Latin America – Nicomedes Santa Cruz

Poem


Mi cuate[i]
Mi socio[ii]
Mi hermano[iii]
Aparcero[iv]
Camarado[v]
Compañero[vi]
Mi pata[vii]
M'hijito[viii]
Paisano...[ix]
 
Here are my neighbors.
Here are my siblings. 

The same Latin American faces in every place of Latin America:

Indigenous-white-black
White-black-indigenous
and Black-indigenous-white.

Thick-lipped blondes
Bearded indigenous
and straight-haired blacks

Everyone complains:
"Ah, if only my country
had much less politicians...!"
"Ah, if only my country
had no paleolithic people...!"
"Ah, if only my country
had no militarism,
nor oligarchy
nor chauvinism
nor bureaucracy
nor hypocrisy
nor clergies
nor anthropophagy...!"
"Ah, if in my country...!

"Someone asks where I'm from"
(I don't reply as follows):

I was born near Cuzco,
I admire Puebla,
I'm inspired by the Antilles rum,
I sing with an Argentinian voice,
I believe in Santa Rosa de Lima
and in the Orishas from Bahia.
I didn't color my Continent,
nor painted Brazil green,
Peru yellow,
Bolivia red.

I didn't draw territorial lines
separating siblings from one another.

I place my brow over Río Bravo,
I plant myself firmly as a rock in Cape Horn,
I sink my left arm in the Pacific
and submerge the right one in the Atlantic.

Through the western and eastern coasts,
two hundred miles inside every Ocean,
I submerge each hand,
and that way I grasp our Continent
as in a Latin American hug.
---
End.
---
 [i] Regionalism for close friend. Mostly used in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Bolivia and Paraguay. 
 [ii] Regionalism for friend. Mostly used in Peru. Similar to ‘fellow’. 
 [iii] My brother. 
 [iv] Regionalism for friend. Mostly used in Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay. 
 [v] Derivative of "camarada", ‘comrade’, changed for artistic reasons, most likely. 
 [vi] Mate. 
 [vii] Regionalism for close friend. Mostly used in Peru, Cuba, Bolivia and Chile. 
 [viii] Literally: ‘my son’, "m’hijita", ‘my daughter’. Shortened form of "mi hijito". Regionalism for getting a friend or a relative’s attention. Mostly used in Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. 
 [ix] In General Spanish it’s used among people born in the same place, town, city, country; in Peru and some regions of Chile it can be used as a derogatory way of calling people from the Andes, although this concept is being lost as time passes. 

Translated by Pablo Alejos Flores

Based on “América Latina written by Nicomedes Santa Cruz in Spanish

In relation to the part where the author mixes three of the most popular racial groups. The author’s objective with these verses is to join all of us, he uses color as a reminder of how we give so much importance to it, when it actually doesn’t matter because we’re all mixed. Currently, denominating people by their color is derogatory—there are exceptions, of course, among friends it is still common and totally fine to call each other by their skin color as long as it isn’t used in a mean way. But nowadays our society is aiming to forget about physical features to describe our cultural background, what we may look like does not tell much about where we come from and what we are.

Then, a common problem: complaining. We do complain about our politics, society, way of living, the kind of people that surround us, religion, etc. That is a matter we should still focus on, and try to solve it.

“Ah, if in my country someone asks where I’m from (I don’t reply as follows).” Far away from our complaints, we feel proud of our background, culture, arts, and the nature around us, although we may not be aware of it in a great extent.

I didn't draw territorial lines
separating siblings from one another.

The lines above reveal the author’s feelings regarding what divided us, there are many different historical reasons we did, it all sums up to certain people’s interests, mainly politicians and humankind hunger for conflict.

Latin America Map Photo from: www.freepik.com

Licença Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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