La Dominación

peterchristopher's picture

One of the themes that seemed to embue Nicaraguan culture was power.  "Voy a dominar el español," was one of the first sentences I was taught by Miguel, the young man I hired as a Spanish teacher when I first arrived in Nicaragua more than five years ago.  "Tienes que dominar a tu pareja," I heard from so many people - men and women - in confidence.  People gathered power by lies and truth, the power of their own beliefs (often enhanced by witches), their political and family connections, their age.  It is not healthy to live there, because in order to survive one had to become more like that.  To what extent is that Nicaraguan versus Latin?


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I'm the wrong person to ask about Costa Ricans, Peter

I really don't like them much. And here is why. They treat the Nicaraguans like the U.S. treats Mexicans. While I don't like the Nicaraguans who try to get haughty, and I know I post some rather negative stuff about their Sandinista stupidiy, I have many who are friends that I adore. And I don't like the idea that Costa Ricans, who I consider the same as any other Central American, look down their noses at other Central Americans. It's a bit like one African American being uppity over another to me.

I know that Central Americans have this tendency to one up each other. I suppose it is not just a Central American thing either. But Costa Rica for me is a place I have no interest in setting foot in. My husband asked a few times if I wanted to go there and the answer has been the same every time. Anything I want to see in Costa Rica, I can see on the travel channel, thanks. I don't consider them more civilized by blood or culture. I consider them exactly the same as any other Central American. If they want to assume they are unique, more power to them. Get in line behind the Guanacos who claim they are the cat's meow of Central Americans; and the Chapines, and etc. etc. And since the only one of all of these foolish sorts that has any validity in the Gold Cup is Honduras, I'd say they can claim it, where the others are simply pretending. Take any of these bastards over the border to the U.S. and they'll soon get a reality check, because to most Americans not of Latino descent, they are just another "wetback." That's reality. And the more Indio they look, the less opportunity they get.

Costa Rica?

In my experience, most Ticos consider themselves more civilized (by blood and culture) compared to Nicaraguans.  Do you have enough experience with Ticos to be able to hazard an opinion on whether you consider them to be more Central American, or truly their own little Switzerland.

You are talking about a Central American country

Which doesn't define the Latin culture as much as it defines itself. And you are talking about people who have been through a civil war, power structures changing, a dictator for a leader and his shadow groups that rule by control. And to compare all Latinos to a country like this assumes too much. Take Chile for example. This is I believe, the only country in Latin America that is considered a developed nation. The people are fairly educated and developed in thinking and have been for some time. These people act much the same as any other developed country and control issues aren't holding them back.

In places with the mentality you have outlined, communities remain repressed and held back. Because the only one in life you control is yourself. But what you are talking about is also a huge ingredient in the thinking of Indios, not Latinos.

In a civilized Latin culture, the power structures are much the same as they are in any other culture. I'm not denying the machismo, but if you think about it, even the machismo was shipped to Latin America by Spanish conquerors who set up the initial power structure. The Spaniards were in control because of advance weapons and they dominated the Indian people they conquered. The social classes were then set up once the marriages or rapes took place. The same lighter, brighter, and whiter attitude that you can see every day with arrogance in the U.S. The lighter you are, the more opportunities you have sent your way. In Latin culture, until much later, this affected the idea of machismo, because the males of Latin America adopted the arrogance and attitudes of the Spaniards, and used it to deal with women. And as the races mixed this became ingrained in the culture.

But since the 70's and 80's things have begun to change in the culture. Women have entered the workplace and most women in Latin culture these days with any means refuse to be dominated by men. As a matter of fact, some have turned the tables and have become raving bitches who control men through crying and whining, and sheer laziness. The days when young women took pride in understanding how to run their own house have fallen to the side of consumerism and selfishness...which is why so many spend more time at the nail shop than raising their kids properly. The men have filled in and many Latin men now take pride in cooking and doing laundry, except in places where there are high ratios of Indios. For some reason, the Indios of the Latino culture haven't seemed to develop to this stage.

And in places like Nicaragua and much of Central America, you are talking about a high percentage of Indios. Frankly, this is the reason my husband and I aren't nuts about the Indios of Latin America. They seem to lack any desire to better their people. They would rather sit on the streets selling hand made jewelry than obtain a University degree, even when they have the means to do so. They do have these control ideas that run their lives and they seem to allow it to invade their thinking to a level that holds them back. I've seen this a great deal in Mexico and I believe in my soul that this is why they allow drug cartels to ruin their country, because the short sighted thinking thinks power instead of destruction. Christ! They even make corridos about the narcos there to glamorize it. But again, you are talking about a HIGH degree of Indios there. And it is just this type of thinking that holds them back when with all the money their relatives send them because of their proximity to the U.S. border and all the people who have crossed and become citizens, they should be MUCH more advanced than they are.

Mexico is a classic example, because even with all the money they have, the country is still backwards in most places. They have enough money to have a developed nation, but the idiot politicians who are run by cartel members pocket the money instead of thinking of their people. There are pockets throughout Mexico with nice communities, but I always used to ask how they could stand leaving their fancy communities and seeing abject poverty once they left the gates. It's the same in San Salvador. Most of the wealthy never set foot downtown any longer, yet San Salvador has some beautiful architecture. It is hidden by vendors though, who would rather exist pocketing profits than operate legally and pay taxes on what they earn. They are mostly Indios again and when the mayor of the city destroys their lean to structures to make the city safe (since most of these Indios are also extorted by gangs) what do they do? They act like children throwing temper tantrums, tearing up the streets, throwing bricks at the cars of innocent people driving by, and tearing up the streets. CONTROL! That's what that is about, because the mayor has also offered many of these people a safe clean place to move their operations to. But they would rather remain and clutter the city than be safe from extortionists who offer to throw grenades at them if they don't pay up.

So in answer to your question, not it isn't Latin as much as it is within SOME Latin cultures. But then, if you look deeply, you will see the same exact attitudes in the families of the wealthy in the U.S. Families like the Kennedys, where the men demonstrated the EXACT same behavior. Families like the Bush family with the same control issues. And I believe what you will notice is that the wealthiest of a culture and the poorest of a culture often have the same views on control. It's the middle class who differ.

I think if you go to South America you might find a different way of thinking. You really can't compare Mexico, Central America, and South America to one another.

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