Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What’s Buried Under the Zocalo?

What’s buried under the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main plaza?

The Aztec-Mexica inhabitants of the island city of Tenochtitlan, and what later became Mexico City, maintain a connection to the plaza that endures to this day. Political regimes come and go but remaining are the people and their legacy. The foundations and monuments to the Aztec Gods buried by the Spanish colonizers of Tenochtitlan emerge today to break-up the buildings constructed on top of the them. Mexico City's Metropolitan Cathedral, which dominates the Zócalo, is falling-in because of the monuments to the Aztec God’s buried beneath. As the Earth shifts under the weight of the colonial buildings, the stone monuments underneath remain in place creating a condition where the structures above shift and become unstable. Eminent Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma referred to this legacy as “the vengeance of the Gods” (Mexica Foundations). The unearthing of the Aztec Moon Goddess Coyolxauhqui in particular led to the halting of modern constructions near the Zócalo in 1978 when her discovery initiated the archaeological excavation of the Templo Mayor that continues to this day (Coyolxauhqui). 

I like to think of Mexico City's shifting foundations as a political metaphor. Coyolxauhqui's disruption of the construction process becomes symbolic of those who struggle and organize today to disrupt the politics of hate, injustice, division, and oppression. Those who come together to stand in the way of oppression are the Gods and Goddesses that emerge from the indigenous roots we all share. 

For the moment, we endure Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, but like the foundations of Mexico City, the base of Trump era politics is unstable. The people of Texas and of the United States are organizing and protesting in cities and towns across the country. The foundations put in place by extreme politicians are shifting and will subside along with all political regimes. The monuments to truth and justice buried under the political rhetoric of extremist media will exhume themselves and the walls of oppression will tumble down. 

Again, one wonders what is buried under the Zócalo in Mexico City. 

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