It might sound like a shady scam, but starting this December, all a Mexican citizen will need to enter Canada is an email address, a passport, and a credit card. Well, you’ll need what’s called an Electronic Travel Authorization, but that can be purchased for $7 Canadian with a valid credit card.
The announcement for the visa workaround came last June, when Canadian Prime Minister, and political dreamboat, Justin Trudeau met with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Canada’s conservatives have expressed concern over this policy change, however, the percentage of Mexican’s seeking asylum in the country has dropped from 25 percent to less than 1 percent in the last four years. Trudeau’s party has kept the line of dialog open with Mexico over the years, and when the two leaders met this last June, Trudeau had this to say, “Canada and Mexico are more than just friends. We are partners. And it’s what we share as partners and friends that I’d like to celebrate.” Say what you want about EPN, it’s nice to hear a little love between countries right now.
And let’s not forget that time Justin Trudeau and EPN went jogging together.
We love it when someone is going about their day and suddenly become ephemeral celebrities thanks to a photographer who was there in the right place at the right time. Such is the case of a Mexican mariachi who was immortalized while he was walking amidst a snowstorm in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Latin American musicians, mainly Mexicans and Peruvian folk singers, have migrated all around the world and make a living showcasing the cultural richness of their countries. They often have to survive for years as street performers, but many of them have found a way to build a musical career from scratch. It is common to see mariachis and Andean musicians in squares and plazas all around the world, particularly in Western European cities such as Madrid and Paris.
So this is the photograph that made its rounds in social media and turned this mariachi into an online celebrity.
Just look at him, super regal walking as if he was strolling down the streets of Durango or San Miguel de Allende. There is a mythical quality to the photo. The way that he is carrying his guitar case reminds us of Antonio Banderas in Desperado. His gaze, serenely looking at the snow-covered floor, is reminiscent of old Westerns. But above all his white and red mariachi suit makes a perfect contrast with the environment. The onlookers on the background also give this great image a bit of drama. We just want to print and frame it, eh!
The image reminds us of the work of great photographers of the seemingly mundane such as Henri Cartier-Bresson or the Mexican great Manuel Alvarez Bravo. The photo was captured by photographer Cameron Frazier during a shooting to promote the 17th anniversary of this mysterious mariachi’s band… Yes, we know you want to find out who he is and we are keeping you en suspenso!
But who is this mysterious mariachi?!
When the photograph became viral due to its mythical quality, the question was who on Earth was this amazing musician. Well, his name is Alex Alegria and he has Oaxacan heritage. He has a mariachi band called Los Dorados and he has been living in Canada for 23 years. He has employed non Mexicans in his mariachi band, showing that music is universal and that when there is passion involved it doesn’t matter where you are from. Everyone owns music, right?
Alex arrived in Canada when he was only 20 years old as an international student. But he decided to stay and has made the Pacific coastal town of Vancouver his home. He plays with his band twice a week in two restaurants. He discovered his passion for mariachi music when he became a street performer, as Mexico Desconocido found out. He used to work in a factory and was at risk of depression, but Mexico’s most famous musical genre helped him regain his passion for life and improve his mental health. His band is made up of 12 musicians, only three of which are Mexican. The rest come from Canada, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine and China.
Such a diverse group! We love it! They have played in various consulates and embassies in the United States and Canada. And the white and red colors on the mariachi suit? You guessed it: they are an homage to the Canadian flag. This is a great example of the wonders that can happen when multiculturalism is promoted and celebrated, as is the case with Canada and its inclusive migration policies from which a lot of Global North countries could learn.
You might not be aware, but there are professional mariachis all around the world.
In the United States one only has to Google “mariachi near me” to find multiple listings. European cities are the same: mariachis are constantly sought after to play at parties, embassy events and all sorts of social gatherings. Even as far as Australia there are Mexicam musicians who have migrated and made a living out of singing classic tunes like “El Rey” and “La Puerta Negra.”
As Hector Patricio, founder of Fiesta Viva in Sydney, explains: “Traditional mariachi is a type of music that is strong, loud, and represents us as Mexicans. It is joyful and sad at the same time. People in Australia love it. 80% of my bookings are made by white Australians. We work with the best talent agencies. Mariachi music brings happiness and sadness together. We even play at funerals. We migrate to work hard, we always find a way to make things happen. Us Mexican migrants are constantly tested and we have to make it happen through hard work and dedication.”
There’s no need to deny that the United States government is in complete disarray. Aren’t you fascinated by the impeachment hearings? The discussion about whether or not President Donald Trump committed a crime has completely engulfed social media and pop culture. There’s no way anyone could ever lessen the seriousness that is going on right now in Washington D.C. Despite the impeachment hearings, President Trump made a trip to the U.K. for a NATO summit and things turned against Trump when a hot mic incident caught what most world leaders think about him.
While President Trump is dealing with NATO business in the U.K., his foreign colleagues couldn’t help but take a couple of jabs at him.
The moment came while the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were all gathered at the Buckingham Palace. It sounds like already an opening of a joke, but the cameras did, in fact, capture the world leaders discussing Trump. While they didn’t name the president by name, at least Trudeau acknowledged the moment later.
The incomplete convo went something like this:
Johnson asked Macron, “Is that why you were late?”
Trudeau jumps in to say, “…It was like a 40-minute press conference. Yeah, yeah, yeah! Forty minutes.” And then adds, “I just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor.”
It doesn’t seem like the moment is all that scandalous but rather a “Real Housewives”-type of affair in which one group talks about someone else without their knowledge.
As many on social media point out, this is not the first time Trump has had convo mishaps with foreign leaders. We know there’s already tension, and they don’t necessarily like Trump. So when Trump goes across the pond, you know some funny shit is about to go down.
Trump was asked about the video footage in which the group discussed him. Trump called Trudeau “two-faced.” A term he has used to describe him in the past.
“I find him to be a very nice guy, but you know the truth is that I called him out over the fact that he’s not paying 2 percent and I can see he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said today at a news conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Reuters reports. He later said, “That was funny when I said the guy’s two-faced.” Okay, Trump. Maybe he just wants to get in on the funny conversation.
Trudeau also commented about his use of words and said his remarks were in reference to finding out the G7 Summit would take place at Camp David in the U.S.
“Last night, I made a reference to the fact there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump, I was happy to take part in it but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau told reporters, according to Reuters. He added, “We were all surprised and I think pleased to learn that the next G7 will be at Camp David, I think that was an unscheduled announcement and… I think every different leader has teams who every now and then their jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video itself for example.”
Whatever the comments were in reference too, we know Trump is feeling already a bit vulnerable about Trudeau’s presence, especially when you consider their history.
The moment in which Trudeau and First Lady Melania Trump embraced in a “hello” kiss went viral, and for good reason. Just look at Trump’s sad look.
There was also another moment that evening in which Trump got some nasty shade, but this time it was by at least two members of the Royal family.
CNBC reports all of these NATO leaders were on hand to “celebrate the 70th anniversary of the alliance and met the British queen and her family…But the celebrations come against a backdrop of division between members on its future direction.”
At one moment, Trump greets some members of the Royal Family. They all lined up to shake hands with him and you can visibly see Prince Charles scratching his face using his middle finger. At another point, one of the other family members, Princess Anne noticeably does not get in line to shake Trump’s hand but instead shrugs at the thought.