Saturday, February 05, 2011

And Venus Was His Name

To the extent that the largely fighting-free Querétaro was on anyone's "side" during the Mexican Revolution, it was on Pancho Villa's. And since from about 1914 onwards, Villa and Venustiano Carranza were enemies (or at least not friends), it's safe to say that Querétaro was not Carranza country. Carranza was vehemently anti-clerical, and - trust us on this - harshin' on the Baby Jesus doesn't get you very far in this town.

And then, in 1917, Carranza held a constitutional convention - one that, on this day 94 years ago, produced a constitution even more anti-clerical than even Carranza would have liked. But because it was held here, in the Teatro de la Republica, thus giving QRO a little place in The History Of The Revolution, all was forgiven. Calle Venustiano Carranza runs behind our offices, right in the center of town, while C. Francisco Villa is a one-block street in a run down neighborhood on the wrong side of the river. There's a larger-than-life bust of Carranza in the lobby of the Teatro (next to a similar rendering of Benito Juárez), and every February 5, the president of Mexico passes by it on his way to commemorate the constitution.

Except today, that is. For whatever reason - probably a need to be in the capital in case a foreign tv show says Mexicans are fat and smelly - Calderón sat out the festivities this year. Which is a shame, because this morning there was the grand unveiling of a hastily-constructed (seriously, they started work four days ago) monument to Carranza.

A monument which, upon closer inspection, turns out to be an exact replica of the bust in the Teatro, half a mile away (so exact, we thought they'd actually just taken the bust out of the Teatro), plopped atop a little plinth outside the entrance to a pizza joint, across the street from a dance studio, at the end of the street already named for him.

This afternoon, for the first time in months, it rained. Villa would have doubled over from laughter.

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