In the centuries since the Spaniards invaded the New World, Aharonian continues, Latin Americans have been “trained to see ourselves with foreign eyes…. Now, 513 years later, we are recovering the possibility of seeing ourselves with our eyes.”
Having been born and raised in Puerto Rico, as a descendant of Spaniards I was subjected from early in my life to the blame game. If I had $5 for every time I heard the Spaniards pointedly being blamed for whatever, I’d be living in the mythical $2.2 million house Forbes was writing about.
The Spaniards (Spain relinquished Puerto Rico in 1898, so we’re talking old blames here) were blamed for everything: poverty, ignorance, slavery, drunken Catholic priests, obnoxious nuns, traditional architecture, and on and on, down the weather and the high cost of airplane fare to the Mother Land, Spain. At the same time, everything Spanish, from little girls taking flamenco lessons, boys forced to learn to play the mandolin (thank goodness nobody was made to learn the bagpipe!), to annual visits by the Juan Sebastián Elcano tall ship and the singing Chavales de España, were immensely popular. Anybody who claimed Spanish ancestry would belong to the Casa de España. At Christmas time the children playing shepherds at the Nativity were dressed in traditional Spanish shepherd costume, not in Middle Eastern style. Everybody, including — and starting with — the Spain-blamers, who could put together (i.e., borrow) enough money would travel to Spain and come back loaded with souvenirs and stories of good times, wonderful places and great food. Spain was the second country of choice for those wanting to attend college outside the island.
It begs to ask, why did they want to go to Spain, if it was to be blamed for everything?
Of course the blame game wasn’t limited to the Spaniards. The USA — and of especially, that bête noir of Marxists, the CIA — was to be blamed for everything, too. The difference was that Spain didn’t have much of an international presence in foreign affairs, but the USA did. As a result, there are more Puerto Ricans living in the mainland USA than in the island.
Looks like Aharonian’s an expert at the game. At least this is the first time I heard the Spaniards blamed for “taking our eyes”. The question is, will the blame game play in the South American equivalent of Paducah to support a TV station? And what will it mean to the tourism and immigration industries?