McCain and the Virgen de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe)

July 8, 2008

One of John McCain’s final activities on his recent trip to Latin America could earn him thousands of Latino votes, or at least a new affinity from Hispanics: He visited the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

The Basilica de Guadalupe is Mexico’s most important religious sanctuary, and it ranks among the most important worship places in all of Latin America. The Basilica houses the original apron that was given to Juan Diego, an indigenous peasant, when the Virgin appeared before him in the 16th Century.

The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patroness saint of Mexico and the Americas; she is also referred to as the “Virgen Morena” (browned-skinned Virgin) and as the “Mother of all Mexicans.” Her image is worshiped with such devotion that almost every Catholic home in Mexico, or with Mexican roots in the U.S., has a picture, an altar or icon of the Virgen.

As Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes (as cited on Wikipedia) observed, “One may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Echoing that sentiment, Nobel laureate Octavio Paz (as cited on Wikipedia) said, “The Mexican people, after more than two centuries of experiments, have faith only in the Virgin of Guadalupe and the National Lottery.”

When in trouble, Mexican Catholics pray for la Virgen to intercede on their behalf, and when a miracle or “favor” is granted, the recipient offers a sacrifice or a gift to thank her. A common gesture to thank the Virgen is to make a pilgrimage to the Basilica, particularly around December 12, the day her feast is celebrated.

For Latino immigrants, the Virgen de Guadalupe represents an icon that gives them hope and helps them maintain their faith while facing problems. In fact, it is common to see the image of the Virgen carried by faithful participants during immigration reform rallies and events.

Historical Significance

The image of the Virgen de Guadalupe has been present during critical events in Mexican history. During Mexico’s Independence War from Spain in 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, known as the “Father of the Nation,” initiated and fought with a flag of la Virgen in his hand. During Mexico’s civil war a century later, Emiliano Zapata and his peasant army fought the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz using a banner of the Virgen as their flag.

In the modern era, then-candidate Vicente Fox began his presidential bid carrying a flag of the Virgen de Guadalupe that was given to him by his children; his victory ended the PRI’s more than 70-year political reign in Mexico.

McCain

For candidate John McCain, visiting the Basilica and getting a picture taken next to the Virgen could be a powerful tool to attract the votes of Latinos, especially those older immigrants and those with low-literacy levels as they would perceive him as a candidate who relates to them and pays respect to one of the most sacred elements in their lives. As far as political icons go, this one could work miracles.

                                       Picture Source: EFE


Poll: 4 out 10 Mexicans have a family member living in the U.S.

May 6, 2008

A recent study by Mexican pollster Roy Campos from Consulta Mitofsky shows that 39.6 percent of Mexican nationals have a family member living in the United States.

When asked about the possibility of moving to the U.S. if they had the opportunity, 41 percent of the respondents said that they would. The number increases to 49 percent among men and 51 percent among young adults. Nearly half, 44 percent, of the Mexican middle-class said that they are willing to move to the U.S.

When asked about the possibility of immigrating under illegal conditions, 3 out of 10 respondents said that they would do so. Also, 39 percent of young adults, ages 18-29, are willing to immigrate under such conditions.

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 Mexican adults, aged 18+, conducted April 24-29, 2008. One can say with 95 percent confidence that the margin of sampling error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

View the report here (in Spanish)


Under the same moon music (bonus video)

March 31, 2008

This is one of the funniest scenes of the movie:

Read my review here.


Under the Same Moon (Music Video)

March 27, 2008

I just found the a video clip of the song “Por Amor” from Los Tigres del Norte promoting the movie Under the Same Moon. Really cool!


Don’t miss Under the Same Moon/La misma Luna

March 23, 2008

Under the Same Moon is a must-see movie for every professional working with the Hispanic community in the U.S. Directed by Patricia Riggen, the movie possesses a prime cast of Hispanic/Mexican actors and actresses such as soap-opera star Kate del Castillo (Rosario), Mexican diva Carmen Salinas (Dona Carmen), former congresswoman and actress María Rojo (Reyna), Ugly Betty’s América Ferrara (Marta) and comedian and Broadway actor (in Rick Najera’s Latinologues) Eugenio Derbez (Enrique) , and a great performance by the young but experienced Adrian Alonso (Carlitos). As an added bonus, the film features a special appearance by Norteño music super-stars Los Tigres del Norte.

FOX Searchlight provides the following synopsis:

UNDER THE SAME MOON (LA MISMA LUNA)tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the U.S. while her mother cares for Carlitos back in Mexico. Unexpected circumstances drive both Rosario and Carlitos to embark on their own journeys in a desperate attempt to reunite. Along the way, mother and son face challenges and obstacles but never lose hope that they will one day be together again. Riggen’s film is not only a heartwarming family story; she also offers subtle commentary on the much-debated issue of illegal immigration.

I must say that just by watching the movie’s trailer, which ran for months, I was deeply moved by the story. The movie exceeded my expectations, and I experienced a roller-coaster of emotions going from tears to laughter in a couple of frames. Yet, the story has room for strong social and political messages regarding immigration. During the course of the movie we can see how sometimes the “migra” (INS officials) use excessive force to capture undocumented workers in a tomato farm, and how Rosario’s employer, a house-wife from Beverly Hills, mentally abuses her, firing her and then denying her payment of the salary she had earned.

But a line by Enrique encompasses the full message of the movie, and depicts the life of millions of immigrants that come to the U.S.(not an exact quote): “Crees que a uno le gusta trabajar todo el día para medio tragar, vivir escondiendose de la migra..lo hacemos por un sueño” (“Do you think that one enjoys working all day to barely eat, and live hiding from the INS…we do it because we have a dream.”)

And that dream can mean sending $300 dollars back home every month, like Rosario did, which makes a difference for her child between attending school or selling candies in the street, between having a somewhat low-middle class life or living in poverty.

La Misma Luna offers marketers targeting Hispanics in the U.S. a glimpse, and maybe some understanding, of the life and needs of undocumented workers, a segment that represents as many as 12 million people.