Things That Matter

This Photo Of A Mexican Mariachi In Vancouver Went Viral And Here’s What You Should Know About The Man In The Image

We love it when someone is going about their day and suddenly become ephemeral celebrities thanks to a photographer who was there in the right place at the right time. Such is the case of a Mexican mariachi who was immortalized while he was walking amidst a snowstorm in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Latin American musicians, mainly Mexicans and Peruvian folk singers, have migrated all around the world and make a living showcasing the cultural richness of their countries. They often have to survive for years as street performers, but many of them have found a way to build a musical career from scratch. It is common to see mariachis and Andean musicians in squares and plazas all around the world, particularly in Western European cities such as Madrid and Paris. 

So this is the photograph that made its rounds in social media and turned this mariachi into an online celebrity.

Credit: bananacampphoto/ Instagram

Just look at him, super regal walking as if he was strolling down the streets of Durango or San Miguel de Allende. There is a mythical quality to the photo. The way that he is carrying his guitar case reminds us of Antonio Banderas in Desperado. His gaze, serenely looking at the snow-covered floor, is reminiscent of old Westerns. But above all his white and red mariachi suit makes a perfect contrast with the environment. The onlookers on the background also give this great image a bit of drama. We just want to print and frame it, eh!

The image reminds us of the work of great photographers of the seemingly mundane such as Henri Cartier-Bresson or the Mexican great Manuel Alvarez Bravo. The photo was captured by photographer Cameron Frazier during a shooting to promote the 17th anniversary of this mysterious mariachi’s band… Yes, we know you want to find out who he is and we are keeping you en suspenso! 

But who is this mysterious mariachi?!

When the photograph became viral due to its mythical quality, the question was who on Earth was this amazing musician. Well, his name is Alex Alegria and he has Oaxacan heritage. He has a mariachi band called Los Dorados and he has been living in Canada for 23 years. He has employed non Mexicans in his mariachi band, showing that music is universal and that when there is passion involved it doesn’t matter where you are from. Everyone owns music, right?

Alex arrived in Canada when he was only 20 years old as an international student. But he decided to stay and has made the Pacific coastal town of Vancouver his home. He plays with his band twice a week in two restaurants. He discovered his passion for mariachi music when he became a street performer, as Mexico Desconocido found out. He used to work in a factory and was at risk of depression, but Mexico’s most famous musical genre helped him regain his passion for life and improve his mental health. His band is made up of 12 musicians, only three of which are Mexican. The rest come from Canada, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine and China.

Such a diverse group! We love it! They have played in various consulates and embassies in the United States and Canada. And the white and red colors on the mariachi suit? You guessed it: they are an homage to the Canadian flag. This is a great example of the wonders that can happen when multiculturalism is promoted and celebrated, as is the case with Canada and its inclusive migration policies from which a lot of Global North countries could learn. 

You might not be aware, but there are professional mariachis all around the world.

Credit: Mexico Desconocido/ Instagram

In the United States one only has to Google “mariachi near me” to find multiple listings. European cities are the same: mariachis are constantly sought after to play at parties, embassy events and all sorts of social gatherings. Even as far as Australia there are Mexicam musicians who have migrated and made a living out of singing classic tunes like “El Rey” and “La Puerta Negra.”

As Hector Patricio, founder of Fiesta Viva in Sydney, explains: “Traditional mariachi is a type of music that is strong, loud, and represents us as Mexicans. It is joyful and sad at the same time. People in Australia love it. 80% of my bookings are made by white Australians. We work with the best talent agencies. Mariachi music brings happiness and sadness together. We even play at funerals. We migrate to work hard, we always find a way to make things happen. Us Mexican migrants are constantly tested and we have to make it happen through hard work and dedication.”

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A Wealthy Couple Cheated Indigenous Peoples In Canada Out Of COVID Vaccines

Things That Matter

A Wealthy Couple Cheated Indigenous Peoples In Canada Out Of COVID Vaccines

Cases of COVID-19 are drastically devastating Indigenous communities across the globe. In Western Canada, this truth is quite alarming particularly because of how the rates have vastly risen in these communities. In fact, according to Canada Public Health and Indigenous Services data, “The rate of reported cases of COVID-19 in First Nations living on reserve is currently 40% higher than the rate in the general Canadian population.” Even more shocking, “The COVID-19 case fatality rate among First Nations living on reserve is about one-third of the case fatality rate in the general Canadian population.”

Still, despite all of this a wealthy Canadian couple had the temerity to lie about their residency and occupation. All in an attempt to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine meant for First Nation residents.

A businessman and his actress wife chartered a private plane to Beaver Creek to get vaccinated.

Rodney Baker, 55, and his wife Ekaterina Baker, 32, flew out to the community in Whitehorse last week. Whitehorse consists of approximately 100 people, most of whom belong to the White River First Nation. Upon arrival, the Bakers allegedly told members of the mobile vaccination clinic that they were employees of the local motel. Once they received their shots they flew back to Whitehorse on their private plane. 

The community became suspicious of the couple and someone eventually reported them to Yukon authorities. Investigating officers were able to track the couple down at the Whitehouse airport according to Yukon’s Minister of Community Services John Streicker.

The Bakers are now facing two charges under Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act.

The charges include failure to self-isolate and failure to abide by a travel declaration. Yukon, where White River First Nation is located, has had a low number of cases per capita compared to the rest of Canada. Anyone who enters the area is supposed to requires anyone entering the territory to quarantine for 14 days. 

According to VICE, “The maximum possible penalty under the act is $500 plus a $75 surcharge per charge—meaning a maximum of $1,150 each—and/or up to six months in jail.”

News of the couple’s actions has led to Rodney Baker’s resignation as CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. According to VICE, “Baker’s former position netted him $10.6 million in salary and compensation in 2019.”

In a statement about the incident, White River Chief Angela Demit said that she was “deeply concerned by the actions of individuals who put our Elders and vulnerable people at risk to jump the line for selfish purposes.” Demit went onto underline the fact that the First Nation community was selected for priority vaccination because of “its high concentration of elderly people, limited access to healthcare, and remote location.”

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer has described the Bakers’ “deception” as extremely selfish. 

“It’s the height of selfishness,” Dr. Brendan Hanley said about their behavior.

In a statement about the incident, White River First Nation said in a press release that “White River First Nation is particularly concerned with the callous nature of these actions…as they were in blatant disregard of the rules which keep our community safe during this unprecedented global pandemic.” They also called the penalties that the couple will face insufficient.

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Is This Peak 2020? La Virgen De Guadalupe Allegedly Appears Inside A Mexico City Pothole

Culture

Is This Peak 2020? La Virgen De Guadalupe Allegedly Appears Inside A Mexico City Pothole

Omgitsjustintime / Instagram

In one many are calling a miracle, some Mexico City residents say that an image of La Virgen de Guadalupe has appeared in their neighborhood, in the middle of a pothole.

Many are so convinced that they’ve turned the site into a holy shrine and visitors from around the city are flocking to the area to pay their respects and offer prayers. But not everyone is convinced with many on Twitter responding with their own supposed visions of the virgin in everything from tacos and heads of lettuce to clouds and tortillas.

Could it be? Did la virgen appear in a Mexico City pothole?

Despite stay-at-home orders, faithful Catholics have been flocking to a pothole in the Mexico City suburb of Nezahualcóyotl. Why? They’re convinced that la Virgen de Guadalupe has made an appearance in a pothole, thanks to an image which residents say bears a miraculous image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

According to neighbors, the image appeared on December 9 soon after the pothole was filled for the second time in a row.

Locals told the newspaper El Universal that the pothole had been left unrepaired for two years, but then workers showed up to repair it last week. When traffic caused the hole to reopen, a worker came by a second time to fix the hole. That evening, neighbors say, the image of the virgin appeared on the fresh concrete.

Residents in the area have already turned the new holy site into a shrine.

Local resident Beatriz Noriega Ramírez was one of a group of neighbors who taped off the site and surrounded it with candles and flowers in tribute.

“News is already circulating about the appearance of the virgin and people have begun to arrive to say prayers,” she said. “Even sick people have been asking from their cars to be healed.”

Neighbors of the new virgin told reporters that they felt blessed to have Mexico’s most beloved holy figure make an appearance in their neighborhood.

“In these such difficult pandemic times, it’s a message that the virgin is with us,” said a visibly emotional resident.

And the discovery comes just as Catholics celebrated the virgin’s holy day.

The image appeared on December 9, a holy day for Mexican Catholics for it is the day the virgin is said to have first appeared in Mexico, in 1531, to an indigenous man known as Juan Diego.

Catholics just marked the Virgin of Guadalupe’s feast day on Saturday. Her basilica, in a zone of the city known as Villa Guadalupe, usually attracts 8–10 million visitors in the days leading up to December 12. However, this year police-manned barricades kept all but locals from accessing the streets near the basilica on Friday and Saturday. All church activities on both days at the basilica were canceled to discourage large crowds.

However, many Twitter users reacted with skepticism.

Honestly, we’re just waiting for our tías and abuelas to start sending this around with a blessing attached. It is only a matter of time before we see this photo all over our newsfeeds because of the very family members mentioned above.

And let’s be honest. This isn’t the first time people have claimed to have had a religious figure appear in strange places.

In 1977, a Latina mother in New Mexico became the first person to spot Jesus Christ on a tortilla. As Angelica Rubio recalled for The Eater, the discovery of the tortilla convinced her mother to set up a dedicated shrine to the tortilla to make sure people could come to see the miracle. The tortillas, made by Rubio’s mother every morning, held a surprise one morning as she saw a burn mark in one tortilla that looked just like the Lord Jesus Christ.

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