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Talking about “VII Cumbre de las Américas”:

[1] According to the forecasts, the south side of the American continent is the most urbanized and unequal region in the world. Following a global socioeconomic order, Latin America could be a border itself: South America versus USA-Canada, South America versus Europe. It is not East, neither pure West; it is the new “hybrid” world located “at the south of the border, at the west of the sun”.

Political divisions have two sides: North and South; beyond the geographical reference, the North side is identified as the wealth area, the homeland of the developed countries, the global citadel; while the South side is the poor zone where develop is the promise “place”. The south border is aspirational; the limit line could be penetrable, the rehearsal for crossing line is the everyday life and the transfer of the limits is the strategy to survive.

In Borderlands/ La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa explains that “living on borders and in margins…is like trying to swim in a new element, an “alien” element…never comfortable but home…”. She defined herself as a border woman, growing between two cultures, surviving in the “other” Mexico, a space full of contradictions, where the “clash” of differences shapes the border identity. Anzaldúa thought a feminine border; as a mestiza, she defended the mixture of races, arguing that the fusion results in a race with hybrid progeny, which considers perpetual transition (inclusion more than exclusion) as a part of everyday life. Here, the ambivalence is the key piece for the “self-construction”. If the future is about breaking paradigms, Anzaldúa believes that it will belong to the “border mestiza”, capable to change reality in order to create a new culture. Even when she thought the idea of border from the north side (Texas and California), she was “south side” all the time.

Following bell hooks ideas related with center, periphery, and margins it could be possible to understand the Mexico Strip as the beginning of the “south side” of the Americas. In Yearning, she talked about margins as particular places where “happening” would allow new ways of bonding; bell hooks considered them as present-future locations of resistance struggle, and where it is possible to build the “double cross” between conventional (and oppressive) binaries: “Living as we did –on the edge- we developed a particular way of seeing reality. We looked both from the outside in and from the inside out. We focused our attention on the center as well as on the margin. We understood both”. From this particular decentered position, bell hooks links identity and subjective to define a Black feminism, and from there to reconstruct the blackness. This edging place is risky but necessary; it offers multiplicity spaces of difference, which are simultaneously central and peripheral, they are sites of struggle and repression.

The Mexico Strip is the south side of a powerful border; it represents a key decentered position for the reconstruction of the Latin Americanness. The south-continent has always been characterized by the concentration of population in a few cities. Although, nowadays megacities as Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, among others, concentrate only 14 per cent of the urban population; while more than a half of urban inhabitants live in “secondary metropolis” like Monterrey, Juárez and Tijuana. The favelas are fundamental links between this city-categorization; they constitute the south side of borders inside the border, urban analysis and proposals should start from here, in order to build a real future for “las Américas del sur”.

[1] Diana Maldonado,Futuristic Traditions: Rethinking “Hybrid” Identities On The Southern Side Of The Us-Mexican Border (fragment), 2014 IASTE Conference, Whose Tradition?, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

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