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Yes, this is the tropics

8 February 2015

Mazatlan-Durango Highway, through the Sierra Madres.



See you in Hell?

8 February 2015

Over the course of publishing this site, I’ve had readers some unexpected places:  Bukino Faso, Andorra, Äland,  Wasilla Alaska … and most points in-between.  The CIA and Iranian intelligence have checked in now and again, and I’ve had hits from the White House, the Vatican and various foreign ministries, think tanks and universities.

But, no longer bothering to break down my hits by server location or city or anything beyond country, and I don’t make much of the statistical data.  I do look at the list of wordpress and email “followers”.  They’re not exactly cyber-groupies, but I appreciate them and assume they are the “core readers”.  Imagine my surprise to find out the latest follower is in Hell.  Literally.

It looks like a snowball does have a chance in Hell.

It looks like a snowball does have a chance in Hell.

Hellbilly Mama Blog posts on money-saving ideas, life hacks, a family member’s medical treatments and life in Hell.    Hailing from that unincorporated Michigan town about 25 Km north of Ann Arbor, life in Hell doesn’t sound that horrible to me.  Writer Andrea Fritz, who refers to herself as “self-diagnosed as ‘Crazy, OCD, Paranoid and Bipolar’ AKA – Mom, Maid, Chauffeur, Doctor, Teacher, Chef, IT Tech, Alarm Clock and Counselor” —sounds perfectly normal and nice to me.  I don’t think she’d appreciate it if I told those commentators and correspondents I get who insist Mexico is a “hellhole” to just go to Hell.

Why make a Hell of Hell?

The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.

Oh what a tanga-ed web we weave…

7 February 2015

I kinda miss the Fox administration , just for the amusement value.  While it really wasn´t all that funny that Fox’s first Secretary of Labor, Carlos Abascal (son of the Mexican Synarchista and Nazi sympathizer , had a teacher in his daughter’s school fired for daring to lecture on Carlos Fuentes’  creepy classic, Aura … though it was hilarious when the 1962 novella shot to the top of the Mexican best sellers list as a result of the controversy, and re-introduced millions of Mexicans to a book they’d forgotten about after reading it in high school.

Marta Sahugan’s overspending on towels and drapes for Los Pinos was good for a chuckle too… but nothing compared to “Tanga-gate”.

Marta, like Abascal, were products of PAN’s “piety wing”… as the old “Moral Majority” was to the U.S. Republican Party, reactionary Catholics were to PAN… with the difference that the reactionaries weren’t depending on contributions from relatively poor and working class people, but were wealthy and influential people to begin with.  Many were connected with “El Yunque”, a quasi-secret society of Francoists, many also member or supporters of Opus Dei and the Legionnaires of Christ.

One of the more public fronts for El Yunque was Provida, a “family values” lobbying group and “think tank” headed by Jorge Serrano Limón, who was also a high party official.   Federal funds were steered to Provida, supposedly to prepare educational material on sex education and women’s health (and, mostly for anti-abortion propaganda, the party fighting off attempts to decriminalize the procedure).  Being an organization run by late middle aged businessmen raised more than a few eyebrows, but when it turned out the federal funds were being diverted to “overhead”.

What made it so deliciously fun a scandal is that a good portion of the overhead was for tangas.  Obviously, these weren’t meant for any particular educational purpose unless the sight of overweight men in tangas was meant to convey some sort of lesson in the dangers of sugar daddies.

Serrano Limón was the object of any number of cartoons, and a staple of stand up comedy.  He didn’t find it so funny that he was ordered to pay back the money, and has spent God knows how much over the last 10 years on fighting the court order.  Which, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday, he does indeed have to pay… along with a 13,200,000 peso fine.



Monica Orta Ramírez, Q.D.E.P.

6 February 2015
Photo:  Quadratín

Photo: Quadratín

Monica Orta Ramírez died Tuesday in the intensive care unit of the Hospital General de Balbuena.  Orta had been a nurse at the Hospital Materno Infantil de Cuajimalpa, which was destroyed last Friday by a gas explosion.  Refusing to flee, she stayed in the burning hospital to assist in evacuating babies and hospital employees. She received burns over 80 percent of her body.

The 32-year old mother of three was buried yesterday.


American dreamers…

6 February 2015

Via KVUE (Austin, TX):

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE, Mexico — Mexico is offering undocumented foreigners including Americans amnesty if they come forward and apply for legal status.


The issue of undocumented Americans living in Mexico is an open secret in places like San Miguel de Allende, a colonial city that is popular with tourists.

“Yeah, there are some people that I believe are here that are probably undocumented and working,” said Christine Johnson, a legal permanent resident in San Miguel de Allende.

Undocumented Mexicans caught crossing the border into the U.S. are “sent back quickly,” said Francisco Sanchez, a San Miguel native who earns a living shining shoes in the town square.

Rather than face deportation Americans and other foreigners who don’t have documents are getting a chance to legalize their status under a temporary program.

The National Migration Institute webpage describes the program as “directed to all foreigners who have made Mexico their permanent residence, but because of diverse circumstances have not been able to regularize their stay in our country.”


“Foreigners go and complain to the immigration authorities, they kind of look at you and say ‘you know what they do to Mexicans in the U.S.,'” said Munoz.

Among the biggest differences: the issue of divided families.

“The minute a baby is born in Mexico, the parents can get the residence just to protect the family,” said Munoz.

U.S. citizens who violate Mexico’s immigration laws do face a penalty, usually a fine but most also get the opportunity fix the problem.

This year between Jan. 12 and Dec. 18, the Mexican government is allowing undocumented foreigners who come forward to “legalize” their status to do so without paying a fine.

The Morales family wishes they had the same opportunity in the U.S. “Our kids were born in the United States,” said Daisy Morales, a San Miguel native.

Morales was an undocumented worker living in Fort Worth when her children were born. She returned to Mexico voluntarily to try to get “a pardon” from the U.S. government so she can enter the country legally with her husband and their children.


The Abbreviated Presidency of Pascal Ortiz Rubio

6 February 2015

Yesterday was the anniversary of the start of Pascal Ortiz Rubio’s special presidential term (Alvaro Obregón had been elected on the first of July in 1928 to serve a six year term, slated to begin on the first of December. Unfortunately for him…. and perhaps for Mexico… he was assassinated on July 24 by a Catholic terrorist who either was unaware that Obregón had been working to end the Cristero Rebellion through negotiations, or more likely saw the Bishops’ and U.S. sponsored concessions to the secular state as a betrayal of the Church. PROBABLY…

And he was willing to look a bit silly from time to time.

And he was willing to look a bit silly from time to time.

As the Constitution required, Congress chose then Secretarío de Gobernación Emilio Portes Gil to serve as Interim President until new elections could be held, for a President to serve out the remainder of the 1 December 1928 – 30 November 1934 term. Portes Gil — who signed off on the agreements between the Vatican and the Mexican State that allowed the Church to resume religious activities (and destroyed whatever legitimacy the Cristeros had as a dissident force, leading to their complete disintegration by 1929) — served through the special election of November 1929, mostly working to prevent former Obregonista turned dissident José Vasconcelos from mounting a serious opposition to his own party’s candidate, then Ambassador to Brazil Pascal Ortiz Rubio.

Ortiz Rubio was duly inaugurated on 5 February 1930. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal at least up to getting the new President sworn in. Then, during the inaugural parade, he was shot in the face by another Catholic terrorist. Or so it appears.

Daniel Flores, who shot Ortiz Rubio seems to have been erased from Mexico History. Unlike Obregón’s assassin (or presumed assassin), José de León Toral, almost nothing is known of Flores, nor is his name even mentioned in most biographical writing about Ortiz Rubio. Toral, was a member of a known terrorist cell (run by Madre Conchita, the former mother superior, a sort of feminist Osama bin Ladin if you will); and Obregón was a seminal figure in 20th century Mexican history. It’s natural we remember Toral more than Flores, just as in the United States, the name Lee Harvey Oswald is better known than Leon Czolgosz or Charles Guiteau. Then too, given Obregón’s controversial role in Mexican political history, and the tendency to indulge in “what ifs” about his return to the Presidency, the Obregón assassination has spawned a cottage industry in alternative theories of the event that continue to interest the public.

Flores did stand trial, and the court record that he may not have been a “lone gunman” assassin. He’d traveled from Puebla specifically to kill the President (for rather vague religious reasons… supposedly to restore the Kingdom of Christ) in the company of a priest, and — before heading off to take a shot at Ortiz Rubio — stopped by the Basilica of Guadalupe to have his pistol blessed. The priests were never named in court, nor called to testify. Although the religious situation in Mexico had calmed down considerably by the end of Portes Gil’s interim presidency (in good part because of Portes Gil’s own commitment to ending official persecution of the clergy), there was still active persecution of the Church (usually on the state level, or by federal agents going off the reservation) which laymen felt obligated to avenge, and there were Catholic terrorists still active at the time. I suspect there was a cover-up… although it may have been for the relatively decent motive of wanting to forget the worst of the Cristero Rebellion slaughter and to move on… accepting this terrorist act as a “one off” by the otherwise tamed Catholic Church.

HOWEVER… while Ortiz Rubio suffered what today would be labeled post traumatic stress and never recovered. Supposedly, the President read in the paper that he was resigning for health reasons… which he did (4 September 1932)… though his health was good enough for him to live another thirty years.

While the unspoken reason for Ortiz Rubio’s “resignation” was that he had the termerity to cross ex-President Plutarco Elías Calles… not following the “suggestions” the behind-the-scenes ruler of Mexico through the Portes Gil administration. Although Calles apparently did not object to Portes Gil’s continuing Obregón’s negotiations with the Church that ameliorated the anti-clerical legislation of the Calles years, Ortiz Rubio was expected — by Calles — to simply hold fast against any softening of the hard line against the Church, and to simply keep the presidential chair occupied for a few years.

Ortiz Rubio — the first of the post-Revolutionary President who had not been part of the military  — was not sufficiently a hard-liner, and perhaps Calles just considered him a weakling because of that.  He continually allowed for official anti-clericalism to take a back seat to less militant, but perhaps more down-to-earth goals. The 1930s were particularly difficult for farmers, and relief, building dams, resevoirs and farm-to-market roads seemed more important than pushing teachers to fight the church. He also managed to push through bills abolishing the death penalty, a labor bill that strengthened the (previously merely theoretical) rights contained in the 1917 Constitution, and saw Mexico’s entry into the League of Nations, where it would become the leader of what would later be called the “non-aligned nations” movement.


We didn’t do it, and promise never to do it again

5 February 2015

The Peña Nieto administration has launched a strong legal offensive against a possible trial of Felipe Calderón by International Criminal Court, which has received numerous accusations of crimes against humanity arising from the previous administration-s prosecution of the U.S. sponsored “drug war”.

It is really a no-brainer: Peña Nieto’s government fears an extension of the investigation would look at the present administration as well, including the human rights violations at Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa. So presses the prosecutor in charge of the dossier and even brags to the amount of money donated to court.

According to Proceso, while there are differences in opinion over whether to defend the ex-President (obviously,

Fatou Bensouda... she who must be convinced

Fatou Bensouda… she who must be convinced

the present PRI administration would benefit in discrediting Calderón’s Party, PAN), the Peña Nieto government has actively attempted to prevent cases accepted by the Hague from going forward. In addition to lobbying the United Nations though continual references to Mexican support (financial and otherwise) of various human rights organizations, the administration has sent a team of lawyers from both the Foreign Secretariat and the PRG (Justice Department) to attempt to convince the International Court’s Chief Prosecutor, Gambian attorney Fatou Bensouda, to accept the previous government’s internal investigations, without looking at the allegations raised by the complainants.



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