The Hidden Diary of a Victim of the Mexican Inquisition

As Spain began to settle the New World in the 16th century, crypto-Jews were among the colonists; the Inquisition followed soon after. Natasha Pizzey describes the fate of Luis de Caravajal the Younger, a member of a large, prosperous, and originally Jewish family that came to New Spain:

[The Carvajals] governed part of northern Mexico and soon made enemies, including a power-hungry viceroy keen to topple them from power. The ambitious viceroy discovered that Luis de Carvajal was a practicing Jew, a crime [then] punishable by death. . . . Older relatives had urged Luis de Carvajal to convert to Catholicism for his own safety, but he staunchly stuck to his faith.

When he was first arrested, the authorities let him off with a warning but kept tabs on him. Far from giving up his religion, Luis de Carvajal became a leader in Mexico’s underground Jewish community. When the inquisitors caught up with him again a few years later, he was sentenced to death. He was just thirty years old.

Before he was executed, he was tortured so badly that he revealed the names of 120 fellow Jews. . . . His captors forced him to listen as those “heretics,” which included his own mother, were tortured in the cell next to him. . . . We know the excruciating details of Luis de Carvajal’s persecution because he managed to keep secret diaries. But these were not any old notebooks. They were painstakingly crafted, miniature manuscripts with almost microscopic handwriting in Latin and Spanish.

Read more at BBC

More about: Anti-Semitism, History & Ideas, Inquisition, Marranos, Mexico


Iran’s President May Be Dead. What Next?

At the moment, Hizballah’s superiors in Tehran probably aren’t giving much thought to the militia’s next move. More likely, they are focused on the fact that their country’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, along with the foreign minister, may have been killed in a helicopter crash near the Iran-Azerbaijan border. Iranians set off fireworks to celebrate the possible death of this man known as “butcher of Tehran” for his role in executing dissidents. Shay Khatiri explains what will happen next:

If the president is dead or unable to perform his duties for longer than two months, the first vice-president, the speaker of the parliament, and the chief justice, with the consent of the supreme leader, form a council to choose the succession mechanism. In effect, this means that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will decide [how to proceed]. Either a new election is called, or Khamenei will dictate that the council chooses a single person to avoid an election in time of crisis.

Whatever happens next, however, Raisi’s “hard landing” will mark the first chapter in a game of musical chairs that will consume the Islamic Republic for months and will set the stage not only for the post-Raisi era, but the post-Khamenei one as well.

As for the inevitable speculation that Raisi’s death wasn’t an accident: everything I have read so far suggests that it was. Still, that its foremost enemy will be distracted by a succession struggle is good news for Israel. And it wouldn’t be terrible if Iran’s leaders suspect that the Mossad just might have taken out Raisi. For all their rhetoric about martyrdom, I doubt they relish the prospect of becoming martyrs themselves.

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Ali Khamenei, Iran, Mossad