Wednesday, December 17, 2014


TOGETHER AGAIN: Mexico’s buzzing today over the same news most of the hemisphere is buzzing about — the surprise  announcement of the beginning of normalized relations between Cuba and the United States. The Peña Nieto administration was quick to weigh in, with a Foreign Relations Secretariat communiqué that combined support with self-promotion: “The decision by the Cuban and United States governments is consistent with the historical position of Mexico to seek peaceful solution to controversies and to promote peace in the hemisphere.” The president himself, speaking later at an unrelated event, chimed in: “I think this is a decisive and historic step that the Mexican government backs and recognizes, and is disposed to contribute to an effective normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba.” Historian Enrique Krauze gushed: “Historic news. The Cold War has come to an end on our continent.” His son Leon Krauze, a media figure on both sides of the border, said: “Beautiful way of welcoming Jeb Bush to the 2016 race.” Agustín Basave, political scientist and writer: “Good for Barack Obama and Raúl Castro. Renewing US-Cuba relations is a historic advance.”

CAN YOU DIG IT?: The Mexican composer Mario Lavista has compiled a monumental body of work over the years, including a haunting (so to speak) opera based on the Carlos Fuentes novella “Aura,” which in turn was based on the  novella “The Aspern Papers,” or at least brings that Henry James story to mind. Even if you’re unfamiliar with his music, you gotta love Lavista for the following: “I liked the rock music of the sixties, mostly in English . . . Today’s (popular) music is commercial, a consumer product . . .  It has nothing to do with music, with art, with aesthetics. It’s all about the market and money, nothing more.” . . . The day after Raúl Salinas was cleared of illicit enrichment charges, Denise Dresser resurrected this quote uttered by the former First Brother in a 2000 recording: “I’m going to tell where the funds came from, who was the intermediary and whom they were for.” The political analyst and prolific commentator’s counter-quote: “We’re still waiting.” . . .

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