Carlos Fuentes escribe sobre la inteligencia y sobre su infancia en la década de los treintas en Washington:
Mexico, the imaginary country, dreamed of a painful past; the United States, the real country, dreamed of a happy future.
The French equate intelligence with rational discourse, the Russians with intense soul-searching. For a Mexican, intelligence is inseparable from maliciousness —in this, as in many other things, we are quite Italian: fuberia, roguish slyness, and the cult of appearances, la bella figura, are Italianate traits present everywhere in Latin America: Rome, more than Madrid, is our spiritual capital in this sense.
For me, as a child, the United States seemed a world where intelligence was equated with energy, zest, enthusiasm. The North American world blinds us with its energy; we cannot see ourselves, we must see you. The United Stated is a world full of cheerleaders, prize-giving, singin’ in the rain: the baton twirler, the Oscar awards, the musical comedies cannot be repeated elsewhere; in Mexico, the Hollywood statuette would come dipped in poisoned paint; in France, Gene Kelly would constantly stop in his steps to reflect: Je dance, donc je suis.
The United States was a country where things worked, where nothing ever broke down: trains, plumbing, roads, punctuality, personal security seemed to function perfectly, at least at the eye level of a young Mexican diplomat’s son.