MEXICO: Painted Over

Ever since 1531, when, according to pious belief, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared miraculously to a humble convert, Mexico has revered her. Her image, which emerged wondrously on the convert's poor cloak as a sign of the authenticity of his vision, is the country's most honored shrine. Last month, for a huge mural on Mexican theatrical history, ex-Communist Artist Diego Rivera solemnly sketched the famed comedian Cantinflas in his trademark-uniform, a shabby coat, and then drew the Virgin on the coat. "Sacrilege!" protested Mexico's devout, while Rivera, ignoring the uproar, diligently filled in the outlines around the figure.

By last week...

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