Monday, January 11, 2010

South-of-the-border bloodshed

From the New York Daily News:
In a new incident of grisly drug war violence, a  man's face was skinned and stitched onto a soccer ball as a threat to members of Mexico's Juarez drug cartel.

Read more here.
I first read the story in the Vicad, and it put me in mind of one of the gorier Aztec gods – and the Aztec deities were a gory lot. Wikipedia has an OK write-up on Xipe Totec, the flayed one, who was honored with the skins of sacrificed humans. Aztec cosmology is horribly obsessed with violence, death, and cruelty. Small wonder that all their neighbors joined the Spaniards against the Aztecs, and large wonder that latter-day Mexicans have chosen the Aztecs as their historical ideal. They were mean bastards, pretty nigh a psychopathic culture. I've wondered if the Santa Muerte cult in Mexico might not resonate with some atavistic Aztec impulses.
And then, from the World's Worst Newspaper on Sunday:
The violence continued Friday in Juárez with at least 18 slayings -- and the brutality continued to be shocking.
One man was cut into pieces, another was decapitated, one was hanged, a man in a wheelchair was shot to death, and three women were killed.

Read all that story here if you have an appetite for that sort of thing.


Edith Ann said...

This is so awful, I don't know what to say.

I just don't.

Pilot said...

I never actually thought about what's going on down there in such a light, but after reading your piece and the links, it really does appear that the recipe for what is going on down there is about four parts greed, four parts Chicago Prohibition Era Gangland fear and intimidation, and two parts Aztec/Toltec/Mayan culture. I would say that the corruption south of the border has kept pace with corruption on our side, the difference being where our criminals have white collars and degrees in finance and technology, theirs are still using the "if it feels good, sell it to the gringos", and if anyone gets in our way skin 'em and send their heads to their family approach. A tale of two mutually adaptive cultures, as it were.
The part that pisses me off, is that I am now afraid to drive as I once would without a second thought, across the river and down to the mountains to show my kids what a beautiful place the Sierras are. So far, knock on wood, the Yucatan, other than Cancun, which is an American city anyway, seems to be reasonably unaffected by the strife up north.

Sugar Magnolia said...

Pilot - it makes me shudder to think of the crazy things my family and friends and I used to do years ago. We would fire up the ol' Ford Galaxie, leave H-Town early in the a.m. before the sun would even come up, and head South, stopping on the way in Victoria (which is the only way we knew about Victoria, just a pit stop on the way to Laredo) for breakfast. Then on to the border. We would usually stay in a hotel on the Laredo side for a few days, and walk across the border to Nuevo Laredo to do some shopping and bring back sombreros (some of which I FINALLY got rid of in my last garage sale - what were we thinking so long ago?), serapes, and wrought iron pieces. We considered it a great family vacation and get away for a cheap budget.

In the summer of 1980, my mother, her mother, and I decided to go it alone, so off we go in grandmother's Dodge, all the way to the border, and do the same thing. Two very pretty LADIES, mind you, with a 12-year old looking and dressing like she's eighteen, and yet somehow we felt safe and never thought anything of it. Maybe because we WERE safe, relatively speaking, as the times were so different than they are now.

In the late 80s, my ex-boyfriend and I would do the same thing, except we would stay in a hotel on the Nuevo Laredo side, and still felt there was nothing to worry about.

Would I do that now? HELL NO.

Anonymous said...

I inclination not approve on it. I over warm-hearted post. Especially the title attracted me to read the unscathed story.

The Loon said...

I've been around the border country for a good deal of my life, worked in Mexico, wasted a lot of my substance over there, and I'd be reluctant to make an ambling trip to most of the border towns that I know. Sad thing is that twelve or fourteen years ago, Cd. Juárez was optimistic and booming off maquila work. People came from all around the republic to find work there, and the city had a growing and prosperous middle class, some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. It is just a pity.