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Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Allyn Hunt Mexico, still trying to pin down its dead heroes of the War of Independence, now is sifting through bones of infants and deer

Mexico, still trying to pin down its dead heroes of the War of Independence, now is sifting through bones of infants and deer

In solemn and (presumed) circumstance, before an enthralled public and the politicians proud of the spectacle they were offering the citizenry, “the bones of the heroes who gave (Mexico) its fatherland,” passed through the streets of the city of Mexico September 30, 2010, in ostentatious parades commemorating the bicentennial of Independence, wrote a journalist from the Mexico City daily La Jornada.  Crowds applauded Morelos and Hidalgo, the most popular founders of an independent Mexico.

But not all.  Enough people harbored doubt to prompt La Jornada to note that: whoever was bold enough to question the authenticity of the illustrious skeletons was immediately silenced by official declarations:  “There is no doubt.”  Then came a brief history lesson for the untutored or the forgetful: “These are the remains of Juan Aldama, Ignacio Allende, Nicolas Bravo, Vicente Guerrero, Miguel Hidalgo, Mariano Jimenez, Mariano Matamoros, Francisco Javier Mina, Jose Maria Morelos, Andres Quintana Roo, Leona Vicario, Guadalupe Victoria, Pedro Moreno and Victor Rosales.  And nothing less.”

Now, La Jornada has patiently jacked-up the slow-moving and reluctant capacities of  Mexico’s still “new” Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Informacion y Proteccion de Datos to obtain this latest assessment by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of the urns said by the government in 2010 to contain the remains of the leaders of the War of Independence.  An uprising ignited by decisions made by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo, Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama the night of September 15, 1810 and the actions they took the morning of September 16 in the town of Dolores.  This report was dramatically different than the assessment INAH issued in September 2010, under the auspices of the presidency of Felipe Caldron, of the pro-church, pro-business National Action Party (PAN).  The PAN was created in 1939 in great part by a religious and wealthy elite displeased with the “irreligious,” less than conservative path Mexico was taking.  For this and a number of political and social reasons, many Mexicans did not believe the first report and believe the present re-assessment was withheld from the public until Calderon’s PAN administration left office.

Mexico’s governing wealthy elite, both Church and political, has had an uncomfortable time accepting the rebellious movement that set Nuevo España on fire and eventually freed it from the Spanish Empire, painfully turning the one-time colony into a place that became Mexico.   Both the country’s Church and secular elite (the gachupines or spur-wearers) sent armies to hunt down, torture and kill anyone connected to the Independence movement, especially turncoat Criollos  –those Spaniards born in New Spain.  It was a war between independence-minded Criollos, plus thousands of allies (mestizo and indios) versus the gachupines who saw themselves as “pure” Spaniards and thus the rightful rulers, in the name of the Crown, of New Spain.

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