Mirador: A Novel. James Jennings. Greenpoint Press. August 2019. pb, 471 pp.; ISBN: 9780990619444.
In the early 1990s the United States made an agreement with Canada and Mexico known as NAFTA or North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. It was supposed to establish trade in which the Mexican common people would benefit as much as business owners and employees. Nothing, however, changed. The peasants realized the deal was a sham and began to demonstrate and protest against the role of government and big corporations and insisted on the institution of democracy and free rights for all Mexicans including the majority of peasants who were literally being starved to death in poverty wages. The military stepped up their vigilante behavior and began kidnapping protestors and peasants, who became known as victims or desaparecido or disappeared ones.
Nate and Sarah have been married for a short time. Nate is a successful IT businessman and Sarah is a nurse. A visiting pastor has been sermonizing in America and recruits Nate and Sarah to travel to Mirador in the State of Chiapas in Mexico. Nate doesn’t really want to go but does so because he known Sarah will go without him and will not be swayed from her decision. He believes he must go to protect her. Early in their journey, they meet soldiers of El Piton who are arresting indigenistas or Zapatistas, those who are rebelling and protesting. They are peasants who have had enough of being kidnapped and killed. The officer known as El Piton commits atrocities such as our young couple will experience. It matters not whether one is Mexican or a foreigner for El Piton’s power is subject to no authority. In a horrific scene, Nathan watches as El Piton kills his wife with a gunshot to the head after taunting her with questions of whether or not she believes in Jesus Christ. One cannot truly believe this deed yet riveting pages describe the stages of Nate’s grief, sorrow, rage and confusion. Finally, after burying his wife, he returns to Mirador, believing his grief has no boundary or end unless he continues to carry out the mission he and his wife initially agreed to complete. Thus he begins setting up a website for the Zapatistas, widely promulgating the rebellious demand for freedom and democracy of the indigenistas. He will pay the ultimate price and knows he will but believes that the mission is now larger than individual lives or motives. It is unknown how many martyrs have been sacrificed to stop this now global mission but the War Against Forgetting is still active today and may be appreciated at ezin.org or Chiapas-support.org.
This novel is based on reality that must be known, appreciated and spread. James Jennings is a writer thoroughly familiar with this cause for life and liberty and presents the reality in fiction in hopes of creating world-wide awareness and pressure to compel change and hope for those who have no other voice. “Lust for life and a horror of losing it” fuel this movement. Highly recommended reading crafted with historical, social, military, economic and human rights details. A MUST read for those who dare to hope for a better dream for the people of Mirador and elsewhere in Mexico!!!