For this Humanosphere podcast, we talk with Mexican author and journalist Juan Villoro, who is noted for his wide-ranging interests from soccer (futbol!), pop music and Mayan culture to children’s fairy tales, television soap operas and politics.
Villoro, who recently had his first book The Guilty translated into English, spoke with Humanosphere reporter Lisa Nikolau, about the ‘death of optimism’ and his dream for the future of his country.
After World War II, Villoro says, many saw a bright future for Mexico as it developed its own industries, built and opened major universities and appeared ready to move into modernity. That optimism later faded and died, he said, as the country failed to develop its own identity and strategy for transformation – eventually devolving into a ‘make-believe government’ out of touch with its people and a country today plagued by corruption, violence and despair.
“We had this dream of democracy and everything just collapsed,” Villoro tells Nikolau. “Mexico never became a real modern society, never achieved real democracy, never achieved a more fair society….”
Despite his bleak assessment of the current state of affairs in Mexico, the polymath Villoro has not given up. He is helping to rewrite Mexico City’s constitution, as Humanosphere reported when he spoke last week at Pacific Lutheran University, and remains hopeful: “You have to dream … maybe someday this will become real.”
As always, prior to Lisa’s interview with Villoro, she and KPLU’s Gabriel Spitzer discuss some of the more interesting and significant stories in the Humanosphere, such as Imana Gunawan‘s report on a Louisiana tribe that have become the first climate change refugees in the U.S. and a story by Tom Murphy on a ‘sort of’ effective technology – the vaginal ring – for preventing HIV in women. Finally, Gabe asks Lisa to elaborate on her story about charges of sex slavery in Guatemala.