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A Day In The Life…

The Mexican elections are over, except for the mumbling, rumbling, and grumbling…

Although my candidate did not win the presidency, let’s hope it will all turn out for the best.

I accept the outcome but I can’t help feeling the need to express a little angst…

On You Tube, I found this instrumental track of “A Day in the Life”  ( ©1967 Lennon & McCartney )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUw4jjVzVDY

I’ve written my own  (tongue in cheek) lyrics:

I heard the news today, oh boy
About a handsome man who made the grade
And though the spin was rather sad
Well I just had to sigh…
It’s better not to cry…

He won the race, he did do that
If it was fair or not, is not the case
The crowd of people stood and cheered
A smile lit up his face…

***
I saw another face , oh boy
Of the man… who lost the chase
The crowd of people turned away
But I just have to pray-ay-ay
That he’ll be back one day-ay-ay

To  turn us – on-n-n-n-n-n

(Lots of psychedelic sound … after all this song is from the Sargeant Pepper album)  Boom – boom – boom… ringing… piano… boom –  boom –  boom –  instrumental – surging melody –  honky-tonk –  surging melody –  ay-ay-ay-.ay-ay-ay – ah-ah-ah-ah strings…

And now there’s talk today oh boy
Of ballots lost, far from here …
The numbers are rather small
But they better count them all …
They – know –  howmany votes – it takes – to keep the ball.

They need to – turn-urn-urn-urn us – on-n-n-n-n-n
(Lots more psychedelic sound…  boom – boom – boom… ringing… piano… boom-boom-boom instrumental – surging… duh-h-h-h-h)

… Even if you don’t share my views I hope you have fun with the music!

Onward and Upward!

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The Mexican Presidential Debate 2012

The Mexican Presidential Candidates 2012

Mexico, with its wealth of natural resources, its geographic position, and a young hard-working population should be among the wealthiest nations on the planet. However the population of 113,000,000 is mired in an endless circle of violence, corruption and inequality. Since 1810 when it fought for independence from Spain, Mexico has been bogged down by (to be charitable) ineffective leadership. The 2012presidential election is an extremely important one.

Last night, June 10th, we watched the second and final debate of the four candidates in the Mexican presidential race. The election will be held on Sunday July 1st. The candidates are:

  • Enrique Pena Nieto: PRI
  • Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: PRD
  • Josefina Vazquez Mota: PAN
  • Gabriel Quadri of the New Alliance party.

Most polls show the New Alliance’s Gabriel Quadri is in fourth place; the PAN’s Vazquez Mota is in third place; Lopez    Obrador of the PRD is in second place; and the PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto in first place.

All of the candidates have negative associations that the others play up.

Enrique Peña Nieto is the candidate for the party that held the presidency in Mexico for 70+ years. The PRI ruled the country with a combination of benevolence and iron fist tactics. The Mexican people are nervous of a return of the old regimen.

Nonetheless, they seem to prefer even this over another term with the PAN administration in the driver’s seat. This party ousted the PRI in 2000 and both their presidents have ended their 6 year terms with low approval ratings. Josefina Vazquez Mota the PAN candidate touts herself as “different” which many see as a weak position for the incumbent party to take.

Meanwhile the PRD’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador carries the stigma of being a hot-headed rabble rouser following his behavior after the last presidential election in 2006. At that time he maintained that the election had been stolen from him by means of the electoral fraud. Many believe the accusation to be true.

Finally Gabriel Quadri of the New Alliance presents an interesting platform but his party is simply not well known enough to be a serious contender.

The “debate” was more of an opportunity for each candidate to present their opinions and in some cases, dish the others:

  • The PAN candidate spent a good part of her allotted time accusing the other candidates of evil deeds. They pretty much defended their positions with solid counter opinions.
  • The PRI candidates tried to underscore the negative effect that the student movement (#Yo Soy 132) is having   on his campaign.
  • The PRD candidate stressed the social responsibility that is characteristic of his party and downplayed the notion that he would be the next Hugo Chavez.
  • The New Alliance urged the Mexican voters to rid their country of past policies that did not work and vote in a new option.

How will the Mexican electorate vote? Traditionally, they show amazing courage and conviction when they are under stress. Whatever the results determine on July 1st, the entire population needs to stand squarely behind the elected candidate. Pulling together is paramount if the country is to shake itself out of the negativity of the past.

* All photos are from Google Images. The top one shows the four candidates. The single shots  (in order of appearance) are of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (PRD), Josefina Vasquez Mota (PAN), Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) and Gabriel Quadri (New Alliance)

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La Vulcanizadora

This is a Spanish quiz: A vulcanizadora is:

  1. A bar frequented by Vulcans in the Star Trek series
  2. A place where vultures congregate
  3. A place to get your tire repaired

If you chose “3” you are correct and you get the Spanish vocabulary prize of the week.                                                              

Maggie and I had a flat yesterday. Fortunately we discovered this when we were right outside the Vulcanizadora – modest as the workshop looked, we could see it was exactly what we needed.

The shop is run by José who is mute. Those who do not speak Spanish and have felt the frustration of being unable to communicate need to meet this guy. He made himself perfectly understood by means of sign language, jumping up and down, and drawing in the air.

He had the tire off the car in no time. He plunged it into a tank of water (to see where air bubbles would show) because where there are bubbles, there is also a problem. José got a pair of pliers and pulled out the culprit – a skinny little nail.

He turned to salute the Virgin of Guadalupe image on the wall. I interpreted this as a little prayer of thanks to her for helping him locate the problem…

He then pried, turned, hauled on and spun the tire to get it off the rim. He patched the little hole … plunged the tire back in the water to be sure there were no more bubbles (problems) Satisfied that the tire was now in excellent shape, he put it back on the car.

Time elapsed: 20 minutes                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Price: 70 pesos

Number of smiles exchanged: muchos

Client satisfaction: 100%

People like José are who you meet when you patronize Mérida’s local establishments.

Also…

Have a look at today’s post on my son’s blog:

http://carlosrosado.blogspot.mx/2012/06/yosoy132-paris.html

Carlos, who lives in Norway, went with a fellow Mexican student  to the Mexican

students’ in Paris rally in support of the #yo soy 132 movement. His opinion is

interesting and common to most of the young people I’ve had the opportunity to speak

with.

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Magical Realism

Yesterday I attended an all-afternoon party. It was one of those sit-at-one-table-for-the-whole-time affairs, and the conversation mostly centered on a group of individuals I’m sure I’ve never met… (although maybe I did at some point over the past 36 years)

But I am used to this, and am quite comfortable just sitting back and listening, drinking a little, eating too much, admiring the babies in attendance, and complimenting everything I can… (a typical Yucatecan party)

Then the conversation turned to darker topics: insecurity, corruption, the election, organized crime … (such things     never used to be issues, let alone ones that were talked about at family gatherings)

In Yucatan, we have been relatively safe from organized crime. Our “City of Peace” seemed to be immune from many of the ills that plague other parts of the country. There are lots of theories as to why this is the case, but after the stories I heard around that table, I began to fear that this could change at any time… (and I started to feel pretty panicked)

I am convinced that fear is eating away at our national backbone, and because we are so scared, we have accepted a serious decline in our quality of life. We have allowed many unsavory situations to become the norm because we think we have no choice… (how did we buy into this?)

I decided to divert the despair by reading through some of my favorite blogs. Usually MEXFILES offers a hard realistic look at Mexico’s current events, nonetheless I decided to see what the blog would be reporting today. Lo and behold, this post was just what I needed to see… (serendipity at work?)

It  ( http://mexfiles.net/2012/04/29/only-right/#comment-30750  ) spoke about an annual Quince Años that is held for disadvantaged young women in our nation’s capital. The smiles on the girls’ faces and the innocent enjoyment shining from their eyes melted my fear… (like a miracle?)

It is said that such “magic realism” occurs when phantasmagorical elements infuse the real world. As they are presented in a straightforward manner, (with pictures!) the “real” and the “fantastic” unite… (good will and positivism are the result)

I am not such a “Pollyanna” as to dare say that good works alone will “save” our country. But Mexicans (and internationals who live here) need to get out of the negativity that has them mired in fear of “what might happen.” It is time to get off our duffs, stop obsessing about our own concerns and work towards a more positive society.  It is also time to stop apologizing, and stick up for ourselves. We cannot allow this negative image to continue. Will everyone buy into this? Doubtful. But you’ll recognize the ones that have… (they’ll have smiles on their faces like the quicañeras)

Photo Credits: (images found on MEXFILES)

1 Zocalo. Photo by Eduardo Garrido/Reuters

2. Quinceñeras in front of flag: Photo by Alma Rodríguez/El Universal

3. At Museo Franz Meyer: Photo by Dieu Nalio Chery / AP

4.On the bus: Photo by Alma Rodríguez/El Universal

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