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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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

Things That Matter

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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