Things That Matter

Mexico Feared A Woman Was Kidnapped But She Is Alive And Well, But People Are Blaming Her And WTF

An episode that became viral in Mexican social and broadcast media brought out the best and worst of society when it comes to responses to the current crisis that women are facing in the country. Karen, a 27-year-old mother of three, was feared kidnapped after she sent a text to her mother telling her that the cab driver of the vehicle she boarded looked suspicious.

Karen’s brother started an online hunt for her sister when the family didn’t hear from her for a few hours. The story became viral and multiple hashgtags related to the search were shared thousands of times. Karen came back the next day after a night out. So Mexico should have released a collective sigh of relief, right? Well, that wasn’t exactly the case. 

First things first: the fact that Karen was found is EXCELLENT NEWS.

The fact that Karen was alright is the best news ever. There is no way around it: yes, her mother and brother should be upset about Karen not following up her original text to say she was OK, but that is a private family affair and not something that people should get up on arms about. Yes, she was wrong to lie at her mother but that is between the two of them. This message, which plainly says that the taxi driver looks suspicious, is just like the millions of texts sent in Mexico just for some peace of mind. 

Seriously, some people were actually disappointed  that she was found alive and well, which speaks of the ideological violence against women in the country.

First of all, Karen’s brother was totally within his right to call to action when the family didn’t know Karen’s whereabouts. What they did by starting a search is what any Mexican family would do given the climate of violence against women when it comes to their health, safety, sexual independence and life. Any Mexico City family would have thought the worst.

When Karen came back home after a night out, some social media users were actually acting as if they were insulted! Like it was owed to them for Karen to actually be kidnapped or dead. This mob mentality is harmful but also a symptom of how normalized feminicide and overall physical violence towards women has become. 

The government actually went through the effort of finding security cameras that show her having fun at a bar (just like, well, any normal person.)

When Karen was found alive, the government and mainstream media disseminated a video in which Karen is seen partying at a bar. Yes, she drank. Yes, she was probably intoxicated… or not… whatever. The fact is that they went through the trouble of going through security camera footage just to lavarse las manos and blame Karen on all the chaos that was originated, and rightfully so.

If the authorities went through this much trouble every time a woman disappeared then perhaps the numbers of murdered women in Mexico each year wouldn’t be in the thousands. So let us get this straight: they solve the mystery of a woman’s whereabouts within hours when she is found alive and just in the middle of a misunderstanding originated in a lie, but there are families that even after years of searching for their loved ones have no clear answers and have to literally walk the desert for months with the hope if finding some closure. 

What sucks is that the first thing her family thought was the worst, because that IS ACTUALLY WHAT HAPPENS TO THOUSANDS OF WOMEN IN MEXICO.

So was Karen’s family overreacting when they triggered a search? Absolutely not. For all they knew, Karen would have been raped, murdered, dismembered and dissolved in acid. Yes, it gets that bad, so just be happy that Karen is fine, people! Daniel, Karen’s brother, took on social media to thank those involved in the search: “Thank you all for the support, Karen Espíndola, my sister is already at home. She did not arrive in the best conditions but the investigations will continue. I really do not wish this feeling on anyone.”

But fact is that millions of Mexicans live in a constant state of anxiety because the worst is a very real possibility. As Daily Mail Australia points out: “At least 1,533 people have been kidnapped in Mexico during the first 10 months of 2019, including 152 in the month of October.”

And it gets worse, according to El Universal, at least 3,663 women were murdered in Mexico in 2018, and 2019 numbers could be even higher as it is the most violent year on record. 

Mexican Couple Hailed As Heroes For Saving 10 Dogs From Flooding Caused By Hurricane Hanna

Culture

Mexican Couple Hailed As Heroes For Saving 10 Dogs From Flooding Caused By Hurricane Hanna

Betty Vaquera Escandón / Facebook

Hurricane Hanna slammed into Texas and Mexico on July 26 as a Category 1 hurricane. Yet, the most resilient story to come from Mexico is that of a couple who rescued some sweet puppies. Their ingenuity is something that will make every Mexican proud.

This is one of the most touching moments from Hurrican Hanna.

Mis papás perdieron todo… pero lograron sacar sus bebés 😭

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Sunday, July 26, 2020

That’s right. Those sweet puppies owe it all to the loving couple who took them into their bucket and rescued them. We have seen so many heartbreaking images over the years of animals abandoned to die when places flood during hurricanes.

The videos, posted by the couple’s daughter, is being accepted with so much love and excitement.

This is a fact. These people are some of the most compassionate people by saving these puppies. Who wouldn’t want to take the time to make sure that their furbabies are okay?

She posted a follow up live video when the flooding subsided to show just how damaging it was.

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Monday, July 27, 2020

The storm dropped 18 inches of rain on southern Texas and northern Mexico. The video shows damage throughout the couple’s home and the daughter was there to document it all for them. It is clear from the level of the water that there was nothing else that could have bee done to protect these little puppies.

They did another follow up just to thank everyone.

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Just like any good Latino couple, they thanked everyone who has reached out to them. It is truly such a sweet and wonderful story. We will forever keep this couple in our hearts because of everything they did.

Tbh, it would be so hard not to protect these angels.

Mi antidepresivo 🐶🐶🥰💕 #Elmilaneso

Posted by Betty Vaquera Escandón on Friday, July 10, 2020

We can only hope to be as selfless and important as this couple.

READ: Hurricane Hanna Battered Texas But Did It Actually Knock Over Part Of Trump’s Border Wall?

The Coronavirus Is Starting To Hit Mexico’s Poorest Communities And The Results Could Be Devastating

Things That Matter

The Coronavirus Is Starting To Hit Mexico’s Poorest Communities And The Results Could Be Devastating

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Mexico has been ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic. That’s a fact. It now ranks fourth globally in terms of deaths related to the virus, with nearly 50,000 dead. However, many of those cases and deaths have largely been centered on the country’s large cities – including Ciudad de México, Guadalajara and Tijuana.

That appears to be changing as many of Mexico’s most remote and poorest pueblos – most inhabited by Indigenous communities – have started to see the virus appear on their doorsteps. With many rural pueblitos lacking access to healthcare and many having extreme rates of poverty, this could spell disaster for Mexico’s most vulnerable communities.

Mexico’s poorest village has its first case of Coronavirus and this could be devastating for locals.

Mexico’s rural pueblitos, largely home to Indigenous communities, had mostly escaped the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic. For months, as the virus raged across the country, Mexico’s Indigenous communities enacted their own checkpoints and lockdowns and roadblocks that helped contain the virus’ spread. However, that strategy seems to have reached a dead end as new reports of Covid-19 emerge from Mexico’s poorest and most rural communities.

In Oaxaca, the village of Santos Reyes Yucuná – which is Mexico’s poorest, reported its first case of the virus on July 17, four months after the pandemic reached Mexico. The virus took longer to find its way to this remote, Mixtec community located 140 miles from the state’s capital due to its lack of infrastructure, especially roads.

Santos Reyes Yucuná is especially vulnerable to virus. The government’s social development agency (CONEVAL) estimates that 99.9% of the 1,380 residents live in extreme poverty. The region has no hospital and most residents do not have health insurance or the means to travel to a hospital in another area. Another town in Oaxaca’s Mixteca region, Coicoyán de las Flores, is in a similar situation with similar levels of poverty. One case of the Coronavirus was reported last month and the patient, a 25-year-old woman, died. 

Last weekend, 23 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Mixteca region, for a total of 482 positive cases and at least 48 reported deaths. The area’s municipal seat, Huajuapan, has the highest number of cases at 30, with three people hospitalized. 

Many rural communities had been labeled ‘Communities of Hope’ and were allowed to reopen early to avoid severe economic costs.

As the Coronavirus first arrived to Mexico, many leaders of rural pueblitos were quick to enact strict preventive measures, closing food markets and installing health checkpoints and roadblocks. But as the economic effects began to be felt, the government launched a program known as the “Municipalities of Hope.”

The program included 324 towns that the government decided were eligible to reopen early. The plan allowed places with no Covid-19 cases – and with no cases in surrounding areas – to start lifting restrictions, in an attempt to mitigate the shutdown’s devastating economic impact.

But just a couple of months later, that list has dwindled to just a few dozen villages. One town – Ometepec, Guerrero, lasted less than 14 days on the list. “In just a few weeks, we went from zero to 47 confirmed cases and six dead,” said Ulises Moreno Tabarez, a postdoctoral researcher who lives in the town.

According to Dr Carlos Magis Rodríguez, a professor of medicine and a public health researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a lack of serious lockdown measures doomed the strategy from the beginning. “If there were strict control of entrances and exits, a quarantine upon arrival, it could have worked,” Magis Rodríguez told Reforma. “The places this has worked are practically islands.”

But less than two months later, Mexico has become one of the worst-affected countries in the world.

Credit: Toya Sarno Jordan / Getty Images

As of July 29, Mexico has more than 400,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 44,876 people have died from the virus. Mexico now ranks 6th globally in number of cases and 4th in number of deaths. And these numbers are widely seen as under reporting the severity of the crisis. Mexico has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, at approximately 2.5 tests per confirmed case, compared with the U.S. rate of 12.52, the UK’s 22.57 – and New Zealand’s rate of 359.2.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s weak healthcare system is underfunded; hospitals attribute a large number of coronavirus deaths to faulty equipment and a lack of resources rather than the virus itself. The country is in no way equipped to provide unemployment benefits or stimulus checks to almost half of the population that lives in poverty. Furthermore, many informal workers lack health insurance. The country has very little in the way of a safety net, so many are forced to decide risking their health or risk going hungry.

Mexicans are not alone as countries across Latin America have failed to support their citizens.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Across Latin America, poor families have faced an impossible choice – between obeying quarantine measures and starving, or venturing out to work despite the danger of infection.

But unlike other leaders, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has not introduced stimulus measures to help the most vulnerable communities, instead his government has pushed through a string of severe austerity measures – even as he emphasized the need for the economy to stay open.

The president has also downplayed the pandemic – claiming in April that Mexico had “tamed” the virus – and repeatedly emphasized the need for the economy to stay open, striking a notably more relaxed tone than warnings from the country’s Covid-19 tsar, Hugo López-Gatell.