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    Benito Juarez Day

    March 21 in Mexico ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Today is a public holiday in Mexico as it commemorates the birthday of Benito Juarez, the only indigenous president of Mexico from January 19, 1858 to July 18, 1872. Juarez is famous for his anti-clerical views and for fighting hard to remove the prejudices against the indigenous people of Mexico, a problem which plagued the country in the 19th century.

    He introduced reforms that would give the indigenous a better education and health care and improve their living conditions. He worked hard to modernize Mexico’s economy despite a very bad political environment.

    The people of Mexico consider Juarez a national hero and the most loved among the country’s presidents. When we were in the state of Oaxaca several years ago, we visited the humble place where he lived.

    The 20 peso bill features his face on it. As a security measure, the bill contains a famous Benito Juarez quote written in microscopic letters that can only be read through a magnifying glass:

    “May the people and the government respect the rights of all. Between individuals, as between nations, peace means respect for the rights of others.”

    His words are especially meaningful today. The war between Russia and Ukraine is horrifying as there is no respect. It’s very sad.

    Perhaps, Juarez’ bravest efforts apart from his incredible resistance against foreign rule were his anti-clerical acts which effectively limited the powers and influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico stating that the church power hindered national development and the improvement of lives of the poor.

    Because of his important contributions, his birthday, March 21, was dedicated as a national celebration.

    During the holiday, speeches are given and big cohetes (booming fireworks) are heard all day from early in the morning until late at night in most places in Mexico. We didn’t hear any here.
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