Things That Matter

Cartel Violence Targets Mexican-American Family Near US-Mexico Border Killing At Least Nine

At least nine members of a Mexican-American family of 14 were brutally killed during a highway cartel ambush in Mexico, according to authorities. The family of three mothers and 14 children were Mormon-fundamentalist with dual American and Mexican citizenship. 

While the family was crossing the border between Galeana, Chihuahua and Bavispe, Sonora cartel members attacked the family who was spread across three cars with guns. When one bullet his the gas tank of an SUV it exploded. 

The victims were identified as Christina Marie Langford Johnson, 29; Dawna Langford, 43; Trevor Langford, 11; and Rogan Langford, 2-and-a-half, Rhonita Miller, 30; Howard Miller, 12; Krystal Miller, 10; and the 8-month-old twins, Titus and Tiana Miller, according to NBC News. 

Authorities believe the attack ensued when cartel members may have mistaken the vehicles for rival SUVs. 

A gruesome attack highlights Mexico’s cartel violence.

The Mexican government says some family members, including a woman and her children, were burned alive. Eight children survived, although some were seriously injured. A 9-month-old survived being shot in the chest, as did a 4-year-old who was shot in the back, according to Kendra Lee Miller a family member who spoke with NBC. 

Kendra said 13-year-old Devin Langford managed to escape uninjured. Devin walked roughly 14 miles to La Mora for help after concealing his wounded siblings in bushes and branches. Another child, 9-year-old McKenzie Langford who as grazed on the arm with a bullet was also forced to go and look for help when Devin did not return. McKenzie was lost for hours before being discovered by search parties. 

“Everyone is in so much shock,” Willie Jessop, a family member of one of the victim’s said. “It’s just unbelievable, and there’s just no way to comprehend it.”

According to Arizona Central, the family who is from Queen Creek, Arizona were a part of a massive local Mormon community. 

“It’s devastating,” Leah Staddon, another family member told Arizona Central. “It’s incomprehensible, the evil. I don’t understand how someone could do that.” 

Trump reacts to the attack on Twitter, saying he will “wage war.” 

“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively.”

President Trump did not specify in what form the “help” would be provided, whether in the form of aid or military support. 

“The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!” Trump wroteadding: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responds to Trump. 

While López Obrador says he did not read Trump’s tweets he took a more optimistic tone. 

“In the spirit of cooperating… I am sure he has not been disrespectful. Every time we talk it is with that spirit of helping, which we appreciate very much,” he said. 

However, López Obrador warned against a “war on drugs” — perhaps he is aware of how the one in the United States failed horribly. 

“The worst thing is war … those who have lived war, suffered from war, know what that means… It is the opposite of politics, war is synonymous to irrationality, war is irrational,” he said.

Is Mexico’s approach with violent cartels coming to a head? 

The attack, which still has authorities scrambling to piece the incident together and find the remaining family members who are missing, comes weeks after a “botched anti-drug raid,” according to the Washington Post. 

The Sinola cartel gained control of Culiacan following the attempted arrest of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s son Ovidio Guzman. After detaining him, the Mexican government released Ovidio to prevent a violent standoff with the cartel. 

The Los Angeles Times says Mexico’s homicides may exceed last year’s record high next year, while extortions are up 37 percent, and kidnappings are up 9 percent. According to Yahoo News, there have been 250,000 killings in Mexico since 2006 when Mexico used military intervention to combat organized crime. 

As López Obrador avoids militant responses, he has deployed 50,000 members of Mexico’s National Guard to thwart crime. Many are wondering if this incident will change López Obrador’s more diplomatic approach. 

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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

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

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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