Things That Matter

The Days Of This Famous Tijuana Border Market Are Numbered

Every day, 50,000 cars and 25,000 pedestrians cross the Tijuana-San Ysidro border, making it the busiest port of entry in the Western Hemisphere. Crossing this border can take several hours, but these wary travelers never go hungry. Nearly 1,600 food vendors await these commuters, looking to feed them all kinds of belly-warming foods: burritos, tortas, tostilocos, and sweets like nieve de garrafa are just a few of the foods available to border crossers. This has been the way of life around the border for many years, however plans to modernize the Mexican side of the border may be about to end these vendor’s way of life. The mercado operates as more than just a place to sell food: it is where many of the older vendors live.

“The older people here, we’re the ones that will be affected the most,” Nelly Carrillo told NPR, adding, “Young people can move, but we already built a foundation here.”

Measures to protect these vendors are currently being explored, yet no clear solution has come to light yet. Some are suggesting that the vendors could become certified tourism operators. This would ensure that the vendors receive lawful protection they currently do not have, and since they already act as ambassadors to their country, they are providing a service for tourists. Aside from putting people’s livelihood in jeopardy, the proposal to relocate the mercado could cause significant cultural damage. In an email from Cog•nate Collective, the cultural importance of the market was laid out: “For us, the market is a vital space, inserting character, history and a social-cultural… dimension to the process of crossing the border.”

To get the whole story, check out the comprehensive story on NPR.

[H/T] NPR: Tijuana Border Plan Could Oust A Rich Food Culture And Its Cooks


READ: This Burrito Truck Will Bring You To Tears

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

His Mamá Lost Her Job So This 11-Year-Old Started Trading His Toys For Food To Help Out His Family

Things That Matter

His Mamá Lost Her Job So This 11-Year-Old Started Trading His Toys For Food To Help Out His Family

Carlos Luna / Facebook

Few communities have been spared by the Coronavirus pandemic. The economic impacts of the virus have left millions of people without jobs and families are struggling to make ends meet.

The situation is common all across Latin America – where millions of people work in the informal economy with little to no access to government aide. Despite the heartbreaking economic situations so many families currently face, some are getting creative in order to help put food on the table.

A boy in Tijuana has gone viral for offering up his toys in exchange for food to help feed his family.

Alexis, who is just 11-years-old, has had to grow up during some truly strange times. These challenging times are forcing all of us to reevaluate are priorities and figure out ways to help those close to us and in our communities.

For little Alexis, he saw that his family was facing a tough financial situation because of the Coronavirus pandemic. So he got creative and showed just how self-less he could be.

Alexis told Milenio, “Since my mom isn’t working anymore I’m worried. And I have two abuelos – my grandfather is blind and he was going to have surgery but they had to cancel it because of the Coronavirus.

The 11-year-old asked his mom how we could help her and that’s when he came up with an idea. He would get together his most previous toys and offer them up to people willing to exchange them for precious food items for the family.

Alexis’ story quickly went viral and people showed up to help him out.

¡Increíble gesto! 👏🧸 Niño de #Tijuana cambia sus juguetes por despensa para su mamá. Si deseas apoyar, están sobre la…

Posted by El Sol de Tijuana on Saturday, April 25, 2020

Alexis is offering up balls, stuffed animals, action figures, and other things that kids his age shouldn’t have to give up just to help his family put food on the table. But he’s doing it anyway.

Thankfully, the community has stepped up to help. In fact, the family was overwhelmed with support that they’ve now been able to share much of the donated goods with other families who face a similar situation.

Sadly, it hasn’t all been positive news since their story went viral.

According to the family, a man posed as a well-wisher coming by to drop off some donated food items to the family. Instead, after a short struggle the man robbed the mother of her cell phone and took off – also not having donated a single item to the family.

The local news had published the family’s address so people could arrive and provide assistance but, unfortunately, someone decided to take advantage.

Mexico has struggled to contain the Coronavirus outbreak and Baja California has been hit particularly hard.

It’s been give weeks since the first case of Covid-19 was diagnosed in Baja California. And the outlook for many of the state’s residents – especially those working in the informal sector – looks more and more complicated. Workers have had to find different ways to come up with new resources and income to help support their families.

Streets were once filled with vendors selling fresh mangos and tacos de canasta – now they’re selling hand sanitizer and face masks instead.

The economist José Luis Contreras Valenzuela has warned that many companies are also hurting as a result of having no customers. They’re likely to have to layoff even more staff. One example is the state’s restaurant industry which employers more than 200,000 people.

Just a few days ago, the head of the Ministry of the Economy, Mario Escobedo Carignan, pointed out that there were 11,000 lost jobs in Baja California, but this number is likely to grow.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

The Bodies Of A California Couple Were Found On Their Tijuana Property And Now Police Have Uncovered Two More

Things That Matter

The Bodies Of A California Couple Were Found On Their Tijuana Property And Now Police Have Uncovered Two More

Unsplash

Last week a California couple was reported missing by their family in Garden Grove – a suburb of Los Angeles. The couple had traveled to Tijuana (where they were originally from) to collect the rent from the tenant who was living on their property. Unfortunately, they never returned home.

With the ever increasing violence in Tijuana, their family feared the worse and a few days later was confirmed when police located their bodies. However, the story continues to develop as a total of three more bodies have been found on their property.

Investigators say that two more bodies (for a total of 5) have been discovered on a Tijuana property where a California couple disappeared.

Credit: Fiscalía General / Baja California

Jesus Ruben Lopez Guillen, 70, and his wife Maria Teresa Lopez, 65, of Garden Grove, a couple with dual U.S.-Mexico citizenship, vanished on January 10 after they crossed the border to collect more than $6,700 in rent from tenants of two houses they owned in Tijuana. Their bodies turned up in one of the houses, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported, citing Mexican investigators.

The attorney general’s office for the state of Baja California, just south of San Diego, said late Saturday the second set of bodies – one male and the other female – are in a state of advanced decomposition. All four bodies were covered in lime when they were found by investigators.

The story started when the couple traveled to Tijuana to collect rent on properties they owned – and then never returned to California.

Credit: Garden Grove Police Department

When the couple failed to return home the next day, their daughter, Norma Lopez, reported the couple missing.

Garden Grove police opened a missing person case after the Guilléns were reported missing. Garden Grove police Lt. Carl Whitney said their daughter had been tracking her parents though the Find My iPhone app, which last showed the couple at their property in the Colonia Obrero neighborhood south of downtown Tijuana, about four miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Then the phone went dead, and she could not track them anymore, Whitney said.

Police have since arrested their son-in-law in connection with the murders.

The man accused of killing the couple, their son-in-law, was ordered by a judge to remain in police custody while the state’s prosector’s office continues to gather evidence. According to authorities, they likely have enough evidence to charge him the murders of each of the victims found on the two properties.

Authorities suspect the man killed his in-laws in a dispute over money. They say he confessed to burying them on one of their properties, where he lived.

The judge during the hearing Sunday ruled Santiago will remain in jail under “forced disappearance” charges.

A “forced disappearance” charge is not as serious as a homicide charge, but it is still a felony in Mexico. It means the man is accused of trying to make the couple disappear. The charge can be used in cases of living or deceased victims. The man also was accused of something similar to obstruction of justice, for allegedly misleading investigators and refusing to assist in the investigation.

Prosecutors said investigators have obtained cell phone records, text messages and video camera footage of the defendant and of the victims’ truck — evidence prosecutors said contradicted his statements to police.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com