This is why we can’t have nice things, Mexico edition

From Duncan Tucker (‏@DuncanTucker), who tweets “Came across this road in San José del Castillo, Jalisco, yesterday. Urban planning at its finest.”

urban planningThe speed limit painted on the road right before the series of electrical poles is an especially nice touch!  Perhaps the municipal government doesn’t want people to hit the poles going anything more than 30 mph.


Anti-corruption maracas

The Guardian published an article yesterday titled “Mexico City mayor ridiculed over plan to fight sex crimes with plastic whistles.”  Mexico has a real problem with sexual assaults and a lot of them occur on public transportation every year.  The Mexico City government has dealt with the situation by running “a fleet of pink buses only for female passengers, along with women-only carriages on the subway system.”  It’s estimated that 94% of sex crimes are not reported, giving an idea of how much victims trust the system.


The whistle proposal has been roundly criticized.  Critics accuse the mayor of “patronizing women instead of tackling men’s boorish and criminal behavior.”  The response on social media has been especially humorous:




There, I fixed it (Acapulco Edition)

Amid the carnage that has made Acapulco the murder capital of the world, one enterprising police chief believes he has found the solution to tourism woes: a brigade of attractive young women between the ages of 18 and 28 that will now “assist tourists across busy roads, patrolling the beachfront and detaining criminals while the arresting authorities arrive.”

Here are my favorite parts of this unbelievably sexist program:

a. “The unit starts its day at 7am at the western end of the bay, where after half an hour of applying their mandatory make-up, complete with pre-approved shades of bright-pink lipstick, the brigade it inspected by the municipal force’s senior officers.

b. “‘But it’s not sexist’, he [the police chief] insists, ‘we have fat chicks too’.”

c. “‘We focused on their physical fitness training in the swimming pool’”, a sentence uttered by … you guessed it, the least PC Police chief ever.

Given all this, I was surprised that brigade members weren’t dressed like Hooters waitresses.  Here’s a photo of the daily inspection:




Baby don’t you go to Guerrero

The Economist reports that murder rates are rising again in Mexico.  Here’s their graph showing national averages since 1997 and an indication of where most of the new murders are coming from:


The violent state of Guerrero is driving much of this increase; “almost 40% of the recent rise is accounted for by gang-infested Guerrero.”  In this second graph, you can see why tourists (both from inside and outside of Mexico) are starting to rethink their idea of an Acapulco vacation:


I’ve always thought of New Orleans as being a relatively dangerous city (and it is), but Acapulco just blows it away.  While EPN promises a raft of new measures to combat problems with security, there is a long way to go.  The piece notes that “an astonishing 99% of all crimes are never punished”…[and that]…Mexico came 58th out of 59 countries in a global impunity index published recently by the University of the Americas in Puebla.” 

“A taco seller points to two spots on Acapulco’s beach where people have been shot dead in recent days.”  Hmm, when the taco vendor on the beach can point to where the recent murders happened, it’s time to find another beach.

The owner of our favorite Mexican restaurant in Norman is from Guerrero.  After a recent visit home, he said his family refers to the state as Iraq. Yep, definitely looking at Cancun.

Sad Quinceañera

Ah Mexico, so feckless but with people that have awesome senses of humor. One of my favorite things about living there (once I got a handle on the language), was the constant flow of jokes, puns, double-entendres flying everywhere.

Recently, folks were “celebrating” the fact that the US dollar had hit 15 pesos by imagining a dollar Quinceañera (though it’s now over 19 pesos to the dollar).




Others, however wish Mexican authorities would forget about stopping El Chapo and concentrate on arresting the dollar instead!







There is a class at the University of Kentucky called “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South.”  A syllabus typically includes a statement by the professor about what he or she hopes the students will learn in the class. In an interview, the Taco Literacy professor (Steven Alvarez) gives what might be the best all time class objective:

“At the very end of the course, my students will be generators of knowledge, have a portfolio full of multimedia food journalism, and they will be over the fajita stage of Mexican food.”

As for the books for the class, they look awesome too. Here is his description of the readings: “Our first book is Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food. Then we have the Tacopedia and Taco USA. Lastly, a book solely on tortillas called Tortillas: A Cultural History, because I try to break down to my students that a really good taco will always depend on the tortilla.”

Here is a link to the Taco Literacy website.  It is one of the most creative and fun class websites I’ve seen (granted, this is a low bar, but still…).  Each square is a click-able link to that day’s discussion. Some of my favorites are:  “The Tamale Trail of ….Mississippi,” “Sombreros and Mariachis,” and “Taco Literacy Around the Nation:  You’re famosos

You gotta love a syllabus that has this disclaimer all in caps!  “THOUGH TACOS ARE EXPLICITLY NAMED IN THE COURSE, THEY NEED NOT BE THE FOCUS FOR YOUR RESEARCH.”

I teach a class at OU called Mexican Economic Development.  While it has drawn a fair amount of students, imagine the number that would have enrolled had I taught Taconomics instead!

Stupid is stupid in any language

Wow, Mexico’s Ken-doll president, EPN sure knew exactly how to celebrate their third capture of pint-sized drug lord El Chapo:


Remind you of anyone?



Given that El Chapo has already “escaped” from prison twice, it’s hard for me to see what mission has been accomplished in Mexico. If the mission was to arrest him, it’s been “accomplished” 3 times now. If the mission is to have him serve a long prison term, vamos a ver.

I really would have thought that the Shrub made this phrase toxic to all politicians, but clearly not.



I don’t think this is what they mean when they say signaling is costly!

Ah, Harvard. The holy grail for Mexican politicians. From 1982 – 20012  4 out of 5 Presidents went to Harvard (de la Madrid, Salinas, Fox, and Calderon). The 5th, Zedillo, slummed it down at Yale. It says something about the parlous state of Mexican politics that current president EPN got his degree from ITAM in Mexico city.

So when Ivan Garza ran for mayor of Monterrey , a big part of his campaign was that he had the intellectual chops to have attended prestigious universities, Harvard chief among them.

He actually campaigned in a Harvard “varsity” jacket:


Would it surprise any of you to learn that Garza’s total exposure to Harvard consisted of a 4 day course on executive leadership? In effect, Garza paid $9,500 for his sweet jacket.

I am happy to report that Sr. Garza lost the election, to Adrian de la Garza of the PRI who earned his degree at the autonomous university of Nuevo Leon.



MIE: ’cause you can’t bribe a camera edition

When Robin and I lived in Mexico City, dealing with cops basically just meant giving them money. Now in the new Mexico they have traffic cameras (just like Fairfax VA and Norman OK), and I guess they are harder to bribe as a company is selling “Phantom Plate”, a spray they claim causes cameras to not get a clean foto de tus placas.

The mayor of Chilangolandia, Miggy Angel is both threatening consequences for users of the product and claiming that the product doesn’t work. At least some things don’t ever change.

People, how great is it that traffic cameras in the D.F are called “fotomultas”? Mexican Spanish is just the best.

Orale, pues.

hat tip to @rafafc91