Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mexico Popular Culture: Ritual As a Vehicle for Sustaining Communal Identity

Throughout our nearly nine years living in Mexico, first in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, surrounded by its indigenous Purépecha pueblos, then, for the past six years in Mexico City, we have been struck by the omnipresence of rituals.

Religious Rituals

Ritual action, with its symbolic nature, is most obvious in the fiestas held to commemorate each pueblo's or parish's patron saint's day or the various holy days of the Catholic liturgical calendar, such as Three Kings' Day (January 6), Candelaria (February 2), Easter (March or April), and All Saints and All Souls Days (November 1 and 2, celebrated as Day of the Dead). The Catholic Mass, itself, is a highly structured series of ritual actions and words.

Fiesta de Cruz Verde, Fiesta of the Green Cross,
May 3, Pátzcuaro, Michoacán

Procession of Silence, Semana Santa, Holy Week
Pátzcuaro, Michoacán

The Lord of Compassion
begins his annual summer series of visits
to the pueblos of Coyoacán

Mass,
Church of Three Sacred Kings,
Coyoacán

Secular Rituals

But there are also ritualized civic holidays commemorating such historic events as Mexican Independence (September 15-16, with its midnight "Grito", Cry of Independence) and the Mexican Revolution (November 20) with its parades of children dressed as revolutionaries and speeches calling for fulfillment of the promises of the Revolution.

School Independence Day Parade
Father Miguel Hidalgo is portrayed on the banner.
Parades like this are still held every September 16, all across Mexico.
By Antonio Ruiz
Museum of the Secretariat of Hacienda,
Centro Histórico

All of these celebrations, both religious and secular, are accompanied with the explosion of cohetes, rocket-style firecrackers, and end with a nighttime fireworks display.

Cohetes set off to announce the beginning of a church fiesta

Castillo, "castle",
a wooden tower of fireworks is set off to mark the end of a fiesta.

Everyday Rituals

La Cortesía


But there are also less obvious rituals that are embedded in everyday life. La cortesía­—the courtesy, the formalized language and behaviors, based on medieval Spanish court etiquette­—is enacted between individuals at every occasion of greeting and parting. There is not only the "buenos días", "good day/morning", "buenas tardes", "good afternoon", and mutiple phrases at parting ("hasta luego", "until the next time", "qué le vaya bien", "may it go well for you", "cuídase", "take care"), but also the "con permiso" | "es proprio" exchange, i.e., "with permission" | "it's proper", upon entering and leaving someone's home, doctor's waiting rooms and even elevators. Then there is the "buen provecho", "have a good meal", said to fellow diners as one enters or leaves a restaurant.

Sweeping the Doorstep


An even less obvious example of ritualized behavior is the daily sweeping or scrubbing of entrance doorways and the sidewalk in front of homes and businesses (and inside business and government offices). We wondered about the stylized quality of this action, which led us to the Historia general de las cosas de la Nueva España, The General History of the Things of New Spain, compiled by the Spanish Franciscan friar or brother, Bernardino de Sahagún (lived 1499 to October 23, 1590). Born in Sahagún, Spain, in 1499, he journeyed to New Spain in 1529. He learned Nahuatl and spent more than 50 years in the study of Aztec (Nahua) beliefs, culture and history. His extraordinary work documenting the indigenous worldview and culture has earned him the title “the first anthropologist." Wikipedia

Sweeping up after a fiesta,
The traditional broom is made of twigs.

Preparing to open outdoor restaurants for the day

Street sweepers

Reading parts of Sahagún's extensive work, we found that much of it catalogues the daily rituals of the Nahuatl-speaking peoples of central Mexico. Sahagún details the ritualization of the indigenous world, with different gods overseeing each of the eighteen months of twenty days and being honored by the people with their proper, highly structured fiesta, which usually lasted several days. Each day of the year was also under the rule of a god. These monthly and daily acts of ritualized worship were much like those of the Catholic calendar of annual sacred days and daily saints' days. We discovered that at the familial level, one ritual that was required was the daily sweeping of a household's internal patio, the space in front of the household's image of its protecting god and the front entrance to the home. Thus, the sweeping we see daily goes back centuries.

Ritual Language


As we have noted elsewhere, a also highly ritualized language is also used in discussing political issues or carrying out a demonstration in the streets. The terms often occur in sets of opposites, implying an undelying dualistic world view.
  • México tranquilo versus México bronco (Mexico unbridled);
  • los indios vs. los pobres (the poor);
  • los mexiquenses (people from the State of Mexico) or los de whatever-city-or-región;
  • las provincias vs. México (meaning Mexico City)
  • los de arriba versus los de abajo (those above vs. those below);
  • la autoridad, la imposición, la represión (by those above) vs. la lucha del pueblo (struggle of the people against them);
  • el personalismo, el clientelismo, el corporatismo (the control of society via personal connections and distribution of benefits to defined client groups for political ends);
  • la corrupción, la impunidad, la mentira (the lie), el sospechoso (suspiciousness), el retraso (the backwardness) vs. la lucha, la justicia. la dignidad and la esperanza (the hope).
This language carries over into public protest demonstrations, with oft-repeated slogans such as "¡La lucha sigue!" "The struggle continues!" and symbolic, ritualized routes for marches. In Mexico City, the capital, they are usually from the Angel of Independence on the Paseo de la Reforma, both symbols of the Mexican lucha, struggle, for political liberties, to the Zócalo, the central plaza and symbolic "heart of Mexico."

March up Paseo de la Reforma from the Angel of Independence,
September 26, 2015,
commemorating one year since the disappearance
of 43 Ayotzinapa Normal School students.


Note far right: Banner portraying Emiliano Zapata, a prime symbol of

the hopes of the Mexican Revolution.
In the distance, behind
 the column topped by the golden Angel,

is Chapúltepec Castle, also a highly symbolic site.
Photo: Cuartoscuro

Ritual and Continuity of Communal Identity

It would appear from all these observations and comparisions of contemporaty Mexican popular culture with pre-hispanic indigenous culture, that the ritualistic nature of indigenous life provided a ready structure for adoption of Spanish court rituals and Catholic religious ones. From the indigenous side, Catholic religious rituals also provided a medium though which the pueblo, the people as a long-established community, could maintain and regularly reinforce their ancient communal identity, paradoxically, both in spite of and by means of the Spanish Military and subsequent Spiritual Conquest. The gods and their representations have changed, but the continuity of pueblo life is bien arraigado, deeply rooted, and retains its ánimo, its vitality.

Communal identity and pride
From final procession of The Lord of Compassion
ending His series of summer visits to pueblos of Coyoacán

Members of the Society of Jesus Nazarene,
Passion Play of Iztapalapa 

Providing tacos dorados, fried tacos, at Carnaval Fiesta
Santa María Magdalena Petlacalco, Tlalpan

"Aztec" dance group enacting an indigenous ritual offering of corn.
Xaltocán, Xochimilco

Member of fiesta organizing committee, with wife and daughter,
San Lucas, Coyoacán.


La Comparsa de Chinelos de San Lorenzo Huipulco
The Dance Group of the "Disguised Ones"
San Lorenzo Huipulco, Tlalpan

Passing on Tradition and Identity 


Elders of the original villages of the City are most evident in the maintaining of their traditions and, thereby, their community identity, although in some neighborhoods this process has all but disappeared in the face of modern urbanization and homogenization, But in many communities, there is also an active effort to engage youth and children in the ceremonies and thus, invest in the transmission of tradition and communal identity to the next generation.

Leading the Grupo de Comparsas Piñas y Pinones.
Group of Dance Groups, Pineapples and Pinenuts.
a city-wide association of pueblo comparsas-

San Lorenzo Huipulco, Tlalpan

Children and youth participate in the Parade of the Axolotls, Salamanders,
San Sebastian Axotla, Álvaro Obregón

Candelaria, Candlemass,
Xochimilco

Medieval sword fight,
Pueblo Candelaria, Coyoacán

Marching band,
Pueblo of Three Sacred Kings, Coyoacán

Nazarene youth,
Passion Play of Iztapalapa

Passion Play of Iztapalapa

Aztec dancers,
Pueblo Xaltocán, Xochimilco

Chinelo dancer, Carnaval,
Santa María Magdalena Petlacalco, Tlalpan

Spanish-Mexican dancer,
San Mateo Churubusco, Coyoacán

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Welcome to Mexico City Ambles: Navigating the Blog

“I Speak of the City,
A novelty today, tomorrow a ruin from the past, buried and resurrected every day,
lived together in streets, plazas, taxis, movie houses, theaters, bars, hotels, pigeon coops and catacombs, . . . 

The city that dreams us all, that all of us build and unbuild and rebuild as we dream,  . . . 
I speak of the buildings of stone and marble, of cement, glass and steel, of the people in the lobbies and doorways, 
I speak of our public history, and of our secret history, yours and mine.

(Octavio Paz, “I Speak of the City” in The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz, 1957-1987,
edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger, New York: New Directions Books, 1987, pp. 511-517)

Octavio Paz's prose poem portrays with words how the buildings and streets of any city reflect the urban human condition. But each does so embodying the historical and cultural character, el imaginario, the collective imagination, that makes it unique. Octavio Paz's city was Mexico City. This blog of perambulations through the streets and neighborhoods of his city is our effort to make it ours.

Welcome to Mexico City Ambles! Here we seek to present el imaginario of the city as embodied in its cityscape, architecture, monuments, and public art.

City as Hodge-Podge...


Your first experience of Mexico City, as you walk through its many colonias, or neighborhoods, is of an architectural hodge-podge, an incoherent batiburrillo, a jumble of buildings from various eras. Structures from the colonial period, adapted to contemporary uses, are enmeshed with newer neighbors from the 19th and 20th centuries.

The effect of this temporal-spatial desorden can be rather disorienting. You seem to be in no particular place or time—or in several simultaneously. It's as though you've entered a kind of time-warp that the chilangos, city residents, around you seem either not to have noticed or are not disturbed by. They go about their daily life, with its predictable actions and rhythms of working and relaxing, selling and buying, and, frequently, eating.

...or Vibrant, Vertical Archeological Site

So what to make of this hodgepodge of eras, these fragments of disconnected history, this batiburrillo? We are used to thinking of Mexican history in archeological terms, as a sequence of horizontal layers built one atop another, as the Historic Center sits atop the remains of the Mexica/Aztec Tenochtitlán.

Aha! One sunny afternoon, in the midst of one of our ambles with Alejandro, our chilango scout, guide and mentor, sitting in a quiet plaza, suddenly, the pieces fell into place. Like pieces of colored glass forming a pattern in a kaleidoscope, the layers aren't horizontal, but side by side. Mexico City is a vertical archeological site! The batiburrillo is the jumble of artifacts that would be found in any "dig", but no physical digging is necessary here. 

Recently, we came across a quote by Carlos Fuentes, the famed Mexican novelist and essayist, that confirmed our perception:
"Old cities are living and breathing entities, where the future is built not only atop the past, but also beside it. Mexico City, like Rome, is a layered city, where past civilizations coexist with one another." quoted in the New York Times, Sept. 8, 2005, in an article on Mexico City architectural issues as exemplified in the Paseo de la Reforma.
So all you have to do is walk around and keep your eyes open. (And ask Alejandro lots of questions.)

The only "digging" comes afterwards, digging for the histories of various pieces encountered. And for that, there's the Internet! Fun, relaxed armchair exploration after an intriguing amble. Mexico City Ambles is our presentation of this archeological-historical exploration-in-progress.

Organization of the Blog

Each post is listed in the blog chronologically by publication date. Scrolling down takes you to the most recently published post. The chronological list of posts can be accessed via the Blog Archive (bar at top right). Most posts, however, are related thematically or geographically. As a navigation aid, individual Pages (bar at top left) provide listings of posts grouped by theme or geography.

Information about a specific person or topic can be located by using the Search feature (bar at top right). Porfirio Díaz, for example, entered into the Search box followed by Click brings up a complete list of posts about this Mexican president.

Four Introductory Pages set the stage:


The first two acquaint you with Mexico City's geography—its sixteen delegaciones, boroughs, and the Metro, the "subway", which is the fastest and cheapest pathway (US30 cents) to get to places we explore. The second two Pages examine grandeza, grandeur, as a visual theme that appears again and again in our ambles and then Baroque religious architecture as a pirmary manifestation of that grandeza in the capitial of Nueva España and Mexico.
  • Mexico City's Sixteen DelegacionesMexico City (January 2016: Distrito Federal, Federal District, officially became its own political entity, Mexico City) is shaped rather like a lumpy pear: skinny at the top—it even has a "stem"—then rounds out to a very fat bottom. It is divided into sixteen delegaciones, or boroughs, of greatly varying sizes, shapes, population densities and histories.
  • Mexico City Metro: The Mexico City Metro (officially, the Collective Transportation System) is a network of subway and surface electric train lines enabling chilangos (city residents' name for themselves) and visitors to get around the city quickly, cheaply (US30 cents) and safely. The system has 12 lines, each distinguished by a color on its signage.
  • Grandeza Mexicana: Grandeur of Mexico CityWalking the streets of Mexico City, from its Centro Histórico to various of its colonias, neighborhoods, acquainting ourselves with their architecture and public art, we have noted the recurrence of what becomes a visual theme: an architectural grandness that relays a message of wealth and power. This city is, or has been, a seat of major political and economic power, expressed through physical grandeza, grandeur. Here we explore the particularly Mexican roots of this impulse to grandeur.
  • México Barroco | Baroque Art: Representing Divine Ecstasy, Evoking AweIn Mexico the art of the Baroque epoch (mid 17th to mid 18th centuries) is all around you. It is the art of the height of the Spanish Empire and its realization in Nueva España. A Wikipedia article on the Baroque helps us see its character as centered on grandeur, exhuberance or lavishness, and drama. We also come to realize the goal of its religious forms is to express holy ecstasy and evoke awe. With that perspective we explore the quintessential expression of Baroque religious architecture in Mexico City, the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Thematically or geographically related pages


These are organized in a rough chronology and present lists of related posts:
  • Mexico's History As Embodied In Mexico City: Lists all posts addressing the many stages in Mexico's history as they are manifested in the cityscape, from the Aztec through the Spanish colonial, and the 19th and 20th centuries. In chronological order, with brief summaries.
  • CentroEl Centro, the Center of Mexico City, actually consists of five colonias, or neighborhoods: Centro Histórico, and East, West, North and South Centro. Spanish colonial palaces and smaller residential and commercial buildings from that period are numerous, but mixed in among them are buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Within them, and flowing among them, in the streets is the everyday timeless activity of selling and buying.
  • Mexico City's Original Indigenous Villages and Their Spíritual ConquestContemporary Mexico City is an amalgam, not only of the Spanish Colonial Centro Historico and its expansion beginning in the late 19th and across the 20th century, but also of ancient indigenous pueblos, villages, that, beginning some two thousand years ago, were established on the shores and islands of the five lakes at the center of the Valley of Anahuac. So Cortés and the Spanish not only had to transform Tenochtitlan, they also had to transform a geographically extensive civilization and culture via the "evangelización de los indios," what has been called the Spiritual Conquest. This series of posts explores the landmarks, neighborhoods and fiestas that continue to embody this encounter and synthesis of two civilizations. (Our current work-in-progress)
  • Chapúltepec Woods and Paseo de la Reforma: Five kilometers, three miles, southwest of Centro, on what used to be the western shore of Lake Texcoco, sits the ancient, sacred site of Chapúltepec Woods. A royal retreat and source of fresh spring water for the Aztecs, the Spanish turned it into a park. Subsequently, a "castle", actually a palace, was built at the top of its landmark hill. It served as the Mexican Military Academy and, in 1847, was the scene of a major battle in the Mexican American War. In the 1860s, Emperor Maximilian decided to make it his palace. To connect it with the City Center, he had a boulevard built, which, after his overthrow, became Paseo de la Reforma.
  • Reign of Porfiro Díaz and Neighborhoods of the Early 20th Century: As the 19th century approached its end, Mexico City's well-to-do, who had increased in numbers under the economic policies of Porfirio Díaz, sought new residences outside the old Spanish Colonial Centro Histórico. They began to develop colonias, planned neighborhoods, to the west, along Paseo de la Reforma boulevard and to its north and south. Posts on six of these neighborhoods, with introductions, are listed.
  • Mexican Revolution: Overview of Its Actors and Chapters: The Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) was a watershed between traditional and modern Mexico. Actually a series of civil wars fought between a diverse cast of characters, with widely disparate histories and motivations, the war and its aftermath can be divided into five stages or chapters, each consisting of a number of critical episodes. This Page offers an overview and links to Pages with fuller accounts of the personalities and chapters of the war.
  • Mexican Muralists: A revolution in Mexican Art emerged during the Mexican Revolution. It unfolded in a group of buildings in Centro and expanded across the city throughout the 20th century. Page provides links to posts on the sites and their murals—works by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and their successors.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Original Villages | Iztapalapa's Holy Week Passion Play: Part II - Good Friday

Captivated by the Palm Sunday initiation of Iztpalapa's Passion Play, we return on Good Friday for the climactic trial and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ. 

Exiting the Metro Station, we find the wide Calzada Ermita-Iztapalapa filled not just with vendors on the sidewalks as they were last Sunday, but now the entire boulevard is full of carnival rides and stalls selling all kinds of items, including some craftwork.

We had been warned the crowd could be huge. There are plenty of people, but the muchedumbre, the crowd, is typical for a fiesta. We make our way slowly towards the plaza, where the central scenes of the drama will be enacted.

Mexican families arrive for the fiesta

Indigenous women from ...
... Veracruz and the State of Mexico

Fiesta crowd,
viewed from a pedestrian bridge over Calzada Ermita-Iztapalapa

Entering the plaza, we pass a large statue of the Mexica tlatoani, speaker, Cuitlahuac, the last indigenous ruler of Iztapalapa.

Cuitlahuac, last ruler of Iztapalapa,
Brother of Moctezuma the Younger,
replaced Moctezuma as ruler of Tenochtitlan
after Moctezuma was killed.
He led the resistance that drove Cortés out of the city,
but died shortly after of imported European smallpox.
The plaza is named in his honor.

As we walk along the side of the plaza that is open space, we see the Nazarenes, men and boys robed in purple, who were here on Palm Sunday, but this time instead of carrying light palm fronds, they are preparing to carry heavy crosses for the procession up Mount Calvary, i.e., Cerro de la Estrella, with its ancient history of human sacrifice.

Joven, teenage boy, practices carrying his wooden cross

                                                   
The sole woman Nazarene we see preparing for the procession of penitence,
accompanying Jesus the Christ.

As we approach the site of the play on the west end of the plaza, we are anxious about whether too big a crowd has already gathered to make it difficult, if not impossible, to get into a good position to photograph the action. We are relieved to find we can get close to the side of the first of two stages, one where preparations for action appear to be taking place.

We do not have long to wait. After a brief welcome is announced over the PA system, a cadre of Roman soldiers, bearing trumpets takes the stage, which is an ornate Roman palace consisting of three levels. 


The trumpeters announce the arrival of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the council of priests and elders of Jerusalem. 

High priest Caiaphas
calls on the Sanhedrin to try and convict Jesus for heresy,
claiming that he is the Christ, the Messiah sent by God.
(Interestingly, his crown is in the form of an Egyptian symbol for the bull god, Apsis.) 

Annas, a former High Priest,
also exhorts the council to convict Jesus.
In this scene, Jesus is not present.

While the council is debating, Judas Iscariot, the disciple who, following the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, had betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, shows up, repenting of his betrayal of his Master and seeking to return the coins he was paid by the priests. (We did not attend those Maundy Thursday scenes, as they were enacted after dark on Cerro de la Estrella. As it happened, there was also an unseasonably early thunderstorm with heavy rains that evening. The rainy season usually starts in May.) 


Judas is prevented from entering

When the scene ends, we assume that the next one will be on the other stage, so we hurry around the outside of the crowd to find the best possible position there. As it happens, the next scene is on the same stage as the first. The palace has become that of Pontius Pilate, and Jesus is brought before him.

A new corps of trumpeters announce the appearance of Pontius Pilate,
the Roman "prefect" of the province of Judea.


Throughout the production, both Palm Sunday and today, we are impresssed by the variety and quality of the costumes. We think Cecil B. DeMille would be impressed.

As we are several yards away, it is difficult to get good shots.

Jesus before Pontius Pilate the first time.
The Archangel Gabriel accompanies Him.
Pilate is out of view.

Pilate sees the problem as one of internal matters of the Jewish community, and also that Jesus' preaching had mostly taken place in Galilee, territory controlled by Herod Antipas. So he sends him to Herod (and the stage near where we are standing).

Before Jesus' arrival, Herod is being entertained by a belly dancer
(think of Salomé dancing to get the head of John the Baptist).

Jesus before King Herod

We are also impressed by the level of acting
of these amateurs and residents of Iztapalapa.

              

Neither does Herod want to take responsibilty for the fate of Jesus, so he sends him back to Pilate.
                             
Jesus is returned to stand before Pilate

Pilate decides that to please the Jewish religious leadership,
he has to concede to condemning Jesus to death by crucifixion
for claiming to be "King of the Jews", a crime of treason
against the Roman Empire.

As Pilate looks on, a Roman army officer reads the verdict,
calling for Jesus to be paraded through the streets
and taken to the Hill of Golgotha or Calvary,
to be hung by crucifixion, along with two thieves.

By tradition, during the Jewish Passover,
one convicted criminal is set free.
Pilate asks the crowd who it should be,
Jesus or Barabas.

The crowd calls for
the liberation of Barabas.

The condemned Jesus is led to His cross.

While Roman soldiers and Jewish leaders prepare for the procession through the streets of Jerusalem/Iztapalapa, the followers of Jesus gather to accompany Him in the final hours of His Passion.

Mary

Judas follows along
Disciple John




We get only a glimpse of Jesus' bloodied arm as He passes, bearing His cross.

The press of the crowd following the procession is great,
and we are tired, so we do not follow the drama further, toward its climax.
But this being modern times, a large screen shows us the Via Cruz, the Way of the Cross.

We don't have the stamina to follow the procession through the streets of Iztapalapa, let alone to climb Cerro de la Estrella, but before we leave, we make one last stop at a site that is significant to the history of the Passion Play of Iztapalapa.

Lord of the Little Cave

Sactuario del Señor de la Cuevita
Sanctuary of the Lord of the Little Cave

Returing to Calzada de Ermita-Iztapalapa, we cross to where there is a large cemetery. Just to its east is the entrance to the atrio of a church, the Sanctuary of the Lord of the Little Cave. It is here, acutally, that the tradition of the Passion Play of Iztapalapa began in 1833. When the original indigenous barrios were pretty much all that existed in this area some miles from Mexico City, there was a cholera epidemic, killing many. The faithful Catholic community prayed to an old image of the buried Christ, said to have been found in a small cave behind where the church now sits. 

The epidemic abated, and the image was credited with the miracle. Over subsequent years, the annual commemoration of this miraculous salvation of the community became tied to Semana Santa, which evolved from a procession into the Passion Play, celebrated for the first time in 1843. So this year is its 174th enactment—not all that old by Mexican standards.

But the synthesis of Catholic beliefs and ritual with indigenous community identity goes back to the Spiritual Conquest that began in the 16th century. It is the path that we have been following for the past year, exploring the original villages of the City, marked by their old churches. The Sanctuary of the Lord of the Little Cave is relatively new, but it embodies this old marriage of cultures. 

As we walk across the large atrio toward the church, we realize that another procession is getting ready to join the larger procession in the streets. It is composed of more Nazarenes.

Four men bear a large and especially heavy cross.
They wear crowns of thorns, interwoven with flowers.

Older ...
... and younger carry on the tradition.

Following the cross and two lines of Nazarenes is a group carrying a covered object, where usually a statue of a saint would stand. We ask a couple who are watching if they know what is under the cloth. They tell us that it is el Señor de la Cuevita, the Lord of the Little Cave.

El Señor de la Cuevita, the Lord of the Little Cave, a most revered object,
that gave birth to the Passion Play of Iztapalapa. 
He is covered out of respect for Good Friday as a
day of mourning and penitence.

Once again, as in all our experiences of the fiestas of the original villages of the city, we feel the power of tradition and ritual for maintaining and reinforcing ancient communal identity. The gods and their representations have changed, but the continuity of pueblo life is bien arraigado, deeply rooted and retains its vitality.

In the reenactment of the Passion of Christ, we also sense that not far below the surface is an identification with His suffering that symbolizes and expresses the centuries-long suffering of indigenous communities of Mexico at the hands of their own version of invading Romans and oppressive, self-centered domestic rulers.

Some faces of Iztapalapa

Delegación of Iztapalapa
is large, green area on mid-east side of the City

Barrios and colonias of Delegación Iztapalapa
Original barrios are marked by green and yellow star.
Just below them is Cerro de la Estrella (dark green area)

Original indigenous barrios of Iztapalapa
lie north of west to east Calzada de Ermita-Iztapalapa

Oranage and yellow star marks the Plaza Cuitlahuac in Barrio San Lucas
Green and yellow star marks site of crucifixion reenactment
on Cerro de la Estrella.