Last week I was in Mexico for the first time in almost two decades. The reason I haven’t been in Mexico is a long story. My parents are both U.S.-born so my only experience with Mexico was visiting resort cities like Cancún and Mazatlán. I didn’t love those places and always felt that the party atmosphere of the resorts I visited didn’t always portray the country or its citizens in the most favorable light. That may be over-generalizing, but my point is that my exposure to Mexico throughout my life has been extremely limited.
Last week, I was part of the delegation that was invited to Puebla by the state’s governor and I got the chance to visit Mexico in a way I never had before. Puebla is a historical city, known primarily as the city where the battle of Cinco De Mayo was fought. It is rich in culture and is home to the world’s largest pyramid in nearby, Cholula. The city was impeccably clean, and Kathy and I felt as safe as we do anywhere in the U.S. The people of Puebla are some of the most sophisticated and hospitable that we have ever met. I would recommend Puebla to anyone interested in visiting and would definitely recommend the Rosewood Hotel, which was as nice as any Four Seasons I have visited.
We were not in Puebla just for leisure; we were there for the annual board retreat for the Latino Donor Collaborative, an organization that is committed to advancing the Latino brand in America. Out of courtesy, we invited members of the governor’s cabinet to sit in on our meetings and got the chance to socialize with them over meals. It was interesting to hear their perspective on various issues such as trade, immigration, and the current political rhetoric coming from the White House. They were much more composed and measured on the issues than I expected. They struck me as feeling more hurt than angry on how Mexicans have been characterized by the Trump Administration, but definitely not fearful. One official told me that the day after Trump cancelled DACA, she received a call from her counterparts in China and other countries offering citizenship to any of the DACA kids who are deported from the U.S. I loved hearing that. If our politicians are stupid enough to deport 700,000 educated young people, there will be a line of countries begging to have them. I enjoyed conversing with leaders of Mexico’s government as much as I enjoyed visiting one of the great cities in all of Latin America.
We hear frequently how Latinos are not a monolithic community. In other words, we are not all the same. We come from different countries, have a variety of political views, and even eat different foods. I get all of that, but I also think focusing constantly on our differences versus our similarities undermines our political and economic power as a community...
This might be my most provocative blog in a while. Let me first state that I am happily married to a beautiful gringa. My kids are half- White and some of my best friends throughout my life have been White, so don’t let the title of this blog throw you.
A few weeks ago, Twitter was blowing up when John Leguizamo spoke out against the recent casting of James Franco as Fidel Castro in the independent film ‘Alina of Cuba’. Leguizamo took plenty of heat for his stance and was ridiculed by some including Bill Maher.