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.

The Coronavirus Is Starting To Hit Mexico’s Poorest Communities And The Results Could Be Devastating

Things That Matter

The Coronavirus Is Starting To Hit Mexico’s Poorest Communities And The Results Could Be Devastating

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Mexico has been ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic. That’s a fact. It now ranks fourth globally in terms of deaths related to the virus, with nearly 50,000 dead. However, many of those cases and deaths have largely been centered on the country’s large cities – including Ciudad de México, Guadalajara and Tijuana.

That appears to be changing as many of Mexico’s most remote and poorest pueblos – most inhabited by Indigenous communities – have started to see the virus appear on their doorsteps. With many rural pueblitos lacking access to healthcare and many having extreme rates of poverty, this could spell disaster for Mexico’s most vulnerable communities.

Mexico’s poorest village has its first case of Coronavirus and this could be devastating for locals.

Mexico’s rural pueblitos, largely home to Indigenous communities, had mostly escaped the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic. For months, as the virus raged across the country, Mexico’s Indigenous communities enacted their own checkpoints and lockdowns and roadblocks that helped contain the virus’ spread. However, that strategy seems to have reached a dead end as new reports of Covid-19 emerge from Mexico’s poorest and most rural communities.

In Oaxaca, the village of Santos Reyes Yucuná – which is Mexico’s poorest, reported its first case of the virus on July 17, four months after the pandemic reached Mexico. The virus took longer to find its way to this remote, Mixtec community located 140 miles from the state’s capital due to its lack of infrastructure, especially roads.

Santos Reyes Yucuná is especially vulnerable to virus. The government’s social development agency (CONEVAL) estimates that 99.9% of the 1,380 residents live in extreme poverty. The region has no hospital and most residents do not have health insurance or the means to travel to a hospital in another area. Another town in Oaxaca’s Mixteca region, Coicoyán de las Flores, is in a similar situation with similar levels of poverty. One case of the Coronavirus was reported last month and the patient, a 25-year-old woman, died. 

Last weekend, 23 new cases of Covid-19 were registered in the Mixteca region, for a total of 482 positive cases and at least 48 reported deaths. The area’s municipal seat, Huajuapan, has the highest number of cases at 30, with three people hospitalized. 

Many rural communities had been labeled ‘Communities of Hope’ and were allowed to reopen early to avoid severe economic costs.

As the Coronavirus first arrived to Mexico, many leaders of rural pueblitos were quick to enact strict preventive measures, closing food markets and installing health checkpoints and roadblocks. But as the economic effects began to be felt, the government launched a program known as the “Municipalities of Hope.”

The program included 324 towns that the government decided were eligible to reopen early. The plan allowed places with no Covid-19 cases – and with no cases in surrounding areas – to start lifting restrictions, in an attempt to mitigate the shutdown’s devastating economic impact.

But just a couple of months later, that list has dwindled to just a few dozen villages. One town – Ometepec, Guerrero, lasted less than 14 days on the list. “In just a few weeks, we went from zero to 47 confirmed cases and six dead,” said Ulises Moreno Tabarez, a postdoctoral researcher who lives in the town.

According to Dr Carlos Magis Rodríguez, a professor of medicine and a public health researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, a lack of serious lockdown measures doomed the strategy from the beginning. “If there were strict control of entrances and exits, a quarantine upon arrival, it could have worked,” Magis Rodríguez told Reforma. “The places this has worked are practically islands.”

But less than two months later, Mexico has become one of the worst-affected countries in the world.

Credit: Toya Sarno Jordan / Getty Images

As of July 29, Mexico has more than 400,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 44,876 people have died from the virus. Mexico now ranks 6th globally in number of cases and 4th in number of deaths. And these numbers are widely seen as under reporting the severity of the crisis. Mexico has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, at approximately 2.5 tests per confirmed case, compared with the U.S. rate of 12.52, the UK’s 22.57 – and New Zealand’s rate of 359.2.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s weak healthcare system is underfunded; hospitals attribute a large number of coronavirus deaths to faulty equipment and a lack of resources rather than the virus itself. The country is in no way equipped to provide unemployment benefits or stimulus checks to almost half of the population that lives in poverty. Furthermore, many informal workers lack health insurance. The country has very little in the way of a safety net, so many are forced to decide risking their health or risk going hungry.

Mexicans are not alone as countries across Latin America have failed to support their citizens.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Across Latin America, poor families have faced an impossible choice – between obeying quarantine measures and starving, or venturing out to work despite the danger of infection.

But unlike other leaders, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has not introduced stimulus measures to help the most vulnerable communities, instead his government has pushed through a string of severe austerity measures – even as he emphasized the need for the economy to stay open.

The president has also downplayed the pandemic – claiming in April that Mexico had “tamed” the virus – and repeatedly emphasized the need for the economy to stay open, striking a notably more relaxed tone than warnings from the country’s Covid-19 tsar, Hugo López-Gatell.

People Have A Lot Of Opinions About The Argentina Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Street Food: Latin America’

Culture

People Have A Lot Of Opinions About The Argentina Episode Of Netflix’s ‘Street Food: Latin America’

Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images

Netflix has a new food show out and it has everyone buzzing. “Street Food: Latin America” is bringing everyone the sabor of Latin America to their living room. However, reviews are mixed because of Argentina and the lack of Central American representation.

Netflix has a new show and it is all about Latin American street food.

Some of the best food in the world comes from Latin America. That is just a fact and it isn’t because our families and community come for Latin America. Okay, maybe just a little. The food of Latin America comes with history and stories that have shaped our childhood. For many of us, it is the only thing we have that connects us to the lands our families have left.

The show is highlighting the contributions of women to street food.

“Street Food: Latin America” focuses mainly on the women that are leading the street food cultures in different countries in Latin America. For some of them, it was a chance to bring themselves out of poverty and care for their children. For others, it was a rebellion against the male-dominated culture of cooking in Latin America.

However, some people have some strong opinions about the show and they aren’t good.

There is a lot of attention to native communities in the Latino community culturally right now. The Argentina episode where someone claims that Argentina is more European is rubbing people the wrong way right now. While the native population of Argentina is small, it is still important to highlight and honor native communities who are indigenous to the lands.

The disregard for the indigenous community is upsetting because indigenous Argentinians are fighting for their lives and land.

An A Jazeera report focused on an indigenous community in northern Argentina who were fighting to protect their land. After decades of discrimination and humiliation, members of the Wichi community fought to protect their land from the Argentinian government grabbing it in 2017. Early this year, before Covid, children of the tribe started to die at alarming rates of malnutrition.

Another pain point in the Latino community is the complete disregard of Central America.

Central America includes Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, and Panama. Central America’s exclusion is not sitting right with Netflix users with Central American heritage. Like, how can five whole countries be looked over during a Netflix show about street food in Latin America?

Seems like there is a chance for Netflix to revisit Latin America for more food content.

There are so many countries in Latin America that offer delicious foods to the world. There is more to Latin America than Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia.

READ: This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food