Skip to content

The stars of the stars

3 September 2015

SilviaGoing back to the Olmecs, Mexicans have always had great astronomers.

Two of recent note:

Silvia Torres Pembert, an expert on the “stuff” within the stars (specifically, the helium composition of nebulae) is the first Latin American woman to preside over the International Astronomical Union.

FierroJulieta Fierro Grossmann, also a UNAM astronomer, like Dr. Torres, has been highly critical of the under-funding of basic scientific research within Mexico, but Fierro… while not well known outside the country … has — when not peering through a telescope — been searching for innovative ways to bring more science education to the public.  As “Agenta Julieta”  the 67 year old academic has become the star of a children’s program “Sofía Luna, agente especial” produced by Canal Onze.  Dr. Fierro lectures throughout the country, exorting young women to take up scientific careers, and — like Dr. Torres, lobbying for more educational and research funds for Mexican universities.

The Dawn of the dead Don

3 September 2015


Juan Manuel Diez Francos, the Presidente Municipal of Orizaba has a few statues of his heroes, Agustín Pinochet and Francisco Franco, around his house, he’s not one to keep his enthusiasm for military caudillos from the community. At his own expense (one presumes… the municipal books not having been audited lately) Diez Francos recently gifted the Vercruz city with a half-ton (500 Kg), three meter bronze statute of the man his honor calls “mí heroé”, Porfirio Díaz.

Unveiled Monday before a 500 invited guests, which included a unknown number of undercover police officers, Don Porfirio is portrayed as he appeared in his later years, in full dress uniform, replete with his medals and miscellaneous bling.

Among the accomplishments of the Don memorialized on the statues’ plianth (adding another two meters to the monument) is having referred to Orizaba as the “best educated city in Mexico”. One of those well-educated Orizabans was invited guest, public accountant Norma Edith Colohua Sáenz. She graciously took to the microphone to share the thoughts of young, well-educated Mexicans like herself on the Don… shouting “¡asesino! ¡asesino! ¡asesino!” as what the press described as “robust women” (presumably those undercover cops) tried to drag her from the platform, impeded by a phalanx of “invited guests”.

Ms. Colohua, joined by her mother retired teacher, Diana Graciela Sáenz Vallejo, have vowed to return to pull down the statue.

Photo: Luz María Rivera, Cronica Veracruz (27 Agosto 2015)

Sources: Julio Hernández López, “Astillro” (Jornada, 2 Septiembre 2015)

Luz María Rivera, “Develan estatua de Porfirio Díaz en Orizaba; irrumpe joven en acto” (Jornada, 2 Septiembre 2015)

Bésame … ¡NO!

2 September 2015

One of the weirder stories I’ve seen in the Mexican media lately… and for a change, one where police chiefs come out half-way decently (and no one gets killed).  AND, as a bonus, a nice riff off the last post on Bésame Mucho.

Two men arrested in Chihuahua for public intoxication were handcuffed and taken in the back of a police truck to the local lock-up.  Where some not so bright officer told the two that they would be let go, if they kissed each other for the camera.  Which one of the dimwit officers thought was cute to record on her cellphone and send around for the amusement of… I donno… somebody, I guess.

Chihuahua’s police director, Horacio Salcido, didn’t find it quite so funny… the two arresting officers, and three more who were involved, were summarily fired.

Diario de Chihuahua, El Informador (Guadalajara)




Curses…. foiled again: three dimensional chess at San Lazaro

1 September 2015

With Enrique Peña Nieto calling Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador a “demagogue”, and PRD’s Jésus Ortega (one of the leaders of the current within the still leftist PRD which has favored collaborating with the far right if it means an electoral victory) claiming López Obrador is not a leftist at all, but a “mere” populist, it can only mean one thing… even though the next presidential election is three years away, the establishment is already hard at work to prevent AMLO from reaching Los Pinos… again.

Although last July’s election still left the three main parties in control of the legislature, and the PRI continues to dominate the country (together with its yuppie division, the fake Green Party, PVEM) holding half the seats in the incoming Chamber of Deputies, the three major rivals are now worried that if they don’t cooperate, it will be the upstart minor parties — led by AMLO’s Morena — that will be driving the legislative agenda, and dominating the news cycles, during the 2018 election season.

Although the Mexican left has always tended to form circular firing squads, the PRD’s woes come mostly from its willingness to be co-opted into the neo-liberal “mainstream” in return for a better shot at second-tier offices (municipal presidencies and state legislatures), selecting candidates of less that ideal backgrounds.  The party included probably no more than its share of crooks than either of the other two main parties as it become less and less distinct in its policies than the two widely derided on the left as “PRIAN” was making itself irrelevant.  And, in last July’s election, it showed.

With no party having a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, the presidency of the lower house (equivalent to the U.S. Speaker of the House) will rotate among the leaders of the three top factions within the Chamber.  That is, PRI (and the Greens) will get a two year run, PAN, two years… and the third force the two years just before the election.

PRD is the third force… maybe.

The Legislative session opens today… minus one PRD deputy.  Ariadna Montiel Reyes, a Federal District representative from one of the more traditionally socialist PRD factions, quit the party.  Although Montiel will be in a caucus with conservative Sinaloan businesman and the only other independent in the Chamber, Jesús Clouthier, this means PRD is NOT the third force… IF Morena forms a legislative caucus with the Citizens’ Movement, or is able to convince Ms. Montiel to join their party (or… within the realm of plausiblity… convinces Clouthier — who has been pushing for honesty in government over any particular economic issue, captures the entire independent caucus), the Chamber will find itself having to deal with whatever legislative initiatives AMLO wishes to have being discussed while he is a presidential candidate.  This would put the mainstream parties in a pickle… having to defend something like their own high salaries, as AMLO is going around denouncing over-paid electoral officials.

On the other hand… don’t be surprised if PRD (or PAN) is able to pick off a few deputies from one of the other parties, and the dance goes on.  Or… PRI pushes a bill to change the way the chamber selects their leader… or…


Jesusa Cervantes, “Sufre PRD primer descalabro en la Cámara de Diputados; renuncia Ariadna Montiel“, Proceso, 31 Augusto 2015.

Remember the Alamo?*

1 September 2015


* You know, where General Santa Ana found a bunch of illegal alien law-breakers and illegal border crossers who refused to self-deport and he had to resort of more direct methods in 1836.

Our woman in Novorossiysk

30 August 2015

It’s a footnote, to a footnote, to history, but Mexico made an important contribution to Russian culture, and played perhaps a more important role in the “Great Patriotic War” of 1941-45, when the Soviet Union lost 11,000,000 soldiers and perhaps 20,000,000 civilians.

Bleak days, indeed, but what kept the home fires burning was the voice of Ruzhena Sikora.  IN May 1941, as a singer with the Soviet Radio Jazz Orchestra she was an instant hit, bringing Russianized versions of new music to Soviet audiences.  At the start of the German invasion, she worked as an air-raid warden in Moscow, but soon volunteered to entertain both on the front lines and in military hospitals.

18 year old Mexican budding songwriter Consuela Velásquez’ “Besame Mucho” perfectly captured the feelings of the Soviets (and the other allies) who never knew if their loved ones would return or not perfectly.  Sikora’s Russian styling made Песня Сердца one of the most popular songs in the Soviet Union, and would become her and became her signature piece over her 40 year career.


Back later

23 August 2015

I’ve taken a few weeks off before, and decided to do so again.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 732 other followers