Rubio researches novel on sabbatical

February 11, 2015

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Jose Rubio reported on his sabbatical Tuesday afternoon in Gates Hall. Rubio, who spent the spring 2014 semester in his home state of Jalisco, Mexico, researching political and religious ideals that have led to his country being mired in a state of corruption and violence, and how they have affected the people.

The purpose of the sabbatical was to gather information to be used in writing an original historical fiction novel that shows the path to reconciliation of “oppressors and victims” within Mexican society.

Rubio said his home country has become a nation know for corruption, poverty and illiteracy ‑- all issues that have been addressed in literature throughout history. Rubio hopes his novel can begin the process or fuel discussions of reconciliation. He said his manuscript is nearly complete. Once finished he will send it to a couple of editors then determine what to do concerning publication.

The inspiration for the novel struck Rubio a few decades ago as he was reading works of other authors dealing with societal issues. He was further inspired upon the election of Mexican President Vicente Fox in 2000, who vowed to rid the Mexican government of corruption and ushered in a brief time of democracy. Time, various political issues and subsequent elections led to an increase of violence as drug cartels began to rise to power and corruptions continued to infiltrate government entities.

Rubio said he returned home in 2007 and saw something he never thought he would see in Mexico.

“I saw dozens of soldiers patrolling the airport to protect passengers and prevent the drug cartels from committing violence,” he said. This issue was further reinforced when he traveled to Guadalajara in 2008 and “thought I was in a foreign country,” due to increased military presence.

Rubio asked for a sabbatical to research issues and interview politicians and people in Mexico who are affected by the situation. He said religion and the Catholic Church play a key role in restoring peace and stability in the country.

Rubio said most Mexicans identify with the Catholic Church, but the scandal that has rocked the church throughout the years has damaged its reputation among the people who lost trust in their faith. The church, however, is rebuilding those relationships, according to Rubio, by focusing on the people and meeting their needs whenever possible. Rubio said this return to faith can foster hope among the younger generations and lead to change in the culture.

Rubio said his novel is set in a small town that is a microcosm of what is going on in Mexico. His story shows that military power is not enough to bring back the feelings of security and trust, but that religion and faith play a large role in the process.