I liked this vivid statue in Merida but I mostly took the photograph to showcase the colorful buildings behind. It was only when I zoomed in on the image that I realized that this was Andrès Quintana Roo for whom the state is named. He was born in Merida in 1787 and died in Mexico City in 1851. Not only did he draft the Mexican Declaration of Independence but he was a liberal forward thinking politician whose roles included Secretary of State.
He had a Romeo and Juliet romance with his wife Leona. Her family were Royalists so they ran away to get married. Andrès’ father was part of a group called the Sanjuanistas who fought against native slavery and oppressive taxes to the Catholic Church. Go Sanjuanistas!! We sometimes forget that the USA is not the only country who participated in slavery. There are many African Americans in Texas who have my Scottish last name and I have no doubt that there will be many native Mexicans who are called Ortega, my maiden name. For all I know some of my native DNA might be Maya or from the Mexican region although I doubt it.
We recently had a false rumor around Houston that a statue of Sam Houston was going to be removed because he was a slave owner. Enough already! We don’t need statues of dictators such as Hitler but even George Washington owned slaves because it was the unacceptable norm of the day. My great-great grandfather was a Confederate medic but I doubt he had much choice about his fate. He used the experience to become a renowned doctor in Arkansas. History is rarely sunshine and butterflies but we learn something from our mistakes. I have a long line of ancestors named Sam and/or Houston because he (Sam Houston) was admired so much my family who have native heritage. My father’s middle name is Houston. I was meant to be here…
Back to Quintana Roo –in this state you can clearly see native heritage in the faces of residents. Less Spanish, more Maya. On one side of Andres’ statue was the church of Santa Ana. The yellow towers made the red brick stand out. Look at those flame trees!
In another neighborhood, I was taken by the contrast of this yellow column against the red umbrellas. Yellow seems to be a favorite color in Merida – so sunny and vibrant!