An Interview with Enrique Krauze, Milenio, 7/31/2010
“I believe in criticism and I like controversy,” assured the director of Letras Libres in a conversation about everything from the Bicentennial to the need to reestablish dialogue within Mexican culture, which has been broken since the 2006 elections.”
“The Bicentennial was, beyond the festivities, an opportunity for citizen participation and collective debate, an opportunity to enrich the national public life. It still is, although I don’t think it’s being utilized.”
“No, no we are not reconciling ourselves with the past. To do so would mean many things that, again, have to do with debate. We would have to be seriously debating our national myths, return to the topic on the indigenous and Spanish, revising the various interpretations of 19th century Mexican history, seeing how the mythology absorbed the Mexican Revolution, including muralism. We live in a jungle of myths: the myth of petroleum, the myth of sovereignty…We would have to have advanced much further in the demystification of our history in order to see our heroes as men of flesh and bone (with virtues and defects).”
“Historically the PRI, the Mexican political system, had close and positive relations with the cultural world…The integration of the Mexican intellectuals with the powerful, until a certain momemt, was widespread and functional. But this broke in the 60s, thank goodness, because if the intellectuals don’t use their weapons, which come from critique, they tie thier hands and put themselves at the service not of the public but of the powerful.”
“The PAN has never understood culture even though it was founded by an intellectual. It doesn’t understand culture nor will it, regardless of whether it has good or bad officials. The work of Consuelo Sáizar is good, but the government does not have a cultural project. It doesn’t know what its legacy will be and has a series of identity crises. Naturally, its relationship with intellectuals is tenous, distant, or poor.
“All of us that have worked for culture in Mexico have to make the effort to recover a minimum of this harmony, of this respect that was lost on the day when the person that divided Mexico in two appeared [López Obrador].”