Guarding the Haven
"Guarding the Haven" is a work of fiction that details the saga of Alejandra, a woman of humble beginnings whose goal to obtain a university degree is cut short soon after graduating from preparatory school, but one that she plans to embark on at age thirty-seven. The main plot, however, is a parable, a figurative backstory that describes a world of ulterior motives but also of people working together for the benefit of all of the people. Alejandra’s struggles and triumphs weave the thread that holds the parable’s narrative together.
The novel uses historical facts that transpire at two different junctures to tell the story. One takes place in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a time of anguish and exasperation in Mexico. A time too of a broken Mexican economy, of unrestrained government corruption, and of national leaders that were robbing the country blind. The second historical juncture transpires near the end of the twentieth century, during a decade that witnessed a convenient Save The Whales campaign, an international crusade mainly driven by ulterior motives. The campaign called for the cancellation of a salt plant project at Laguna San Ignacio, a huge saltwater lagoon half-way down the Baja California peninsula that is yearly visited by gray whales from the waters off Alaska.
The salt plant, which in real life was to be built by the Mitsubishi Corporation, is eventually cancelled by Mexico’s President with the stroke of a pen. Why? Because he could. Some U.S. based environmental organizations, along with a few Mexican intellectuals, U.S. politicians, film stars and other luminaries, took credit for the cancellation. But it was probably the doings of Julia Carabias, Mexico’s minister of the environment then, who deserves most of the credit.
Alejandra gets involved in her own personal crusade to stop the construction of the salt plant, doing research, learning about environmental issues, writing letters, and trying to find others who might want to join the fight. At the end, though, and because of the research she did, she concludes that she was wrong, that the salt plant would have been beneficial to La Laguna and its people, to the area next to Laguna San Ignacio.
The most important message that the novel "Guarding the Haven" pretends to divulge is that there is much more to be learned about environmental matters, that we the people of the world need to see beyond the words and acts of those who claim to be the saviors of the earth, and that it is up to us to save our planet, but also save ourselves. Working together to build a better world, with opportunities for everyone. After all, humans matter, too.