Tattered Magazines

by CHELLIS GLENDINNING

Nucchu, Bolivia.

Here in Chuquisaca I am the privileged recipient of an invitation to stay at Kantu Nucchu, the ex-hacienda of President Don Gregorio Pacheco (1884-88) and the casita where Antonio José de Sucre, wounded in the coup d´etat of 1828, wrote his last message to the nation: “Preservar la obra de mi creación: Bolivia.”/Preserve the work that I have created: Bolivia.

Here – among arias sung by the Río Cachimayo, old mills, French Baroque chairs, trees bursting with lemons, and the incomparable hospitality of Ana Maria and Patricio Marion, I have discovered a pile of tattered magazines — Cuadernos – published by the Congreso por la Libertad de la Cultura in Paris in the 1960´s, with a focus on Latin American politics and cultura.

Ah, history! Ah, history-inside-of-history! And now, with my eyes in the game of observation in 2013, history-inside-of-history-inside-of-history.

I am happily poring over essays written by Jean Paul Sartre and Victoria Ocampo. The poetry of Octavio Paz and Carlos Castro Saavedra. Political commentary by Germán Arciniégas. Critiques of works by Ernest Hemingway, Miguel de Unamuno and Miguel de Cervantes. I am treated to photos of the Eiffel Tower and of pre-Colombian art in Mexico.

One thought, written in 1965 by the Spanish journalist J. Garcia Pradas, jumps from the page: “Hay novedades muy antiquas.”/There are new things that are very old.

For sure, through the must rising from the magazines, it is revealed that, just as controversy over the Cuban Revolution returns and returns again through the decades, I encounter a mountain of familiar themes: the dynamic between reason and faith; the destiny of the original communities in the face of modernism; the attitude of Latin America toward Euorpe and that of Europe toward Latin America; the integration of the continent. From the swirl of words and images produced so long ago and, at the same time striking such contemporary cords, rises an impression of the Great Wheel of Destiny girating and girating again, through the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, of the moon – and of the essential affairs of our human life.

The Colombian writer Hernando Téllez hits the nail on the head of our predicament in his timeless essay of 1965: “Por qué no aceptar que en el orden de las ideas políticas no es cierto que hayamos inventado nada que no estuviera ya inventado?”/Why not accept that in the grand scheme of political ideas it is certain that we have invented nothing which has not already been invented?”

The fine dust settled on the desk where Sucre penned his last proclamation — mixed with the odor of must from the open pages of Cuadernos and the mud encrusted on my blue jeans from the shores of the Cachimayo — presents an archetypal challenge: when all is said and done, we may realize that “all the world´s a stage” and we but “the actors.” But, with our indomitable spirit that rejects all limits, we are going to give this moment in the turn of the Wheel the same passion and intelligence that those of history gave it before us.

Chellis Glendinning is the author of five books, including When Technology WoundsOff the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economyand Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade.  She may be contacted via www.chellisglendinning.org.

 

Chellis Glendinning is the author of five books, including When Technology WoundsOff the Map: An Expedition Deep into Empire and the Global Economy and Chiva: A Village Takes on the Global Heroin Trade.  She may be contacted via www.chellisglendinning.org.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman