Things That Matter

Drug Cartel Invades A Mexican City And The Resulting Gun Battle Has Left At Least 21 Dead

Mexico continues to be rattled by drug cartel violence and this latest attack, in the north of the country, has Mexicans particularly shocked. So far, 2019 has already seen record violence and homicides. Despite plans from the current federal government, headed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), the violence situation across the country has only deteriorated.

A Mexican cartel gun battle near the Texas border leaves 21 dead.

Armed gunmen stormed Villa Union, a town near the Texas border with Coahuila state, on Saturday and attacked local government offices, including that of the mayor. Security forces responded, and 10 gunmen and four policemen were killed during the resulting shootout in the village. Seven additional cartel members were killed by security forces after the attackers fled.

The gunmen peppered the Villa Unión’s mayor’s office with bullets and state police pursued the gang members after they fled the town, killing seven more in the early hours of Sunday, the Coahuila government said in a statement.

The events in Villa Union add to a series of recent security lapses that have raised doubts about the containment strategy of the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office a year ago pledging to get a grip on chronic gang violence.

Cartels have been contending for control of smuggling routes in northern Mexico, but there was no immediate evidence that a rival cartel had been targeted in Villa Union.

Credit: Gerardo Sanchez

The Coahuila state government said in a statement that lawmen aided by helicopters were still chasing remnants of the force that arrived in a convoy of pickup trucks and attacked the city hall of Villa Union on Saturday.
Governor Miguel Angel Riquelme said late Sunday afternoon that authorities had determined the casualty count from the gunbattles stood at 14 gunmen dead and four police officers killed. He said two civilians also were slain by gunmen after being abducted. The governor said six more officers were wounded as were four young people who had been taken by the attackers.

Francisco Contreras, an official in the state security agency, said later that the two slain civilians were a firefighter and an engineer who worked for the municipality. He said a second firefighter was missing. The reason for the military-style attack remained unclear.

The attack comes days after President Trump announced he wants to label Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

The attack will likely fuel Trump’s argument for categorizing drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations,” just as groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram are classified. He has a history of seeing drug cartels as a major threat and often cites the cartels in stump speeches about the need to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Trump’s latest position on the cartels, however, has alarmed a number of experts because it could give the president license to use US military force against the groups without authorization from the Mexican government. 

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made it clear that he will not allow foreign intervention, and has offered to increase cooperation with the US on fighting drug gangs instead, according to Al Jazeera. His government already works with the US intelligence community and drug and law enforcement officials from the State Department to combat cartel violence. 

“Since 1914, there hasn’t been a foreign intervention in Mexico and we cannot permit that,” López Obrador said at a news conference on Friday. “Armed foreigners cannot intervene in our territory.”

One thing is clear, Mexico is facing extreme violence and its citizens are paying the ultimate price.

Mexico’s homicide rate has increased to historically high levels, inching up by 2 per cent in the first 10 months of the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Federal officials said recently that there have been 29,414 homicides so far in 2019, compared to 28,869 in the same period of 2018.

The November slaughter by Mexican drug cartel gunmen of three women who held US citizenship and six of their children focused world attention on the rising violence.

Saturday’s attack also showed cartels again resorting to quasi-military operations in a brazen challenge to state authority.

Indigenous Communities In Mexico Are Giving Traditional Clothes To Dogs To Help Them Stay Warm This Winter

Culture

Indigenous Communities In Mexico Are Giving Traditional Clothes To Dogs To Help Them Stay Warm This Winter

El Pueblito

Covering Mexican news in the past few years has become a difficult job, particularly if you love this amazing country but are also aware of the many socioeconomic problems, crime and overall struggle that the United States’ southern neighbour has faced in recent decades due to drug cartels, corrupt governments and pressure from global markets. So every once in a while our hearts receive an apapacho with stories that reveal how solidarity and plain old human awesomeness are also part of the Mexican psyche. And of course a touch of creativity also leads to memorable moments in which kindness, often among the most vulnerable sections of the population, shines even more. 

Look at this doggie, all warm in this traditional dress from Yucatan. But the story behind the cute photo will get you thinking.

Credit: Mexico News Daily

So the story goes like this: a street dog in the southern state of Yucatan was suffering from the dropping temperatures, shaking as its bones were visible in her super thin fur coat. The dog’s name is Polita and she was given a traditional dress called huipil by the artisans of the town of Ticul.

As reported by Mexico News Daily, a local resident posted a photo on Facebook and since then the image has gone viral. “So that she doesn’t suffer from the cold, the little dog with her huipil. It’s worth sharing and making her go viral”, read the caption in the now famous photo. Ticul is located around 100 km south of the state capital city of Mérida. The majority of the population is of Maya heritage. It is such a heartwarming photo, even more so if we consider how vulnerable indigenous Mexicans, such as the huipil-making saints, still are in contemporary Mexico. 

But you might now that there is actually a day in which some Catholic Mexicans get their pets dressed in all sorts of amazing traditional costumes.

Every January 17 Mexican Catholics celebrate San Antonio Abad, the patron saint of animals. And every year large numbers of the faithful take their pets to church to get a blessing from the local padrecito. But of course the occasion needs to be solemn, so owners get their pets dressed in what passes as haute couture, all for the sake of cuteness…. and faith. 

Some costumes are more traditional than others, but they are all dolled up!

We wonder that is going through their canine minds while being showered in holy water… 

And just look at those chicken dresses in the town of Taxco.

We love the Zoolander duck face on this chicken. It knows it got swag and it flaunts it! 

And for some there is never a lost opportunity to show their devotion for a soccer team.

We can just imagine this dude watching soccer on a Sunday afternoon and cheleando with his two chihuahuas on his lap, wearing those cute tiny jerseys. Ternuritas. 

Is that a rastafari dog in Guerrero?

This is actually like an animal cosplay contest celebrated on San Antonio Abad day in Guerrero, Mexico. We don’t know if a Jamaican rastafari costume qualifies as traditional in Mexico, but the little fur ball sure looks cute, right? And look at the elegant little black dog to the right, with his royal attire, all ready to rule the world. 

A little Mexican kitsch nunca viene de sobra

We love the sarape and the hat on this tiny fella. And that hat must sure cover him from the scalding Guerrero sun. 

Is this princesa peluda about to celebrate her XV?

OMG, just look at her, al regal and ready to dance a smooth waltz. And look, she has got a chambelan and everything. And look at the surprise in the faces of those passersby. 

Si Adelita se fuera con otro… 

We love this little model in the style of the Mexican Revolution and its legendary female fighters, called Adelitas or soldaderas. Fierceness and cuteness in a cute little package. This photo is also from one of the contests organized in the town of Taxco (by the way, this town is a must for anyone visiting the country). 

How on Earth did they get those tiny chicks in those dresses?

We just hope that the little ones are OK. The craft needed for that tiny church is just admirable. Wow.

Guatemalans Called Out A Viral Tweet For Misrepresenting Their Nation’s Tamal

Culture

Guatemalans Called Out A Viral Tweet For Misrepresenting Their Nation’s Tamal

@urfavsalvi / Twitter

It started with a simple tweet: “Aver which one do prefer?” Bryant Sosa Lara (@urfavsalvi) asked Twitter their favorite tamal, alongside a photo of different maíz-featured recipes emblazoned with their corresponding emoji flags. Mexican, Salvadoran, and Guatemalan Twitter rose up to toss their votes into the ring, and to defend their nation’s tamal recipe. “And I’m not trying to start an argument lol you’ll be surprised by my answer,” Sosa Lara follow-up tweeted to no avail. Thousands of likes, retweets and comments later, #Guatemala started trending and Sosa Lara had to post the most bien portado video to explain Latin America’s biggest misunderstanding yesterday.

Twitter users were quick to point out that one of these is not a tamal.

CREDIT: @URFAVSALVI / TWITTER

The Salvadoran “tamal” is in the center and before you start questioning (like everyone else) why El Salvador is represented by a burrito, don’t. “The salvi tamal is wrapped cause it JUST CAME OUT LA OLLA IT WAS HOT AF pasmados inútiles,” Sosa Lara defended. Guatemaltecos rose from their graves to point out that their representative dish is not a tamal. “Guatemalan tamales are wrapped in banana leaf wtf,” tweeted one Guatemalteca. “Those are chuchitos,” another Guatemalteca pointed. Pretty soon, everyone and their mother were trying to point out that Sosa Lara was wrong.

Thats not a Guatemalan Tamale. The ones from Guate are made using a banana leaf and is like twice the size of Mexican tamales,” tweeted one Señor Leo (@SenorLeo_). “Guatemalan tamales are wrapped in a banana leaf that are then individually wrapped in aluminum foil so that they’re as moist as possible,” tweeted Ivan Ortega (@IvanOrtega94). Others were perplexed AF, tweeting cropped photos of the Guatemalan dish and asking, “que en the f*** es esto?” Someone else hilariously joked, “Damm Guatemalan joints are FIREEEEE”

Guatemalan Twitter educated the lost and confused: “It’s a Chuchito, it isn’t really a Guatemalan Tamale.”

CREDIT: @WALTERG_REAL / TWITTER

“ES LA MISMA MIERDA!!!!! people really trippin cuz this man displayed a chuchito 💀” an incredulous tweeter shared along with a screenshot of a Google image search of chuchitos. Guatemalan chuchitos are usually much firmer and smaller than Mexican tamales but are prized for the salsa and curtido that comes with it. While Guate chuchitos are made with maís like Mexican tamales, in Guatemala, a tamal is always wrapped in a banana leaf and made of potatoes or plantains. 

“Lmao leave it to a salvadorian to start a full on war 🇬🇹,” someone else tweeted.

Even though Sosa Lara never called them tamales, the Internet got confused and started dissing Guatemala, enraging Guatemalans.

CREDIT: @YOOADRIENNEEE / TWITTER

“Guate with the sad a** tamal. that jaunt ta mal,” tweeted one Francisco. Of course, no proud Guatemalteca would allow their country’s tan rico tamales and chuchitos to be so misunderstood. “That ain’t no Guatemalan tamal that’s a chuchito,” one Adrienne responded. A dialogue commenced. “Ma’am that’s the word used to described a small dog in Salvadorian lingo. Example: “El perro de blues clues es un chuchito”. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk,” Francisco replied. “Well in guate it’s what that pic tries to pass as a traditional tamale,” Adrienne responded. Okay, alright, we see you.

But Lara Sosa *never* once called the chuchito a tamal and had to post a video to clarify and end the war.

CREDIT: @URFAVSALVI / TWITTER

“Why they diss our tamales like that?? It don’t even look like this?? 🇬🇹” tweeted @muertoculo. Sosa Lara took time out of his life to individually respond to the offended Guatemaltecos to tell them, “Scroll down and look at my video pasmado.” In the video, Sosa Lara took a moment to politely educate the people who called him “uncultured swine.” To all the folks who came out to angrily tell Sosa Lara that the chuchito isn’t a tamal… he knows. After people watched the video, there was only one conclusion to be made: that man es bien portado.  He politely recited all the shade he got and spoke “con todo respeto.” 

Y’all. The Chuchito won anyway.

CREDIT: @MUNOZISFANCY / TWITTER

Though Sara Martinez has an idea that could give us peace on earth. Why do we have to compare what the word “tamal” means in different countries? Her bid for world peace is to just compare dishes, regardless of their name, based on their ingredients. “K, first off: chuchitos are not even in the same level and they still won. Second, We need to start comparing husk with husk tamales and banana leaves with banana leaf tamales. Masa with masa and masa de papa with masa de papa. Don’t trip,” Guatemalteca Sara Martinez tweeted, enforcing universally respected tamal rules.

READ: People On Twitter Can’t Get Enough Of A Woman Selling The Official Tamales Of Billie Eilish