Skip to content

The rules have changed

1 September 2018

Is that an axolotl in your pocket, or are you glad to see me?

29 August 2018

It must be non-mammalian vertebrate day here at Mex Files. In addition to the news on the rescue of various reptiles and fish, wishes for the speedy recovery of a caracara, comes the first glimpse of the new 50 peso bill… honoring Xochimilco and everyone’s favorite evolutionary link, Ambystoma mexicanum, the real life “Far Side” cartoon animal.


Slithery crimes

29 August 2018

It’s unfair to compare criminals to reptiles, considering the reptiles have been the victims of late.

At the Tijuana airport, a sharp-eyed passenger alerted authorities that a package marked “turtles” was not… as labeled painted turtles (legal to export, but illegal in several countries where they have become an invasive species) but iguanas.

173 Mexico City police officers were deployed in a raid on the Emiliano Carranza market in Mexico City in search of contraband reptiles.  They rescued 23 crocodiles, 74 turtles, 33 iguanas, and a python.  Also 20 pejelargartos… which are a fish, though they look like a crocodile (hence the name… “lizard-fish”) and wouldn’t seem to make all that great a pet.  They are, however, also the nickname for Andres Manuel López Obrador, who, like the pejelargarto, is native to Tabasco.  I have the sense they weren’t being sold for pets. The crocs were malnourished, and are now being fattened up for return to the wild. No report on the fate of the freed fish… certainly they’d be a minority taste, but this is usually what happens to them:

In less finny-scaly news, a caracara (Mexican eagle) was hit by a government car in rural Jalisco, but has been sent to an Aguascalientes animal rehab center, where the wildlife biologist responsible for the bird’s treatment, has said the prognosis is for a full recovery.

Little did he know

21 August 2018

“That border, we can say today, is not a wall that divides us,

   but a bridge of friendship which unites us.”


Richard M. Nixon, Puerto Vallarta, 20 August 1970

The occasion was Nixon’s meeting with Diaz Ordaz to announce an agreement on a resolution ending border disputes and establish procedures to prevent further disputes.



Why don’t you do it in the road?

18 August 2018

Declaring “love is not punished in Guadalajara”, the municipal administration of that city has amended article 14 of its “Good Government and Policing” regulations to decriminalize public sex. While it’s true that people sometimes get …uh… carried away in public places (perfectly understandable in a country where single adults often live in family units without a lot of privacy, and people don’t always have the money to get a room) public sex is not so much a social problem as it is an avenue for police corruption. That is, officers looking to supplement their income haunting the usual places (the “lovers’ lanes”, the hook-up spots, the cruising locales), threatening to arrest the “offenders” and shaking them down for cash.

As long as no one is complaining… make love, not a scene.

(El Financiero)

The solar grannies

15 August 2018

Norma Guerra Ramos really lit up the town when she showed up recently in Tres Marías Paso del Tigre, Oaxaca. The small Tehunatepec mountain town has never had electricity. That is, until Norma… a 52 year olf fisherwoman and housewife with a grade school education, traveled by canoe, horseback and on foot to the isolated community from her coastal home to install solar panels for every home and the village school.

Norma, and a handful of other woman, are graduates of the Barefoot University, an Indian based project that teaches rural woman the practical skills needed to install electrical systems and water pumps in under-served, and isolated communities. The “solar grannies” (abuelas solares) were trained as “solar engineers” back in 2014, mostly expecting to work in their own communities, but, as they are discovering, their skills are needed throughout rural Mexico.
That Tres Marías never had electricity never crossed anyone’s mind (that is, officially). People got along somehow (like every did until the last century) and no one seemed to particularly notice. That is, until a would-be charity showed up after last year’s earthquake, intending to assist with whatever reconstruction and relief projects might be required. The Tres Maríans had survived the quake without too much disruption, but …. uh… no, you can’t plug in your cell phones. Sorry. Oh, and the charity workers were told, if you want to plug in that power drill, the nearest outlet is an hour and half away. Hope you have a really long extension cord.

So… it appeared what Tres Marías really needed was some lights and maybe a way to plug in a cell phone now and again. With Norma supervising, the ten houses and village school have their won “off-the-grid” systems, an outlet or two for telephones (one woman in the village is pregnant, and they’d like to be able to call a midwife if they need to), kids can do their homework after dark and it’s possible to cook without spending half the day gathering firewood.

A feel-good story that shouldn’t be. Tres Marías is on the Isthmus of Tehunatepec, one of the major electrical producing centers in the Americas. It’s one of the best places on earth to site wind-power generators, and foreign investors, especially Spanish firms, have been falling over themselves (and riding roughshod over local land-owner’s rights) to install windmills. For industrial electrical users. Power to the people? For that, don’t look to corporations. Look for a solar granny.

(La Jornada)

On the bench…

14 August 2018

Colonia Tabacalera (Fidel lived in the neighborhood, Che was working as a stringer for an Argentinian wire service when they met in Mexico City).