Entertainment

Chuy Bravo Dies in Mexico City Just One Week After His 63rd Birthday

Chuy Bravo, made famous on Chelsea Handler’s late-night talk show, Chelsea Lately, has died at 63 years old. Bravo, born Jesús Melgoza, had just celebrated his 63rd birthday last week, on December 7, and reportedly died suddenly late Saturday night in Mexico City. Bravo was in the nation’s capital visiting family when he suddenly experienced enough stomach pain to land him in the hospital, where he shortly after died.

Chuy Bravo was the first Latino sidekick on a late-night cable television show. While Bravo was best known as Chelsea Handler’s “little nugget,” Bravo’s life experiences were enough for two people. Bravo was born with dwarfism in Mexico, and would later immigrate to the United States, fall victim to the family disease of alcoholism, overcome near-homelessness, prostate cancer and get sober, and become a famous comedian.

A week to the day before Bravo’s death, Chelsea Handler paid tribute to his life on his birthday, Dec. 7.

CREDIT: @CHELSEAHANDLER / INSTAGRAM

“Happy Birthday to my OG Nugget @chuybravo,” Handler captioned the above photo, adding, “I love this picture because–not only does it look like Chuy just launched out of my peekachu, I look like a member of ZZ Top. Happy birthday Chuy, and thank you for 8 years of heavy petting.”

Bravo landed his role on Chelsea Handler’s show after he heard that they were casting for a little person. “I thought, ‘why not?’,” he told Latina, saying that the two “hit it off right away.” When Bravo first rolled up to the studio for filming, Handler saw him in his beat-up car and said, “Oh no Chuy. You can’t be driving around in this,'” he recalled to Latina. “She took me to the dealer and bought me a new car. She didn’t have to do that and it inspired me to also give back.”

Bravo gave back in a big way by creating The Little Nugget Foundation to help alcoholics in his Mexican hometown.

CREDIT: @CHUYBRAVO / INSTAGRAM

Bravo was born in Tangancicuaro, Michoacán, Mexico on Dec. 7, 1956, as the youngest of seven children. He immigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old, and settled in the San Fernando Valley outside Los Angeles, graduating from Sylmar High School. He went on to appear in films like “The Honeymooners” (2005) and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007), which all helped him land his breakthrough role as a co-star on Chelsea Lately from 2007 to 2014.

Still, before the fame, Bravo nearly became homeless. He told Latina that he thinks his alcoholism was sparked when he “was young and trying to follow a crowd. At the time, it was what my friends were doing so I was just trying to keep up. It ended up catching up with me in the long run.” Bravo used his experience, strength and hope to launch The Little Nugget Foundation to offer a rehab center for alcoholics seeking recovery in his hometown, Tangancicuaro. “I know all of the problems they are going through because I lived through them,” Bravo related to the outlet. “The government and the drug lords don’t help the situation either. Places like these need our help. I visit the foundation often and bring them food, clothes – whatever they need. I try to help in any way that I can,” he added.

Family, friends, and fans are pouring out their condolences.

CREDIT: @CHELSEAHANDLER / INSTAGRAM

“I loved this nugget in a big way, and I took great pleasure in how many people loved him as much as I did and do,” Handler shared to Instagram hours after the news broke. “@chuybravo gave us so much laughter and I’ll never forget the sound of his laughter coming from his office into mine. Or his “business calls” with his “business manager,” or his shoe rack with all his children-sized shoes. I’ll never forget him coming to Christmas with my family one year in the Florida keys, and when my niece who was 5 or 6 at the time—saw him, she ran in the other direction saying she was scared. My sister and I were mortified and were apologizing to Chuy, who told us, “it’s ok, lots of little kids get scared when they see big kids coming their way.” I love you, Chuy!”

Many of Bravo’s friends are in shock to hear of his sudden death. “Wow I can’t believe this. We just spoke on the phone the other day. I’m heartbroken. Wish I got to see you again. Rest In Peace buddy,” commented one friend on Instagram. Bravo himself told Latina during a 2012 interview, “I have been through a lot in my life, but I’ve overcome my struggles and now I’m finally living my life.” Rest in peace, Chuy Bravo. You will be missed.

READ: Dayum! Vicente Fox Dragged Donald Trump On Chelsea And It Was Savage

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A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Culture

A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Jon G. Fuller / VW PICS / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It is important to be a responsible tourist. This means following rules, acting responsibly, and not violating sacred places. That is something one tourist learned the hard way when she climbed the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá.

Here’s the video of a tourist running down the steps of the Pyramid of Kukulkán.

The Pyramid of Kukulkán is one of the most iconic examples of Pre-Hispanic architecture and culture in Mesoamerica. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. In 2017, more than 2 million visitors descended on the site.

Of course, #LadyKukulkan started to trend on Twitter.

You know that Twitter was ready to start calling out this woman for her actions. According to Yucatán Expat Life Magazine, the woman was there to honor her husband’s dying wish. The woman, identified as a tourist from Tijuana, wanted to spread her husband’s ashes on the top of the pyramid, which it seems that she did.

The video was a moment for Mexican Twitter.

Not only was she arrested by security when she descended, but the crowd was also clearly against her. Like, what was she even thinking? It isn’t like the pyramid is crawling with tourists all over it. She was the only person climbing the pyramid, which is federally owned and cared for.

The story is already sparking ideas for other people when they die.

“Me: (to my parents) Have you read about #ladykukulkan?
My Dad: Yes! (to my mom) When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the National Palace so they call you “Lady Palace,” sounds better, no?” wrote @hania_jh on Twitter.

READ: Mexico’s Version Of Burning Man Became A COVID-19 Super-Spreader Event Thanks To U.S. Tourists

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These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

Things That Matter

These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP via Getty Images

Despite a slight change in strategy in combatting the country’s endemic violence, Mexico continues to see a staggering degree of violence plaguing communities. Although the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, promised sweeping changes that would help pacify the country – violence has continues to spiral out of control, reaching record levels in 2020.

No where is this more evident than in the communities that have lost dozens or even hundreds of loved ones. Many of these communities have formed search brigades to help try and find their loved ones (or their remains) but they’re also getting creative with the ways in which they work to remember those they’ve lost.

A search brigade publishes a recipe book containing their loved ones’ favorite foods.

A group of women who came together to help locate the remains of their loved ones, have worked together on a new project to help remember their loved ones. Together, they have created Recipes to Remember, a book of favourite dishes of some of the missing. Each dish has the name of the person it was made for and the date they disappeared. It was the idea of Zahara Gómez Lucini, a Spanish-Argentine photographer who has documented the group since 2016.

The women are known as the Rasteadoras, and they’ve literally been digging to uncover graves of Mexico’s missing. Now, they’re finding ways to help remember those who have gone missing. The book is a way to strengthen the community and as one of the mothers told The Financial Times, “the book is a tool for building ties.”

“This recipe book is very important because it’s an exercise in collective memory and that’s very necessary,” says Enrique Olvera, the chef and restaurateur behind Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York and a sponsor of the book. “It enables the Rastreadoras to connect with the memory of their loved ones through food and brings us, the readers, closer … It weaves empathy,” he told the Financial Times.

Many of these women came to know each other as they searched for their missing loved ones.

The women – who are mostly housewives in their 40s and 50s – literally scour the nearby grasslands, deserts, and jungles with shovels in hands hoping to make a discovery.

Their “treasures” are among the more than 82,000 people recorded as having disappeared and not been located in Mexico since 2006, when the government declared a war on drug cartels, unleashing terrible, seemingly unstoppable violence. Notwithstanding Covid-19, 2020 may prove to have been the deadliest year on record. As of November there had been 31,871 murders, compared with a record 34,648 in 2019.

Their stories of loss are heartbreaking.

One of the mothers, Jessica Higuera Torres, speaks of her son Jesús Javier López Higuera, who disappeared in 2018, in the present tense. For the book, she prepared a soup with pork rind because “he loves it — when I was cooking, I felt as though he was by my side.”

On the other hand, Esther Preciado no longer cooks chile ribs, her recipe for her daughter’s father, Vladimir Castro Flores, who has been missing since 2013. “That one’s just for the memories now,” she says.

“You get addicted to searching,” she adds. The 120 or so Rastreadoras have found 68 people, but only about a quarter of those are their missing loved ones. She acknowledges many victims may have got into trouble because they sold or used drugs; others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mexico’s missing person problem continues to plague the country.

Since taking office in 2018, the government of President López Obrador has stepped up efforts to locate missing people and identify bodies. It says the number of reported disappearances for 2020 was trending down. But the government acknowledged in November that in 2019, a record 8,804 people had been reported missing and not been found.

According to official data, Mexico has counted 4,092 clandestine graves and exhumed 6,900 bodies since 2006. Sinaloa is notorious as the home of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, once Mexico’s most powerful drug baron, now locked up in a maximum-security jail in the U.S. The city of Los Mochis, where the Rastreadoras are based, is currently in the grip of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, known as El Chapo Isidro.

The Rastreadoras acknowledge that they’re on their own, turning to the authorities for help is not an option. As shown in the mass disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014, which rocked the country, municipal police have a terrible reputation for being infiltrated by cartels. “They won’t help us — they’re the same ones who are involved,” scoffs Reyna Rodríguez Peñuelas, whose son, Eduardo González Rodríguez, disappeared in 2016.

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