« | Main | »

September 17, 2004

Seattle Times

A government call for Mexicans to show unity by singing the national anthem en masse met a tepid response yesterday in another embarrassment for President Vicente Fox. The anthem campaign, sponsored by a nonprofit media council and endorsed by the government, called on Mexicans no matter where they were in the world to stop what they were doing and sing.

The international call to song came at noon in Mexico City. But some got a head start. At least two Mexican embassies in Europe honored the anthem around midday local time, hours before Mexico City. Workers at embassies, offices, even chefs in the Persian Gulf belted out the national anthem to mark its anniversary. The president intoned the march, a rousing number alluding to roaring cannons and blood-soaked banners, with schoolchildren in Mexico City's historic Chapultepec Castle.

A few hundred souls gathered in the capital's vast Zocalo Square and some office workers also broke into song in the streets. But the plea for all Mexicans to stop whatever they were doing and join in went largely unheeded. Mexicans are proud of their national symbols, and feelings are running high this week in festivities to commemorate the start of a rebellion in 1810 that led to Mexico's independence from Spain.

Spread largely by word of mouth, the call to song reached as far as the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, where restaurant chef Romaldo Martinez, 45, of Acapulco, sang in Spanish "all that I can remember" of the anthem while preparing a special Independence Day menu at the busy Casa Mexicana restaurant. "I am happy, and I wish I was home right now," Martinez said. In Colorado, where Hispanics make up 18 percent of the population, 80 people gathered at the Mexican consulate in Denver to sing and cheer "Viva Mexico!" Consulate workers handed out small Mexican flags.

Posted by acapnews at September 17, 2004 9:37 PM