The Mexican Connection

I’ve previously covered my recent trip to Paris with Mrs P. But there are a few more photos to share. The photos with a Mexican connection. In Mexico there’s plenty of evidence of a French Connection – the Battle of Puebla, the installation of Maximillian and the aftermath of the French intervention. Which, incidentally, began with British involvement. But we caught wind of the true intentions of the French, and withdrew. We weren’t the sort of country that just strolls in and takes over sovereign nations for the sole purpose of plunder. I think…. ūüôā

In Paris, there’s less evidence of a Franco-Mexican bond. A corner dedicated to the Virgin de Guadalupe in Notre Dame wasn’t a great surprise. They are both Catholic comrades to the core. My moment of¬†historical¬†interest turned up elsewhere, during a walk through the Montparnasse Cemetery. I hadn’t been looking for it, and hadn’t consciously been aware it was there. But stumble across it I did.

The grand mausoleum of Porfirio Diaz, one the most¬†contentious¬†presidents in Mexican history. I’ve always found him a beguiling and fascinating figure. Modern Mexico has plenty to thank him for. Like many dictators, he left a fairly grand architectural legacy for us to enjoy. We also get a day off work each year to remember/celebrate the Mexican Revolution that his presidency caused. Whilst he doesn’t quite fit all the necessary criteria for an¬†Enlightened¬†Monarch, his ‘reign’ does make for comparison to some of the European kings and queens who ruled in that vein. For both good and bad.

The interior of the mausoleum looks as though it had recently been tended too. Not with too much vigour, mind. No dusting or window washing. But the petals look quite fresh. They could be plastic, of course. But even so, they still don’t look like they’ve been in there too long. Perhaps the Mexican Embassy houses a fan of the Porfiriana, who stops by the ensure the chief is remembered.

7 thoughts on “The Mexican Connection

  1. I have mentioned to several Mexican acquaintances that returning the body of Porfirio Diaz would be an act of reconciliation. But I have had no takers on that notion. With all of his flaws, he helped to lay the foundations for a Mexican middle class. And (to slip into Marxian analysis for just a moment) that was his undoing.

    Nice post.

    By the way, the American newspapers are reporting that Londoners have gone beyond whinging to outright contempt for the Olympics. Is that your take?

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    1. It is easy to curse the fellow. But there’s no denying his importance and influence on the development of Mexico on the global stage. The country would be a very different place today if he hadn’t participated. Almost certainly for the worse.

      As for whining Brits turning contemptuous…that’s news to me. I suspect that’s a story that sells, and was written (created?) With that in mind. I’m usually pretty contemptuous of newspapers…!

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  2. Don Porfirio is one of those figures in national histories (like Peter the Great or Stalin in Russia) that is too important as a “nation builder” to just look at as an unmitigated villain. And, remember, the young Porfirio was a dashing and heroic figure in the fight against the French. BTW, I’ve always been somewhat amused that his former Cuernavaca house is now a gay bar. The old boy must be spinning in his grave (especially since its right across from an army base, and the place is always full of soldiers).

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    1. It’s pretty tough to look at Stalin and not be overwhelmed by the villain side of his rule. But I do know what you mean. There’s plenty of rules who’ve committed worse atrocities on a per capita basis who are remembered more fondly than Uncle Joe. But they weren’t commies, for a start…

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