Language and Literature
Once Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, the newly established Mexican government reached out to the Philippines and Cuba with the intention of remaining economically linked. Following Filipino historian Jaime B. Veneracion, the “secret memorandum” that was sent across the Pacific stated: “Should the Philippines succeed in gaining her independence from Spain, we must felicitate her warmly and form an alliance of amity and commerce with her as a sister nation. Moreover, we must resume the intimate Mexico-Philippine relations, as they were during the halcyon days of Acapulco-Manila trade.” While this proposal did not come to fruition, in this presentation I draw on Lisa Lowe’s concept of “residual intimacies of colonialism,” which refers to the obscured interconnected legacies of imperial practices, to analyze how the rhetoric of intimacy between Mexico and the Philippines resurfaced in diplomatic, historical and literary archives throughout the twentieth century. In particular, I offer a close examination of the strategic reconstruction of the rhetoric of familial ties between Mexico and the Philippines. Moreover, I borrow Cuban historian Rafael Rojas’ approach to the history of Mexico’s “impossible annexation” to Cuba in order to better understand not only the critical potential but also the limitations of revering the past “halcyon days” of the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade.