Tag Archives: Moroleón

More thoughts on Safety and Security

Last week my husband’s nephew L. was kidnapped and tortured. He was taken from the street along with his mother’s moto and held just a few blocks from his aunt’s house. He was stabbed twice in the back and had his ear nearly cut off with a machete. He escaped after 3 days of torture, naked and handcuffed. He was picked up and taken to the hospital where he was stitched up. Three of the four sequestradores (kidnappers) were arrested according to police. His mother sent L. into hiding.  He has just turned 20.

Is this boy evil enough to be tortured?

Is this boy evil enough to be tortured?

Being the mother of a son, this incident awoke a deep-seated fear in me, albeit my son is only 12 and a good boy. But you see, when I met L.,he himself he was 12 and a good boy too. So as parents, my husband and I began rationalizing away our fears. L. must have done something to deserve this treatment. Therefore, it was karma, justice, etc. And as our son hasn’t done anything so bad that he would be kidnapped and tortured, he would be ok.

We had some rationale for our thoughts.  This isn’t the first time L. has been involved in a violent attack. A few years back, his liver was damaged during the 13-second initiation beating rite of Sur 13. (See On Safety and Security) Then his mother’s boyfriend did a stint in jail for possession not so very long ago. (See Failing at your own business–Taxi Service) Part of his gang membership obligations included selling pot. He also used pot to cope with the constant pain he still has from his injuries. Is that enough to deserve torture? It hardly seems so.

If it wasn’t hedid, perhaps it was who he was involved with. As a street pot distributor, he would know who brought the drugs into town. Three days after L. escaped, two suspected drug distributors were murdered in Moroleón, one of them a transito (traffic cop).

You won’t find much of this information in the local newspaper, although other newspapers in Guanajuato have picked up on some of the assassinations and have reported on them or rather reported the gory details after the bodies have been found. But as Moroleón is a small town, no matter how much it wants to believe it is a city, the information spreads, although in whispers now.

The story being told is that someone turned traitor against those who previously were in “charge” of Moroleón and have been given permission by los estados (State Police) to eliminate those still remaining with the understanding that future control will be given to this person. These bodies that are “found” are executions. No one is ever arrested. No one is brought to justice.

Aliada al cártel de Sinaloa, La Familia domina Guanajuato

Ejecutan a 5 personas en Moroleón

Una menor de 16 años entre los ejecutados en Moroleón

Balacera en Moroleón; al parecer hay cuatro muertos November

Lo ejecutan amarrado de pies y manos

Ejecución múltiple; hallan a cinco sin vida

Ejecutan a hombre en Moroleón

The body count has become so high, that the powers prohibited the local radio station to announce “fallecidos” for a time, which is how most friends and family members learn the day and time for the funeral and novena. (See La novena)  I expect their reasoning is, see no evil, speak no evil, and hear no evil.

So as parents of a pre-teen boy, we hope that the executions end soon. We increase our vigilance over our son, although he resents the restrictions. We look for talismans to hold out as wards against evil. Be home before dark. Come straight to where your dad is working from school. Don’t visit L. Bring your friends to our house rather than going to their houses. Will it be enough?


My son is not involved in gangs or drugs, but that wasn’t protection enough for the students in Iguala. And we already know that there is no justice to be found in México. (See On Life and Liberty) (See Justice for All) What more can we do?

Así fueron los últimos momentos de los estudiantes desaparecidos en México





Filed under Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms, Safety and Security

Getting Legal–Renewing our U.S. passports in México-DHL


As I mentioned in a prior post, passports are now sent via DHL rather than requiring a return trip to the consulate or embassy. (See Getting Legal–Renewing our U.S. passports in México–Trip 1) While on the surface, this may seem like a streamlined process, for us it required a bit of extra effort.

As we have no address in La Yacata we made arrangements with the local DHL office to have the passports sent to the office and they would call us to pick it up. At the beginning of September, I received a phone call from an apologetic worker that said if we did not pick up the package that contained my son’s passport before 1 p.m. that day, it would be returned to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. He explained that the package had been at the office for 30 days. I asked why no one had contacted us before now. Seems he had been on vacation and no one else thought to call. I assured him that we would be there pronto (soon). He reminded me that since the passport was for a minor, I would need to present not only my photo I.D. but my son’s U.S. birth certificate. I sent my husband with the documents immediately and all was well.

Only the parents or tutores (guardians) with valid official Mexican identification may pick up a package sent via DHL for a minor recipient. The parent or guardian also must present the minor’s original U.S. birth certificate along with a copy.

After I submitted a new passport photo in San Miguel de Allende (See Getting Legal–Renewing our U.S. passports in México–Trip 3), I waited a few weeks, then checked the website with the tracking number. I couldn’t figure out what the locations and shipment details meant, but thought it a good idea to go in person and check whether it had arrived. I was concerned it might be sent back and my passport would be seen no more and the process would need to be repeated–that’s how my luck tends to be anyway.

So during my lunch break towards the end of September, I headed to the office. In order to pick up the document, I would need to present a valid IFE (voter registration card), my passport or my driver’s license. Well, since I am a permanent resident, not a citizen, I am not eligible to vote and, therefore, have no IFE. (See Getting Legal–Residency at last) Then, since my passport had expired and the new passport was inside the package, I wouldn’t be able to present that as identification. Fortunately, I had made the special effort to get my moto license this summer, so I had valid Mexican identification. (See Getting Legal–License to drive) I am not sure why my Mexican Permanent Residency Card would not be acceptable for identification purposes, but it hasn’t been accepted in any place that I have tried to use it. Not at the bank, not at the driver’s license place, and not at DHL. What’ s the point in having gone through the effort of getting the card if it’s not considered valid I.D.?

If I wanted to send my husband for the package, since he does have a current IFE, he would need to present a carta poder simple (letter granting permission) signed by me, the person the package was addressed to, in addition to his own IFE, passport or driver’s license and a copy of my own IFE, passport or driver’s license. Seems simpler to go myself.

So I went to the office still with the uncertainty whether it had arrived and presented my tracking papers and I.D. My package had arrived and after a bit of searching, the clerk handed it over. You can not imagine my relief. I’m now good passport wise for 10 years, my son for 5.

Along with my passport where some brochures from the U.S. government. I was interested to note that I can now register with a STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) and the U.S. government can track my travels. No, thank you. I can now also register my minor child in the CPIAP (Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program) in the Department’s Passport Lookout System. Seems that if a minor registered by one or the other parent makes an application for a passport, the parent that did the registering would be contacted and informed of possible plans for international travel. Again, no thanks. The U.S. government also kindly provides daily updates on Facebook and Twitter for travel alerts and warnings. No thanks! And there is a free application for Apple devices (Smart Traveler) for your traveling pleasure. Not on your life! But thanks just the same for the information. Have a nice day!



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Mexican Independence Day

September is a particularly patriotic month for México.
It begins with the commemoration of the Niños Heroes (Boy Heroes) on September 13th. Our little school had “la mañanita Mexicana” on  the 13th (which is also the anniversary of the Congress of Chilpancingo or Anahuac when México declared itself independent from Spain in 1813) and in addition to the typical traditions, honored those cadets that died defending the flag at Mexico City’s Chapultepec Castle from invading U.S. forces in during the Mexican–American War in 1847.

In the call and response manner commonly found in the Catholic Church, each teenager’s name was read, and the attendees responded with “Murió por la patria.” (He died for our country.)
The Niños Héroes were:
Juan de la Barrera (age 19)
Juan Escutia (age 15–19)
Francisco Márquez (age 13)
Agustín Melgar (age 15–19)
Fernando Montes de Oca (age 15–19)
Vicente Suárez (age 14)
Each town does things a little differently. In Moroleón, in the afternoon on September 14, there is a caminata (mini-parade) of local horsemen from Moroleón to El Ojo del Agua Enmedio (where we go to get our water supply). This year, my husband participated with Beauty.

tail end of the caminata


My husband all ready for the caminata.

El Grito de Dolores (The Shout from Dolores–a small pueblito (town) where Hidalgo made his call to arms speech) on September 15th, marks the official beginning of the Independence day celebration at around 11 p.m. The church bells are rung and the presidente (mayor) of Moroleón recites El Grito (the shout) with attendees responding with “Viva” to indicate their support. independance day
¡Mexicanos! (Mexicans)
¡Vivan los héroes que nos dieron la patria y libertad!
(Long live the heroes that gave us our liberty)
¡Viva Hidalgo!
(Long live Hidalgo)
¡Viva Morelos!
(Long live Morelos)
¡Viva Josefa Ortíz de Dominguez!
(Long live Josefa)
¡Viva Allende!
(Long live Allende)
¡Viva Galena y los Bravos!
(Long live Galena and the Braves)
¡Viva Aldama y Matamoros!
(Long live Aldama and Matamoros)
¡Viva la Independencia Nacional!
(Long live national independence)
¡Viva México! ¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!
(Long live Mexico)

The church bells are rung again and the pyrotechnic show begins.


In Moroleón, there is a civic parade in the morning on September 16. The members of the presidencia (City Hall) lead the march with la reina de Moroleón (sort of like the homecoming queen) and her escort of charros (horsemen) finishing it off.


The horses, in my opinion, the best part, are at the very end so that marchers don’t have to swerve around poop piles. Most of the civil organizations of the town are represented, from the Down Syndrome club to those of the tercer edad (elderly). Students from the secondarias (high school) and tele-universities and their drum and bugle members also march. It makes for a long and tedious procession.


There is a second parade on either the 27th or 28th of the month to mark the day of the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire which happened September 28, 1821, 10 years after the historic “grito.” I’ve mentioned before, things here in México take much longer than anticipated, including the fight for independence. This parade is open to the primaria (elementary) schools in addition to those that participated in the first parade, therefore, an even longer and more tedious procession. Last year my son was chosen to be part of the escolta (honor guard) for his school. As Los Niños Heroes (see above) died defending the flag, in their honor the members of each school’s escolta (honor guard) are the best and brightest with the highest promedio (grade average). Needless to say, I was one proud mama cheering him on!


Each school has an escolta (honor guard) in the parade.

The kinders (kindergartens) also have a parade, but it is much shorter. It involves no more than 3 times around the plaza but even that is tiring for little legs.
kinder parade
The best part of the parades is the dousing with confetti. Parade marchers that are not honored with the confetti hasta los chonies (all the way to the underwear) experience are those without attentive family or friends in attendance. Bags can be bought for the low, low price of 5 pesos for 2 little bags. I imagine clean up is a drag for the street sweepers though. confetti

If you missed the patriotic events this month, don’t fret. You’ll get another chance in November with the commemoration of the Mexican Revolution!


If you are interested in learning more about the complicated events surrounding the Mexican fight for independence, you can start by watching Hidalgo La Historia Jamas Contada.



Do you want to learn more about Mexican history?cover holidays

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