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Very Strange Fruit in Puebla

27 January 2022

Trigger warning: this is gross!

Mexico has a macabre fascination (at least Mexfiles does) with the “Bebé Tadeo” story.

The initial reports… that a dead baby had been found in a dumpster at San Miguel prison in the state of Puebla were weird enough,without the added detail that there appeared to be knife wounds … leading to all kinds of dark speculation about “satanic cult sacrifices” and the kinds of weird stories you might find in an over-the-top low budget horror movie.

Maybe there is a slight truth to the “cult” rumors, but the story is much, much stranger. The “knife wounds” were quickly discovered to be the result of an autopsy and the first stories, that the body was a new born were not quite true. Given that the baby was about five months old, and had been autoposied (meaning there were records), it took a few days, but the body was identified as that of a Itzapalapa child who had died of a congential deformity several months previously.

And.. had been properly buried in Mexico City’s sprawling San Nicolas Tolentino cemetery. Which leads to another horror-movie trope… grave robbing. Something which, while it happens once in a great while, isn’t usually something that comes up in presidential statements very often, though this grave robbery certainly has everyone talking. And, of course, spinning. For AMLO, it’s just another example of the “rotten fruit” of out-of-control capitalism. Short of yet another horror movie scenario, involving some secret society of grave robbers, hard to imagine body snatching as either a charitable or public service trade. And… although the short life and death of Bebé Tadeo was a tragedy, the afterlife is racking up impressive statistics.

The State of Puebla has issued arrest warrants for 23 prison officials, with more charges expected soon… the case being a rationale for a complete overhaul of the prison system (or lack of any sort of system), while in Itzapalapa, all 448 cemetery employees are being questioned, and the alcadesa (elected president of the municipality) is promising to spend a half million US dollars for heat-seeking drones that will patrol the 100+ square hectare cemetery (the second largest in the country) at night. As well as providing police patrols.

And we still don’t know, and maybe never will, the answer to the most basic question… the answer to which we probably don’t want to know anyway. Why would anyone want a dead body in the first place?

Sources:

El País, “Drones para evitar otro saqueo de restos humanos en el cementerio de Iztapalapa” (26 January 2022)

Regeneracíon, “Ya son 21 detenidos por caso de bebé Tadeo en penal de Puebla” (25 January 2022)

Independent (Español), “Tadeo murió, su cuerpo fue robado de un cementerio y terminó en la basura de un penal en Puebla” (24 January 2022)

Jornada de Oriente, “Aprehenden a encargado y a 18 custodios del Cereso de Puebla” (25 January 2022)

El Financiero, “Caso del bebé Tadeo es por fruto podrido de la política neoliberal: AMLO” (24 January 2022)

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