Things That Matter

Buildings Collapse And More Than 70 Dead After Mexico City Is Hit By Major Earthquake

Mexico City has been rocked by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck near the state of Puebla. The shaking from today’s quake was so violent that buildings collapsed in the capital city. Several fires from leaking gas lines were also reported. There is still very little information on the state of the impacted area as rescue efforts are underway to save those that are trapped in collapsed buildings. As of the time of this post, the death toll is up to 79 people. Today also marks the 32nd anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Mexico City in 1985, which killed 10,000 people and injured 30,000. Here is what we know so far.

The United States Geological Survey reported a 7.1 magnitude earthquake close to Izúcar de Matamoros, Mexico.

Izúcar de Matamoros is about a three-hour drive to Mexico City. The strength of the earthquake shook the capital city, which is about 80 miles from the epicenter.

The earthquake violently shook parts of Mexico, just 11 days after Oaxaca and Chiapas were devastated by their own earthquake.

According to ABC News, Paul Earle, a seismologist for the U.S. Geological Survey, said that the earthquake today is too far removed in time to be an aftershock of the Oaxaca/Chiapas earthquake that left more than 90 people dead.

Earlier in the day, businesses and buildings around Mexico City held earthquake evacuation drills as part of the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

Only a couple hours after the drill, a real earthquake sent shockwaves through the city that sits on a lakebed.

There are reports of buildings collapsing all over Mexico City, which is built on a lakebed leaving buildings susceptible to sinking and collapsing during earthquakes.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the soil in the lakebed has the ability to amplify the effects of an earthquake even if it is hundreds of miles from the city.

Mexicans were left speechless and shaken as buildings continued to collapse.

ABC News reports that there are more than 20 buildings that have collapsed around Mexico City and crews are working to save those trapped under the rubble.

Broken gas lines have led to explosions in damaged buildings adding to the chaos and destruction in the city.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto was on a flight to Oaxaca when the earthquake started and has announced his immediate return to Mexico City, according to Twitter. He has also announced a meeting of the National Committee of Emergencies and has activated Plan MX. Plan MX is a national plan that, when enacted, coordinates all national agencies to respond in the face of a disaster to reduce response time and minimize losses, according to documents of Secretaría de Gobernación.

Crews are working to assess the damage and losses caused by the earthquake.

Keep your thoughts and prayers with Mexico. We will update this story as we learn more.

If you are interested in helping those who have been affected by the earthquake, there are several ways to help. Here is a short list of organizations you can reach out to:

UNICEF Mexico: UNICEF has long been an organization that helps to protect and support children all over the world, especially in times of crisis and disaster.
Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund by GlobalGiving: GlobalGiving has helped raise more than $270 million since 2002 and vets all donation drives to insure that they are legitimate and work of the cause they claim.
Red Cross Mexico: The Red Cross helps to provide supplies and shelter to those in need after a natural disaster.
Project Paz: Project Paz has a donation page set up where you can donate money to help victims of either the Sept. 7 Oaxaca/Chiapas earthquake or the Sept. 19 Mexico City earthquake.
Topos: Topos is a rescue brigade that was formed after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that devastated the city and are willing to step up again anytime a disaster hit’s Mexico’s capital.

READ: A Major Earthquake Has Devastated Parts Of Southern Mexico

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

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An Alleged Rapist Is Running For Governor In Mexico And Still Has The Support Of President AMLO

For years, Mexicans have been taking to the streets to denounce violence against women and to demand accountability from their leaders. However, much of that messaging doesn’t seem to have reached the very top as President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) continues to support a candidate for governor facing multiple allegations of sexual assault.

A candidate for governor faces multiple sexual assault allegations and still enjoys widespread support.

Félix Salgado Macedonio, a federal senator (currently on leave) is accused of sexually assaulting five women and yet is still in the running for governor of Guerrero.

Despite the accusations he faces, 64-year-old Salgado, has maintained the support of President AMLO, who has claimed that the allegations are politically motivated, and other high-ranking party officials including national party president Mario Delgado. He was considered the frontrunner in the election for governor.

AMLO came to the candidates defense, calling on people to stop politicking and avoid “media lynchings” and asserting that people should trust the party process that was used to select Salgado as candidate.

“We have to have confidence in the people, it’s the people who decide. If polls are taken and and the people say ‘I agree with this colleague [being candidate],’ I think that must be respected. Politics is a matter for everyone, not just the elites,” López Obrador said.

The MORENA party has committed to reselecting its candidate for governor but Salgado is still in the running.

Officials from the MORENA party announced that they would conduct a new selection process to find a contender for the June 6 election. The party’s honesty and justice commission said its members had voted unanimously to order a repeat of the selection process.

While the honesty and justice commission has ordered a new candidate selection process, Salgado was not precluded from participating in it. He indicated in a social media post on Friday night that he planned to seek the party’s backing for a second time.

“Cheer up colleagues! There is [still fight in the] bull,” Salgado wrote on Facebook.

Activists continue to fight back against his candidacy and the president’s support for an alleged rapist.

Women have protested in Mexico City and Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo and the hashtag #NingúnVioladorSeráGobernador (No Rapist Will be Governor) has been used countless times on Twitter.

Yolitzin Jaimes, a member of the feminist collective Las Revueltas, said the withdrawal of Salgado’s candidacy is a positive first step but urged the authorities to continue investigating the rape allegations.

“… He has to go to jail, … he mustn’t return to the Senate and he mustn’t be nominated [for governor] by any political party because … it’s very probable that he’s seeking to go to the Labor Party [a Morena ally],” she said.

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

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Americans Are Flocking To Mexico Amid The Pandemic And Being Terrible Tourists In The Process

Despite being one of the world’s hardest hit countries by the Covid-19 pandemic, Mexico never once closed its doors to international tourism. In fact, the country has worked hard to lure travelers from the U.S. as Americans faced increasingly tough restrictions at home. This has had a profound impact on the country’s experience with Covid-19, with so many Mexicans either falling ill themselves or knowing someone who has.

With so many Mexicans having first hand experience with the virus, it makes sense why so many have strong opinions about tourist’s behaviors while visiting the country.

Tourists are still welcomed in Mexico but their bad behavior is not.

Most Mexicans agree with their government’s open borders approach during the pandemic, since the alternative would have meant even worse economic situation for a country already suffering record levels of poverty. But the influx of tourists to the country has brought with it a level of resentment at those who fail to follow local health guidelines while on vacation.

Mexico never closed its airports to tourists and one walk down a block in Mexico City’s popular Condesa or Roma neighborhoods and you’ll spot American tourists within minutes – many failing to wear a mask. The problem is even more severe in popular tourist destinations like Oaxaca.

There, tourists often travel from the bustling city of Oaxaca into remote villages where Indigenous residents have even less access to proper medical care.

Residents fear that tourists feel they are exempt from local Covid-19 guidelines.

Many residents who have had their own personal experience with the coronavirus has made them sensitive to the pandemic situation in their community. As case numbers continued to rise, many noticed more tourists defying widely practiced public-health protocols, like wearing face masks in public.

On Feb. 25, a popular photographer from Oaxaca, Frank Coronado, posted a plea to his 171,000 Instagram followers: “Dear travelers, you are welcome in Oaxaca, but you should ALWAYS wear a mask when you are in public places.”

He wanted to publicly address the issue and encourage visitors to do better — particularly foreigners who travel from Oaxaca City into smaller rural villages, where artisans are even more vulnerable. He told the Washington Post, “I get mad because I already went through [covid-19] and know how bad it feels. I don’t want my people, the people of Oaxaca, to get sick.”

With an economy based on services, many don’t have the freedom to work from home.

Many in Mexico don’t have the luxury of isolating from tourists — such as Aurora Tostado, who owns the downtown coffee shop Marito & Moglie with her husband.

“People in Mexico, we have to get out of our homes to work. It’s not like we can work remotely like most of the people in the U.S.,” Tostado told the Washington Post. Like others in hospitality, Tostado benefits financially from having tourists, and she is happy to welcome them back, she says. She just hopes they will consider the chain reaction of their behavior as they enjoy the culture that makes her city special

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