The fun side of the border wall | HUDSON

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Miller Hudson



Last week, the Denver Press Club organized a weeklong trip to Oaxaca, a growing magnet for food enthusiasts. Organized by one-time Westworld restaurant writer and bar consultant Tony White through the Almas Viejas tour company, which he runs with his wife and business partner, Carmen. Zapotec textile weavers provided us with handicrafts, four-star meals and excursions.

This was my first real vacation since the pandemic disrupted our lives. A far cry from the chaos and violence typical of border towns, where asylum seekers from around the world crowd the streets, Oaxaca was surprisingly middle-class – even if drivers preferred to honk rather than swerve.

The Mexican peso has remained strong during the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and is preferred to the dollar far from the US border. After reading Mark Koyama and Jared Rubin’s “How the World Got Rich” last year, economic globalization, like it or not, has made it easier for the already rich to prosper in Mexico. It is in the United States. However, everyone is doing better. On weekend nights, it was crowded with young people roaming the bars and paying $10 or $12 for cocktails.

For many years, net migration between the U.S. and Mexico has seen more immigrants return home than leave. The few beggars we encountered were single mothers with small children, often waving Venezuelan or Guatemalan flags, fleeing the immigration corridor from Central America, across Mexico to the US border. It seems that American tourists are more willing to hand over a few pesos than the locals who have seen this flood of despair for decades.

When I had the opportunity to ask Mexicans what they thought of the Republican presidential candidates who had promised to send in American troops and shut down the drug suppliers that plagued their country, perhaps the most telling response was, “We think exactly what you think. Think about it. As one restaurant owner explained, “Your drug problem is causing our problems. More Mexicans are dying in cartel attacks because Americans are overdosing. Remember, these are the killers that make Hamas look like choirboys. A few months ago, the comrades, who had not received the required cooperation from the local police, invaded their station, killed 24 policemen and cut themselves on the roof for public viewing.

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I wonder how many war planners in the Pentagon are prepared to face such heathens? Or how many soldiers are excited about the opportunity to “save American lives” with such brutality? I was able to follow the property tax drama of the special session in Denver via the World Wide Web, where Democrats are determined to give arrogance a bad name. Colorado Republicans seem to be getting away with ignoring voter sentiment while remaining in limbo. Why do we accept humility? I’ll post more analysis for next week.

Perhaps the highlight of our trip was a trip to Monte Alban, a Zapotec religious and astronomical site outside of Oaxaca. Built 1,500 years ago, sun-worshipping priests recruited thousands of peons to shave the top off a mountain at the confluence of three river valleys, creating a flat peak suitable for temples and playgrounds.

Unlike the Aztecs, who incorporated human sacrifice into their religious practices, the Zapotecs seem to have agreed to throw prisoners and then enslave them. I can’t help but wonder how they managed to get water to their mountain fortress, in a semi-arid desert. Today, almost every building in Oaxaca has a rainwater collection system that collects potable water from basement water tanks to gravity storage tanks on the roof. I imagine that in a society that rewards the priests, they may have forced slaves to carry water to the top of the mountain. There’s a reason why the most famous Mexican story is called “Fire and Blood.” The fact that Cortez was able to execute Moctezuma and thus destroy a civilization of 7 million with only 150 soldiers on horseback tells us that courage goes a long way.

The effort required to transform the agave plant into mezcal shows how much human ingenuity can be applied to a higher level. The Zapotecs were producing mezcal when the Spanish arrived, roasting hundreds of agave hearts for two to three days, then crushing them and fermenting the result for another week or two. Spanish merchants imported copper mills from the Philippines to speed up the production of alcohol. Or, as one sage put it, it’s an example of the “technological transition of the age of questioning.” The small-batch, artisanal distilleries in Mexico’s 10 states that are allowed to label their bottles mezcal aren’t making their operators rich, even if their bottles are expensive once they’re exported.

We caught up with Berta Vasquez, featured in Eva Longoria’s CNN series exploring Mexico’s tourist attractions. When I arrived in Oaxaca, mezcal was often thrown like liquid styrofoam. I revised my opinion after picking up Berta’s variations, including lemongrass and “dios de muerte” fruit. She was the first internationally recognized woman mezcalero, faithful to traditional techniques. No two parts of it taste the same. crawled? Tony and Carmen, American and Oaxacan from Wyoming, prefer to accompany small groups of six to 10 (almasviejasoax.com). As one t-shirt slyly proclaimed, “Mexico: The fun side of the wall.

Miller Hudson is a public affairs consultant and former Colorado legislator.



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