Magazines of the Americas

Introduced by The Editors

Etiqueta Negra  |  El Malpensante  |  n+1

With Issue 9, n+1 begins the Magazines of the Americas project (MOTA), an effort to establish a network of intellectual magazines in North, South, and Central America. Our goals are to share information and manuscripts across Spanish, Portuguese, and English, and to publicize the conditions of 21st-century  life throughout this hemisphere. The republics of Latin America and North America have always had a lot in common, but economic and political divergence for a long time obscured their similarities. Recent years have seen more convergence: the consolidation of democracy in Latin America and its hollowing out in the United States; redistributive programs from Bolivia and Brazil to Mexico coinciding with increased inequality in the US; the rising relative weight of the bigger South American economies along with the declining relative weight of the American one. The absence, from Tierra del Fuego to the Yukon, of the fighting between religions and across borders that afflicts so much of the rest of the world is another condition in common. The Americas, increasingly resembling one another, should learn to talk to one another too.

Our inaugural articles concern Mexico and the narco-violence there. In the United States we have kept our eyes on Afghanistan and Iraq, a world away, and ignored the civilian massacres and the collapse of peaceful society on our southern border—funded in large part by our domestic desire to smoke weed and snort cocaine without taking on the responsibility of legalization.

Under the Cartels” first appeared in Etiqueta Negra (Peru),  Juan Villoro’s  “The Red Carpet” in El Malpensante (Colombia).

16 August 2010

The first time I read Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives I was 22 years old. I lived in Lima on a miserable salary and the only thing I was doing with my life, other than getting drunk to the point of senselessness, was reading and writing, imitating and attempting, as well as throwing myself against the door each time my literary style proved to be nothing more than a pale and clumsy echo of the voices of writers who’d influenced me. More…

7 June 2010

The Mexican mode of governance—transparency and accountability alike unknown to it—transformed our slang into a grammar of shadows. Politics was baptized la tenebra, political horse-trading was done in lo oscurito. The coming of light was dangerous; the conspirator had to act under cover of darkness, to get ahead of his adversary by rising before dawn. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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23 April 2010

In the late ’90s, when I moved to the city of Monterrey, people made jokes about my origins: surely my father carried a gun, surely I was coarse and crude—I was from a border town. In turn I was certain that Monterrey, that industrial metropolis where I went to pursue my studies, was perfectly safe. Nothing would scare me away from there. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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1 March 2008

Ahora, por ejemplo, Keiko Sofía se ha quitado las sobrias sandalias de taco que llevaba puestas y sacude las plantas de sus pequeños y redondeados pies. Es un miércoles de verano en Lima, marzo del 2007, un mediodía húmedo y pegajoso dentro de la camioneta de marca japonesa de la hija de Fujimori. More…

7 February 2008

Hitler lives in Uruguay. Yes. In this eastern republic of South America lives a Hitler Aguirre and a Hitler da Silva. There’s Hitler Pereira and Hitler Edén Ganoso. There’s even a Hitler de los Santos—“of the Saints.” To be called by the surname of the perpetrator of the worst genocide of the twentieth century—that is, Hitler—wouldn’t that give one cause for shame? More…

7 February 2008

Hitler vive en Uruguay. Sí. En esta república oriental de Sudamérica viven Hitler Aguirre y Hitler da Silva. Viven Hitler Pereira y Hitler Edén Ganoso. Vive hasta un Hitler de los Santos. Llamarse como se apellidó el mayor genocida del siglo XX, o sea Hitles, ¿no es acaso una razón para vivir avergonzado? More…

30 January 2008

In 1997 I was twenty years old and had never traveled anywhere where Spanish was not the official language. For reasons that are opaque to me now, I decided to visit China that summer. Most of the trip is unrecoverable at this point, two months full of strange interactions without the benefit of a common language, wherein I tried to interpret inscrutable gestures and failed consistently. More…

30 January 2008

En 1997 yo tenía veinte años y jamás había viajado a algún lugar donde el español no fuese la lengua oficial. Por razones que no me vienen a la mente, decidí visitar China el verano de aquel año. Ahora me es difícil recordar la mayor parte del viaje, dos meses plagados de extrañas interacciones sin el beneficio de un idioma común: yo intentaba interpretar signos inescrutables y fallaba consistentemente. More…