THE OFFICIAL MAPS outline a large rectangle extending from the drilling platforms of Chac I and Kukulkan I in the Gulf of Mexico to the beds of Sitio Grande in the spurs of the Chiapas Sierras, and from the port of Coatzacolacos to the mouth of the Usumacinta River.

The maps of memory describe the arch of a coast of luxuriant loneliness, the first seen by the Spanish Conquistadors . Tabasco, Veracruz, Campeche....

It is the land of the Malinche. Hrnan Cortes received her from the hands of the caciques of Tabasco, along with four diadems and a lizard of gold. Hse was haptized Marina. The people call her Malinche, name of betrayal, voice that revealed to the Spaniards the hidden weakness of the Aztec empire and permitted fifteen hundred gold-hungry adventurers to conquer a nation five times larger than Spain. The small voice of the woman defeated the great voice of the emperor.

But beneath the land of the Malinche lie riches greater than all of Montezuma's gold. Sealed in geological pits more ancient than the most ancient empires, the tresure of Chiapas, Veracruz and Tabasco is a promise in a sealed bottle: to seek it is to pursue an invisible cat through subterranean labyrinths. The patient drillers penetrate two, three, four thousand meters deep into the sea, into the jungles, into the sierra. The discovery of one fertile well compensates for the failure of a thousand sterile ones.

Like the Hydra, the oil is reborn, mulitplied, from a single severed head. Dark semen in a land of hopes and betrayals, oil fecundates the realms of the Malinche beneath the mute voices of the stars and their nocturnal portents.