January 16, 2004

Commentary

American Integration

By Andrés Lozano

History does not repeat itself, certain circumstances do. When the Spaniards firstly and other Europeans afterwards conquered and colonized the Americas, carried along with them 10,000 thousand years of progress ahead of the natives. Measured in technological years, the US has a lead measured in eons compared with Latin America: awesome and unreachable. This is a crucial assertion: To catch up, Latin America would require to reinvent the already invented, an absurdity on its own terms. Cooperation is the efficient choice, join and be part of research and discovery projects.

The American prosperity model is the world’s leading edge. Even the reticent of consequence such as the Berlin-Paris-Brussels axis plus China and Japan know such is the path. Presently, Japan is dumfounded, hesitant to move across its Shogunate under a different name. China is a rather efficient fascism whose challenge not to stall, as Japan does today, lies two decades hence. The Latin American choice would be adopting lock, stock and barrel the American prosperity model before it becomes compulsory by calamity. By calamity, I do not hint through the courtesy of the US Marine Corps, but for sheer survival. If we press on with the dearth-making Latin American model, in fifteen years time we will have to shut down our countries from Mexico all the way to the South Pole and move en masse to the US, as if it was possible.

Discrepancies could not be wider than between the worldviews of Moctezuma and Cortez, yet the 10,000 thousand years advantage prevailed. Mexico is the sum of cultures shattered by an advanced civilization to which the vanquished imprinted rich and distinctive features; hence, the virtuosity of the crossing and blending of races. The process repeats itself beyond points of view. Intellectuals, academicians and other Latin American privileged preach immobility in the name of never accomplished abstract progress. Their collectivist creed is not a springboard up toward prosperity, but a slide down unto backwardness. The thrust towards progress is irreversible, yet it does not imply the cultural obliteration of Latin America, but the fusion unto a larger and improved scheme. Collaboration is Latin America’s key: Stop refusing progress, end flaunting the tradition’s bogeyman, as if all traditions were implicitly good. The salvageable floats free of lifesavers.

Susceptibility aside, the hamper is a form of simplistic relativism given to leveling out the incomparable. At the onset of the sixteenth century, Spain was the unmatchable power, the landmark civilization. Attempting to compare the Inca with Pizarro is as unproductive as comparing the weak and perplex Latin American cultures with the American almost mature civilization. Envy is freezing, puts the holder at an automatic disadvantage, mostly found amid the regional privileged, since among the common folk the exchange is fruitful.

While Latin Americans’ Americanize themselves shamelessly, in the US flourish Latin American manifestations galore, as the compulsive addiction toward Mexican food with a Frozen Margarita for a starter and accompanied with a Corona or a XX. Spanish’s influence over English: “Hasta la Vista’, ‘Mi Casa es su Casa’, ‘Vaya con Dios”, etc., are idioms daily gobbled up by English, as OK and Bye-Bye are by Spanish. In the long term I would not bet my money on the prevalence of Spanglish over Espanglés, exception made with technical terms.

Greece and Rome raided the cultures of their subjects and embraced several of their features: They Hellenized and Romanized them and the outcome was better. Under the banner of the Western Civilization, the updated Greco-Roman civilization is the world’s leader without question. In half-a-century-time transformation and union of Latin American cultures unto an advanced civilization will render an enriched American Civilization, that is, of all the Americas. Meantime as it always happens, the merging process and rejection of the ineffectual is painful, chock-full with acrimony.

In the absence of a better name, Latin American spite is a sort of ‘Celtic Syndrome.’ Ireland carried justified grudges against England. While the Irish harped over them, Eire was the picture of backwardness. The foresight of the Irish Independence framers was, simultaneously breaking the fealty bonds and holding to the advantages of the British Civilization. De Valera and Collins loathed the British, yet they did not reverted to the original clans nor daubed their faces in blue to make a futile point. Them, along with their successors, chose the path of progress, not to become vulnerable in the backward, barren and envious haphazard search of forlorn traditions. The rout at Culloden taught the Scots the same bloody lesson. Along with their vanquishers framed, to this day, an invincible empire. Is it conceivable a British onslaught without Pipes and kilts preceding it?

Assaying is fading and being born again improved. With its variations, the Fenix’s legend is akin to most cultures. Steel is a blend of iron and coke, both essential contributions to obtain the improved former. Our integration began over a century and a half with the Mexican-American war; it will be accomplished by mid 21st century. Latin America swallows its shortage of Western Civilization through its blend with the US, not directly from Europe. The US, in turn, sips Latin American culture mainly through Mexican subtleties. Mexico is the regional interchanger, southbound acts as a funnel for Americanization whilst northbound showers the US with Latin American gifts.

Andrés Lozano can be reached at alozanoh@msn.com

Letters to the Editor Return to the Frontpage