As I sat in the middle of the Haitian refugee camp with the battered guitar resting on my lap, I thought of Mamá Lola in Mexico.
The US government and the Bolivian putschists continue to describe this coup as a win for democracy. Disturbingly, this same claim is echoed in Mexico by political conservatives and the economic elite. Not only are they supportive of the coup, some are calling for similar violence against Mexicos own center-left President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
I found the migrant shelter at the end of a side street, in the shadow of the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Here in the Mexican capital, March 8 saw over 80,000 women fill the length of downtown Reforma Avenue. They donned purple shirts, bandanas, and flags, the symbolic color of the womens movement that, coincidentally, matched the blooming jacarandas. Some have coined this mass movement The Purple Tide. They came out in drovescoronavirus concerns be damned. These women were not just marching for equal pay or greater government representation: they were marching for their lives.
The US publishing industry has recently thrown its weight behind a novel about migrants in Mexico: American Dirt (2020) by Jeanine Cummins. American Dirt is a gross misrepresentation of this nation, its culture, and, most importantly, its migrants. The fact that it has been selected by US publishers and publicists to represent the migrants storyto the exclusion of hundreds of other booksis deeply revealing.