Category Archives: Safety and Security

The New Normal

Last month we had quite a few shootings in town. I’m sure there were more, but these are the ones I know about.

A teenager sitting on the curb in front of his house was gunned down not a block from my sister-in-law’s tortilleria. The guy who sells raw chicken whose stand is next to the woman that we buy our raw chicken from was shot 22 times. The chicken lady and the fried fish lady who had stalls on either side packed up their wares that day and haven’t returned.

We had a coordinated attack straight from a bad action film in town a block from where we had gone to buy our vegetables. We missed the action by 15 minutes. A car was set fire near the glorieta (roundabout) on the edge of town. A string of fireworks was set off in the mercado (market). Someone shot the employee of the shoe store on the corner. At the same time, several masked marauders ransacked the jewelry store in front of the presidencia (town hall). The military hummveed into town about an hour later. I have no idea why. The perpetrators were long gone.

Tuesday, the guys that ran the “auto paint shop” were shot. We drive past there every day on the way to town. Then the person running the “auto lavado” (car wash) next to Soriana was shot on Thursday. Both were obviously front businesses. The other shootings were reportedly all drug-related as well. Does that reassure me any? Hell no!

Our area is still in the midst of a turf war that began a while back. Guanajuato, being a center state, is considered an easier passage north than the mountains of Michoacan, although Michoacan has its own issues. 

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), under the leadership of El Mencho, el rey de metanfetamina (meth king), wants clear passage through the state which is currently held by the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, headed by José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez, el rey de huachicol (fuel theft king)

Last week, El Marro’s mother and sister were arrested but released because of “insufficient evidence.” Retaliations for the arrests include a few bombed cars and a bomb attempt at a PEMEX facility. Police tried to rearrest dear old mom a few days later. Three of the four officers attempting the arrest were shot and killed. Odds are the authorities are working with El Mencho to clear the area for takeover. It’s not going to well so far.

It’s enough to stretch already taut nerves to the breaking point. The local police and government are silent about the shootings in town. Their broadcasts focus on wearing a mask in public and using an antibacterial gel. Businesses have been given the green light to open up with precautions. We mustn’t let the economy collapse now, right?

Our personal strategy is to go to town as little as possible. We try to go to the grocery, carniceria, and fruteria stores as soon as they open in the morning. In and out, then back home. The idea, at least in my mind, is any shootings will occur a little later in the day, once the thugs rolled out of bed. This is the new normal in our area where masks and bullet-proof vests are suggested daily wear. 

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Mother’s Day in Mexico in the Time of Coronavirus

mother's day

In Mexico, Mother’s Day is a big ta-doo. There are early morning serenades, flowers, family gatherings, and in the event that a mother has passed on, trips to the cemetery. Moroleon has specifically forbidden these activities this year. 

That doesn’t mean some families didn’t carry on as usual anyway, though it was more clandestine. It’s not like there is any real way the prohibition can be enforced. 

Take for example the fact that the churches have been closed in town. At least one group has moved their services out here to La Yacata. So every Saturday evening we hear some chanting, singing, and even some trumpet blowing from the house at the corner. I think it might be an Episcopalian group. We practice social distancing and reroute our dog walk during services, so I can’t be sure. 

Since parties are a no-go in town, again, family gatherings, including Mother’s Day celebrations,  were moved to La Yacata. The dogs didn’t get their afternoon walk on Sunday because of all the roving children and drunk adults. 

Which brings me to another matter. Moroleon has enacted La Ley Seca (the dry law) which is in force usually only right before an election. All sales of alcohol were prohibited in town beginning May 8 until May 30. Yet, people still found a way to get enough alcohol to get liquored up. 

There is a potential shortage of alcohol looming because the beer manufacturers were declared non-essential and closed in April. The very determined, however, will be able to get pulque which the old women still make in nearby La Barranca. 

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Moroleon followed the prohibition of alcohol sales and serenades with another one-two punch. All non-essential businesses must close, including the textile factories, on May 11, until the end of the month. Without the textiles, well, Moroleon is in big trouble financially. 

These prohibition and closure dates are based on the premise that the peak contagion for COVID-19 will happen between May 5 and 11. Yet, now, the date has been changed with the latest figures to May 20 although social distancing requirements are supposed to be lifted on May 17 in most of the country and on May 30 for the rest of the states. 

What this means is anyone’s guess. For now, the number of confirmed cases and deaths is still rising in Mexico. Medical personnel is the highest at-risk population. In fact, 42% of the patients in the state of Nayarit are hospital workers, which is worrisome. The actual death toll in the epicenter Mexico City may be much higher than reported. 

And yet, there are still conspiracy theorists even in Mexico. One hospital was stormed by about 300 people in an apparent “rescue” attempt believing the virus to be a government plot to kill people. Medical personnel is still being attacked and murdered as the supposed harbingers of death rather than essential workers. 

With all these shenanigans, Mother’s Day in our home was a quiet affair, no different from any other day. We’ll stay home and ride out the pandemic one day at a time, however long that takes.

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Health, Mexican Holidays, Safety and Security

Prepare-athon 2020

Today, ironically enough, is National Prepareathon Day. Based on the state of the world recently, I would say that some further preparation is in order. Of course, that’s like closing the barn door after the horse gets out, or in this case COVID-19, but perhaps there’s still time to buckle down and get’er done. 

The US government even has a calendar to help you focus on one disaster at a time in your prepping efforts. April’s event is National Financial Capability Month. Now there’s another irony. Unemployment around the world caused by the COVID-19 quarantine is at never been seen high. 

I’m not a scientist or economist so I won’t get into the debate on what our lives will look like after COVID-19, but I’m betting that quite a number of people will be making drastic changes. Caution, self-reliance, and a revival in basic survival skills like gardening will most likely surge.

Of course, there are always those guys that are protesting the inability to get a haircut right now, because that’s a priority. Shagginess is always a precursor to civilization collapse, you know. I expect their lives won’t change much in the after-world.  

Here in Mexico, the government has said that social distancing will be in effect until the end of May. States vary on enforcement and quarantine activities. Some states have closed their borders, like Michoacan. While neighboring Guanajuato is doing business as usual. Experts predict the peak contagion here from May 2 to 8, but that date seems to change regularly.

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So since we’ll be hunkering down for a spell yet, I thought I’d offer A to Z Reasons Why La Yacata is the Place to Be in Any Disaster: A Prepper’s Guide to Mexico FREE for the next few days. Although the book covers serious topics like pandemics and economic collapse, it also discusses things like zombies, because what’s an end-of-the-world scenario without zombies? (Again, I am SO thankful COVID-19 isn’t a zombie producing virus). 

disaster cover

Anyway, it’s a lighter read than my newest contribution to the prepper non-fiction genre, A Woman’s Survival Guide to Disasters in Rural Mexico: A Framework for Empowered Living Through Crisis which was written with the challenges women face in Mexico in mind. 

Meanwhile, we’ll be keeping up social distancing on the ol’ Flores ranchito. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have a new book to release shortly. At the very least, I’m determined to get that 1500 piece puzzle done. 

 

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