Things That Matter

Three Men In Mexico Were Forced To Strip Naked And Walk The Streets As Punishment For Stealing 15 Cows

Mexico’s everyday life, particularly in rural areas, is full of surprises and events that the average gringo would find too strange to be true. Such was the case of a recent robbery in the state of Veracruz. Three men were caught stealing 15 cows, which is a very significant asset and someone’s actual livelihood if you subsist by raising crops and producing farming goods such as milk. So they of course had to be punished in some way, and because people in some areas of Mexico (and we would dare to say in the country at large) mistrust the authorities, some citizens take matters in their own hands.

This is a symptom of a decades-long mistrust in the authorities or the real repercussions that criminals will face given the high levels of corruption at all levels of government that the new administration wished to eradicate (just how they pretend to do it remains largely unclear!). 

So first things first: yes, this was their punishment for stealing the cows, holding hands while totally naked

Credit: @QuePocaMadre_MX / Twitter

The punishment by public nudity took place in Suchilapan del Río, in the municipality of Jesús Carranza in Veracruz. The three men were caught right con las manos en la masa. The man who recorded the video, which has made its rounds on Mexican social media, made the robbers confess to their crime while naked and holding hands in the middle of the street. According to La Verdad Noticias, one of these men is a butcher, which makes perfect sense given that he was attempting to steal cattle. They are standing on Independencia street, right in front of the meat producers association. 

The news was broken by the Twitter news dissemination site @QuePocaMadre_MX which translates into something like “You gotta be kidding me, that’s rough, man!” 

The case has not been completely solved and whether the authorities have done anything on this matter is unclear. The case has garnered some attention in local media, so we might hear more about this. It is important to note, however, that while highly unlikely the video might actually be staged (we gotta at least entertain that possibility until we know otherwise!). 

The story might seem funny or chusca at first, but if you dig a bit under the surface there is a far darker undertone.

Credit: @QuePocaMadre_MX / Twitter

For one, the video evidences an almost total gap of authority in this municipality. The fact that these guys (criminals, if we are being honest) were forced to display public nudity to atone for their actions is almost laughable, but it also shows that law enforcement in the are has been decimated to reach a level of ridicule that can make headlines. Let’s not forget that Veracruz is one of the most violent states in the country, and since Los Zetas emerged in the 2000s and challenged the Cartel del Golfo, it has also become an epicenter of the cartel wars. This lack of government action lends itself to semi-funny situations but should not be taken lightly. 

The people made them hold hands, which is a clear sign of homophobic mob mentality.

The fact that the men were forced to hold hands and do a display of pretend homoeroticism is also an indicative of the prevailing homophobic views shared by some Mexicans. In everyday Mexican lingo, words that denote a queer identity are used as token insults and one of the cruelest ways to harm diverse genres and sexualities is making them an insult. We also have to consider that Veracruz has a very dark history when it comes to hate crimes against the LGBTQ community. Crimes against trans individuals, for example, are common and most of the times end up in impunity. Even though same-sex marriage is legal, measures such a conversion therapy are legal as well. 

And there is a thin thin line that separates forcing three men to get naked and an actual lynching, which has been a sad and brutal feature in contemporary Mexico.

Perhaps this story might seem amusing at first, but it also recalls some recent incidents in Mexico in which criminals are caught by the population instead of the authorities and then things escalate and lynching happens. People have been bashed to death, set on fire and dismembered in public. In some instances the lynched are guilty of crimes, often of sexual nature, but it has been the case that a disgruntled neighbor starts a rumor that has fatal consequences. Because there is such a climate of uneasiness and impunity in the country, people have even ambushed police cars carrying suspects. We are of course not saying that justice should not be served, but when it is an eye for an eye everyone ends up blind.

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Authorities Finally File Charges Against Teen Who Killed Monique Muñoz, Her Family Hopes He’s Tried As an Adult

Things That Matter

Authorities Finally File Charges Against Teen Who Killed Monique Muñoz, Her Family Hopes He’s Tried As an Adult

Credit: chulothelabel/Instagram
UPDATED: April 8th, 2021

Finally, Monique Muñoz’s family is getting closer to seeing justice. After over a month of rallying, gathering, and mourning, Muñoz’s family is finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced that they had officially filed charges against the 17-year-old responsible for the deadly crash that killed Muñoz.

The charges against the unnamed teen came over a month after the fatal crash on February 17th. Because the teen is a juvenile, authorities are not releasing any more information detailing the specifics of the charges. Authorities originally arrested the teen on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Per ABC News, the teen’s arraignment is set for April 23rd. Up until this point, authorities never contacted Munoz’s family directly. The family was angry and frustrated at authorities for keeping them in the dark.

While it is progress that Los Angeles’s DA has finally charged the teen, the family wishes that authorities would try the 17-year-old as an adult.

“You’re a 17-year-old, driving an adult car, acting like an adult…you should be tried as an adult,” Munoz’s stepfather, Isaac Cardona, said to Good Morning America.

“[The DA] is really lenient on certain crimes, certain criminals, especially juveniles,” said Cardona to ABC 7. “And I’m like, you act like an adult you get treated like one.”

The unnamed teen was driving a Lamborghini Urus when he crashed into Munoz, who was making a left turn.

Photo via LAPD West Traffic

The Lamborghini Urus retails for $218,000. It can go 0 to 62 miles per hour in 3.6 seconds. Some experts estimate that the juvenile was going up to double the 35 mph speed limit in order to incur as much damage as he did.

Here’s to hoping that Los Angeles authorities will do the right thing in enacting justice for Monique Munoz and her family.

ORIGINAL BELOW: March 18th, 2021

Over the weekend, family and friends of Monique Muñoz, as well as members of the Los Angeles community, gathered to mourn the life of a young woman taking from this planet too soon.

The gathering of people became a memorial parade, with supporters showing up in classic cars or on foot. People were holding up signs that read: “Justice for Monique Muñoz” and “Olympic Blvd is NOT a race track”.

Muñoz’s family say they will gather at the site of Monique Muñoz’s death every weekend until the family sees justice.

As background, a 17-year-old driver killed 32-year-old Monique Muñoz while he was speeding in a Lamborghini in the Los Angeles streets. The teen was the son of a Beverly Hills millionaire James Khuri who gifted him the Lamborghini for his birthday.

In the aftermath of Muñoz’s death, James Khuri flooded his social media pages with insensitive pictures of himself looking happy and carefree while Muñoz’s family was grieving. After receiving a flood of negative comments condemning his insensitive behavior, Khuri simply turned off his comments

District Attorney George Gascón has not confirmed that he has brought charges against the teen. Muñoz’s family worried that Khuri would sweep Monique’s death “under the rug”.

While her family waited for justice, some savvy internet believed that James Khuri hired PR and marketing teams to bury negative articles about his son.

But Khuri didn’t get away with his attempts to control the press around his son’s involvement in M’s death. The internet rallied around Muñoz’s family, and soon the hashtag #JusticeForMoniqueMuñoz was trending.

Now, Muñoz’s family is focused on one goal. They want justice for their daughter.

“We have purpose. We have a direction. We have this responsibility to Monique to give her a voice, to speak for her, to give her justice and to just show her that we’re here for her,” said Stephanie Crespin, the victim’s cousin to ABC 7.

District Attorney George Gascón released the following statement to Inside Edition: “Monique’s death is a giant loss for her family, our community, and for all of us as Angelenos. This case was recently presented to our office and is under review. Juvenile court proceedings, records, and case files are confidential pursuant to Welfare & Institutions Code section 827. As such, we are unable to provide further information at this time.”

As for the belated apology that James Khuri wrote on his Instagram at the height of the backlash, Muñoz’s family says they see right through it.

“I’ve seen the interview of the father trying to apologize and give me his sympathy, but no, that’s too fake,” Carol Cardona told L.A. Taco. “He has yet to say anything to me, to us. If he were really sorry, he would have reached out when it all happened.”

And although Khuri’s lawyer previously claimed that Muñoz’s family was in the process of coming to a financial settlement with the Khuris, Carol Cardona put that rumor to rest.

Muñoz’s mother said that the family was not in the process of settling financially with the Khuri family.

“My daughter was killed, she was my everything, she was my best friend, and now she’s gone. Instead of planning her future wedding, I had to plan a funeral for her,” she said. “So no, no amount of money is going to bring my baby back.”

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

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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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