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Marijuana and Walmart: too bad, so sad…

15 February 2020

If the investment prospects aren’t as rosy in Mexico as some might have hoped, the blame (or… maybe the credit) goes to the new administration’s policies favoring the poor and disadvantaged.

According to Reuters, “Walmart, Mexico’s biggest retailer, reported on Thursday its slowest revenue growth in three quarters, with its core supermarket chain hit by competition after the government altered a welfare spending programme.”

Walmart’s problem is their “Bodega” stores (with a slightly larger selection of goods than a convenience store, but limited selections) now have to compete with the mom-n-pop aborrotes, traditional markets, and even independent farmers selling off the backs of their trucks.  Entitlement payments formerly were doled out through various social service agencies, or were through something like EBT cards in the US, limiting the user to stores that could afford the higher costs of maintaining phone lines and computer equipment.

It seemed counterintuitive for the new government to budget more for social payments (and expand payments for groups like students and indigenous people), but by cutting out the “middle men” and eliminating overlapping programs, not to mention the frauds associated with programs that enrolled clients who never existed (especially for things like day care centers, that just padded their rolls with ghosts), there was more money to spend… and more spending money for consumers.  The benefit checks go directly to the recipient to spend however they want.  Food assistance is most likely to be spent on food… one assumes, though just putting money into circulation isn’t a bad thing.

At any rate, as far as Walmart is concerned, how dare the poor consumer have consumer choice!  How dare small Mexican government put money in the hands of Mexicans who are going to buy from Mexicans and invest what little they make in Mexico, rather than repatriate profits back to Walmart headquarters.  Will no one think of the Walton family?

And… Motley Fool, the investment website… writes that while marijuana legalization is a done deal (or will be by the end of April), despite Mexico’s large marijuana industry, its not likely to be the investment opportunity foreigners had hoped.  Again, blame those durn lefties.  Although the Supreme Court ruling that mandated creating a legal market was based on the rights of users, the government’s rationale for simply accepting the ruling was that the growers themselves… generally small subsistence farmers… need a cash crop — a legal cash crop that is — beyond corn and beans.

When it comes to export crops, small farmers have not been able to compete, and, despite what one may think after watching a show like “Narcos”, the major foreign suoplers are not running secret giant plantations (although there have been a few), but are buying from independent growers and sharecroppers,  Those growers and sharecroppers, no longer harassed by the government, still need to make a living.  If foreign companies come into the trade, the fear is they would turn to giant marijuana plantations, driving out small farmers and simply creating a rural proletariat, rather than peasants… that is, underpaid and exploited workers, rather than farmers with some control over their land and over crop sales.

The upshot being that the big ag corps (and big marijuana investors) are not going to get what they want… but then, the only difference between them and the cartels has always just been where they are located.

To dub or not to dub… aye, there’s the rub

30 January 2020

Morena Senator Martí Batres has introduced a bill that would require all foreign films shown in Mexico to be available in dubbed versions…. in Spanish and in whatever the most widely spoken indigenous language in the local community.

The proposed changes to the Federal Cinematography Law would specify that movies originally in a language other than Spanish MUST be shown in the same number of theater viewing rooms as those in the orginal language, and that at least one version dubbed into the local indigenous language had to be presented during the days when the film was being aired.

While this might seem a progressive measure, there are warnings that with all foreign films dubbed in Spanish, while in creates more jobs for voice-over actors, it also puts domestic Mexican films at a disadvantage, with viewers finding the better financed (and marketed) foreign.. i.e. Hollywood … films more accessible. And, there are artistic concerns, the original language and actor’s voices considered integral to the work.

(El Economista)

“You mean they eat those horrible things?”

30 January 2020

Yes, Miss Peebles (the lady who looked like Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1964 John Huston film, “Night of the Iguana”), iguanas are eaten.  Bearing that in mind, courtesy of Brenda Marty-Jimenez, of the Broward County Florida Extension Service . . .

Iguana Hominy Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium iguanas
  • *5 cups of hominy
  • 10 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 slice of cabbage, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Cilantro, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

* Hominy is a food produced from dried maize (corn in the U.S.) kernels that have been treated with an  alkali.

Directions:

  1. Skin, wash and cut the iguana into small pieces.
  2. Wash, salt and **blanch in boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes in a large pot.
  3. Simmer the hominy/corn, garlic, onion, a bay leaf, and salt together in a large pot.
  4. After 10 minutes, add the iguana meat. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until fully cooked.
  5. Serve with sliced cabbage, onion slices, cilantro, oregano, and pepper to taste.

 ** Blanching is a cooking process where a food is scalded in boiling water, removed after a brief, timed interval, and finally plunged into iced water or placed under cold running water to halt the cooking process. Other benefits of blanching include removing pesticide residues and decreasing microbial load.

Reference: Recipe adapted from G. Martinez Campos.

Iguana Tacos/Burritos

 For people who aren’t accustomed to cooking iguana, it is suggested that an easier route may be to make iguana tacos or burritos.

Ingredients:

  • Iguana meat (cooked and cut into small pieces)
  • Onion
  • Chives
  • Avocado
  • Lime
  • Chili-lime seasoning
  • Curry or taco seasoning
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Whole wheat tortillas or taco shells

Directions:

  1. Wash the iguana meat thoroughly after removing the skin, organs and entrails, so that just the meat and cartilage remain.
  2. Put the iguana meat in boiling water. Add onions to the water for flavor.
  3. Let cook for at least an hour or longer, until tender.
  4. Remove the tender meat from the cartilage. Cut into small pieces, separating the white and dark meats, then season with whichever type of seasoning you enjoy in tacos/burritos.
  5. Season the white meat with chili-lime seasoning, curry or any other type of taco-type spice.
  6. Chop onions and chives, avocado, limes and other desired toppings.
  7. Mix the onions and chives in with the meat. Then, sauté the mixture on medium-high heat until it is soft.
  8. Place the meat in the center of a flour tortilla with avocado, sour cream, salsa and other toppings.
  9. Wrap and enjoy.

 

¡Buen provecho!

And justice for all?

27 January 2020

Although foreign media reports like to focus on minor things like an airplane raffle … or problems with US bound migrants overwhelming a border station… the real changes in Mexico are being under-reported (or not reported at all).  Consider the justice system.  The first round of changes… moving from an interrogatory system (in which the judge, after a long leisurely lunch, might of might not get around to reading statements taken from the accused, the witnesses and the prosecutor, and then… a few weeks later… drafting a verdict, and … eventually, handing it down) to a more adversarial one (with the defense and prosecution facing off in front of judges) was a major change in itself.  More importantly, and rather radically, last year, the Fiscal General (the Federal Attorney General) was separated from the cabinet, and made an “autonomous” department (controlling its own budget and functioning), with a Fiscal General appointed by the Senate for a nine-year term, overlapping the President’s and the Senate’s six years… in other words, while not completely free of political pressure, given a lot more room to prosecute political figures before or after their terms expire.

And now… to the nitty-gritty.  Congress and the administration is looking at a new federal code,   Federal judges will be approved by the Senate (as in the United States, meaning politics is still involved), but the independent Fiscal will have the say on where the judges sit, and … like the Fiscal, will have nine year terms.  Although most of us never expect to be before a judge, there are proposed changes in the law even foreigners should be aware of.

Pre-trial detention is likely to disappear except for major crimes. Or not.  The administration wants to maintain the present system, where one can be jailed until an investigation is complete, although the proposals call for an arrested person to be taken before a judge with 48 hours.  Pre-trial detention for major crimes, under the proposals, will be limited to 40 days, although it could be extended for a second time.

Under the present system, a person accused of a crime could be held while investigating possible co-conspirators or people who may have committed a crime related to the first crime.  This, too, is supposed to be abolished.

Injunctive relief from extradition will be severely limited as will injunctions preventing freezing assets related to criminal activities.

Unless one is a drug dealer, or bribing officials (or taking bribes from officials), that probably shouldn’t worry too many foreigners although a change in the laws regarding civil crimes will… civil crimes being things like not picking up your dog poop, shoplifting, dine-and-dash, leaving your trash out on the street corner, DUI, etc.  Where there was a choice of a civil fine or a few hours cooling one’s heels in el Toreo, the changes call for “community service” work… so pick up your own dog poop, or spend eight hours picking up dog poop.

AND… a change in tax law being offered:  income EARNED in Mexico would be subject to Mexican taxation.  I don’t think it’s a big deal (I once did a job where I was paid in Canada for work in the United States, and other than fill out the two tax forms and deducing the foreign tax from my US taxes, it only meant about two minutes unpaid work one April evening).  BUT… I can see those “digital nomads” and “Chinese English teachers” coming in for a nasty surprise come next year’s tax season.

sources:

EME EQUES

Jornada

 

The Importance of Being Anglo: “American Dirt”

26 January 2020

I’ve speculated that this website, and my books, might have had a wider audience, or been better reviewed, had my name ended in a vowel, and not a consonant.  But they don’t, and I can’t … like Jeanine Cummins … claim — apparently on the semi-relevant fact that one of her grandparents was born in Puerto Rico — any particular ethnic ties to Latin America.  

It itself, that is not an impediment to writing ABOUT Latin America… in general, or about any specific country or region.  Or shouldn’t be:  assuming one is familiar with the region, and knows their limitations. Much of the criticism of “American Dirt” has to do with the “white lens” (as writer and designer Joaquín Ramón Herrera put it in an important essay) though which Cummins novel was apparently written, edited, and marketed.

In my modest career as a publisher and editor, we handled books in English, for English language readers about Mexico.  The assumption was our books might not entirely remove the white lens, but that they would at least bridge the gap between the assumptions and stereotypes presented by the mainstream press and media a little more clearly.  There was never that the authors were Mexicans (although we tried a few translations).  I handled three novels written by Anglos (both authors being long term Mexican residents) with Mexican characters.  Two were historical novels, which made it easier.  One had an Anglo protagonist, and we’d expect him to interact with the other characters in the novel through is white lens.  Editing was mostly a matter of rooting out neologisms, and errors in historical fact (we drove the author to distraction over minor details, forcing him to revise s paragraph mentioning a woman carrying a food tray… the tray itself made of material not available in rural Mexico in 1911).

The second… well… I did the best I could and haven’t heard any complaints so far.  The third featured a North American raised Mexican private eye, living in my own neighborhood and searching for a North American.  Whether or not the Mexican characters are “right” though, I can’t say.  Nor, whether I completely “got” the protagonist’s own “el norte lens” right, although I did outsource readings to Mexican Americans (and… the protagonist being trans*, to a trans* editor to ensure the medical and psychological details were within the realm of possibility).

The publishing venture was Quixotic, if anything, but besides losing more money than I could afford, it was also impossible to find manuscripts that said anything you couldn’t find north of the border, said by north of the border observers.  And, being a Mexican publisher of English language books meant Mexican writers in English, or in translation, had a much larger market available to them north of the border.  But then, most of the English language Latino writers have another bias… an “el norte lens” if you will.

But then, those novels and essays from El Norte DO deal with a Latin experience in an English speaking majority culture, or with the migrant experience, and are to be read through an El Norte lens.  Although the Latin press in the United States does once in a while let slip though some basic error (as a historian, I still am annoyed with an otherwise fascinating novel about 17th century Mexico that mentioned bougainvilleas,,, about a century before Bouganville was born and 175 years before the plant was introduced in Mexico).

I suppose a minor editorial slip in a historical novel is to be expected but “American Dirt” is supposed to be a contemporary novel, with a Mexican protagonist.  However sincere the author was and whatever her claims to having done her research might be, the editors did nothing to stop the howlers noted in Mariam Gurba’s joyously snarky review of the novel’s mangled Spanish and Spanglish, not to mention various archaic references to a Mexico of thirty or forty years ago. DId anyone, even someone reading through an el norte lens look at the manuscript?   Ms. Gurba rightly wonders why, when so many good Latin writers are pining for a decent contract with a major publisher, my question is much more basic:  didn’t they hire a Latin reader or editor?

That said, and giving Cummins a bigger benefit of the doubt than she probably deserves, assuming she honestly thought she had the background and knowledge to write her yarn, “American Dirt” raises some uncomfortable issues for any of us writing in and about Mexico.  I troll more than I comment on several social media sites for writers in Mexico.  Most of the participants are writing (kindle) murder mysteries, set in whatever tourist community they happen to live in.  Or, “How I Moved To Mexico” books… subjects I may not be particularly interested in reading, but which could be very well written for all I know.  What I found intriguing is the support and enthusiasm for “American Dirt”.

Cynically, I think some see a market for stories of Mexican mayhem seen through a white lens blurrily… and fully expect announcement of “thrilling” trauma porn novels (on kindle at 2.99 this week only!) appearing within a few weeks on my social media accounts. I’m a little less cynical about those who say they want to read the book (and plan to buy it) before deciding whether or not it’s “authentic”.  Or… more troubling… think because Oprah recommended it, it has to be worthwhile.  It seems they miss the point of the critics… that a “white lens writer”, no matter how “sincere” or how thrilling the tale, is going to get it wrong, and not create a Latin protagonist without a deep understanding of the country and its culture.

I stick to writing history and just observations of what is happening now.  First off, dead people cannot correct any motives on what they did or didn’t do, and secondly, while I might be able to say people do such and such in Mexico, or an individual or group holds this or that position, and even point to the likely historical basis for a position (or the modern rationale for it), but that’s about it.  Certainly, one can write about the lives of people not like themselves

Hell, Tolstoy wrote well about peasants, Paul Scott about Anglo-Indians, Marguerite Yourcenar about Roman nobility… to mention a few of my favorite authors), so it’s not impossible to create characters and situations outside our own experience, but what what was actually said and thought by peasants, by Anglo-Indians, by Roman nobles, or by Mexican migrants should have the ring of truth, no matter whose lenses we are wearing.

The ghost of Buchot

19 January 2020

Today marks the 93rd anniversary of the death of the ex-Empress Carlota, after 60 years confined to Buchot Castle. Although called a “castle”, her asylum was nothing more than a large house in suburban Brussels, but then too, her earlier claim to be Empress of Mexico was also meant to give illusory glamour to mundane and often rather shabby reality.

Although Bertita Harding’s 1934 novel, “Phantom Crown, the 1939 Paul Muni and Bette Davis vehicle “Juarez” and similar works have presented a tragic tale of royal intrigue and romance, the whole story is … if not sordid… simply sad. Her father, being one of those spare royals floating around after the fall of Napoleon, was created “King of the Belgians” for the simple reason that the European elites carved out a country from what had been France, and that it needed a monarch. Leopold of Saxe-Coberg, the chosen candidate among the cadre of spare royals floating around took advantage of his position (and what monarch doesn’t?) less creating a fairy-tale kingdom than in getting down to the real work of furthering the family business. Mergers and acquisitions among European royalty being as much a matter of family connections as anything, marrying off his daughter Marie Charlotte Amélie Augustine Victoire Clémentine Léopoldine to the Maximilian, second in line to the Austrian-Hungarian throne in 1857

(Wedding photo 1857)

Leopold, being a king and all, had the wherewithal to gamble magnificently. Given the instability of the Austrian_Hungarian throne (it had been created in 1848 after revolutions throughout Europe led to the demise of the old Holy Roman Empire… which, as its own Prime Minister had said, was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire”). there was a decent chance that Maximilian would become king of some wealthy territory, or… perhaps, he’d outlive his brother, assuming Franz-Joseph didn’t manage to — as he did the next year — father a male heir.

The 25-year-old Maximilian (Carlota was 17) is always described as “idealistic”… more or less meaning “not particularly suited to kinging”. Not really wanting him around the Austrian throne, he’d originally been palmed off on the Brazilian monarchy, engaged to Princess Maria-Amelia (who was not in the line of succession, and, for that matter, never was born in Portugal and never went anywhere near Brazil). But, Maria Amelia died during the engagement, which maybe should have been seen as a premonition that the guy was unlucky.

It’s not that Max was stupid particularly… he spoke four or five languages and had been broadly educated in several fields, showing some real interest in natural science, though expressed more in his hobby of butterfly collecting than in any rigorous research, just that he really didn’t seem to grasp the nuances of running a government. He showed some talent in naval affairs, and was put in command of the Austrian Navy, showing he wasn’t an incompetent and made viceroy of Trieste… , still second in line to the throne, the Austrians though it might not hurt to give Mex some experience at governance. A stint as Viceroy of Lombardy came to a quick end as the Lombards, being neither Austrian nor Hungarian saw annexation into the new Kingdom of Italy much more to their liking. Off then, to Trieste, another rump Italian province of the Empire, where Max and his bride did their best to market themselves a benign patron of art and culture… starting with building themselves an impressive palace. Which would presage their Mexican adventure, building a royal residence, no expense spared, and no thought given to the cost (Apparently, well-educated as he was, Max never learned to keep accounts), and for all intents and purposes, being the one thing royals should never be… financially embarrassed.

Carlota, still known as Marie Charlotte Amélie, etc., came into her own, proving herself her father’s daughter, someone who knew how to gamble and ruthless when it came to feathering the family nest. With Mexico in the throes of a civil war between conservatives and reformers, the United States tied up with its civil war, and France looking for both overseas financial opportunities (not just Mexican mineral resources, but access to US … or Confederate if it came to that… cotton) the idea of both settling the Mexican situation with an outside and .. theoretically neutral… monarch did have some appeal within conservative Mexican (mostly exile) circles. It also appealed to the Pope, seeking to undo the reformist changes that had not just separated church and state but had nationalized church properties as well.

Napoleon III, the inventor of “Latin America” (he rationalized that having a majority Catholic culture, and speaking a Romance language entitled the non-English parts of the Western Hemisphere the countries were “entitled” to the “protection” of the most powerful cultural Catholic, Romance language-speaking nation of the time) and Leopold, back in Belgium, both saw creating an American throne for Max as to their advantage. So, for that matter, did Franz-Joseph, giving him an honorable way of getting rid of his not-ready-for-Austria-Hungary-throne-time brother. If Mas, the idealist, was ready to sign up immediately, his wife was not just Leopold’s daughter, but had been an able student of the canny Belgian king. She read the contracts carefully, corresponded with her father about various financial and military arrangements, and otherwise trying to convince her husband that if they expected to be Emperor and Empress of Mexico, they needed to learn something about Mexico.

Max, having visited Brazil in the course of his naval career, figured he already had the information he needed. He’d picked up permission to marry his intended bride there, after all. He’d also picked up syphilis, which may have something to do with his increasingly erratic behavior. That, or possibly the mercury treatment then used to treat syphilis. Or, he started drinking heavily… as biographer Joan Haslip surmises. Despite Max’s naval background, it was Carlota … as she now styled herself, in preparation for her role as Empress of a Spanish-speaking nation… who concerned herself with the number of French troops that would be provided, the duration of their intervention, their payment and how much control the French would have over the Mexican Imperial government (and its treasury). She left Max the task of defining imperial court protocols (right down the color of socks to be worn by footmen when serving the imperial couple, as opposed to those footmen serving mere aristocrats… and how various aristocrats were to be addressed), and other equally pressing matters.

Max, throwing a temper tantrum at the last minute (that, of as Haslip details, an apparent breakdown following a long binge) delayed the couple’s departure, giving a little more time to Carlota to consider what would come next.

Whatever she thought might happen, and whatever it was she prepared for… nothing went right. Their landing, meant to be an imperial procession went terribly awry when Admiral Max… in command of the lighter bringing them into Veracruz… ended up not at the landing dock, but in an ad hoc French military cemetery on the beach. The impressive Imperial Carriage got stuck in the mud on the highway between Veracruz and Mexico City, forcing the couple to flag down a passing mail coach (ironically and conspicuously bearing the legend “Republica de México”) to complete their imperial procession. And so it went…

While defenders of the imperial adventure often point to the scientific and archeological research Maximilian fostered to justify his three-year reign, it might be argued that the Reformist government was equally interested in the latest in European intellectual trends, and would have welcomed the new thinking had they not been hampered by having to fight the interventionists. And, any claim that Maximilian was fostering intellectual thought was undermined by his decision (or perhaps that of Mexican General Bazaine) to close those hotbeds of both dissent and innovation, the universities.

Francois Achille Bazaine, French military commander in Mexico.

Maximilian may have been the one signing repressive decrees, but it was, according to Bazaine, Carlota who was holding things together. She, the French General, would later write, was the intelligent one, and the Empire might have had a chance, had the cold-blooded Carlota, not the dithering Maximilian, ruled the country. Which, they never really did despite Bazaine’s best efforts… other than the main highways and some of the major cities, it was the Reforma forces of Benito Juarez who always had the “hearts and minds” of the masses.

The dithering included not producing an heir. Getting into the imperial couple’s heads that they were not at all popular, they concluded that what Mexico needed was a Mexican born, “legitimate” male heir. But, whatever was going on in the imperial bedchamber, or not going on, Carlota could not get pregnant. Haslip suggested alcoholic impotence, but then, syphilis can also cause sterility, and it’s entirely likely that unless Maximilian was completely impotent (the later claims by various individuals to have been the Emperor’s illegitimate sons have always been easily dismissed) Carlota may have also been infected, and might account for her mental illness. On the other hand, C.M. Mayo has suggested that Carlota’s psychic break came about as a result of the understandable paranoia that any monarch’s wife would have if unable to produce her one and only real function… barren queens throughout European history having been quietly assassinated, locked away in convents, or… at the very least… divorced under one or another pretext. As it was, Carlota, then in her early 20s, already was looking at least 10 to fifteen years older in her photographs.

About 14 months into the Empire, Carlota looked closer to 40 than to 20

With the Empire, such as it was, hanging by a thread, Maximilian basically useless, and Carlota unwell, the expedient of buying an heir… the grandson of the one-year Emperor Agustín Iturbide (the wannabe Napoleon of Mexico) was one more good idea badly executed by the regime. Especially considering they bought the child from his aunt, and his parents were living. And the child had U.S. citizenship through his American-born mother. Coupled with the Emperor’s welcome to U.S. rebels, the defeated Confederates, as allies in his realm (conveniently forgetting the “liberal” sentiments Maximilian had cultivated, he held out the possibility of permitting the reintroduction of slavery in Mexico), the United States government began openly supporting the Reforma forces, and leaking intelligence from the Imperial government (the imperial embassy in Washington’s mail and telegrams were intercepted and turned over to Juarez’ agents).

The French, not only facing growing opposition at home to the Mexican adventure, were tired of subsidizing the forces for which Maximilian and Carlota were supposed to be paying… and might have, had they not blown the national budget on another castle. On top of which, Prussia was expanding its power within Europe, becoming an imminent threat to France, which could always go back to buying cotton from the United States, and had other sources for the minerals it hoped to export from Mexico.

Facing an immanent French withdrawal, the “Mexicanization” of the imperial army about as likely to succeed as “Vietnamization” would work when the United States attempted to withdraw from a later attempt to impose a tame regime on a fractious foreign state. the bald attempt to win over the public with a “native-born” royal heir a spectacular bust, and the imperial court a shabby collection of adventurers (like Prince Salm-Salm, a competent officer, who after having been thrown out of a few German armies found his niche as a medical officer in the Union Army, but moved to Mexico in search of new military adventures), rogues (like the court chaplain, a defrocked Lutheran pastor passing himself off as a Jesuit priest), and shady aristocrats like Countess Paula Kollonitz (whose memoirs detail her difficulties in finding decent coffee), Carota simply forgot about the heir and headed for France to shame Napoleon III into keeping his troops in Mexico.

Napoleon was shameless. Not even receiving Carlota, and already physically and mentally exhausted (and convinced Napoleon would simply dispose of her the old head fashioned way… assassination), she headed for Rome and her final psychic break. Unwelcome by other aristocrats, she was forced to move into a hotel, and … fearing assassination was living on chicken, bought live in the markets to be slaughtered and cooked in her rooms. Not something that endeared her to hotel keepers, who thinking the unthinkable for 19th-century people, had the temerity to try evicting her. Off to see the Pope… where things finally reached a head when she grabbed his Holiness’ morning hot chocolate out of his hands and simply refused to leave.

Whatever was going on (and I’m still convinced it was spirochetes whirling around her brain), she would never recover. The legend is that she was the only woman to spent the night in the Vatican apartments, although the Pope himself spent the night in the Vatican telegraph office, trying to get the Belgian royal family to come and take her off his hands.

Royals, being royal, don’t simply drop everything for a family emergency. It took a few days for her brother to arrive, and whisk her off to an Italian castle for observation by the finest alienists of Vienna (Sigmund Freud was only seven years old at the time, but already Viennese doctors were the go-to guys for mental illness). One reason I suspect she had tertiary syphilis is that there never was an official diagnosis on what ailed Carlota, and a sexually transmitted disease among the royals would have been too shameful, especially when protocol demanded she still be acknowledged as a reining Empress, a step about a mere Queen. Whatever the cause, at 26 she was hopelessly insane, was confined to Buchot Castle. Never told that Maximilian had been executed, nor that, being legally incompetent, her brother, Leopold II, had poured her personal funds into his Belgian Congo Company, financing a genocide beyond anything she could comprehend, she managed to outlive everyone connected to her sad story: Juarez, Bazaine, Franz-Joseph, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire itself (along with the Brazilian and Portuguese monarchies), Leopold II, Napoleon III, Pope Pius IX…

Rarely lucid, even more rarely seen in public, she spent the greater part of the next 60 years in her bedroom, playing with dolls, the end coming 19 January 1927.

Got Euros?

15 January 2020

Mexfiles has argued for years (and was glad it was a goal fo the AMLO presidential campaign) that the country needed to expand its trade to countries other than the US. Via Mexican radio and a couple European blogs:

Uncertainly in Mexico-US trade relations has opened the door to more European Union investments.
According to the Ministry of Economy, as of the third quarter of 2019, 43% of all Foreign Direct Investmentin Mexico came from Europe, this is the highest level of the decade. On the contrary, US capitals accounted for 45%, down from 61 percent a decade ago.

 

Luis Calderón Guerra/Secretaría de Economía

Mexico is considered one of the 10 strategic EU partners in the world.
In 2017, the EU exported 38,000 million euros in goods to Mexico and 10,000 million euros in services, while Mexico exported 24,000 million euros in goods and 5,000 million euros in services to EU countries, according to official EU data .
The EU invested 13,250 million euros annually in Mexico in 2017, being its second largest investor behind the United States, while Mexico invested 4,755 million euros in the EU countries.
In addition, in Mexico there are 28,000 companies with European capital, which generate thousands of jobs.