Mexico’s ‘love-hate’ relationship with former colonial ruler Spain

The Nation  |  Sep 24, 2021

MEXICO CITY   -   Mexico this month celebrates 200 years of independence from Spain, the former colonial ruler with which it has a “love-hate” relationship today. Most Mexicans have a mixed European and indigenous ancestry and have contrasting feelings about the violence of the conquest, which imposed culture, language and religion on the country.                   Spain is thus seen as both the motherland and the enemy. “There is this love-hate, but it depends on the social scale. Among the middle and upper classes we see this ambivalence, but in the lower classes the hatred is deeper,” historian Lorenzo Meyer told AFP. The relationship between the two countries’ governments has also seen ups and downs, he said. The Spanish benefited from good relations during Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz’s 1884-1911 rule, but distanced themselves from the upheaval of the 1910-1920 Mexican revolution. Ties improved again during the Second Spanish Republic from 1931-1939, before dictator Francisco Franco took power. Aside from politics, Spain has given Mexico “cultural salvation” from American influence, Meyer said. There is a passion in Mexico for bullfighting and music, with popular songs like “Madrid” and “Granada” penned in the 1930s by Mexican composer Agustin Lara. The affection is mutual, said Mikel Alonso, a chef of Basque origin who has Mexican nationality. “In my hometown when people sing there are only two types of songs -- the deep and nostalgic Basque and the happy ranchera,” he said.

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