—Former Pupusa Eater
Growing up, I never noticed the difference between any Hispanic person. Yo pensaba if you spoke Spanish, it meant to me that you were Mexican (I was little, OK?). Of course, as I grew up, I started noticing all different kinds of Latinos but one in particular were Salvis. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s like this feeling that was always there, but I didn’t know about it. It was dislike and rivalry towards them. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate them, I just dislike them. And I wasn’t the only one! I found out that many Mexicans feel this way, too, as do Salvadorans towards us. So, is this a universal feeling? Am I wrong for feeling this way? Are Mexicans and Salvadorans rivales? If so, por qué?
— La gordis de guadalajara
Dear Wabs: Historically, the Mexican- Salvadoran rivalry that so many readers correctamente note has a strong basis. Shortly after Central America gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico tried to swallow the region into its burgeoning empire. The fiercest opposition? El Salvador. Eventually, republic-minded Mexicans stopped their country’s ambitions and allowed El Salvador and the other Central American provinces to create the United Provinces of Central America. That lasted into the 1830s, by which time Mexico was too busy dealing with another imperial power to care much about recouping its former holdings. And if you know anything about Mexico, it’s que we don’t take thefts of our lands lightly.
But that was then—this is ahorita, and there remains no reason for the two countries and their raza to hate each other. Presidents Felipe Calderón and Mauricio Funes met this summer and reached quite a few accords and bilateral agreements. Stateside, wabs and Salvis might compete for the same resources like other recent immigrants, but we’re both wetbacks in the eyes of the gabachos (and in the case of Salvis, to echo the legendary Los Tigres del Norte song, tres veces mojado). Let’s make peace, Salvadorans—our rivalry is pointless, and the fruits of a union much richer. Besides, hatred between nosotros merely blinds us to the menace between our ancestral lands: Guatemala.
CORRECTION: A couple of weeks ago, in explaining the discrepancies between English and Spanish in pronouncing the letter x, the Mexican stated St. Francis Xavier founded the Jesuits. The order’s true founder, of course, was Ignatius of Loyola. The Mexican apologizes for his error and blames the United States for stealing half of Mexico.
Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org, myspace.com/ocwab, facebook.com/garellano, find him on, Twitter, or write via snail mail at: Gustavo Arellano, P.O. Box 1433, Anaheim, CA 92815-1433!