FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Tattered Magazines

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.

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 22, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Karl Grossman
Star Wars Redux: Trump’s Space Force
Andrew Levine
Strange Bedfellows
Jeffrey St. Clair
Intolerable Opinions in an Intolerant Time
Paul Street
None of Us are Free, One of Us is Chained
Edward Curtin
Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World
Celina Stien-della Croce
The ‘Soft Coup’ and the Attack on the Brazilian People 
James Bovard
Pro-War Media Deserve Slamming, Not Sainthood
Louisa Willcox
My Friend Margot Kidder: Sharing a Love of Dogs, the Wild, and Speaking Truth to Power
David Rosen
Trump’s War on Sex
Mir Alikhan
Trump, North Korea, and the Death of IR Theory
Christopher Jones
Neoliberalism, Pipelines, and Canadian Political Economy
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Why is Tariq Ramadan Imprisoned?
Robert Fantina
MAGA, Trump Style
Linn Washington Jr.
Justice System Abuses Mothers with No Apologies
Martha Rosenberg
Questions About a Popular Antibiotic Class
Ida Audeh
A Watershed Moment in Palestinian History: Interview with Jamal Juma’
Edward Hunt
The Afghan War is Killing More People Than Ever
Geoff Dutton
Electrocuting Oral Tradition
Don Fitz
When Cuban Polyclinics Were Born
Ramzy Baroud
End the Wars to Halt the Refugee Crisis
Ralph Nader
The Unsurpassed Power trip by an Insuperable Control Freak
Lara Merling
The Pain of Puerto Ricans is a Profit Source for Creditors
James Jordan
Struggle and Defiance at Colombia’s Feast of Pestilence
Tamara Pearson
Indifference to a Hellish World
Kathy Kelly
Hungering for Nuclear Disarmament
Jessicah Pierre
Celebrating the End of Slavery, With One Big Asterisk
Rohullah Naderi
The Ever-Shrinking Space for Hazara Ethnic Group
Binoy Kampmark
Leaving the UN Human Rights Council
Nomi Prins 
How Trump’s Trade Wars Could Lead to a Great Depression
Robert Fisk
Can Former Lebanese MP Mustafa Alloush Turn Even the Coldest of Middle Eastern Sceptics into an Optimist?
Franklin Lamb
Could “Tough Love” Salvage Lebanon?
George Ochenski
Why Wild Horse Island is Still Wild
Ann Garrison
Nikki Haley: Damn the UNHRC and the Rest of You Too
Jonah Raskin
What’s Hippie Food? A Culinary Quest for the Real Deal
Raouf Halaby
Give It Up, Ya Mahmoud
Brian Wakamo
We Subsidize the Wrong Kind of Agriculture
Patrick Higgins
Children in Cages Create Glimmers of the Moral Reserve
Patrick Bobilin
What Does Optimism Look Like Now?
Don Qaswa
A Reduction of Economic Warfare and Bombing Might Help 
Robin Carver
Why We Still Need Pride Parades
Jill Richardson
Immigrant Kids are Suffering From Trauma That Will Last for Years
Thomas Mountain
USA’s “Soft” Coup in Ethiopia?
Jim Hightower
Big Oil’s Man in Foreign Policy
Louis Proyect
Civilization and Its Absence
David Yearsley
Midsummer Music Even the Nazis Couldn’t Stamp Out
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail