The North American superiority complex is fought again in “To Roosevelt”, out of all the excerpts we read in the duration of this course, “To America” is definitely one of my favourites. Dario plays Roosevelt as his own game, with a littering of biblical connotations and religious undertones.
You are an Alexander-Nebuchadnezzar,
breaking horses and murdering tigers
Echoing the notions of Marti, but in a less “Impointingthefingeratyouway”, Dario shows us as readers that although The United States might seem progressive and desirable, the country too is not without its problems.
You are primitive and modern, simple and complex
The word “primitive” is incredibly important here, this is what the United States thinks of Latin America, even to this day. The fact that the United States feels like they have to often interfere with events shows how patronisingly paternalistic they can be, even if it’s not helpful. By turning around this notion onto them, it shows that although this is what current notions are about Latin America, they are truly one and the same, both primitive at heart. This is what the juxtapositions mainly showcase, that one cannot fundamentally group people into categories, by saying that he is “simple” and “complex” shows that the American people can be either.
But our America, which has had poets
since the ancient times of Nezahualcoyolt
which preserved the footprint of the great Bacchus,
and learned the Panic alphabet once,
And consulted the stars;
“Our America”, really encapsulates them into the same group. As Latin America is just as much America as North America, he shows that Latin America is just as educated, against popular belief and that just like North America, Latin America has a history and is worthy of respect.
These are just some of the reasons I love this poem.