Category Archives: MX Culture/News

Mexico as It Is and Was Not

Americans concerned about  Mexico and Mexicans, and what sort of wights they be, a little history may help. We seem to know almost nothing about a bordering nation of 130 million. It is not what most of us think it is. It is certainly not what the Loon Right would have us believe.

For many years, until 1910, Mexico was run by Europeans, lastly under Porfirio Diaz, for the benefit of Europeans. Literacy was extremely low with economic conditions to match. The country was indeed, to borrow a favorite phrase of those hostile to Latin Americans, a Third-World hellhole. Many nations then were, to include China.

In 1910 the Revolution broke out. It was godawful, as civil wars usually are. It ended in 1921, followed shortly by the Cristero religious war until 1929. This had the usual hideousness favored by religious wars.

It left the country devastated. It hadn’t been much to start with, but now it was a wreck. Aldous Huxley, writing in 1934, saw no improvement. (Beyond the Mexique Bay) At least until 1940 much of Mexico was barely civilized, unlettered, lawless, and poor. Things were not all that swell in 1970.

Today, seventy-six years later (says the CIA Factbook), literacy is at 95%; the economy at $2.2 trillion, 12th  in the world in PPP; median age, 28; population growth rate, 1.12%; mother’s mean age at first birth, 21.3; total fertility, 2.24 children per woman; life expectancy at birth, 76 years.

And of course internet, airlines, computerized everything, and teenagers pecking at smartphones.

This is a lot of change in less than a man’s lifetime. Those hostile to Latin Americans do not want to know this, and usually manage not to.

In many ways Mexico remains a mess, mostly because of organized crime and corruption. Distribution of wealth is badly unequal, being now what the US is becoming. Books could be written about what is wrong with the country. Finland it isn’t. But neither is ti remotely a “Third-World hell hole” despite the squalling of such authorities as Ann Coulter, Manhattan’s premier she-ass.

It would be a good idea to retire the phrase, “Third World.”  Any designation that includes both Buenos Aires and Haiti (I have spent time in the slums of Cite Soleil with the US Army) is so broad as to be without meaning. In 1930, China, Mexico, Thailand and so on could reasonably have been called hellholes. None of these even comes close today. The slums of India do, as does much of Africa, yes.

To grasp the degree of educational advance between the Mexico as it was and as  of 1940 and today, look at what is visible on the ground:

Go into an ordinary bank, with which Mexico is littered. The clerks have to understand exchange rates, intermediate banks, SWIFT codes. They sit at computers, which are networked within the bank and with national headquarters, requiring network engineers and software weenies. Multitudinous ATMs require network people and maintainers. Telmex, the quite good telephone monopoly, needs people to program and maintain  switches and associated software. So do TelCel and ATT, cell-phone providers. Airlines need pilots and trainers of pilots, people to run and maintain high-bypass turbofans and avionics, the instrument-landing systems (ILS). The internet needs software people, router techs, help-line techs when someone’s modem fails (the techs are good). Also doctors and dentists, universities to train them, people who understand and maintain MRI gear, the usual elaborate diagnostic instrumentation, mechanics to run the diagnostic computers at car dealerships and understand what lurks under the hoods of today’s cars (which would baffle Stephen Hawking). And so on at great length. Similar observations could be made of many Latin American and Asian countries. Starting from roughly zero a few decades ago.

What Mexican are not, yet anyway, is driven in the sense that Americans often are. Young Mexican engineers are more so more so, but not the general population. A Mexican girl–to use an example I know–will go to dental school and then stay in her hometown, however small, marry, fix teeth, and raise children. Mexicans seem less entrepreneurial than Americans. They tend to regard a job as a way of supporting a family instead of the other way around.

There is considerable social mobility, at least around the cities. Women start businesses here, often restaurants, stores, bars, or maybe assisted-care homes in regions favored by retired Americans (e.g., Lakeside Care, down the street), but seem content with enough. “Enough” means something to them that it often does not to Americans. Whether this is good or bad can be debated, but it makes for contentedness but not commercial empires.

How will the new Mexican -American population adapt to the United States? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else, though many who know nothing about it have firm opinions. Will the government turn them into a sprawling class of welfare dependents? Doubtless if it can. Will furiously hostile anti-immigrant lobbies make them into internal enemies? They want to, and it would be the end of the US.

Or will they clamber, rapidly or otherwise, into the middle class and cease to be of much interest? The latter, I think. An intelligent policy would be to encourage them, but we can do it anyway. They are pretty good people, not given to terrorism or mutilating their daughters or the knockout game,  and they burn a minimum of cities. Everywhere I have been–LA, San Fran, DC, Huston, San Antonio, Pilsen and Berwyn in Chicago–they have seemed to be settling peacefully in. They have the potential to make it. We had better hope they get there.


Baja 1000 Road Closures

Bajadock: Thank to “K” for this one.  The translation of these details is iffy as normal.  Basically, Centro ‘Nada will a flustercluck this week.

Reports the Municipal Public Security Bureau on the closure of roads during the various activities issue # 50 of the Baja 1000. They note that from Tuesday until Thursday November 16 lanes will be closed Boulevard Costero oriented from east to west from the street to the street Rocks Alvarado. lso is closed to local traffic between First Street and Ruiz Castillo, Castillo between First and Boulevard Costero and Rotary Club between First and Boulevard Costero. 

Wednesday from 23:00 pm, the police will not allow vehicular traffic at the fords of the streets on the 3rd, 7th, 8th, 11th, and Amber between reform and Ruiz; Ruiz and the extension to the Beltway, same to be opened after the passage of the last moto.

Also Fords, Amber Street and Ruiz Prolongation again be closed on Thursday from 9:00 am, an hour before the starting signal to cars, and will reopen in full when the last vehicle pass.

The streets of the tourist area are closed they will be opened to traffic at 23:00 am on Thursday , November 16 , so urge people to use alternate routes in and out of their homes in time to avoid traffic jams .

Safety measures for off-road racing

  • Not pass the safety barriers along the route competition, must be free of foot traffic the buffer strip between the two established barriers.
  • Abide by the signs of the elements of public security, staff and other authorities responsible for controlling and monitoring the event.
  • Maintain constant vigilance to minors and do not leave them unattended at any time.
  • Refrain from bringing pets to the event that might get in the path of the competitors.
  • Not to generate false accounts of events that may arise during the completion of the sporting event that could generate mass mobilization.
  • No throwing objects participants, as this could generate to lose control of the vehicle and cause an accident.
  • the presence of spectators along the bottom of the Arroyo Ensenada is prohibited, so should be located in the area of ​​the levees protecting it.
  • Respect speed limits and traffic regulations and Police Bando, both in the city and federal and state highways as well as within the route of competition.
  • On issuance Cove in step dirt, two cuts in the road covering half of the cross section, caused by cracks of more than four meters wide and 10 meters in height, so must travel with caution and refrain from exceeding that section.
  • Notify the authority to watch some amateur pseudo breaking safety rules to maintain order.
  • In case of an accident give notice by telephone to the number 911 or the closest security elements, which will be located at each intersection with other roads.
  • Not enter the competition route in times where already started the event on until the last car, either in the same or opposite direction.
  • Not be placed on the outside of the curves and keep away more than 15 meters in straight route where high speeds are reached.
  • In case of an accident of a competitor or spectator route not enter the competition until the dust settles and visibility have come behind the car.
  • Not modify or alter the route of competition with ditches, ramps, rocks or other activity.
  • No littering and if there are fires perform in a clean area of ​​vegetation and make sure it has completely turned off.
  • Carry a first aid kit (including medication against scorpion stings and other insect), lamp with new batteries, basic tools for mechanical, spare tire, sufficient fuel to return to the city, sunscreen, hat or cap, jacket , etc.
  • Take precautions when choosing the location within the route of competition, to avoid risks and accidents.

Ensenada Breathalyzer Filters

For alleged crimes and administrative offenses, a total of 410 people were detained during the weekend, as a result of various operations carried out by personnel of the Municipal Public Security Directorate (DSPM).

The head of the local corporation, Jorge Íñiguez Díaz, announced that from last Friday to Sunday, officers participated in preventive trips, breathalyzer filters and other special actions in the urban and rural areas.

Of the 410 people arrested, 379 were intercepted for committing faults to the Police and Government Branch; They also rescued two 3-year-old girls, as victims of probable abandonment and omission of care.

On the other hand, 12 people were placed at the disposal of the Attorney General of the State (PGJE), for the alleged crimes of possession of prohibited substance and vehicle with reports of theft, damages, injuries, dismantling and trespassing.

While the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), a man was taken over for the probable possession of a firearm.

Íñiguez Díaz indicated that in the breathalyzer filters more than 600 automobiles were inspected and 19 drivers were intercepted for driving with marked alcoholic breath, an action that violates Article 41 of the Traffic Regulations.

The motorists surprised for the first time under such fault, were presented before the qualifying judge and their towed cars to municipal patios, in guarantee of the sanction to which creditors were made, the official finished.

Baja 1000 2017



Oil Pipeline Taps Increase


All sorts of weird and wonderful records are broken on a regular basis in Mexico — with Guinness records to prove it — but while many are a source of pride, others are not so brag-worthy.

A new record of the latter variety has been set by petroleum pipeline thieves known as huachicoleros,who between January and September made the highest number of illegal pipeline taps ever recorded.

According to data provided by state oil company Pemex and made available on the federal government’s transparency website, 7,642 new taps were detected in the nine-month period.

With 17,000 kilometers of pipelines across the country, that means on average thieves have illegally extracted fuel at points every 2.22 kilometers across the entire network. Put in other terms, the figure equates to just under 28 new, illegal pipeline perforations per day.

The 2017 figure is 769 higher than the previous high, which was recorded in the same period last year, and exceeds the entire total for 2016.

Pipeline theft has become so common in some parts of the country, such as the region of Puebla known as the Red Triangle, that a culture has formed around it complete with its own religious icons and music inspired by the practice.

Despite assurances from the federal government that the prevalence of the crime would start to go down, the statistics show otherwise.

As recently as last month Pemex CEO José Antonio González Anaya told lawmakers that fuel theft had been reduced by a joint strategy implemented by the Secretariat of Finance and the Attorney General’s office (PGR) and 1,400 people had been arrested for the crime.

Eleven million liters of stolen fuel were recovered in the nine-month period, he said, up significantly from a total of 4 million recovered in 2016.

But despite that gain, the number of taps actually increased month by month in the most recently completed quarter, rising from 728 in July to 925 in August before peaking in September at 928.

For the entire nine-month period, Guanajuato recorded the highest number with 1,393 clandestine taps detected followed by Puebla with 1,092. The next worst locations were Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Hidalgo, México state and Jalisco.

Together, the seven states account for almost 80% of all illegal taps in the country.

The practice has risen sharply in recent years and has cost Pemex an estimated 160 billion pesos(US $8.35 billion at today’s exchange rate) over the past seven years. The crime has reportedly become the second most lucrative activity for drug cartels.

In addition, evidence emerged last month that petroleum was also being stolen from within the company and Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquín Coldwell has raised the possibility that there may be complicity between Pemex employees and huachicoleros.

The practice has also led to violent clashes both between pipeline thieves and authorities and among rival gangs.

Ten people died including four soldiers when the army clashed with presumed pipeline thieves in Puebla in May while a confrontation between feuding huachicoleros left a further nine dead in Puebla in early July.

Source: El Universal (sp)

Cabrillo Statue Battle

Bajadock: Can’t believe it took me ten years to finally discover the Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma, San Diego.  It’s only a $10/car fee and the panoramic vistas, paths, tidepools and hiking provide a fun retreat.  Guessing that it is crazy crowded in summer, so my Sunday visit was peaceful with only a handful of people sharing the spaces.

The following Graham Mackintosh article is an easy read about the statue battles.  For a more detailed read(20 pages that I found worthwhile), see John Martin/ 

Bajabound/Graham Mackintosh

Portuguese navigator and conquistador Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo led the first European exploration of the Pacific coast of what is today the United States. He sailed into U.S. history September 28, 1542 when he entered San Diego Bay and claimed it for the Spanish crown.

Mexico also takes great pride in Cabrillo’s achievements. Ensenada celebrates his discovery of Ensenada Bay (Bahia de Todos Santos) on September 17, 1542, 11 days earlier.

Although Cabrillo served the Spanish crown all his life, it is widely accepted that he was born in Portugal.

In 1939, the government of Portugal commissioned Lisbon sculptor Alvaro de Bree to carve a 14 foot tall, heroic 7-ton statue of Cabrillo as a gift to California for the 1939-40 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. It arrived too late for inclusion, and the then governor of California gifted the statue to Oakland, with its sizeable Portuguese population.

However, defying the governor’s decree, the statue was requisitioned, some would say “kidnapped” or “stolen” by politicians and businessmen from San Diego forcefully led by city developer and state senator Ed Fletcher. They asserted that the Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma, established in 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson, was where the Statue rightfully belonged.

Cabrillo Statue Ensenada

With the coming of WWII, and restrictions on public access to Point Loma, Cabrillo’s imposing statue was instead installed on the grounds of the Naval Training Center. After the war the statue was finally moved to the Cabrillo National Monument in 1949.

And so for over 65 years a 14,000-pound pale sandstone carving of Cabrillo has been gazing out from his pedestal over San Diego Bay and the Pacific. But unbeknownst to most visitors, it hasn’t always been the same statue. Weathered and worn by visitation, the original gift from Portugal was warehoused and replaced by a sturdier sandstone replica in 1988.

Eventually, other proud city businessmen and politicians made representations for the moving of the statue once again… this time to Ensenada. And largely due to Nicolas Saad, owner of the San Nicolas Hotel, and president of Ensenada’s Cabrillo Festival Committee, the U.S. Department of the Interior granted a 20-year loan of the original statue to the city of Ensenada that today envelops the bay that Cabrillo discovered on September 17, 1542.

Cabrillo Statue Ensenada

The repaired, stabilized, and more weather-resistant statue was unveiled in Ensenada in 2013, where it can now be seen in the beautiful and relaxing gardens of the former Hotel Riviera del Pacifico near the cruise ship dock.

The strikingly white and well-manicured edifice of the Riviera, inspired by Hearst Castle, once a casino and hangout for the Hollywood and sporting elite, now the thriving cultural and event heart of Ensenada, is an easy place to visit. There is abundant free parking all around. The buildings and gardens are a fascinating testimony to Baja California history with numerous plaques, monuments and statutes to its forerunners, shapers and heroes.

Inside, there are tranquil coffee shops and bars, and an excellent historical museum with a fine library, book store, and special exhibits. When I was last there in April, there was an array of photographs of recent rock art finds from Baja California.

A visit to the Riviera is a worthwhile experience anytime. But if you’re in the vicinity of the Riviera, September 17, I suspect there will be quite a celebration around the statue of Cabrillo there in its magnificent new location.


About Graham

Graham is the author of four books on Baja California including Nearer My Dog to Thee which describes a four-month sojourn in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir with two adopted street dogs.

Details on all Graham’s books can be found on his website:

Only 2% of Arrests

Of the slightly more than 5 thousand 480 arrests that were registered only in October, by the Municipal Public Security Directorate (DSPM), 97 were transferred to the common jurisdiction and 2 to the Attorney General’s Office (PGR).

On Monday, the head of the DSPM, Jorge Íñiguez Díaz, met with members of the Madrugadores Group of Ensenada, where he presented the results of the corporation and spoke of his interest in changing the perception of insecurity that citizens have.

One of the members of the group questioned the director about the number of people apprehended against those released, since criminal recidivism is one of the big problems at this moment.

Íñiguez regretted that these data are out of reach and reiterated that from December 2016 to September 2017 a monthly average of 3,170 arrests was handled, while in October, 5,480 assurances were obtained from people for faults to the Police Branch and Government, among other crimes.

Highlighted the assurance of an alleged assailant of convenience stores; together with the arrest of three alleged murderers, to mention some outstanding actions.

With regard to the Strengthening Program for Security, this year will be executed 48 million 790 thousand 411 pesos in control and confidence assessments, professionalization, equipment, technologies, SJPA and crime prevention; in addition to 9 million 698 thousand 082 pesos of municipal co-participation, for a program to improve the working conditions of the elements.

In the road area, several operations are carried out to prevent accidents either by driving at an excess speed or under the influence of alcoholic beverages; in addition to that in October, 2 thousand 682 infractions were applied for faults to the Regulation of Transit Force.

Finally, in terms of professionalization of personnel, 891 Municipal Police officers have been trained mainly in topics related to the Accusatory Criminal Justice System, as well as in human rights, proximity, responsibilities and detection of false documents, among others.

Mexico Horsemeat Scam

Researchers with the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico found horsemeat present in raw and cooked samples sold as beef or unclearly labeled in butcher shops, markets and informal selling points such as street stalls in six Mexican cities.

The study, commissioned by Humane Society International, also found high levels of clenbuterol in some raw meat samples. Clenbuterol, a veterinary drug commonly prescribed for horses, is not approved for food producing animals, and can be harmful to humans.

Researchers collected samples in the following cities: Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Pachuca and San Vicente Chicoloapan. The researchers studied 433 samples of cooked and raw meats, and surveyed 339 vendors. More than 40 of the samples collected tested positive for horsemeat. Researchers analyzed clenbuterol presence in 29 of the samples that tested positive for horsemeat (only raw meat could be analyzed for clenbuterol). They found significant clenbuterol concentrations in nearly all the tested samples.

The researchers also found that the majority of the vendors surveyed did not want to sell horsemeat and were unaware of the presence of horsemeat in the meat products they were selling.

Anton Aguilar, HSI/Mexico director, said: “The results of this study show that it is important for consumers to realize that meat mislabeling may occur and can be hazardous for their health, especially because the majority of vendors surveyed in the study were unaware that they were selling horsemeat as beef. We hope this study helps shed some light into the industry.”

The study only tested samples for the presence of clenbuterol, but other toxic substances may have been present. Horses often receive multiple chemical substances that are known to be dangerous to humans, are untested on humans, or are specifically prohibited for use in animals raised for human consumption.

In addition to the health effects involving the consumption of horses not raised for meat, the horse slaughter industry is inherently cruel. Unwanted horses, formerly used in racing or as riding companions, are sold to exporters who then pack them into semi-trucks and transport them long distances often under hot weather conditions with little or no food, water or veterinary care.

Mexico is the second largest horsemeat producer in the world, after China. According to the Mexican Ministry of Trade, in 2015 Mexico exported almost 3,000 tons of horsemeat worth almost $9 million, mainly to Vietnam and Russia. Many of the horses slaughtered in Mexico are imported from the United States – where horse slaughterhouses have been closed since 2007 following the withdrawal of funding for US Department of Agriculture slaughter plants inspections.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras,, +1-301-721-6440

Sewage Spill of the Month

Pan de Muerto

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