Things That Matter

Legendary Mexican Wrestler La Parka Has Died And Social Media Is Mourning A Lucha Libre Icon

Wresting or lucha libre is a cornerstone of Mexican popular culture. The ring is a symbolic battlefield where issues such as morals (good vs evil, rudos contra tecnicos!), gender identity, sexuality and class are solved through punches, kicks, voladoras and plenty of melodrama. Legends such as El Santo, Blue Demon and Tinieblas have become important icons in Mexico and overseas, and lucha libre remains a multi-million dollar business. Luchadores come out of every corner of Mexico and often travel as far as Japan to showcase their athletic prowess and histrionic skills.

So when a beloved luchador passes away thousands, if not millions, of fans mourn him or her, remembering all the high drama that they gifted us. So when news broke that popular wrestler La Parka passed away, many were left brokenhearted. 

La Parka, aged only 54, died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring.

His real name was Jesús Alfonso Huerta Escoboza and he was a force of nature full of charisma. He adopted a ring persona that resonates with millions of Mexicans: he personified Death itself, with whom Mexicans have a peculiar relationship that verges on the religious. La Parka reminded us of the religious figure of La Santa Muerte, patron saint of many in the most vulnerable sectors of the population.

La Parka sustained injuries in the ring back in October 2019 and these injuries ultimately led to his untimely death. The fall was horrific, as TMZ reminds us: “La Parka — aka Jesus Alfonso Escoboza Huerta — did a leaping dive through the ropes at an opponent in Monterey, Mexico … but tragically hit his head on a guard rail before falling to the ground.”

La Parka was born in the northern city of Hermosillo in the state of Sonora. He had a long and successful career, as CNN reports: “He won titles including the Triplemanía Cup and Antonio Peña Cup. He was also the top winner of King of Kings, an annual tournament produced by Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.” Rest in peace, legend! 

There needs to be a serious discussion about combat sports and potentially deadly injuries.

Credit: Wrestler Deaths

His kidneys failed. He was put on assisted breathing when he started presenting issues, and he died the next day when his lungs and kidneys failed. The wrestling association for which he worked, Lucha Libre, AAA said on Twitter.  “We are very sad to report that our friend and idol of Mexican wrestling Jesús Alfonso Escoboza Huerta ‘LA PARKA’ has passed away. We extend our support and condolences to his whole family and raise our prayers so that they may soon heal from this.”

There are some who think that wrestling is not dangerous, but fighters often end up disabled in their old age or, as in the case of La Parka, die as a result of injuries sustained in the ring. There has to be some serious debate around the risks involved in professional wrestling and in other contact sports such as boxing. It is a long, difficult conversation that needs to be had sooner rather than later.

Wrestler Latin Lover, who retired while still in good health, released a social media message lamenting his friend’s passing and saying that he left wrestling to avoid a similar fate: “They don’t know how it hits me that this happened, so I retired, so I wouldn’t end up dead. I quit that job because the only way I could be home was to be hurt.” Professional luchadores often fight well into their 50s even though reflexes deteriorate, which can lead to fatal injuries. Lucha libre is like a well-coordinated dance with the only difference that a misstep can leave you disabled for life or even dead. 

People are sharing their memories of him.

Thousands of fans enjoyed his work inside the ring for more than three decades, so whole generations saw his evil antics and funny moves unfold. He was one of those luchadores that people love to hate. 

And even pictures of his actual face, which was hidden under the now iconic mask.

Wow, he looked totally badass even without his mask on. He was a sort of rock and roll cowboy biker dude kinda guy! This photo was released by his family by mistake, but now fans are using it to honor the man who dared to become Death.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Hector Vivas/Getty Images

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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