Enrique Krauze is the author of Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Letras Libres, published in Mexico City. (April 2015)

Cuba: The New Opening

Fidel Castro and his brother, President Raúl Castro, during a meeting of Cuba’s Communist Party Congress, Havana, April 2011
The history taught in Cuban schools exalts the redeeming function of the Cuban Revolution but it also, for the most part, reduces that revolution to a biography of Fidel Castro. Someday perhaps Cuban schoolchildren will have access to other versions of their history. If that day comes, Visions of Power …

The New Cuba?

A sign showing Cuban President Raúl Castro, and saying ‘May the earth tremble, compatriots!,’ Havana, Cuba, December 2014
Marc Frank’s Cuban Revelations makes almost no use of the extensive and solid academic analyses on modern Cuba. It is essentially a long reportage based on internal documents produced by the hermetic Cuban political apparatus as well as discussions with ordinary Cubans from many niches of society.

Bolívar: What Price Glory?

Simón Bolívar; nineteenth-century chromolithograph
In the Complete Works of Simón Bolívar appears a prose poem so unusual that some historians have questioned its authenticity. Entitled “Mi delirio en Chimborazo” (My Rapture on Chimborazo) and dating from around 1822, it describes the ascent (certainly only partial and perhaps completely imaginary) of the Ecuadorian volcanic peak …

Mexico at War

Heroin addicts in Tijuana, Mexico, some with Santa Muerte (Holy Death) tattoos, June 2009
With its terrible brutality and its death toll of nearly 60,000 lives in four years, the current Mexican drug war recalls two other periods of violence across the past two centuries of Mexican history: the War of Independence of 1810–1821 (and its long aftermath in the nineteenth century) and the …

Chiapas: The Indians’ Prophet

Four days after the Zapatista uprising on New Year’s Day 1994 in the impoverished state of Chiapas, a reporter interviewed one of its peasant soldiers, a prisoner of the Mexican army, and asked why he was fighting. “I want there to be democracy, no more inequality,” he said. “I am …

In Memory of Octavio Paz (1914–1998)

In 1968, Octavio Paz founded a culture of intellectual dissidence in Mexico. The Mexican political system had no concentration camps. It proposed no ideology of a Supreme State. But it did exercise an almost absolute power based on precedents drawn from Spanish and pre-Hispanic culture. It was a government opposed …