Tag Archives: Ayotzinapa

Surviving a Kakistocracy in La Yacata

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Kakistocracy occurs when the least qualified are in positions of power. That definition certainly fits Mexico to a T.

The whole mismanagement of funds and the lack of services in La Yacata can be followed back to having the least qualified person in charge for more than 20 years. (See Birth of the Revolution) La Yacata is just a small not-quite village, but how high does this bad governing go, really?

Let’s look at the highly publicized case of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School who disappeared in 2014 as an example of the ineptitude. To make this long story shorter, here’s a brief summary of the facts known to date.  On September 26 of that year, 6 innocent bystanders were killed, 25 were wounded and 43 protesting students were abducted by local police in Iguala, Guerrero, which is about 80 miles south of Mexico City. (See also El Dia del Estudiante) Various elements of human rights violations were perpetrated in this incident. Starting at the bottom rung, local police were guilty of homicide and attempted homicide in the initial confrontation. Then once the students were detained, they were turned over to the crime syndicate Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) by local police enforcement who then murdered every single one. Talk about a breach in due process there!

On September 28, 22 local police officers were arrested for their participation in the abduction and murder of the students and bystanders. But this was more than a local rogue police force. On September 30, a warrant was issued for the arrest of the Iguala mayor and his wife as well as the Director of Public Security, all of whom fled. The mayor and his wife were able to evade arrest until November 4. The Director of Public Security is still at large.

The ensuing protests in Mexico had a domino effect on the government structure. On October 23, the Governor of Guerrero resigned once it became clear that he had actively protected corrupt officials and possibly contributed to a cover-up of the events that transpired on Sept 26.

The PRD political party founder and senior leader resigned on November 25.  PRD is the dominant political party in Guerrero.

The Mexican Attorney General had received prior information about the cartel ties of the Iguala mayor and did not act on that information and is currently under investigation. He resigned his post on February 27, 2015.

Further investigation has shown that the Mexican Armed Forces were also present on September 26 and did nothing to aid the unarmed students or bystanders. In fact, the Army tried to run interference by preventing wounded students from receiving medical attention at the local clinic. The current Supreme Commander of the Mexican Armed Forces is the current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. The President also holds the right to appoint the Attorney General.

Thus, kakistocracy is evident all the way to the top level of government in Mexico. But it doesn’t stop there. Several experts have traced the hierarchy of power to the U.S. And as long as the U.S. is pulling the strings, Mexico will continue to be a kakistocracy. (See La Llorona Returns)

So how does all this make La Yacata the perfect place to live in the event of kakistocracy? Well, once the colonos (community members) became fed up with the local kakistocracy, we staged a coup, albeit a legal one and elected a new governing body. Although we have yet to succeed in uniting the community enough to really benefit ourselves, we have prevented the continued exploitation by the same corrupt representative. (See You can lead a horse to water, sewage, and electricity)  Therefore, we are all ready for the coming revolution!

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Filed under Carnival posts, Politics, Safety and Security

La Llorona Returns

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There have been a rash of horror movies made recently, even an animated cartoon, about the legend of La Llorona (The Weeping Woman). It seems a bit tawdry that this Mexican myth has been regulated to the same genre as The Nightmare on Elm Street and other such slasher movies.

As with any story, there are several versions of this legend. In one version, La Llorona roams the streets weeping for her children who have accidently drowned in the canals. In another version, the children of La Llorona are murdered by their father. In yet another version, La Llorona drowns her children herself in a fit of insanity when the father of the children, a Spaniard, abandoned the family and married another.

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Most experts agree that the basis for the legend most likely comes from the goddess Cihuacoatl of Aztec mythology. She was one of several goddesses of motherhood and fertility and the mother of Mixcoatl.  Myth states that she abandoned her son at a crossroads, but often returned there searching for her lost son.

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La Llorona, Cihuacoatl, or perhaps another aspect of the goddess in the form of Coatlicue, was reported to have appeared prior to the conquest of Tenochtitlan by Hernan Cortes. The Florentine Codex record her words as “Ay mis hijos! Ya se acerca la hora de irnos. Ay mis hijos! ¿a dónde os llevaré? (Oh, my children! It is nearly time to leave. Oh, my children! Where will I bring you?)

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Some believe that La Llorona was actually La Malinche. La Malinche, whose given name was Malinalli, then Marina once baptized, served as interpreter and advisor to Hernan Cortes. She did have two children. Martin was the son of Cortes. Maria was the daughter of Juan Jaramillo. There is no evidence that Malinalli murdered her children. On the contrary, her children were forcibly taken from her when both men abandoned Malinalli to marry titled Spanish women.

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The legend of La Llorona reappears in the 1700’s. In the colonial version, a young indigenous girl is abandoned by her Spanish lover. In a fit of insanity, she drowns her children. When she recovers her senses and realizes what she has done, she drowns herself. She appears before the gates of Heaven where she is asked the whereabouts of her children. She is denied entrance and sent back to Earth to search for them, condemned to spend eternity trapped between the living and spirit world.

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Some versions of the legend claim that La Llorona kidnaps children out at late at night and drowns them. She is said to appear in the late evenings near the rivers and lakes of Mexico City. Hearing the cry of La Llorona is said to be an omen of death.

The name most often given to La Llorona in most versions of the legend is Maria, which is fitting. Maria (Mary) had a son who was forcibly taken, tortured and executed by the state. (John 19) And Maria, in the form of the La Virgen de Guadalupe, is the embodiment of Mexico.

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Today, La Llorona’s cry is heard again in Mexico. One year ago, September 26, 2014, Mexico, in a fit of insanity, murdered her children of Ayotzinapa. How long will she weep, searching for her children?

Ah mis hijos!

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Filed under Death and all its trappings, Mexican Cultural Stories, Safety and Security

May Holidays in Mexico–El Dia del Estudiante–Students’ Day

In Mexico, it is more dangerous to be a student than a drug trafficker.

In Mexico, it is more dangerous to be a student than a drug trafficker.

El Dia del Estudiante (Students’ Day) commemorates the violent beating of students by police in a protest march in 1929 at the National University in Mexico City (UNAM). The protest was over political involvement at the University and the day has been kept as a reminder of the educational freedoms fought for over the years.

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Tlatelolco massacre 1968

Violent student repression did not end in 1929 in Mexico. The Tlatelolco massacre occurred on October 2, 1968, in Mexico City, 10 days before the opening of the 1968 Summer Olympics. It remains unknown how many students and civilians were murdered by military police. Official reports and eyewitness accounts cite anywhere from 30 to 300 deaths with more than 1,300 arrested, many of whom were never heard from again. In light of events in 2014, this holiday has come to the forefront nationally in Mexico. In case you live under a bushel basket or only believe what the news reports, here’s why.

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The teacher daily set up 43 empty desks in memory of the missing students of Ayotzinapa. The sign behind him reads “I can’t teach class, I’m missing 43.  I hope that tomorrow, I’m not missing you.”

A group of students from Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College arrived in Iguala, Guerrero for a protest march.  A group of university students from Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa traveled to the small town of Iguala, Guerrero for an organized protest march on September 26, 2014. This particular school has a history of social activism, including protest marches, road closures, demonstrations, and rallies. These public manifestations are designed to draw attention to the difficult living situation and lack of educational opportunities the people in Guerrero have.

Police officers aggressively confronted the protesting students as they arrived in Iguala. In the shooting that followed, 6 people were killed and 25 wounded.

Forty-three students were taken to the police station in Iguala, then to the police station in Cocula. Once in Cocula, they were transported to the town of Pueblo Viejo and turned over to the local members of Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors), a gang involved in drug trafficking. The students have not been heard from again.

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In memory of Alexander Mora Venancio

At the insistence of desperate parents, the matter was investigated. Searchers discovered a mass grave near Iguala on October 5, 2014. Later, four more mass graves were found in the area. On December 6, 2014, the body of one student was positively identified through DNA samples. Forty-two families still wait for information about their sons.

At least 80 people have been arrested. More than half of those detained were police officers. The mayor of Iguala and his wife have also been arrested. Investigators discovered that the mayor’s wife is related to the leader of the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors). However, she was released from police custody due to lack of evidence.

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During the Mexican Revolution of 1910, one of its principle leaders, Emiliano Zapata, declared that “If there is no justice for the people, there should be no peace for the government.” With this motto in mind, families, teachers, fellow students and friends have joined together in nationwide protest marches and demonstrations demanding justice for the missing students of Ayotzinapa.

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The President of the Mexican Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, has instructed the Mexican people to return to their homes and forget about this incident. He warned that continued demonstrations would be stopped with military force. As a result, each protest march since the disappearances has been met with violent police opposition. Despite this, the Mexican people continue demanding radical governmental reform, one protest at a time.

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Profesor Claudio Castillo Peña, asesinado por el estado Mexicano. Professor Claudio Castillo Peña was murdered during a protest march by Mexican federal troops.

So much for educational freedom in Mexico.

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Mexican saying which translates as “They wanted to bury us, but they had forgotten we were seeds.” Original artwork by Clau Guzes

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de los Trabajadores, Conmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201, El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del Albañil, La Batalla de Puebla, Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo, El Dia de la Madre, El Jueves de la Ascensión, Pascua de Pentecostés, El Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

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Learn more about holidays in Mexico!

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Filed under Death and all its trappings, Education, Mexican Holidays