monarchs, just like Santa Claus, certainly love their sweets, so the children often set out goodies to entice the kings as well as hay to feed their camels. When morning arrives, children delightedly discover that the kings nibbled the sweets, the camels ate the hay, and by their shoes there are wrapped presents.

This magical time comes to a close the next morning with another Spanish Christmas tradition: a typical breakfast of “Roscón de Reyes,” a ring-shaped cake decorated with fruits symbolizing the precious gems that adorned the royal trio’s lavish clothing.

roscon_reyes

This celebration, based in religious tradition, is one that Mexican parents hope to preserve.

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“Día de Muertos” – Day of the Dead Celebration in Mexico

Sugar SkullsA “Day of the Dead?” – Many people initially react with surprise when they hear of this traditional Mexican holiday, celebrated from October 31 to November 2 throughout the country. But, it is not uncommon for families throughout the world to visit grave sites and memorial parks to honor past family members and war heroes. Mexicans just do it with more celebration!

Día de Muertos or “Day of the Dead” is a celebration, not of death, but of the continuum of life. This holiday is as important to Mexicans as Thanksgiving is in the USA and Canada. Families travel long distances to be with their loved ones on this occasion. Its origins are distinctly Mexican: During the time of the Aztecs, a month-long summer celebration was overseen by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Lady of the Dead. After the Aztecs were conquered by Spain and Catholicism became the dominant religion, the customs became intertwined with the Christian commemoration of All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1.

The holiday is joyous celebration! It is a time for the family to pray, to reflect, to honor and to remember their dead. In a culture without written family trees, parents and grandparents pass on to their children lively, humorous tales about those who came before. The holiday is not associated with Halloween in any way. In fact, many Mexican families oppose the American tradition of Halloween since it distracts from their traditional “Day of the Dead” remembrance.

The tradition includes building “altars” with the favorite foods and items representing the passions and interests of past loved ones. Families also visit grave sites, usually spending the entire day, eating, celebrating and reflecting on the lives of past friends and family members.

In 2008, Mexico’s indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead was recognized by UNESCO as part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity due to its importance as a defining aspect of Mexican culture and the unique aspects of the celebration which have been passed down through generations.

During this special time, the entire country is decorated with flowers with every town holding special events and activities.

Watch this video to learn more about this special holiday:


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Day of the Dead Celebration in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero

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Afromexican Activist Samantha Leyva Wins Miss Guerrero Beauty Title

By: Professor C. Donaji Mendez Tello,* Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (UAGro), Tourism Faculty, Zihuatanejo

No more Mexico without Afromexicans! Samantha Leyva, a 23 year-old nurse with roots from “Black Mexico” in the Costa Chica region, recently won the title of Miss Guerrero 2016. “I am proud of my Afromexican heritage!” she says.

miss-guerrero-2016

I had the pleasure of interviewing Samantha after winning the competition. She is a graduate of my alma mater Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (UAGro). I found her charm and charisma contagious. But, most importantly, she has a message to deliver!

Brains and Beauty

Samantha Leyva was born in Acapulco, Guerrero. Her mother is originally from the community of Agua Zarca in the Costa Chica region where there is a high concentration of Afromexicans. Her father is from Zihuatanejo. She has two older brothers.

“My family worked hard and pushed us to have academic backgrounds,” she said. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing degree from the School of Nursing at Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero. She is also an athlete, specializing in 200 and 400 meter races.  And, she likes to dance!

samantha-leyva-acapulco-guerrero

She is an Activist for Social Change

But, this new title means more to Samantha than just beauty and charm. Being Miss Guerrero gives her a platform on which to be a voice for social change.

“Contestants in the beauty contest must also submit a proposal for a social program. I am proud of my Afromexican roots, and I feel that I have a responsibility to my community. So, I proposed a social project with the City of Cuajinicuilapa, the cradle of the Afromexican community in Guerrero. The project involves health education for the children in the community.

Afromexicans are not currently recognized constitutionally as an ethnic group like other native indigenous groups that are identified by language, and therefore, do not qualify for many educational, social, and economic development programs. 1

“When I work in the community I hear stories about discrimination regarding public health programs, education, and food,” she says. “Every child in Guerrero has the right to enjoy their childhood, to do what they want to do, to be happy, to have an education, to be in good health, and to live with their families in an environment full of love.”

See this video that Miss Guerrero has made to educate the public. While you may not understand the Spanish, you will see the conditions of the people and the work that Samantha Levya is undertaking.

Samantha Levya, Guerrero’s Afromexican beauty is a wonderful representative of the cultural diversity of our state and serves as an example of social responsibly for us and for our children.

Related Articles:

Pathways to Freedom Website: In 20111, the “Pathways to Freedom” research project about the people and culture of Afromexicans in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero was developed under a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force of Southfield, Michigan, USA. For teaching materials, photos, and other information, go to:  http://www.freedompathways.org

The State of Guerrero is Full of Rich History, Culture, and Ethnic Diversity

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Day of the Dead Celebration in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero

Talking about the state of Guerrero is talking about roots, traditions, art, culture, crafts, music, dance, stories, ballads and poetry. Guerrero is one of the richest states in traditions; our roots come from our ancestors. After “the conquest,” the population changed significantly as it integrated the cultures of Spain, the Philippines, China, Japan and Africa, which is particularly less recognized and which is still being observed today in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero. It makes us a people with an impressive past and a present filled with pride that we want to show to the world.

From October 31st to November 2nd, México celebrates “The Day of the Dead,” also called “for the faithful departed” (fieles difuntos). This is a very special celebration throughout the country; however, in the Municipality of Cuajinicuilapa in the Costa Chica region where the black population is settled, this celebration has a particular meaning.

“The Dance of the Devils” (La Danza de Los Diablos), which is a part of the “Day of the Dead” ceremony, has several cultural influences, including the African rituals in honor of black god “Ruja,” who slaves called upon to ask for freedom. Over time, these African rituals were combined with the ancient Native traditions and the Catholic observances and replaced by the celebration of the “Day of the Dead.”

In the “Day of the Dead” celebration, Afro-Mexicans or Afromestizos who live in the villages of Costa Chica, perform the “Dance of the Devils,” representing the spirits of the dead. The celebration begins the last day of October, which according to tradition is a celebration for the “Dead Children,” those who died before age 16. On November 1st and 2nd, there is a celebration for the “Dead Adults,” aged 17 and older.

The highlight of the “Dance of the Devils” celebration in Costa Chica is the “Devil Mask,” which has a long mustache and a beard made of horse mane and tail. The mask is undoubtedly the most symbolic and the most important to the population of this area. They perform the “Dance of the Devils,” as it was originally danced by African slaves, and they remember the oral tradition of the African god “Riuja.”  It is a dance where you have to be very strong, both physically and spiritually. Dancers must obtain permission from the cemetery (Panteon) that organizes the ritual to participate.  Moreover, it is important to mention that historically, the “Dance of the Devils” was performed only by men, but today, women have been integrated into the performance to preserve the tradition.

The music of this dance is very happy, not sad. The instruments used are the jawbone of a donkey or horse, harmonica and the big can made of aluminum known as Tigrera (Bote). Together, they emit a peculiar sound and lead the pace of the dance.

Finally, the “Day of the Dead” in Cuajinicuilapa (Cuaji) is a celebration full of color, dance, food and the reunion with loved ones who have passed. It connects us to the black African presence in México and it can be watched and enjoyed by all.

We invite you to visit the Costa Chica region of Guerrero, about 8 hours by bus from Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, where the Afro-Mexican culture still lives even with the technological advances of today.


By: Candelaria Donají Mendez Tello and Carlos Irra*

Editor’s Note:  Professor Candelaria Donají Mendez Tello is an instructor of tourism at the Universidad Autonoma de Guerrero in Zihuatanejo and is an expert in Afro Mexican studies. Mr. Carlos Irra, a graduate of that university, is  Manager of the Villas at Club Intrawest, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.  

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Meet the Scouts of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo!

By: Patricia Ann Talley, Editor and Scout!

Scouts in Mexico? Of course! Scouting is a worldwide with over 40 million Scouts in 162 countries. International Scouting is aimed at creating an understanding of other cultures as well as promoting peace and tolerance. The Scout Association of Mexico was formed 90 years ago, and there are now more than 13,000 Scouts throughout the country.scoute-of-mexico

The Scouts of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, has over 90 members, comprised in age groups of 7-10 years, 11-14 years, 15-18 years, and 18-21 years. The Troop meets every Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in Parque Los Amates in Ixtapa. And, we are so proud that our Troop Master, Mr. Jesús Rodríguez Cárdenas is also the “Jefe” (Chief) of the national Scout association.

Mr. Jesús Rodríguez Cárdenas is Chief of the Scout Association of Mexico and is Troop Master of the Scouts of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo. He welcomes all kids to Scouts. “It doesn’t matter what race, creed or social position. We are all brothers and sisters united together. Welcome to the Scouts.”

scouts-in-park

The Scouts of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo meet every Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in Parque Los Amates in Ixtapa. The Troop has about 60 kids, ranging from 7-21 years old. Both boys and girls participate together in the Troop.

The Mission of the Scouts of Mexico is: “Through a value system based on the Scout Promise and Law, to contribute to the education of young people to participate in building a better world, where people are fully developed and play a constructive role in society.”

The Scout Promise: “I promise, on my honor, to do all my best to do my duty to God and country, help others in all circumstances and faithfully fulfill the Scout Law.”

The Scout Law:

  1. A Scout is honest and trustworthy.
  2. A Scout is loyal to his/her country, parents, bosses and subordinates.
  3. A Scout is useful and helps others without thought of reward.
  4. A Scout is a friend to all and a brother/sister to every Scout, without distinction of religion, race, nationality, or social class.
  5. A Scout is courteous and acts nobly.
  6. A Scout sees in nature the work of God, and protects animals and plants.
  7. A Scout obeys responsibly, does things in order, and completes the task.
  8. The Scout laughs and sings through difficulties.
  9. A Scout is thrifty, and works carefully for the good of others.
  10. A Scout is clean, healthy, and pure in thought, word and deed.

Recent Local Activities:

Independence Day History Competition and Celebration: Recently, the Scouts of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo invited parents and community members to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day. The event included a competition within each age group. Scouts, dressed in character, gave a presentation about the country’s historic figures. The adults learned a lot!

Presentation of UN Sustainable Goals for International Day of Peace:  The Scouts of Zihuatanejo have a program entitled, “Messengers of Peace.” Eco-Tianguis Organic Market has an annual community celebration in honor of the International Day of Peace.

eco-tianguis-peace-celebration

This year, little seven-year-old Scout Donaji Sofia Mendez Hernandez wowed the audience by delivering the United Nations 17 Goals for Sustainable Peace (with a little help from Auntie). The Scouts will be making similar presentations to tourists and hotel guests in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo throughout the year.collage

Scout Donaji Sofia Mendez Hernandez wowed the audience by delivering the United Nations 17 Goals for Sustainable Peace at the Eco Tianguis Organic Market in honor of the International Day of Peace.

SALUTE to the Scouts of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo! And, we thank the many parents and volunteers who donate their time, efforts, and resources to our kids.

scout-salute

Related Article:

Transforming Our World: The United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development to 2030

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From the Halls of Montezuma: The Story of the “Niños Héroes” (Boy Heroes)

By: Patricia Ann Talley, Editor

During September, Mexico remembers and honors six young cadets, ranging in age from thirteen to nineteen, who died defending their military academy at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City in 1847 during the Mexican-American War, known in Mexico as the “Insurgency from the North.” International tourists traveling to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo can arrange for a connecting flight through Mexico City, the nation’s capital, to see the monument dedicated to these young men. As United States President Truman said, “Brave men do not belong to any one country.”

Los Ninos Monument

Chapultepec Monument in Mexico City honors the fallen cadets. (Photo taken by Hajor, Mar. 14, 2004.)

In 1847, then US President James K. Polk sent an army by sea to Veracruz in order to seize Mexico City and to force an end to the bloody, two-year campaign that broke out after the 1845 annexation of Texas, a former Mexican territory. Upon entering Mexico City, US forces outnumbered and quickly overwhelmed the estimated 3,400 soldiers, led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna, who were defending the nation’s capital.

General Nicolas Bravo was stationed at Chapultepec Castle, atop Chapultepec Hill in Mexico City. Chapultepec Hill held a strategic advantage as its position protected Mexico City on its west side from invaders. Chapultepec Hill is considered by ancient Mesoamericans to be one of the four sacred mountains in the Valley of Mexico. A military academy was located there, and the young cadets were suddenly thrust into a real war when the US military invaded the Chapultepec Castle on September 13, 1847.

The US Marine Anthem that includes the words, “from the halls of Montezuma” refers to the battle at Chapultepec Castle.

Six young cadets gave their lives in defense of their country at Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City when the US military invaded during the Mexican-American War.

When it became apparent that the United States forces were triumphing, General Bravo ordered his men, including the military cadets, to retreat to safety. Six young cadets, however, refused to relinquish their posts and bravely met the superior forces of the American army and marines.

The names of these young men, again only thirteen to nineteen years old, were Juan de la Barrera, Juan Escutia, Francisco Márquez, Agustín Melgar, Fernando Montes de Oca, and Vicente Suárez. They died that September day, defending their country. According to historical accounts, as the cadets fought to the death, Juan Escutia wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and threw himself from the ramparts to keep it from being captured by the attacking army. The sacrifice of these young men has been forever etched into Mexico’s history.

The invasion of Mexico by the United States has affected the fates of the nations for years. It is the historical basis for many of our immigration problems today.

President Ulysses Grant described the war as a massive land grab.  He wrote in his memoirs, “For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the annexation of Texas, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.  It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory.” (Source: The News, September 13, 2011, Mac Ediciones y Publicaciones S.A. de C.V., Mexico City)

Many prominent Americans, including Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams considered the war unjust, and questioned the rationale for the invasion.

Every September 13, the Mexican president, representatives of the Mexican legislative and judicial branches of the federal government, and current Colegio Miltar cadets lay wreaths to honor the Niños Héroes at the Altar a la Pátria monument, located at the base of Chapultepec Hill. Visiting heads of state often lay wreaths at the monument. It is not common for US presidents to do so, but President Truman had a wreath-laying ceremony in 1947 as did President Clinton in 1997.

Brave men and women do not belong to any one country.

 

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A Short History of September 16 -Independence Day in Mexico

Many people in the world mistakenly think that May 5, or Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, but the country’s national holiday actually falls on September 16. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army in 1862.

El Grito de la Indepedencia (Cry of Independence) is held annually on September 16 in honor of Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spanish rule in 1810.

Padre Hidalgo by Jose Clemente Orozco

 Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, or simply Miguel Hidalgo, was a Mexican priest and a leader in the Mexican War of Independence. He is depicted in a painting by Jose Clemente.

In the early hours of September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a priest in the small town of Dolores, Guanajuato, rang the church bell to gather the townspeople. He called for the people of Mexico to rise up against the Spanish crown, thus initiating Mexico’s War of Independence. This event, known as the Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) or El Grito de la Independencia (Cry of Independence), is commemorated every year in town squares across Mexico. The country did not achieve independence until 1821. What caused the revolt?

Revolt Against the “Caste System”

Of course, the indigenous people were the first to inhabit what is now known as Mexico. In 1521, about 500 Spanish soldiers arrived in Mexico, headed by Hernán Cortés, thus beginning three centuries of Spanish rule. The new colony was named Nueva España, New Spain.

During the colonial period, the Spanish developed a complex caste system based on race, that was used for social control, and that also determined a person’s importance and privilege in society. There were four main categories of race in New Spain: (1) peninsular, A Spaniard born in Spain; (2) crillo (feminine, criolla), a person of Spanish descent born in the New World; (3) indio (feminine india), a person who is descendent of the original inhabitants of the Americas; and (4) negro (feminine negra), a person of black African decent, usually a slave or a free descendant of one. Persons of mixed race were collectively referred to as “castas“.

Caste Categories in Colonial Spain

 The revolt was against the Spanish caste system, which was used for social control and economic privilege.

General groupings of “castas” had their own set of privileges or restrictions. The privileged were the peninsular Spaniards. Discontent steadily grew, especially amongst the criollos, who were always treated as second-class subjects of the Spanish crown.  It is no surprise then, that criollos were the spark that ignited the independence movement and the fight for human rights. Miguel Hidalgo formally denounced the observance of the caste system in 1810, and people of all races were able to see that putting up a fight for their independence was worth it.

No Free Trade

The vast Spanish New World empire produced many goods, including coffee, cacao, textiles, wine, minerals, and more. But, the colonies were only allowed to trade with Spain, and at rates advantageous for Spanish merchants. Many took to selling their goods illegally to British and American merchants. Spain was eventually forced to loosen some trade restrictions, but the move was too little too late as those who produced these goods demanded a fair price for them.

Napoleon Invades Spain

In 1808, Napoleon invaded Spain and decided to impose his brother, José Bonaparte, as king of Spain (1808-1810). The criollos of New Spain found in this circumstance the opportunity to seek their independence.The chaos in Spain made the perfect excuse to rebel and yet not commit treason: many said they were loyal to Spain, not Napoleon.

Influence of Other Revolutions

By 1810, Spanish America could look to other nations to see revolutions and their results. The American Revolution was seen by many in South America as a good example of colonies throwing off European rule and replacing it with a more fair and democratic society, even though slavery in the USA continued to exist.

For more information about Mexico’s Independence, visit: Causes of Latin America’s Independence From Spain.

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The Racial Caste System in Colonial Spanish Mexico | Pathways to Freedom in the Americas

Afromexican Vicente Guerrero -A Leader of Liberty, Independence and Peace

 

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Mauricio López Moctezuma – A Master Sculptor of Mud from Zihuatanejo

Mauricio López Moctezuma was born in Ometepec Township, located in the Amuzga Zone of in the Costa Chica region in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. The Amuzgo people are one of the largest indigenous groups in the Costa Chica Region, which also has a large population of Afromexicans. The Amuzgos maintain much of their native language and traditional dress. They are known for their textiles and handcrafts. Their communities are very poor with an economy mostly dependent on subsistence agriculture and handcraft production.

Mauricio Montezuma La ofrenda -0167

Mauricio López Moctezuma is from the Amuzga Zone of in the Costa Chica region in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. The area has one of the highest populations of indigenous people in the state.

Mauricio was one of ten children. He lived at home until the age of twenty, helping his father to support the family by cultivating corn, beans, and sesame. He chased the dream of a better job opportunity to sustain the family home, so Mauricio moved “upstate” to Zihuatanejo, Guerrero in 1987 and has continued to live here since.

“I didn’t speak Spanish,” he says. “I used to make 5 pesos a day (31 cents US) in my home town of Ometepec, but when I came to Zihuatanejo in the late 80s, I was able to make 15 pesos a day (94 cents US). That was a lot of money for me then,” he says.

A year after his arrival, Mauricio met his life partner, Rosy Alvaro; they married and started a family. They made their home on La Ropa Beach. It was there that he rediscovered his childhood love for the land – the mud – and his talent for its mastery. Through many trials and failures, he gradually developed a process turn the mud of Zihuatanejo into clay that allows him to create his sculptures.

Mauricio López Moctezuma is a Master of Mud.

Mauricio Montezuma Aztec head and Amuzo

Mauricio Montezuma - display

La Tejedora 19

Costeña 11

Mauiricio Pat and Rosey

Mauricio López Moctezuma, joined by his wife Rosy Alvaro (right), presented his sculpture, “Paty de la Paz” (Patricia of Peace) to www.Imagine-Mexico editor, Patricia Ann Talley (middle) to recognize her community volunteer work.

For Mauricio, mud has been one of the happiest discoveries of his life. He now holds formal exhibitions and sells his works. He and his wife Rosy also own and operate Casa Tucanes Vacation Villas near the beach in Zihuatanejo, where his works are on display. You can contact them (in English) at (755) 115-2840 for an appointment.

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From Troncones, Mexico to Paris, France: The Art of MariCarmen Hernandez

Back and forth between the two cultures, back and forth between the two forms of expression . . . artist MariCarmen Hernandez creates an artistic bridge between her native home of Mexico and her adopted home of France.

Meta-por-H-Arjona-Paris

Photo: Heptor Arjona

“I live halfway between two wonderful countries: Mexico, where I was born and where I continue to live in Troncones, and Paris, France. I create all my work in Troncones and Paris,” she says. “The Mexican and French magic . . . these two cultures enrich and inspire me.”

Called “Meta” (Spanish for “Goal”), MariCarmen Hernandez is an architect by training from Universidad Anáhuac, UNAM (The University of Mexico) in Mexico City. Her first works were “textile sculptures” made of intertwined ribbons. In 1976, she started working in Paris and permanently settled there in 1985 when she began to paint abstract compositions.

The artist “Meta” has exhibited her creations all over the world.  Radiant as always, MariCarmen Hernandez, “Meta” shares her artwork for you to enjoy.

“Bananas 2000 Troncones”, O/C – 217 cm x 163 cm

Bananas 2000 Troncones

“Eye Ay I”, 2002 Troncones O/C – 36.5 cm x 31 cm

Eye Ay 24-28 Troncones 2002

“Muses Medusas 8-18”, 2005 Troncones, O/C – 46 cm x 46 cm  

Muses Medusasa 8-18

“Muses Medusas 12-18”, 2005 Troncones, O/C – 46 cm x 46 cm

Muses Medusas 12-18

“One is Different”, 1985 Paris, Ribbons & Textile, 100 cm x 75 cm

One is Different 1985 Paris

“Ni Ici Ni La Bas 19-28”, 2005 Auray, O/P – 14.5 cm x 23.5 cm

Ni Ici Ni La-Bas 19-28

To view more creations and for more information, visit: www.la-meta.com

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Michael D. Hackett – Painter, Artist, Designer, and Zihuatanejo’s Extraordinaire!

He is a painter, a multimedia artist, a furniture designer, and an architectural illustrator. He was trained in Australia and has travelled and exhibited throughout the world. But now, Michael Hackett calls Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico his home, a special place for his creativity.Michael Hackett Profile

“I now find myself in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Never did I think I would be living here, but I responded to this place. I was drawn to this region as if I had a memory of being here before. I am a newcomer compared to others who live here. I have lived my life in major cities around the world, and now, I am here in a Mexican fishing village of all places, and learning amazing things. Living in a place with fewer social rules and demands, I have traded the world of concrete for the world of nature, a complete alteration from what I have known and experienced before.”

Michael describes his work:  “My life has been about creating, seeing, and altering what some think of as mundane. Simple objects are the seeds for my large scale art. Taking an object and moving it from its perceived function into another realm of reality. Always experimenting finding new ways to perceive the established concepts of what things should be. This is what I do.”

Michael Hackett palm-metal-and-bone

Michael Hackett was trained in Australia at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. After several years as an architectural illustrator in Boston and Philadelphia, he moved to Los Angeles area to paint. He has been featured in Interior Design Magazine and has held exhibitions as a painter and as a muralist, and he has been an architectural illustrator for several renowned firms in the United States.Michael Hackett IMG_0205-copy

Michael Hackett 7-ESM_2525

Michael can take anything – a piece of wood, a rock, a bead –to create a spectacular piece!

Michael Hackett - 8

HackettSilo

Michael Hackett bbb-0021

Visit Michael on his website at www.michaeldhackett.com to see more of his works. You can also email Michael directly at hackett52@gmail.com, or call (310) 294-3753 (in the US) or (755) 121-1912 (in Mexico).

Extraordinary!

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Bronze Statues of Women Represent the Seven Regions of Guerrero

You can learn more about the state of Guerrero by strolling along the beachfront and downtown area of Zihuatanejo where there are seven, very impressive, “slightly bigger than life” bronze statues of women representing each region. This art is the work of sculptor Crecencio Oregon and is part of the Zihuatanejo’s beautification program.

Mexico has thirty-one states and one Federal District, Mexico City. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is located in the state of Guerrero, which is south of Mexico City and is entirely in the tropics. It is bordered on the north by the states of Mexico, Morelos, Puebla and Michoacán, on the south by the Pacific Ocean on the east by Puebla and Oaxaca.

The State of Guerrero has seven (7) regions.

The state of Guerrero has seven regions and is one of the most privileged states in terms of natural beauty, with beaches, mountains, forests, ecosystems and ethnic diversity. The state also played an important role in Mexico’s independence from Spain. Sculptor Crecencio Oregon has tried to display the characteristics of this state in the statues of the women from each region.

Costa Grande (Big Coast): The Costa Grande Region, in which Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is located, runs along the Pacific Coast. The region is distinguished by its great natural resources – coastal, woodland, orchards and fertile land. The region has beautiful beaches, like the tropical destination of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, located around the coast, with tourism, agribusiness and coconut groves. The statue representing the Costa Grande Region is located in Cancha Municipal, (the basketball court) along the beachfront in Zihuatanejo.

Acapulco de Juarez: Acapulco has the largest population density in the state. It is a city, municipality, region and major sea port, about 190 miles southwest of Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history. Acapulco came into prominence in the 1950s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires. The statue for the Acapulco Region is located along the beachfront going to La Madera Beach, on Andador El Pescador.

Costa Chica (Little Coast): Located south of Acapulco is the Costa Chica Region.This area is distinguished for its diverse population of different indigenous groups and its population of African descendants. This region develops the most important livestock in the state. It also has a high potential for aquaculture projects to promote large-scale fishing, along with agribusiness. The statue representing the Costa Chica Region is located along the waterfront at the Zihuatanejo Pier.

Tierra Caliente (Hot Earth): As the name suggests, this region is a “hot bed” for agriculture, with land for cultivation of fruits on a large scale. The statue representing the Tierra Caliente Region is located in Cancha Municipal, (the basketball court) along the beachfront in Zihuatanejo.

Norte (Northern): This region has established manufacturing operations called “maquiladoras.” These factories operate in a free trade zone (FTZ), where they import material and equipment on a duty-free and tariff-free basis for assembly, processing, or manufacturing and then re-export the assembled, processed and/or manufactured products, sometimes back to the raw materials’ country of origin. The statue representing the Norte Region is located in the Plaza del Artista, along the beachfront in Zihuatanejo.

La Montaña (The Mountain):  Most of the people in this region belong to indigenous groups of different ethnicity and dialects. Due to the mountainous terrain, most of its roads are still dirt and unpaved. The statue representing La Montaña Region is located just a few blocks from the beachfront, on the corner of Calle Cuahutemoc and Pedro Ascencio.

Centro (Central ): The state capital of Chilpancingo de los Bravo is located in the Central Region along with the municipality of Tixtla de Guerrero, the birthplace of Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s second President, for whom the state is named. The region currently has several infrastructure programs, including irrigation canals, dams and roads. The statue representing the Centro Region is located on Calle Pedro Ascencio, just a few blocks from the waterfront in Zihuatanejo.

Take a stroll along the beachfront of Zihuatanejo and look at the statues. Now that you know about each region, see how the artist portrays each area by the women he sculpted.

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The Goddesses and Women of Mexico Sculptures of Arturo Macias Armenta

We are proud to present the “Goddesses and Women of Mexico” sculptures from the incredible TemploMaya collection of Ms. Tania Scales of Zihuatanejo.  The sculptures are the work of the late Arturo Macias Armenta, who was a famous Mexican architect, artist, cinematographer and sculptor.  Visit Arq. Arturo Macias | Zihrena Gallery for a complete biography.  Internationally renowned, Arturo Macias initiated his work on this fabulous series of sculptures in 1985.  The sculptor passed away a few years ago, but leaves his masterpieces to treasure forever.

We begin the tour of the “Goddesses and Women of Mexico” with the sculpture of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.  Born in México in the 1700s of parents from Spain, Josepha identified herself as “Mexican” not Spanish, she loved the indigenous people and she wanted independence for her country. Josefa was very sympathetic with the plight of the indigenous, mestizo and Criollo communities of Mexico, and she worked closely with them trying to overcome the injustices they experienced. She is depicted with a Spanish hairstyle, the flag of Spain behind her, and a broken chain, depicted her country’s independence from Spain.

Xmucane is the symbolic mother of the “Hero Twins,” Hunahph and Xbalanque and part of the Maya story of creation. The Maya Hero Twins are the central figures of the oldest Maya myth to have been preserved in its entirety. The Twins have also been identified in the art of the Classic Mayas (200-900 AD).The Mayan Twins are considered to be the mythical ancestors to the Mayan ruling lineages.

Ixchel is the aged jaguar goddess of midwifery and medicine in ancient Maya culture. In the past, Ixchel was sometimes assumed to be identical to the Classic Maya moon goddess because of the Moon’s association with fertility and procreation. The waning moon is often called “Our Grandmother,” and Ixchel may have represented the particular lunar phase associated with the diminishing fertility and eventual dryness of old age.

Xtabay was the Maya goddess of the jungle, the female deity of the hunt.

Many thanks to Tania Scales for sharing these magnificent art pieces with us.  Future editions of this magazine will contain more history about the indigenous people and cultures of pre-Hispanic México.

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English Language Review: Personal Pronouns Are Confusing!

The United Nations celebrates  ENGLISH LANGUAGE DAY in April. The Day is celebrated on April 23rd, the date traditionally observed as the birthday of William Shakespeare.Shakesspeare

The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization’s six official languages. The purpose of the UN’s language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization. Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization’s six official languages.

The days are as follows:

  • Arabic (18 December)
  • Chinese (20 April)
  • English (23 April)
  • French (20 March)
  • Russian (6 June)
  • Spanish (12 October)

Language Days at the UN aim to entertain as well as inform, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community.

English Language Day logo

How is your English? Review this lesson in the use of Personal Pronouns.

Personal Pronouns:

The word “pronoun” means “for a noun,” and pronouns can be substituted for nouns in a sentence. Words such as he, she, we, them, you, it. etc., are called personal pronouns.

Personal pronouns serve as subjects, objects, complements, modifiers, or objects of propositions, and change according to gender, number, case, and person.  See the chart below.

NUMBER CASE 1ST PERSON

(the person  Speaking)

2ND PERSON

(the person spoken to)

3RD PERSON

(the person spoken about)

masculine feminine neutral
Subjective I you he she it
Singular Possessive my (mine) your(s) his her(s) its
Objective me you him her it
 
Subjective we you they
Plural Possessive our(s) your(s) their(s)   All genders
Objective us you them

For example:

He was here again (Subject)

I saw him yesterday (Subject and Objective)

Who put the dent in your fender? (Subject and Possessive)

For him, to me, with her, behind them (Objectives of prepositions)

Word Order:

You must know English word order so that you can practice the proper use of personal pronouns.

Subject + Verb + Object + Place + Time

Start with these exercises. Get a piece of paper. Practice putting these sentences in the proper word order.

  1. the customer / a reservation / made / for February 21-28 / at the Paradise Hotel
  1. the e-mail / I  / will send / tomorrow
  1. has / an interview / She / at 11:00
  1. the room / the maid / will clean / later
  1. are not allowed / children / in the adult pool
  1. personalized service / we / want
  1. the chef / a special menu / will prepare / for Saturday night

Now, practice choosing the correct personal pronoun. Choose the correct ones.

  1. Him / He and I / me walked around the city and looked at the stores.
  1. My mother and me / I are going to Acapulco in February.
  1. Her/ she and her children will eat on the beach.
  1. My husband and me / I will call the kids tomorrow.
  1. Paco, Irving and me / I will go to Mexico City to shop.
  1. Her / she and the other ladies went to the market.
  1. They / them had a good time at the Mexican Fiesta.
  1. I reserved a table for they / them in the restaurant.
  1. Please take me / I to the room.
  1. Give it to him / he.

Practice Exercises:  Correct the following sentences if necessary.

  1. If her and her husband want to go, we can all ride in a taxi to the Italian restaurant tonight.
  1. Me and him went to Chicago for a week.
  1. Hector, Paco and me have made many changes in our travel plans.
  1. Him and me are good friends.
  1. Me and her went to the central market yesterday.

The students in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo learn languages throughout their school years. So, if you’re coming down, you’d better practice your English!

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Mexico: Perceptions of Corruption and the Reality of Progress

By: Patricia Ann Talley, MBA and Editor

The Transparency International Organization recently published the Country Corruption Index for 2015, based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. “Corruption,” as defined by this index, is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can be classified as grand, petty and political, depending on the amounts of money lost and the sector where it occurs. This year’s index includes 168 countries and territories.

Top performers are perceived to share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that do not differentiate between rich and poor, and that are truly independent from other parts of government. Lower ranked countries are perceived to have poor governance, weak public institutions like police and the judiciary, and a lack of independence in the media.

This is not a report of crime; rather it is a ranking of the perception of the government corruption in a country. Countries/territories are scored on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries/territories in the index.

Denmark ranked #1. Other Scandinavian countries, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and Germany are among the top 10 perceived to be the least corrupt. The United States ranked #16. But, Mexico ranked #95 on the list of 168.

Corruption Index 2015

Mexico’s government, however, is perceived to be better than those in other Latin American countries like Chile, Cuba, Panama, Brazil, Columbia and Peru.

Corruption Index 2015-Latin America

Mexico’s government is also perceived to be better than those in countries like Russia, Iran, Lebanon, or Iraq.

Corruption Index Mexico vs other countries

Mexico’s Progress

The media, especially in North America, often focuses on crime, corruption, and illegal immigration from Mexico. Thus, many people are unaware of other positive facts about Mexico’s progress.

The World Happiness Report 2015 reveals just how happy the people in countries really are. The Gallup Company surveyed the residents of over 150 countries over the period 2012 to 2015 to assess how happy they are. People were asked to score their level of happiness, on a scale from 0 to 10 (very happy), according to six key variables:

  1. Real GDP per capita
  2. Healthy life expectancy
  3. Having someone to count on
  4. Perceived freedom to make life choices
  5. Freedom from corruption
  6. Generosity

Which countries are happiest? The results might surprise you!

The average score of all 150 countries was 5.1 (out of 10). According to the criteria of this report, Mexico ranks #14 on the list with an above average score of 7.19 – higher than the United States that ranks #15 with a score of 7.12.World Happiness Report of Countries

Learn more facts about Mexico. Watch this video.

Amazing things are happening in #Mexico. Watch this #video and get ready to go wow! http://ow.ly/X4ikQ

Posted by Mexico.mx on Thursday, January 14, 2016

Related Articles:

How Happy is the World? 2015 World Happiness Report Might Surprise You!

Crime Report for Guerrero, Mexico and Ixtapa Zihuatanejo for 2015 – Compare to Your City

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Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez: A Heroine of the Struggle for Mexican Independence

By: Katherine O’Dell Ellis.

Independence Day in Mexico is celebrated beginning in the late evening of September 15, when the President of Mexico rings the bell of the National Palace in Mexico City and then shouts the Grito Mexicano. The Grito includes the names of the important heroes of the War of Independence and ends with shouting of “¡Viva México!” three times, which is repeated by the crowd outside the palace.

This annual event is witnessed by up to half a million spectators from Mexico and across the world. The Grita de Independencia is also shouted from town squares and city halls throughout the country, including Zihuatanejo. Many towns, including Zihuatanejo, hold parades on September 16, honoring the heroes of the revolution. There are many well-known heroes of the Mexican war for independence, but there were also heroines–women who played a part in the revolution. One of them, Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, is depicted in a statue created by Arturo Macias Armenta.

Josepha Ortiz de Dominguez

The statue of Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez is displayed in the Templo Maya, a collection of Tania Scales in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero.

Born in Mexico of parents from Spain, Josefa identified herself as “Mexican” not Spanish; she loved the indigenous people and she wanted independence for her country. She married Miguel Dominguez and became mother of fourteen children.

Josefa thumbnail

Throughout her life, Josefa was very sympathetic with the plight of the indigenous, mestizo, and criollo communities of Mexico, and she worked closely with them, trying to overcome the injustices they experienced. In colonial Mexico, Spaniards born in Spain were the ruling class. People born in Mexico to Spanish parents were called criollos and had less power and fewer rights. Mestizos, or people of mixed race, were regarded as inferior.

Many people are not aware that as many as 500,000 black people from Africa were brought to Mexico as slaves during colonial times. Intermarriage between blacks and indigenous peoples was encouraged by the colonial powers. The mixed race offspring of these unions were not allowed to marry people of Spanish heritage. This led to a very complex caste system, which included sixteen different categories, and Spanish priests actually assigned babies to a caste at birth. (Reference:http://www.FreedomPathways.org)

In the sculpture, Josefa is depicted with a Spanish hairstyle, the flag of Spain behind her, and a broken chain. While living in Queretaro with her husband, Josefa began attending secret meetings where revolutionary ideas were discussed, and she eventually convinced her husband to hold meetings in their home, where the seeds of the revolution were sown.

The beginning of the revolution was planned for December 8, 1810; however, on September 13, the conspirators were betrayed. As Corregidor of Queretaro, Miguel Domínguez was asked to conduct a house search in the town in order to apprehend the rebel leaders. Aware of his wife’s allegiance, he imprisoned Josefa in her room to prevent her from exchanging information with her fellow conspirators. Josefa had anticipated this, and she had arranged a signal to alert her co-conspirators that they had been betrayed. By stomping three times on the floor of the room where she was imprisoned, she summoned one of the conspirators, who was able to warn the others that arrest orders had been issued for them.

Thus it was decided to begin the revolution immediately, and the famous “Grito de Dolores” rang out in the town square. This was the start of the peasant and criollo rebellion–and it was Josefa who gave the signal. Both she and her husband were eventually imprisoned for their roles in the revolution.

In 1822, Mexican Emperor Agustín de Iturbide offered Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez the role of lady-in-waiting for his wife, Ana María de Huarte y Muñiz. Josefa, however, believed the establishment of a Mexican empire, instead of a republic, was against the ideals for which she had fought during the revolutionary period, and she refused the honor. In 1823, she was designated a “woman of honor” by the empress, a tribute that she also declined. During the late years of her life, Ortiz de Domínguez was involved with several radical political groups. She always refused any reward from her involvement in the independence movement, arguing that she was only doing her duty as a patriot.

An intriguing detail of the sculpture is the list of names of the thirteen co-conspirators. While we know very little about these women, we do know that they existed and are an important part of this history of Mexico’s struggle for independence.

Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez

Referenced Articles:

The Racial Caste System in Colonial Spanish Mexico | Pathways to Freedom in the Americas

Colonial Mexico and Colonial America: Comparable Characteristics | Pathways to Freedom in the Americas

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Grace Relfe of Zihuatanejo Displays Art in “El Rebozo” Exhibition at Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City

By: Patricia Ann Talley, Editor

Local residents of Zihuatanejo refer to her as “Our Grace.” Grace Relfe is one of the first American immigrants to the Zihuatanejo area, coming from California over 40 years ago. “I used to go into downtown Zihua on a mule, “she says. “We used to live on the beach in huts.  I’ve seen many, many changes over the past 40 years.”

Back forty years ago, Grace was an art design graduate who came to Zihuatanejo to enjoy the nature and outdoors – a self-described “hippy.” She still lives close to nature in an open-air house nestled high atop the mountains overlooking the Zihuatanejo Bay. There, she rents rooms to adventurous tourists, plays with her adorable cats, cooks delicious dishes for her friends, and paints. She is also an accomplished photographer.

Grace

And, wouldn’t you know it!  “Our Grace” got her artwork on display at the famous Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City  that houses the finest collection of decorative arts in Mexico, and presents temporary shows of design and photography. Her artwork will be on display in the exhibition, El Rebozo – Made in Mexico until August 30, 2015.

Franz Mayer Museum

The Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City houses the finest collection of decorative arts in Mexico.

The exhibition will focus on the significance in creating the identity of women in the country. It will highlight traditional values, textiles, and ancient techniques. The “El Rebozo” exhibition will also be accompanied by workshops, expo-sale, and open talks to the public.Grace - Made in Mexico

Grace Relfe - 1

Grace’s artwork will be on display in the “El Rebozo – Made in Mexico” Exhibition until August 30, 2015.

The museum is located at Hidalgo 45, Centro Histórico, México D.F. 06300.  Telephone: 5518-2266, or email:  mailto:museo@franzmayer.org.mx.

So, if you get a chance this month for a weekend get-away, visit Mexico City Grace’s artwork on display.  Amazing Grace!

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Peace Pals International Children’s Art Exhibition Launches National Tour in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico

For the first time in Mexico, the Peace Pals International Children’s Art Exhibition will launch a national tour, starting in April 2015 in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero. The art collection features works of youth from over 80 countries who have submitted their visions of peace. Each work highlights the message, “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” In Spanish, “Que la paz prevalezca en la tierra.”

peacepals_postcard_front_spanish_out

The art exhibition is being organized by the World Peace Prayer Society in New York, and the Peace in Action Collaborative Education Group in Zihuatanejo, in collaboration with local businesses. The events will be both entertainment and fundraisers for educational projects and local charities.

Peace Pals Mexico

The Peace Pals exhibition will premiere at Viceroy Hotel in Zihuatanejo on April 3, 2015, at 6:00 p.m.; and in Ixtapa at Capella Resort on April 11, 2015, at 6:00 p.m. Donations of $15 USD or $200 pesos are requested. Donated funds will be shared with Carol’s Rice and Beans nutritional program that helps to feed needy students in Zihuatanejo.  The exhibition will tour the Zihuatanejo area and other destinations throughout Mexico.

Peace Pals Art 5

“We are delighted to have this wonderful exhibit tour Mexico!” says Jules Lamore, Art Director for the Peace Pals Project for the World Peace Prayer Society in New York.  “We are featuring these precious pieces representing the various cultures and traditions of the world.”

Each year, children are given a theme about peace. They compete in different age categories to express the theme and their visions of peace. Take a look at some of these masterpieces!

Peace Pals UAE

 

Peace Pals Rusia

 

Peace Pals Alemania

 

Peace Pals Kuwait

Go to our Special Events Page for upcoming dates for the tour. If you would like to arrange the Peace Pals Children’s Art Exhibition in your community, contact: mailto:info@imagine-mexico.com .

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

Please visit the Ambassador of Peace web page on Peace Pals International. http://wppspeacepals.org/ambassador-of-peace/

Related Article:

Get Off Your Butts and Help Feed Some Needy Students in Zihuatanejo – Support Carol’s Rice and Beans Program

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Get Off Your Butts and Help Feed Some Needy Students in Zihuatanejo! – Support Carol’s Rice & Beans Program

Hungry children can’t learn. One woman, Carol Romain, a Zihuatanejo resident originally from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, runs a project to feed over 120 of the area’s low-income students every week. And, she’s known to say – “Get up off your big butts and help feed some little butts!”

So, get off your butts and help! You can make a donation on-line, buy a raffle ticket to win a luxury vacation, or attend a fundraising event in the area.

Carols Rice and Beans 3

Zihuatanejo resident Carol Romain, originally from Canada, runs a program to feed talented, needy students at Casa Pacifica magnet school. Please donate and help!

“Carol’s Rice and Beans” program provides nutritious meals for students at the Casa Para Niños del Pacifico School in Zihuatanejo. The school provides a unique educational program to 120 of Zihuatanejo’s brightest, and most economically-disadvantaged, students. These exceptional students attend their typical half-day public primary school (morning or afternoon), and continue their studies for an additional four hours at Casa Para Niños. Classes include computers, English, reading, values and ethics, and homework assistance. It is a challenging workload, but the kids can’t wait to get there. The school is 100% funded by community donations and receives no government assistance.

“Carol’s Rice & Beans” nutrition program plays a critical role in getting these bright-eyed young scholars ready to learn. For many, it provides their only nourishing meals of the day. All are from very poor families with average monthly incomes of less than $150 USD. The children attending the morning session receive breakfast and lunch; those attending the afternoon session receive lunch and a healthy snack – a total of more than 30,000 meals a year.

Carols Rice and Beans 2

Each year, Carol organizes raffles and donations to fund this student nutrition program. Each morning during the school year, she gets up to organize, buy and even deliver the food. A typical weekly food order includes: 10 chickens; 25 lbs. of meat; 8 lbs. of cheese; 5 cases of cereal; 5 cases of milk; 35 lbs. of rice; 35 lbs. of beans; 144 eggs; cooking oil and condiments; and a pick-up truckload (about 180 lbs.) of fruits and vegetables. Grade point averages have soared since the introduction of the program.

Carols Rice and Beans 1

Carol not only organizes raffles and donations to fund the school nutrition program, she gets up every morning to help buy and deliver the groceries!

You Can Help!

You can help to elevate the educational levels and futures for these smart, yet needy students.

Donate on-line:  Go to: www.porlosninos.com

Buy a Raffle Ticket for a Luxury Vacation: You can also participate by buying a $50.00 USD raffle ticket for a luxury, all-inclusive vacation in Ixtapa.  For details, go to: Por Los Ninos | Rice and Beans.

carol-rice-beans-thumbnail

Attend a “Peace Pals Art Exhibition” Fundraising Event: The Peace Pals International Art Exhibition will start its national tour of Mexico in April, with its first stop in Zihuatanejo. This art exhibition is a collection of drawings about peace by children from 86 countries around the world. A donation of $15 USD or $200 pesos is requested. A portion of these donations will benefit “Carol’s Rice & Beans” program in Zihuatanejo. For more information, see: www.imagine-mexico.com/category/special-events.

Peace Pals Art 5

Related Articles:

Por Los Niños of Zihuatanejo Educational Charity Builds Classrooms, Bathrooms, and Kitchens for Students

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Ambassador of Peace Art Collection Tours Mexico for the First Time – in Zihuatanejo!

The community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo welcomes the Ambassador of Peace Art Collection, which is now on tour for the first time in Mexico! The collection has been donated to the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee to be used in schools, the cultural center, and other facilities throughout the community.

The Peace Pals international Art exhibition and Awards started in 1997, inviting children from around the world to submit artwork in the spirit of the Universal Message of Peace, May Peace Prevail on Earth. The collection features the artwork of youth from each of the eighty-six 86 countries who have submitted their creations over the years.

Peace Pals Art 5

Ambassador of Peace Art Collection opened at the museum in Zihuatanejo in February. It will now tour schools throughout the community.

Ms. Fumi Johns, Executive Director of the World Peace Prayer Society that manages the art exhibition program was in Zihuatanejo for the grand opening of the tour. She explained that each year, the art contest has a theme, such as “My Hero.” The children express their visions of peace through art. Ms. Johns donated the art collection to the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee.

Fumi Johns at Peace Pals Art

Ms. Fumi Johns, Executive Director of the World Peace Prayer Society that manages the art exhibition program was in Zihuatanejo for the grand opening of the tour.

Professor Wendy Carbajal Sotelo, General Director of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee attended the inauguration of the art exhibit along with international guests, residents, tourists, and students.

Peace Pals Art 3

Professor Wendy Carbajal Sotelo, General Director of the Zihuatanejo Peace Committee presents international dignitary Liberato Bautista with a gift of a painting of peace by a student of Zihuatanejo.

Students from the Mexico, Canada, and the United States visited the Ambassador Art Collection.  Art crosses all languages and cultures.  Art brings us together as people.

Peace Pals Art 2

May Peace Prevail on Earth!

Please visit the Ambassador of Peace web page on Peace Pals International. http://wppspeacepals.org/ambassador-of-peace/.

If you would like to arrange for this exhibition for your organization or business, contact us at: mailto:info@imagine-mexico.com.

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Gerald Shaw Benefit Exhibition of Wood Carvings Opens in Zihuatanejo

An exhibition of wood carvings of Gerald Shaw is now on display at Mezgaleria, on Rio Bravo 1 (on the entry road to La Ropa Beach). Gerald Shaw, an African-American originally from Boston, has lived in Zihuatanejo for over 50 years. Like many other African-Americans of his time, Shaw came to Mexico to escape the racism in the United States and to find more creative freedom.

Gerald Shaw 2

Shaw’s vast collection of wood carvings is inspired by his African heritage coupled with his time in Mexico.  All carvings are made of wood collected from the hills of Zihuatanejo.

A must to see!  Visit the gallery to see this spectacular collection.

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Gerald 3

Gerald Overview

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Exhibit on President Vicente Guerrero and Afro-Mexicans at Southfield, Michigan Library for February 2015

An educational exhibit about the history, culture and contributions of Afro-Mexican President Vicente Guerrero and other Afro-Mexicans in the state of Guerrero will be on display at the Southfield Public Library in Southfield, Michigan, USA for the month of February 2015 as a tribute to Black History Month in that country. The library is located at 26300 Evergreen Road in Southfield.

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Entitled, “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas,” the this educational exhibit and its website, www.FreedomPathways.org, were organized by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force, Inc. in Southfield, Michigan and funded by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, the MGM Grand-Detroit Hotel and others. The exhibit is currently on a state-wide tour of universities, schools, libraries and businesses. Since its premier in 2012, and has been on display at the Charles Wright Museum of African-American History, Chrysler World Headquarters, and Lear Corporation. To date, the exhibit and website have been viewed by over 30,000 persons.

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 The “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” exhibit will be on display the Southfield Public Library in Southfield, Michigan, USA for the month of February 2015 as tribute to Black History Month.

This international educational project is the result of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s annual Celebration of Peace program with the United Nations. Every year, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s Peace Committee, comprised of public officials and community volunteers, develops an educational program in conjunction with various UN initiatives.

Back in 2011, the United Nations paid tribute to the contributions of Africans to the world. In support of that UN effort, Professor Candaleria Donají Méndez Tello of Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, nidad de Turismo (Zihuatanejo’s toruism university), who is a member of the peace committee, launched the research for this educational project.  An expert in Afro-Mexican history, Professor Méndez Tello is co-founder of Mexico Negro, A.C. (Black Mexican Civic Association) that is a non-profit civil society created for the purpose of organizing the communities of African descent in Mexico.

Professor Méndez Tello and other members of the Peace Committee collaborated for two (2) years with universities, museums, libraries and civic groups in the states of Guerrero and Michigan to research and develop the educational exhibit and website about President Vicente Guerrero and other Afro-Mexicans in Guerrero.

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Professor Candaleria Donají Méndez Tello of Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero in Zihuatanejo led the research for this international exhibit and website.

Many people in Mexico and the world do not know that President Vicente Guerrero was of African and Indigenous decent. Historians refer to Vicente Guerrero as the George Washington and Abraham Lincoln of Mexico, indicating this great man’s stature. He was a general commanding Mexico’s liberation army during much of its independence movement in the early 19th century and he helped to write Mexico’s Constitution. He assumed his country’s presidency in 1829, and he abolished slavery under his administration – 36 years before slavery was abolished in the United States (1865) and before it was abolished in Canada (1833).

Vicente Guerrero - black

Many people also do not realize that there are substantial numbers of Black people in Mexico. Research shows that during colonial times, 1521 – 1821, Africans and Afro-mestizos (people of mixed African and European/or Indigenous heritage), outnumbered the Spanish by up to 3 to 1 in Mexico.1 In Guerrero, there is a well-documented and sizable presence of Afro-Mexicans in the Costa Chica Region of the state. Africans were brought to Zihuatanejo by the Spanish.2   

“The Black roots of Mexico are not explained in school textbooks or in our universities, therefore, still today, many of my countrymen and people around the world don’t know the importance of it.  The Black presence in Mexico is manifested in music, dance, poetry, verses, oral tradition, gastronomy and more,” says Professor Méndez Tello.

The “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” exhibit is in English and Spanish, and uses video, maps, photographs, art, and music to depict a different aspect of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the story of African-Americans escaping from slavery in the United States to freedom in Mexico, and African heritage as it continues to permeate Mexican culture—especially in the state of Guerrero. Click to obtain brochures about the exhibit: Pathways to Freedom Brochure – English.

You can take a short tour of the exhibit by clicking on the video below:

Sources:

  1. Aguirre Beltrán, Gonzalo. La Población Negra De México: Estudio Etnohistórico. 3rd. ed, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán: Obra Antropológica. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1989.
  2. FreedomPathways.org: Afro Mexicans in Guerrero: The Costa Chica Region

Related Articles:

A Short History of September 16 – Independence Day in Mexico

Shared Pathways in History – Mexico’s President Vicente Guerrero Abolishes Slavery in 1829

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Ambassador of Peace Art Collection on Display at Zihuatanejo Museum Starting February 4, 2015

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo welcomes the Peace Pals Ambassador of Peace International Art Exhibit! The inauguration of this international art exhibit will be at the Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande in Zihuatanejo, along the beachfront, on February 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

The Peace Pals international Art exhibition and Awards started in 1997, inviting children from around the world to submit artwork in the spirit of the Universal Message of Peace, May Peace Prevail on Earth.

Jules Lamore

 Ms. Jules Lamore,  Director, Peace Pals art exhibit will be one of the many special guests for the Fifth Annual Celebration of Peace in Zihuatanejo on February 2-8, 2015. She has used art to help prevent gang violence. 

The Ambassador of Peace Collection features the artwork of youth from each of the 86 countries who have submitted their creations over the years.  We are proud to feature these precious pieces representing the various cultures and traditions of the world. Each piece highlights the message, May Peace Prevail on Earth.

International Art Exhibition - Copy

Peace Pals Art - Manila Philippines

 Peace Pals Art Exhibit on display in Manila, Philippines.

86 Countries Included in the Ambassador of Peace Tour

Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, England, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sultanate of Oman, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe

Please visit the Ambassador of Peace web page on Peace Pals International for a complete list of the children’s names and ages for a complete reference.
http://wppspeacepals.org/ambassador-of-peace/

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Zihuatanejo Hosts International Youth and Educators Webinars for Peace on February 5, 2015

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Zihuatanejo’s Hero Ulises Rivera Romero Worked with Bicycles for Humanity to Put Smiles on Little Faces

Do you remember when you got your first bike? No matter how old you are, you probably still remember that day. It was one of the “best-est times” in the whole wide world . . . a thrill for every little boy and girl. Imagine! Some kids in the world never get to own a bike. They never have that wonderful experience in childhood.

Ulises Rivera Romero - tumbnail

Zihuatanejo resident Ulises Rivera Romero worked with Bicycles for Humanity to give over 500 bikes to kids! He is a hero to many.

Local resident Ulises Rivera Romero organized a community project and worked with Bicycles for Humanity in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to collect, ship, and donate 564 used bikes, 300 pounds of school supplies, and 40 soccer balls to the children and youth of Zihuatanejo. Ulises is a hero to many!

First, a little about Bicycles for Humanity – Calgary Chapter (B4H). Bicycles for Humanity is a non-profit, grassroots organization. Their goal is to empower people with the gift of mobility. Since 2005, this group of volunteers has sent over 75,000 bikes to developing countries. This was the first project organized for Mexico.

B4H

The volunteers collected used and donated bikes. Then, they held a charity event to raise over $15,000 CAD to ship the container of bikes and supplies to Zihuatanejo. This took over a year to complete. Thank you – Karen Pansky, Thian Hundert, Kirsten Hegg, and all the volunteers in Calgary that made this possible. Gracias!

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Ulises can express it the best.

“Hi, this is Ulises Rivera Romero from Zihuatanejo. I’m an ordinary person and I don’t do this for a living, but I really like to get involved in community activities like this.

When the bikes arrived from Calgary, Canada, a group of about ten people unloaded the container and moved the bikes to the school.”

When the bikes and supplies arrived last April, Ulises and his amazing team of local volunteers distributed all bicycles and supplies to the Octavio Paz school in Colonia Buenos Aires neighborhood in the outskirts of Zihuatanejo.

Bikes for Humanity recipients 2

“There are no words to explain how Bicycles for Humanity has changed the lives of so many kids here in my neighborhood, especially for those who never even imagined they could ever have a bike! All I have to say is that the happiness I saw in the faces of those kids is priceless,” says Ulises.

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Kids with bikes

The community of Zihuatanejo salutes and thanks the many volunteers that gave their time, talents and resources to help our kids. You are ALL heroes to us!

“Anyone can be great, because anyone can serve.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

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Greatness Can Come in a Small Package -A Ten-year-old Boy Raises $21000 USD to Build a School in Zihuatanejo

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UAGro, Zihuatanejo’s Tourism University, Forms Exchange Programs with Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, USA

By: Patricia Ann Talley, MBA.

The Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (UAGro), Zihuatanejo’s tourism university, recently formed a collaboration arrangement with Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, Michigan, USA for the interchange of professors, students, workshops, and cultural and academic projects.

The relationship between these two universities started in 2011, when professors from both institutions were recruited by the Michigan Humanities Council to provide research about the history of Afro-Mexicans in Guerrero. Professor Donají Mendez Tello from UAGro, and Dr. Talia Weltman-Cisneros from WSU, worked together on this international diversity project. Now, the professors have the opportunity to develop more interchange programs between their universities.

UAGro ZihuatanejoThe Zihuatanejo campus of UAGro is a School of Tourism. The campus has two buildings, six professors, and about two hundred students.

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Women Leaders in Mexico: Carolina Herrera de Saldaña of the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero

By: Patricia Ann Talley, MBA.

Women have made great advances in many sectors of Mexican society, despite the long-standing cultural tradition of women being encouraged to follow only domestic and family-centered career paths. Today, there are Mexican women who are international celebrities, like Salma Hayek, a soap actress and film star, and golfer Lorena Ochoa.

A woman of distinction in the field of education is Professor Carolina Herrera de Saldaña of the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, who directs the Department of Student Affairs for all university campuses and high schools throughout the state.  She is best known for her contributions and dedication to the youth and people of Guerrero.

Caolina Saldana

Professor Carolina Herrera de Saldaña of the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero directs the Department of Student Affairs for all university campuses and high schools throughout the state.

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Alberto’s Jewelry in Zihuatanejo – A Family Tradition in Artistry

By: Carlos Ballesteros, “Third Generation Owner”.

Editor’s Note: We are proud to feature one of Zihuatanejo’s finest business establishments, Alberto’s Jewelry, located downtown across from the cinema. 

Alberto’s has been a tradition in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo for over 30 years, offering the finest silver and gold creations. Rather than writing the story, we asked Carlos, a grandson of the founder, to write,in English, about his family and their business. His mother, Mercedes, said that she paid “good money” for Carlos to learn business and languages at the university, and she’s so proud of him!

Albertos in Zihuatanejo

Alberto’s Jewelry is located in downtown Zihuatanejo across from the cinema.

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WOW! Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero Hosts 4th Annual Celebration of Peace!

What a CELEBRATION!  During the week of February 4-9, 2014, the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México held its 4th Annual Celebration of Peace.  Each year since 2010, the community implements a peace education program for its students and for the community at large.  Activities commence on September 21st, the United Nations International Day of Peace, and continue throughout the year.  The Celebration is held during the dry season in February.

Last month, the community took time to CELEBRATE and thank all the many people and organizations that contribute to its educational and student development programs.   This year’s Celebration of Peace was held in conjunction with the Zihuatanejo Sailfest, sponsored by the Por Los Niños Educational Charity that raises money for student scholarships and schools in the area.

With raffles, a Chili Cook-off, sailboat rides and a variety of fun activities, tourists and community members raised over $80,000 USD to benefit the children of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo!  Sailing for education!

Zihuatanejo Sailfest

Peace Education Program: The History & Culture of Afro-Mexicans in Guerrero

This year, our peace education program is about the rich history and cultural diversity of our state.  Many people do not know about the African influence in Mexico, especially in the Costa Chica Region of the State of Guerrero.  For the past three (3) years, Zihuatanejo’s tourism university, Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero (UAGro), has collaborated with Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan to develop research about this indigenous cultural segment, along with the development of a traveling exhibition, photos and website, www.FreedomPathways.org.  The exhibit is currently touring the State of Michigan, USA.  The universities gave a joint educational conference to students about developing the cultural tourism segment.  The educators also plan to develop professor and student interchange programs.

Peace Through Service Rotary

Club Rotario (Rotary) of Zihuatanejo, a new sponsor of the community’s peace program, held a luncheon at the beautiful Catalina Beach Resort on La Ropa Beach where the the university professors made a presentation to international tourists and community members.  The event included an art exhibition, a photo exhibition and a fashion show of traditional dress from the area.  Food, music, dancing, peace hugs and more! What a party!

The Celebration of Peace and Re-Certification Ceremony

We ended the week of activities with our 4th Annual Celebration of Peace and Re-Certification Ceremony.  Each year, with the help of the DRD Peace Center in Southfield, Michigan, the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo must implement a peace education program to qualify for certification as a “Culture of Peace” community.  (See: DETROIT PEACE CENTER – IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO PEACE PROGRAM – History and Requirements.)

The Celebration began at our Peace Pole Monument in Zihuatanejo, where Zihuatanejo Mayor Eric Fernández Ballestros dedicated a new Donor and Sponsors Plaque and students gave the universal plea for peace, “May Peace Prevail on Earth!”

Peace Pole Monument in Zihuatanejo-1

Culture of Peace Program Donors and Sponsors: Detroit Renaissance District Peace Center in Southfield, Michigan; Club SKAL Ixtapa 646; Teresa Rodríguez Laurel; Ciudades Hermanas de Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo (Sister Cities); Club Rotario (Rotary) de Zihuatanejo; Glaser Family Charity in Dallas, Texas; IZ Properties, Ixtapa; Dorado Pacifico Resort, Ixtapa; Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Unidad Académica Turismo Zihuatanejo.

The event continued with a Peace Walk along the beachfront to our town square for the certification ceremony.  This year, our special guest of honor was Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs, General Board of Church and Society in New York City. Over 1,000 people attended the Celebration, including representatives from the DRD Peace Center and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force of Southfield, Michigan, and our Sister City of Bensenville, Illinois.

Levi Bautista

This year, our special guest of honor was Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs, General Board of Church and Society in New York City.

Mr. Bautista delivered an inspiring message to the crowd, in Spanish, with English translations for the international audience.  “Thank you for inviting and welcoming me to your beautiful and tranquil city. I have only been here for three days, but I have already experienced your infectious friendship. I have already benefited from your gracious hospitality. I have already witnessed your contagious hope for peace,” he said.

“By being here, I have been infused with energy just looking at your smiles and joining you in laughter. After all, how else might we exhibit peace except by making them visible in our lives and in our relationships? How else might we celebrate peace except by making them real in our families, homes, streets, workplaces, and in the halls of governments?

As we gather to celebrate peace, I hope we engage ourselves in a deeper understanding of what peace truly is about and what it requires of us who desire it.  Indeed, to those who desire peace are responsibilities to keep it, to make it, and to build it. Peace must be beyond desiring. In the end, it is about making sure we live peace. A culture of peace, according to the United Nations that declared it, is ‘a set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behavior and ways of life.’ ”

Download his entire message:  Liberato Bautista Zihua presentacion Espanol ; Liberato Bautista Zihua presentation – English


What a CELEBRATION OF PEACE!  We invite you to join us next year during the first week of February 2015.

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Creating a Culture of Peace in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico

By:  Patricia Ann Talley.

Ixtapa is not just a beach destination; it’s a peaceful beach destination. And people here know it and celebrate it. On February 4-9, 2014 the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo will host its 4th Annual Celebration of Peace and Re-Certification as a “Culture of Peace Community.” It will take place during the Zihuatanejo Sail Fest, sponsored by the “Por Los Niños” Charity. This year, the theme is “Education for Peace.”

Why is Ixtapa Zihuatanejo peaceful?

Basically, being a “Culture of Peace Community” means that all segments of the society – from the government to businesses and residents – work together to ensure that their young ones learn the basic human values of the community. In other words, everyone makes sure that kids grow up to be fine people.

In today’s world of technology, children can be constantly exposed to violence, wars or conflicts. That is why we must teach them about the values of peace. Since 2010, Ixtapa has been working on creating a sustainable peace-building process.  See: DETROIT PEACE CENTER – IXTAPA ZIHUATANEJO PEACE PROGRAM – History and Requirements

There’s even a Peace Monument to serve as a reminder!

Peace-Totem-Celebration-of-Peace

“May Peace Prevail on Earth” is written in Spanish, English, French and the native Náhuatl language, to represent the diversity of the community.

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Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Launches “Education for Peace” Program with the United Nations for 2013

In commemoration of the International Day of Peace on September 21st, the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Visitors & Conventions Bureau and the City of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, México have launched a variety of free workshops and activities for children and young adults as part of the United Nations “Education for Peace” program.

Continuing until February 2014, the community’s “Education for Peace” program is designed to inspire personal growth and development, respect for diversity, and conservation of the environment.

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo’s “Education for Peace” program is part of the tropical resort area’s annual certification as a “Culture of Peace Community” in partnership with the United Nations.  Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is the first community in Latin America to participate in this annual peace certification program, developed in 2010 with the help of the Detroit Renaissance District Peace Center in Southfield, Michigan, USA and The World Peace Prayer Society in New York, USA, and is the first community to receive this important recognition.

In addition to the implementation of an on-going peace education program for the community, the annual “Culture of Peace” certification included the construction of a Peace Pole Monument on the beachfront in Zihuatanejo, and the yearly commemoration of the International Day of Peace.

IZ Peace 2013 -3

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo launched its “Education for Peace” program on the International Day of Peace Commemoration on September 21st at the Peace Pole Monument.  State and city officials, civic organizations, business associations, residents and students attended.

“We’re excited about this year’s “Education for Peace” program that will be better than ever,” states Pedro Castelán, Executive Director of the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Conventions & Visitors Bureau that is helping to organize and coordinate the peace educational program.  “More institutions, organizations and businesses are volunteering to support the effort in very creative and innovative ways,” says Castelán.   Some examples are:

The Municipal Department of Education, with help from “Por Los Niños” Charity, will distribute Spanish-language educational materials provided by the UN Education Peace Team to elementary schools including games, art projects, activities and songs to teach students about human rights and creating peaceful relationships among family, friends and other children of the world.

El Refugio de Potosi Wildlife Refuge, with assistance from the Municipal Department of Ecology, will have a traveling photo exposition displaying the flora and fauna of the coast of Guerrero that are extinct, endangered, at risk or require special protection.  Designed to promote conservation, the photo gallery will travel to public places, junior highs and high schools in Zihuatanejo. (more…)

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You Are Invited to the Celebration of Peace and Zihuatanejo Sailfest –February 4-9, 2014

The community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico invites students, educators, civic groups, business representatives, tourists and families from around the world to come to the 4th Annual Celebration of Peace in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico and Re-Certification as a “Culture of Peace Community” during the Zihuatanejo SailFest, February 4-9, 2014, sponsored by the” Por Los Niños” Charity.

peace sign 009

During a time when some people have a negative image of Mexico, the community of Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero has partnered with the United Nations to develop a program to create a “Culture of Peace,” especially among its children and youth.

This year, the theme for the celebration is “Education for Peace.”  Since September 2013, students in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo have been participating in various workshops and activities to teach respect for diversity, pride and self-development, conservation of the environment and other aspects of peace, culminating in the February event.

Activities will include music, art and entertainment by the children of Zihuatanejo.  Sponsored by the “Por Los Niños“Charity, the event helps to raise funds to build schools and to provide student scholarships.

Let the children of Zihuatanejo tell you why we work for this cause:

Special Guest: Liberato “Levi” C. Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society, a non-governmental agency (NGO) in consultative status with the United Nations, will visit Guerrero, Mexico for the first time to officiate at the event. Mr. Bautista serves as the Organization’s Main Representative to the United Nations, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, USA, in Geneva, Switzerland and in Vienna, Austria.

Levi BautistaLiberato “Levi” C. Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society will officiate at the event.

In 2010, the Detroit Renaissance District Peace Center in Southfield, Michigan met with representatives from the government, business, tourists, residents, and educators in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo to define and establish a sustainable peacebuilding process.  The DRD Peace Center and the community also worked with The World Peace Prayer Society  to erect a Peace Monument in Olof Palme Park, an annual Celebration of Peace Celebration, and certification as a “Culture of Peace Community” in partnership with the United Nations.  Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero is the first community in Latin America to participate this peace-building certification program.

“I am delighted to invite others in the international community to join me in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico to witness this community’s collaboration of government, business, residents, educators, civic organizations, civil society groups, and visitors to demonstrate a unified commitment to peace” says Bautista.

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico is an international resort community on the Pacific Coast, located 2.5 hours by air from Houston, Texas.  Flights arrive to the Zihuatanejo International Airport (Code: ZIH).  Everyone is welcome!

Joint Peace Center and Zihua Sailfest Logos

Zihuatanejo Sailfest Schedule of Events

Tuesday, February 4:  Grand Kick-Off Party, 6:00 p.m. at at Casa Arcadia Restaurant at Plaza Del Artista in Zihuatanejo. Live Auction at 7:00 p.m.  Come get a T-shirt, sign up for events, make friends, and benefit the kids.  Live music.

Wednesday, February 5: Morning – Pursuit Race.  Boaters will have a fun race in and out of the Zihuatanejo Bay.  Crew spots available.  Benefit Concert, 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. at El Pueblito Restaurant in Zihuatanejo. Hear outstanding local and international musicians.

Thursday, February 6: Chili Cook-Off and Street Fair, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.at Plaza Del Artistas in front of Casa Arcadia Restaurant in Zihuatanejo.  Come judge the chili and buy local crafts.  Silent Auction, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Live music follows.

Friday, February 7: Sail Parade, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Sail around Zihuatanejo Bay, then to Ixtapa and back.  Donate and sign up at Casa Arcadia Restaurant in Zihuatanejo to sail aboard one of the boats.

Saturday, February 8: Kids’ Beach Party and Games Day, 10:00 a.m.  at Playa La Madera.  Fun for 100 kids and all with games, beach volleyball, sand castles, tug-of-war and more!

Sunday, February 9:  Wrap-up Beach Party, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at Casa Arcadia Restaurant in Zihuatanejo.  Awards and Raffle Drawings.  Selection of food by local restaurants, great raffle prizes and fun for all.   Food tickets are $100 pesos donation.

CELEBRATION OF PEACE

Other Tours & Activities:  Educational Tour to schools and universities plus lunch with the students; Tour of Homes & Condos and more.  Tours and Activities by Amstar DMC Mexico, www.amstardmc.com Contact: Fernanda Soto at: FSoto@amstarmexico.com or call: 011+52+ (755) 553-2025.

Sunday, February 9:  Celebration of Peace & Re-Certification Ceremony, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Cancha Municipal (basketball court) in Zihuatanejo.  Come and see the United Nations parade of flags by our children.  Performances by children. Music, entertainment, peace and joy!

Click to download: Celebration of Peace in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo -2014 Schedule of Events-Final

For updates, visit Facebook:  Celebration of Peace in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico

PARTICIPATING HOTELS: 

Sunscape Dorado Pacifico Ixtapa – SOLD OUT

Hotel Emporio IxtapaEmporio – Rates for PEACE CEREMONY 2014.  Hotel Emporio Virtual Tour

Park Royal IxtapaPark Royal – Rates for PEACE CEREMONY 2014

Villas Mexicana in ZihuatanejoVilla Mexicana – Rates for PEACE CEREMONY 2014 and hotel presentation: http://imagine-mexico.com/pPoint/Hotel-Villa-Mexicana-PRESENTATION.ppsx

Villas Miramar in ZihuatanejoVillas Miramar – Rates for PEACE CEREMONY 2014 and hotel presentation: http://imagine-mexico.com/pPoint/VillasMiramar-PRESENTATION.pptx

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Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Launches Education for Peace Program with the United Nations for 2013

Peace Education – Educacion para la Paz in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico

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Sponsors of “Niños Adelante” Charity Take Zihuatanejo Students on Educational Tour

By:  Patricia Ann Talley, MBA and Editor.

Imagine being a young college girl from the small town of Zihuatanejo and having the opportunity to take a trip to Washington, D.C and New York!  In July, four young students had this wonderful educational experience thanks to the generosity of sponsors Jocelyn Servick and Gary Steinhafel from Pinehurst, North Carolina.  The girls are scholarship recipients of the Niños Adelante charity organization that provides educational opportunities for the students of Zihuatanejo.  The trip to the USA was an additional gift.

The students, ranging from 17-19 years, attend high schools and colleges in the Zihuatanejo area.  They were selected for the trip by the Niños Adelante organization because of their good grades and high academic standings.  They are studying tourism and business administration and receive an annual scholarship from the organization.

Girls tumbnail

Zihuatanejo students shown at the airport before departure on their USA trip.  From left to right, Nancy Fiore Guzmán; Sarai Rios Gonzalez; sponsor Jocelyn Servick from Pinehurst, North Carolina; Saira Raquel Ponce Gonzalez; Patricia Pino Villegas; and Jose Bustos, Executive Director for Niños Adelante.

Niños Adelante (children forward) is a Mexican non-profit organization that was founded in 1978 by Liz Williams, an American expatriate, local realtor and the former US Consular Agent.  For over 30 years, Niños Adelante has provided scholarships to needy, deserving children in the Zihuatanejo area, thereby giving them the opportunity to complete high school and college, and to have a chance at better jobs and more rewarding lives.

The student tour to the USA is one of many educational opportunities provided by the Niños Adelante organization.  All expenses for the students were paid by their benefactors, Servick and Steinhafel, and Jocelyn Servick came from North Carolina to escort the girls on the trip back to her home town of Pinehurst, and then on to Washington, D.C. and New York.  Mr. Martín Median R., a local businessman, provided funds for the girls to have spending money on the trip.

I met with the girls and their parents before they departed to the US – they were so nervous and excited!  Their parents were giving them last minute advice to remember their manners and to say, “Please and Thank You.”   They’ve studied English and were anxious to use their language skills.

Chicas at the Empire state top in N  York

The students visit the Empire State Building in New York.

Upon their return, I asked the students what impressed them most about the United States:

They visited their sponsor’s home in North Carolina where it was very warm and they went fishing.

They loved Washington, D.C. where they visited the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Monument and the Vietnam Wall.  They were impressed with the beauty and cleanliness of the city.  And, President Obama’s motorcade went pass as they were touring!

They spent three days in New York where they visited the Empire State Building.  The girls now wear bracelets from the 9/11 Memorial and they were emotionally touched by their visit.

What was different?

THE FOOD!  The girls laughed that there were no tortillas, no salsa and no chilies!  “It was all American food!” they said.  They had a wonderful time in the United States, but they are glad to get back home to Moma’s cooking.

How You Can Help Deserving Students

You can help educate and provide future opportunities for the children in the Zihuatanejo area by supporting the Niños Adelante non-profit organization.  In Mexico, the costs associated with attending school after the sixth grade increase substantially. Beginning in the 7th grade, students must pay for books, supplies, uniforms and lunch. High school students are also required to pay a small tuition to attend public high school, and of course, there’s college tuition.  Many families simply cannot afford to continue their children’s education.

Your sponsorship of a student involves a commitment to make an annual scholarship contribution of $300 USD for middle school and high school students and $500 USD for college students, to assist families who would otherwise be unable to support their child’s continuing education.  The program currently has 223 kids sponsored by 200 donors.  Friends of Niños Adelante is a charitable organization under Section 501 (c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.  All donations are tax-deductible.

Sponsors are expected to maintain periodic contact with their students to encourage them in their studies.  All sponsors are also encouraged, but not required, to visit Zihuatanejo annually to see their student and his or her family.  Students highly value meeting and spending time with their sponsors and the visits reinforce the importance of education and the value of the program.

It takes a village to raise a child.  The children of the world belong to all of us.  Their futures are in our hands. Reach out and help.  Go to: www.friendsofninosadelante.org and make a donation to help educate a child.

As for the girls – their US Passports are good for six years!  They’re ready to go on their next educational adventure.

For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see:

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Related Articles:

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo Participates in United Nation’s “Education for Peace” Program | imagine-mexico.com

Educational Innovation and Vocational Training at the “Universidad Tecnológica de La Costa Grande” in Nearby Petatlán | imagine-mexico.com

Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero Prepares Students for Careers | imagine-mexico.com

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A LOVE REVOLUTION in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo… Love Can Do Anything!

By: Melecio Calva Hernández, Director/Pastor of Centro Familiar Ixtapa.

Love 2A revolution begins with an idea for man to ​​transition to a better state.  An idea becomes even more powerful than a rifle when a fire is burning in one’s heart to transform the current condition of an individual, of a city or of a nation.

LOVE REVOLUTION is not an attempt to publicize a church or religion, but it is a call to raise awareness of the power of love.

To implement a change requires that men and women with visions, passions and decisions take actions to implement that radical change with in the nation or system.  To start a revolution, there must be a reason that brings cohesive hearts together to the point of participation with loving actions throughout the city.

The Bible says, in Jeremiah 29:7 “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city where you live now.  If it prospers, you too will prosper.”

People of all faiths and who strive for a better life in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo have a powerful reason in common:  We LOVE our city!  Small or large, powerful or weak, we have an environment full of tropical warmth, beautiful nights of clear skies, natural beaches and beautiful sunsets – all of which helps the local economy to grow.  Our common LOVE for our city is the passion that binds our hearts and makes us strive for better days for all who live here. (more…)

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“Roseate Spoonbills” Women’s Co-op Group of Barra de Potosi Make Innovative Mexican Craftwork

By:  Barbara Erickson

“Roseate Spoonbills.”  Aren’t they pink birds? Yes, Roseate Spoonbills are indeed lovely large pink birds that one could easily mistake for flamingos! It also so happens that Roseate Spoonbills (or “Espatulas Rosadas” in Spanish) is the name of the Woman’s Co-operative Group in Barra de Potosi, a tiny fishing village south of Zihuatanejo in Mexico. The confusion is understandable when you see these smiling women all gathered together to show and sell their handmade arts and crafts, all dressed in signature pink, you cannot help but think of a flock of pink birds!

Tourists and visitors to the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area often inquire about the types of business and industry that can be found in the area.  Our main industry is tourism.  Many local men work as fishermen, farmers, or workers and professionals in the hotel and restaurant industries.  There are also many women professionals and business owners in the area.  For many families, women often find ways to supplement their family incomes through cooking, cleaning or selling their handicrafts and goods. (more…)

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Exhibit Honoring Afro-Mexicans in Costa Chica, Guerrero Opens in Michigan; Guerrero Delegation to Visit in January 2013

An exhibition entitled, “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas: Shared Experiences between Michigan, USA and Guerrero, México,” premiered last month at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan, the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African American experience.  The exhibit will be on display at the Wright Museum through March 2013, and then it will tour universities, schools, libraries and business groups throughout the state.

“Pathways to Freedom in the Americas” is an exhibition inspired by the chance meeting of two women who live in Zihuatanejo — Candelaria Donají Mendéz Tello, an Afro-Mexican originally from Cuajinicuilapa in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero, México and www.imagine-mexico.com editor, Patricia Ann Talley, an African American originally from Southfield, Michigan, USA. Through their friendship and discussions, they learned about the parallel histories of their ancestors who were brought to the Americas during colonial times. Together, they introduce the exhibition, which presents the mutually beneficial relationship between African Americans and Mexicans that is seldom discussed.  Click to obtain a brochure: Pathways to Freedom Brochure – English , RUTAS HACIA LA LIBERTAD- EXPERIENCIAS COMPARTIDAS ENTRE MICHIGAN Y GUERRERO

The exhibit is in English and Spanish, using video, maps, photographs, art, and music to depict a different aspect of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the story of fugitives from slavery in the United States taking the Underground Railroad south to Mexico, African heritage as it continues to permeate Mexican culture—especially in the Costa Chica Region of Guerrero, the migration of Mexicans to Michigan and the culture as it has manifested in Southwest Detroit.

 Click to see a quick tour of the exhibit:

Visit the website for research articles, videos and photos, a bibliography and teacher’s resources:  www.FreedomPathways.org

(more…)

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The Art of Zihuatanejo: Alfredo Tapia

Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is known for its natural beauty and captivating environment – but, another treasure of the area is its art.  The art of Zihuatanejo!

The Ixtapa Zihuatanejo community is full of artists…probably because of its beauty. One of the best known in the area is Alfredo Tapia.A graduate of “El Instituto Guerrerence de la Cultura” (The Institute of Culture of Guerrero), Alfredo Tapia studied painting with Ana Alicia Balderrama and sculpture with Jose Balderrama Luque.  Tapia was the founder and operator of “Nativo Arte” studio in Zihuatanejo from 2004 to 2011.  Currently, he is collaborating with other artists on an experimental workshop using plastics and preparing for exhibitions in the fall. (more…)

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Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero Prepares Students for Careers

Financial experts predict that by 2040, five (5) emerging countries – China, India, Brazil, Russia and Mexico – together will have a larger economic output than the G-7 countries of the Western world that have dominated global affairs for centuries. (Fareed Zakaria, The Post American World, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008, p.19).

According to former US President Bill Clinton, who has stayed active in international affairs, “Mexico has a dynamic outlook similar to that of South America.  It is important for Mexico to make the most of its economic potential, which is comprised of its natural resources and its people.” (more…)

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“The Culture of Peace” in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo is the only tourism destination in Guerrero with a Peace Pole Monument.

The world is faced with many great challenges in various fields, in addition to the various problems each of us face on a daily basis. The “Culture of Peace” is instrumental in promoting tourist activity. The tourism industry plays an important role in the countries, communities and tourist destinations, and the lives of its inhabitants and business services.  It is a priority for our economy.

The problems facing Ixtapa Zihuatanejo in recent years are social fear and concern, fueled primarily by people with attitudes that do not consider that this is a destination of peace and harmony. It is easy for the population to lose sensitivity to this situation, because of the events that occur every day in our country and in other communities in the world. People absorb negative information and content that disturbs their psychological reassurance.

But, we have a Peace Pole Monument in Zihuatanejo! (more…)

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