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No Canadians were injured while writing this post

9 February 2007

A year ago a Canadian couple got their throats cut in Cancán, probably over something to do with their own affairs in Canada.  A couple of weeks ago, a 19 year old got hit by a car in Acapulco (though his family kept insisting it was some convoluted murder plot. Then another Canadian couple got hit by a car in Chapala (the biggest concentration of Canadians outside of Canada, btw). Then a lady from Niagara, Ontario got dinged in the foot by a riccocheting bullet (again in Acapulco).


The LATEST “grief in Mexico from the Great White North” story seems to lack legs… this one involves a guy who showed up in rural Oaxaca with his wife (or, as the Canadian papers are careful to say, “Common Law Wife”and seven kiddies) was squatting in a broken down schoolbus (just the thing to endear yourselves to the neighbors… even in rural Oaxaca… especially around tourist resorts) and has ended up in the slammer.


According to his supporters (a British Columbia-based radio evangalist and some guy named John Joseph Kennedy who claims he’s running for President of the United States), the fellow is expected to pay a $20,000 (dollar, but whether U.S. or Canadian, I can’t say) “bribe” to get out of prison. That’s their story, and they’re sticking to it. The reality seems to be the BC-hillbillies set themselves up as illegal contractors, cheated a British couple out of 200,000 pesos and… the guy got tossed in jail as a common, ordinary conman and crook. Mrs. Hillbilly and the little Hillbillies, having no visible means of support, and… if some stories are to be belieived, also renting themselves out by the hour, were deported as undesirable aliens.


The “bribe” the Rev. and the wannabe President are talking about is called RESTITUTION – he held himself out as a real estate agent and contractor, cheating the owners of the Casa Blanca Cafe and Bar in Hutalaco (an English couple with the all-too-delightful name of Kevin and Tess Hunneybell), out of a substantial sum of money… somewhere around, oh… 200,000 pesos, or $20,000.


I can see why the “poor Canadian in the clutches of the dirty Mescans” story only had a one-day life in the Canadian press. I’ve looked, but it died out.


Not that some Canadians are going to let a little thing like the facts interfere with their “demand” that their country do something about the alleged slaughter and miscellenous mahyem in Mexico. The Canadian government, to it’s credit, brushed them off.


“Harding”, who usually manages to find enough murder and mayhem just in Toronto to put out the hard–boiled (and, in a twisted way, very entertaining) “T.O. Crimes: True Crimes of the True North” (ok, so he’s also got a cannibal/serial killer from British Columbia to write about, but geeze, how could any crime writer resist that?) has been overlapping OUR geographic portion of the blogosphere. Ok, he can have the throat-cutting, since Canadians are suspected – though of course, they’re saying the Mexican hotel staff did it (obviously not a robbery, so why would they bother with a middle-aged couple from Woodbridge Ontario?).


The hit-n-run in Acapulco at least had some piquancy, but it sounds more like a family in need of serious grief counseling than anything else (isn’t social services the thing Canada is famous for?). In Ajijic you have to be a very good driver NOT to hit a Canadian. And, the foot-dinging was just one of those things that happens when gangsters are shooting at each other. Ok, maybe he can have that one too.


Harding” wrote today:

If you went to Mexico, you’re more likely NOT to get shot than you are to get shot. Chances are… you’ll make it back.

Hey, if you really want to play the odds… you don’t have to go to Mexico. Just hang out at Yonge and Dundas… or in Flemingdon Park.


None of which are anything like Tepito or Ciudad Nezahuacoatl, where you’re more likely to emerge alive than otherwise, but what the hey… I’ll bet you can’t buy a used coffin in Flemingdon Park, like a friend of mine claims she saw being sold in Tepito (you can buy ANYTHING in Tepito… that’s its charm). Or, if you could, they’d probably make you get all kinds of health certificates (why?) and a business license and sell in a building and post the building inspector’s report and…


Which is possibly the reason Canadians sometimes run into problems in Mexico. Canada, despite its large immigrant population is extremely homogenous (90% “white”, they have to use terms like “Irish” and “English” on their census reports. They wiped out most of their indigenous people in the 18th and 19th centuries) and depends on the government to make the social rules. They did have a very brief rebellion in the 1860s, but never broke with their colonial overlords, the British. They’re idea of a rebel is Michael J. Fox.


Mexico is a very mixed population, not particularly wealthy and tends to make up the rules as they go along – or relies on the extended family to enforce conformity. The indigenous-other population is the majority, and they never particularly cozzened to the idea of colonial rule. After a bloody ten year struggle, they were invaded three times by foreigners in the 19th century, occupied twice and had a spectacular social revolution in the 20th century. These are not the kind of folks who pay much attention to the authorities. Their idea of a rebel is Cantinflas. Or Fidel Castro (who lived in Pozo Rica for a time)… or Subcomandante Marcos… or…. you get the picture.


Canadians, for all their good qualities, sometimes can be awfully provincial. Two things to remember (besides the basic “don’t act like a dick”):


The local copper isn’t paid to serve and protect you. He’s paid by the authorities (who no one listens to when they don’t want to) to maintain control. Next time you have trouble go to to the Ministerio Publico. They’re better paid, and even if they’re sometimes a bit crude (I had two conversation students who used to work as federal prosecutors. It even weirded me out when they were talking about the uses of torture to expedite confessions… otherwise nice guys). The CSI type guys are as good as anywhere… and know it. Alas, they get a lot of practice.


Things move slowly. Canada is a rich country, but you guys have enough oil and minerals of your own. You don’t buy Mexico’s. The big country right next door, which buys most Mexican oil and minerals, and invaded a couple of times to maintain control over the stuff, might expect to get served first. Sorry, guys… the only aggressive Canadian Imperalist down here was Lord Cowdray, and he was only a Canadian when it was convenient.  Usually he was “British”. And Mexico tossed him out when they nationalized the oil. Afraid the Canadians will have to wait in line with the Swedes and the Argentines when your diplomats come knocking. Patience is a Mexican virtue, but then, living in a country where it can take months to get your telephone installed teaches you patience.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Factfile permalink
    10 February 2007 1:54 pm

    For the other side to the Peter Kimber story.

    Peter Kimber Mexico Prison


  2. rog permalink
    20 February 2007 11:23 pm

    I don’t believe the Kimber story has died out. Today it was on CTV National AM and it will be all over the World from the Associated Press within days. I believe that Mr. Kimber was not the most honest man but it appears that there is much more to the story? I guess time will tell?

  3. Robert Smith permalink
    5 March 2007 8:59 am

    Peter Kimber
    The guy is a violent career criminal.
    Lets stop the bleeding heart stuff and get on with fixing real problems like Darfur .

  4. Jason permalink
    15 April 2008 1:22 pm

    This story has been resurrected yet again (on CFUN 1410 am radio). And again, Kimber is portrayed as the victim of the evil Mexican judicial system. I gues they don’t do any research there before running a provocative anti-Mexican piece…

  5. 18 April 2010 10:28 pm

    “They’re” as you put it 90 %
    You just hit the 10% (me) that isn’t. I am not driven to glory by M.J Fox.
    I have read Marco’s and he is inspiring. Tone down your generalizations and you might hit that 10% of funny.
    Thanks for the reading


  1. Peter out… « The Mex Files
  2. Canadian press on Mexico: same shit, different day « The Mex Files

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