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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Another International Brand Has Been Accused Of Copying Indigenous Mexican Designs

Entertainment

Another International Brand Has Been Accused Of Copying Indigenous Mexican Designs

DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

Although it comes as no surprise, it’s still as frustrating as ever that an international fashion brand has ripped off traditional designs of Indigenous cultures. This time, it’s an Australian label that appears to have copied the designs of Mexico’s Mazatec community.

Although the company has already pulled the allegedly copied dress, the damage appears to have been done as many are rightfully outraged at their blatant plagiarism.

Australia’s Zimmermann brand has been accused of copying designs from Mexico’s Indigenous community.

Mazatec people from the Mexican state of Oaxaca have expressed their outrage over yet another attack on their traditions. They claim that an Australian company – Zimmermann – has copied a Mazatec huipil design to make its own tunic dress. The dress, which was part of the company’s 2021 Resort collection and retailed for USD $850, has since been pulled from the company’s website due to the criticism.

Zimmermann is an Australian fashion house that has stores across the U.S., England, France, and Italy. While the huipil is a loose-fitting tunic commonly worn by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous women across Mexico.

It’s hard to argue that the brand didn’t deliberately copy the Oaxacan design.

Credit: Francoise CAVAZZANA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

When you look at the Zimmermann tunic dress alongside a traditional huipil, it’s hard not to see the resemblance. The cut of the Zimmermann dress, the birds and flowers embroidered on it and its colors all resemble a traditional Mazatec huipil. 

Changes made to the original design – the Zimmermann dress sits above the knees and unlike a huipil is not intended to be worn with pants or a skirt – are disrespectful of the Mazatac culture and world view.

The Oaxaca Institute of Crafts also condemned Zimmermann and called on the brand to clarify the origin of its design.

For their part, Zimmermann has pulled the dress and issued an apology.

Zimmermann subsequently issued a statement on social media, acknowledging that the tunic dress was inspired by huipiles from Oaxaca

“Zimmermann acknowledges that the paneled tunic dress from our current Swim collection was inspired by what we now understand to be a traditional garment from the Oaxaca region in Mexico,” it said.

“We apologize for the usage without appropriate credit to the cultural owners of this form of dress and for the offense this has caused. Although the error was unintentional, when it was brought to our attention today, the item was immediately withdrawn from all Zimmermann stores and our website. We have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again in future.”

However, it’s far from the first time that an international brand has profited off of Indigenous designs.

Unfortunately, international fashion companies ripping off traditional garments and designs – especially those of Indigenous cultures – is far too common. Several major companies have been accused of plagiarism within the last year.

In fact, the problem has become so widespread that Mexico created a government task force to help find and denounce similar plagiarism in the future. Among the other designers/brands that have been denounced for the practice are Isabel Marant, Carolina Herrera, Mango and Pippa Holt.

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The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

Things That Matter

The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

Hector Villas / Getty Images

Since the very beginning of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has largely downplayed the severity of the crisis. Despite record-setting deaths across Mexico, the president continued to hold large rallies, rarely uses face masks and continues to be very hands on with his supporters. Many of his detractors grouped him in with Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jaír Bolsonaro in his poor response to the pandemic.

Mexico’s President AMLO has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing light symptoms.

In a tweet on Sunday evening, AMLO revealed that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. From his official Twitter account, he said his symptoms were mild and that he was receiving medical treatment.

“I regret to inform you that I have contracted Covid-19. The symptoms are mild, but I am already receiving medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will move forward,” Lopez Obrador wrote.

Despite his diagnosis, the president plans to continue business as usual. He plans to continue with his duties from the Palacio Nacional, which include conducting a planned phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the topic of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine Monday. He added on Twitter, that “I will be conducting all public affairs from the National Palace. For example, tomorrow I will take a call from President Vladimir Putin, because irrespective of friendly relationships, there is a possibility that they will send us the Sputnik V vaccine.”

AMLO has taken a very hands off approach to his country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

AMLO, 67-years-old, has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to travel extensively across the country aboard commercial flights – putting both his health and those around him at risk.

He has also resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day. And because of that, Mexico has one of the highest death rates in the world. Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, AMLO removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” AMLO said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, “Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.”

In November, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, urged Mexico’s leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens, saying that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to experience the worst effects yet of the global health crisis.

Credit: Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Thanks to a lack of national leadership, Mexico is one of the 17 countries that has reported more than one million cases of Covid-19. Since early October, newly confirmed cases and deaths have been reaching record levels, with recent daily numbers some of the highest since the beginning the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has recorded at least 1,752,347 Covid-19 cases and 149,084 people have died from the virus in the country.

In hardest-hit Mexico City, nearly 30 public hospitals report they have reached 100% percent capacity, and many others are approaching that mark. The city’s Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has urged residents to not go out unless absolutely necessary. In December, Mexico City and the state of Mexico were placed into “red level,” the highest measure on the country’s stoplight alert system for Covid-19 restrictions. The tighter measures included the closure of indoor dining, with only essential sectors like transport, energy, health and construction remaining open.

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