Things That Matter

Mexico Is Putting Luxury Cars, Condos, And Land Seized From Real Life Narcos Up For Auction, Here’s What You Could Buy

Giant estates with swimming pools and escape tunnels, a ranch surrounded by acres of land, and a chic luxury apartment with a terrifying history were among the 27 properties Mexico had seized from drug traffickers and others auctioned on Sunday.

The government is seizing property and selling it at auction.

Credit: @outsidetheknow / Twitter

The apartments auctioned on Sunday include one of a cartel leader who was killed there and disposed of by his brothers.

The government is also selling off land. The cheapest is a lot in Culiacán, Sinaloa, priced at about $11,200 USD, while the most expensive is the Rancho Los Tres García in Naucalpan, México state, priced at over $1.6 million USD. It was confiscated from convicted drug trafficker Carlos Montemayor, father-in-law of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, after he was arrested in 2010.

According to Mexican media, the auction raised $56.6 million pesos (or about $3 million USD) of the 167m pesos predicted.

The Mexican President pledged that all the money raised from the auctions would go to benefit impoverished communities.

Credit: @BBCNewsbeat / Twitter

According to Lopez-Obrador (AMLO), the proceeds from the auction of properties and land, which had been seized by previous governments, would go to aid marginalized communities in the poor and violent state of Guerrero.

“Buyers will know that in addition to acquiring a good deal, they will also be doing good, that is, they will be helping those who need support because of the situation of poverty and marginalization they suffer,” AMLO said Friday.

In one of his first acts in office, Lopez Obrador enforced an austerity plan.

Credit: @thesunpostnews / Twitter

AMLO sold government-owned vehicles and even planned on selling the president’s brand new Boeing 787 jetliner. He also dismissed the Presidential Guard, which is tasked with protecting the president, and declined to move into Los Pinos – Mexico’s version of the White House – and instead lives in his private home.

In a similar auction at the end of May, Mexican authorities raised $1.5 million from the sales of 82 vehicles, including a Lamborghini and other assets seized from criminals and at least one former politician.

Credit: @dwnews / Twitter

The late-May auction saw 800 bidders, with the money raised going to two poor communities in the southern state of Oaxaca to improve roads and schools. Seventeen black, bulletproof Chevrolet Suburbans were also up for auction but it was the muscle cars and vintage VWs that got all the attention.

Reactions on Twitter were pretty mixed.

Credit: @BBCWorld / Twitter

A pretty common sentiment across Twitter was that people just wouldn’t feel safe moving into a home that had been seized from a former drug lord. I mean just think of all the risk that carries with it. Like that drug lord still has connections, still has friends – there are still people that are aware of its history. Maybe they’d show up wanting to take it for themselves at some point.

But everyone agreed that giving the proceeds of the auction to help the poor was the right move.

Credit: @BBCWorld / Twitter

Especially since the communities that will benefit from these proceeds are in violence plagued Guerrero state – a state that has suffered greatly because of the Drug War.

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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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