This week’s lecture was one of the most interesting ones for me. During my childhood I was taught about Porfirio Diaz and his “iron fist” rule through school. However, when I think of Mexico at that time my mind immediately goes to the Mexican Revolution. Looking back on it now, it seems very logical that people would oppose his government. Diaz turned Mexico into a modern nation, however, he had some really cruel policies and led the country as a military man instead of a democrat. People were tired of not being able to voice their opinion and living in fear. He did not allow the population to take part in government and simply justified it by saying that Mexicans were simply not interested in exercising their rights and if they were given any sort of freedom, the country would turn into complete chaos. The country was then ruled by a small group of largely white elites. In a way, Mexico has not changed very much. The population is still very much considered “incapable” and thus, is ruled by small groups of people. Of course, this makes the nation more susceptible to corruption. The population is kept at bay through violence, while the country’s wealth is distributed to the hands of the few people in power, as opposed to distributed throughout the nation (as it should be). However, the majority of Mexicans nowadays are quite young, and much more involved in politics. People are changing and expressing their discomfort (huge understatement) towards the government more and more. They are desperate for change and more willing to fight for it than before, which is both a hopeful and frightening thought.
The video also focused on the different types of modernity seen throughout the world. Mexico was considered a modern country, particularly Mexico City. In the nineteenth century, it already had an army similar to the one you’d see today, telegraphs, a railway system, modern roads, etc. I think people at the time were quite proud of this aesthetic and economic modernity. However, it’s hard to believe that they were so distracted by the latest innovation that they failed to acknowledge the underlying problems of the country. If Mexicans themselves, were distracted by this facade, it’s no wonder people like Creelman believed that Mexico under Diaz’s rule was something extraordinary or a so called “miraculous transformation.”