Clyo Mendoza grew up in rejection of the Spanish because his only Iberian ancestor had denied his origin. His paternal grandfather saw his parents die very early and was enslaved by his uncles for which, once in Mexico, he educated his descendants in the denial of that past. Therefore, there is Spanishness in his blood, if that is how an imprecise RH can be called that today continues to generate debate, as there is also the indigenous DNA of a Nahuatl great-grandmother and a Mixtec family. A mixture like that of so many Mexicans that has turned this 28 -year-old writer born in Oaxaca into an example of miscegenation and a coexistence of centuries that today explodes in demagogic crunches to Both sides of the Atlantic.
If Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico better known as AMLO, demands that Spain apologize, José María Aznar here is cheating on his so little indigenous surnames. If the Pope apologizes for excesses, as the United Kingdom or the Netherlands have done with their former colonies, Isabel Díaz Ayuso curses indigenism as a new communism. There are no areas of search for truths or intention to know the past without prejudice. For this reason, it is inevitable to ask Mendoza, author of the novel Furia (Sigilo / Almadia) and very knowledgeable about indigenous communities, about this mess.
Question. Do you think Spain should apologize?
Answer . Yes. Most Mexicans would expect an apology, that would generate some peace of mind. We are all grandchildren or great-great-grandchildren of Spaniards, but there is a deep need to heal the lineage. What we aspire to is to make peace with the family tree. Upon learning that I was coming to Spain, many have told me: “When you see the Spanish, tell them that they owe us an apology.”
P . Are indigenous victims?
R . We are all of us who live in an economic system like this. AMLO can ask for an apology, but he himself also promotes a type of exoticized indigenism, alien to reality. Knowing them is not putting on a hat with feathers and visiting them, it is being with them. And I say it with the innocence of the girl who has lived there.
P . You grew up in indigenous villages because your mother was a rural teacher. What did you learn from them?
R . The first wealth was freedom, parents set us free and that was incompatible with the city. Thus, I was able to get involved with Zapotec and Mixtec friends. So speaking an indigenous language was frowned upon and I perceived the shame they felt at not speaking Spanish. But that is not the fault of the Spanish, but of the system itself. The conquest determined what we are, but it was so long ago that I don’t think contemporary Spaniards are to blame. What is appealing is for there to be an awareness of the damage, of how it affected America.
P . Is indigenism the new communism?
R . Indigenismo is a crude way of approaching the matter. He does not seem empathetic to me, he is exoticist and disposes or opposes indigenous peoples as a subject of study or export.
P . You have not told me if the indigenous people are victims.
R . It is more complex because there are indigenous peoples who have reached organizing agreements that I have not seen in other parts of the world and have protected themselves better than other non-indigenous peoples. But there are also indigenous peoples who, with the excuse of customs and uses, sell girls, exchange them for money for drug traffickers or foreigners. And others who have been the narco’s labor force. There are too many faces, it cannot be generalized.
P . You place your work in the desert. Why?
R . The desert is a mythical space, sacred to the Huichols, a territory that, when defying logic, can be very oppressive. The first time I went with people who knew him to taste peyote, a plant sacred to them, for them it is the incarnation of God. But it is not necessary to eat peyote to have experiences because the place is full of mystique, characters appear out of nowhere and others can disappear for a long time. I once did the experiment of leaving a painted stone there and three years later I found it in the same place. I have often returned to the desert because my writing, as an intuitive and crazy process, has made me return there.
P . His novel is largely based on orality.
R . Indigenous languages protect a secret, the untranslatable, which can hardly be written metaphorically. Trying to return a word to Spanish from an indigenous language is like making a complete poem. They wouldn’t see it that way, but it’s my vision. For them I will always be a spectator, a stranger and that is painful. And their languages can practically not be known because they are not written, there are hardly any records made by evangelizers attracted by shamanism, witchcraft, magic, mysticism, and they have done so with an inevitable distortion.
Clyo Mendoza has a degree in Hispanic Literature and a Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize for Poetry. Violence and eroticism are the flour of his work in which the final dish tastes like dissidence: “My sister was born as a man and now she is a woman and since I was a child I have had ties with people of divergent sex. Nothing can be hegemonic and unified and although the systems aspire to that, it is impossible. We are an increasingly mixed world and it is this sexual, ideological and territorial dissidence that shows us that we are much more ”. His novel Furia , without a doubt, is an unconventional daughter of that fusion.
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