"Malinche" is a musical that tells the story of Malinche, the woman who helped save Mexico and Spain from a conflict that would have had disastrous consequences thanks to the love she had for explorer Hernán Cortés.
The creator of the show, Nacho Cano, was the co-founder of the now extinct Spanish group Mecano that rose to fame in the '80s both in Spain and throughout Latin America. The theme in his musical runs counter to the narrative that is propagated by left-wing politicians such as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
Nacho Cano: "If it had been the English, they would not have left one person alive"
For the premiere of the new season of the musical in Madrid, Spain, the Spanish artist spoke about the arrival of the Spanish to America in the 16th century and the negative effects that would have occurred had it been another empire. He also challenged the words of the Mexican president in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
"Luckily the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, Peru, Ecuador and El Salvador, because if it had been the English, they would not have left one person alive. The indigenous people were killed or enslaved, and with Christianity there was a third way, which was miscegenation and integration thanks to baptism," said Cano. "As we start tearing down statues 500 years later, no one is saved, because it is not that we Spaniards are currently doing great wonders. Except in sports or art, where we are spectacular."
AMLO: "It was important for Spain to apologize for the excesses during the conquest"
Since becoming president, AMLO has done nothing but attack Spain for having arrived in Mexico five centuries ago and for having helped the country forge its culture and history.
"In this context, we consider it important that the government of Spain, as a gesture of goodwill to improve our relations and to give reason to historical relations, apologize for the excesses, for the authoritarianism that was exercised during the invasion, during the conquest. ... We propose that these are times of reconciliation to look to the future," The Mexican president said in 2021 before holding events to commemorate Mexican history.
Criticism of Spaniards who think like AMLO
Nacho Cano also criticized his compatriots who believe that Spain abused the natives when its ships arrived in America.
"We would have to ask ourselves why we always focus on the negative. We carried the Charters of Human Rights, we were able to abolish slavery, we are responsible for something as beautiful as miscegenation," he said in the interview. "If we hadn't discovered America, you wouldn't have that iPhone, World War II would have been won by Hitler. And yet, historically, we continue to accept that we are sons of b*****s."
Arrival of 'Malinche' in the United States and Mexico?
The artist, writer of successful songs such as "Hoy No Me Puedo Levantar" ("I Can't Get Up Today"), which was later transformed into a musical of the same name that was performed across Mexico, did not rule out the possibility that Mexicans can know their origins in the form of the music in "Malinche." It is even relevant in the United States, he says:
If you analyze Spotify's top 100 artists, 17 are Latino, and of those 17, 10 are Mexican. Their presence in the United States is brutal, unstoppable, and "Malinche" is positively narrating the history of America and its roots. If they pay for a performance of "Les Misérables," when their plot does not matter at all, imagine if what they are being told on stage is their origins.