Friday, March 21, 2008
Feliz cumpleaños, Benito
Today is the birthday of Benito Juárez, perhaps the most impeccably admirable political figure of Mexico's history. He was a Zapotec Indian from the southern state of Oaxaca and a lawyer by training. Juárez had an adamantine integrity that remains admirable today; it's a great pity that the Mexican soil hasn't produced more such leaders. Parenthetically, I smoked my last cigarette ever on this date in 1985, in the bar of the Hotel Victoria in Chihuahua City. The Victoria was one of those grand old hotels from the early part of the 20th Century. It had a big lobby, sweeping staircases, lots of wood, and a bar with barmen in crisp starched coats. It's been torn down, no doubt replaced with something uglier.