Category Archives: Mexico

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chavacomiendopizzaizcalli_by_photo_tlacuilopilo-dbwkujyCandid street photography I shot at Guadalupe Lake, Mexico.

This girl is eating pizza by a lake where people gather during the weekends for a stroll, horse-backriding, or enjoy nature’s scenery. During weekdays, people go there to jog or related activities. There are places to eat nearby, especially during the weekends, when people go and visit.

Mexico is the true land of contrasts.

It is ironic that people from all classes share together this huge place, but the lake itself is located in a very upscale residential area — where huge mansions have a view (or even a piece) of the lake. But families from all walks of life gather there to do some picnic, or just relax. Mexico is the true land of contrasts, and this place speaks for itself.

Guadalupe Lake (or Lago de Guadalupe) is located at Cuautitlan Izcalli, in northern Mexico City metro area. A great place to shot sunset photographs, nature pictures, and of course street and candid photos.

Chava mexicana con la boca abierta metiendosela por la boca.

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5 reasons why my country is indeed a shithole

Politically Insurrect.

Opinion column.

Amid the confusion of whether such word was even uttered by President Donald Trump when allegedly referring to African nationes, one thing I can assure you — my country is indeed a shithole.

Headlines can be sensationalized and biased click baits. We know it from this latest American fiasco, where two parties are fighting it out to see who wins the headline wars. But curiously enough, Jimmy Kimmel, CNN, the Guardian, and other media outlets and celebrities are ignoring the fact that Mexico was just deemed — yet again — as dangerous as Syria or Yemen.

Outside the United States there are bad places where corruption is the currency, the daily killing of women a given, and poverty the greatest disease. And I’m talking most of the globe. I for one can not talk with certainty of other countries but my own — and this can’t be denied by Jake Tapper or any other attention seeker. So I will explain why Mexico is a shithole.

Whatever good and beauty Mexico has (and it surely has a lot — tell me about, I love blogging and photographing it) undoubtly has nothing to do with the current state of this crippled nation. But the country in general, if we make a balance, is in deplorable shape. SJW’s, hippies, Super Bowl commercial lovers, and SNL cast… you’ve been warned of how I will tackle this.

And it is quite simple. You can analize my country as a state (government apparatus and its way of governance), as a culture (the way Mexican people behave, customs, and trends), as its laws (what are the rules, and how they are enforced and judged), its territory (the land and resources it comprises) and historiography (the way one sees history):

State.

The different levels of government in Mexico have failed. Not only entire parts of Mexico are under no-man’s land, but others are part of cacicazgo or a similar form of feudal lordship (if you will) under dangerous governors. Mayors and city councils organize like Chicago mobs from the movies — literally. The federal government has become all-powerful that it has become obsolete or useless to regain control of things — assuming they want to regain control instead of creating the chaos. The only part of the state that has remained steadfast — mostly — has been the Mexican military.

This sense of things getting out of hand comes from the inability for any government to take action. They do take action to fill the union’s pockets or gamble on candidates as if it was a game. All money comes from the heavily taxed Mexican people. And the same people who pay for their luxurious travels in Europe, yachts, Russian girlfriends, and Disney-like mansions live in impoverished conditions. Mexicans are killed daily by common thefts or war, many parents and siblings die under the guns sent by Obama — too me that’s way more racist.

Culture. 

Once a people who made astronomical calculations and created incredible engineering prowess now fall slowly but surely into a dark abyss of ignorance, broken families, admiration for crime, and ultimately a broken society.

This has made society unable to function properly anymore. We Mexicans always boast to be a community-centered people. Not any more. We Mexicans had always put family first, no matter what. Not any more. We believe we are clever and have a unique ingenuity — after all, we made life hacks way before they were made popular by YouTubers. Not anymore.

But to me the worst is the outcome, the broken society, unable to keep going it is stalled with female killings, kidnappings, cutting in line, teenage pregnancies, and an ever growing debauchery. People are actually enslaving other people for their organs or to sell to the best bidder, and this is happening not on a distant continent but next to the USA.

Social erosion has given way to weekly headlines here in Mexico of middle-schoolers performing oral sex in class, fathers killing their babies because they were crying too much, drunk politicians getting away with murder (for real), a governor or a mayor wanted by Interpol or the FBI, parties being interrupted by hitmen where everyone is killed for no reason. This is happening on a weekly basis.

Laws.

The most complicated laws in the world, enforced by corrupt or prepotent police forces, and where judges are rarely seen or heard as the chupacabras. No really, here in Mexico there are no courts of law as in the US, Great Britain or other countries. And the Supreme Court only makes non sequitur laws while earning millions of dollars per year.

There is a gun ban. We have a lot of ban laws. And the more restrictions are put the less strengthen society is. There is a saying here in Mexico, that criminals are more protected by the law than the murdered or the raped. Laws are decorative, or only good intentions. The only functional laws are the organic laws which govern the inside of the government apparatus… or how else would they get paid?

Territory. 

Once a rich land Mexico is becoming a wasteland. Ecocide is the word for what is happening right now as you read these lines. Entire pine tree forests are destroyed, sacred mountains leveled to the ground, beaches and choral reefs contaminated beyond human repair, carte blanche to Canadian mining companies and Spanish natural gas entrepeneurs.

Mexicans have always lamented loosing Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, Guatemala, and that eeny tiny bit of Colorado. Go figure what would it be of those impressive landscapes and gorgeous natural parks under such a mess. If you think Los Angeles is polluted, think again.

Historiography.

Mexicans think they are white, or can be white. It is an odd excenticity for a foreigner to comprehend and yet here lies a major issue of the Mexican people. For we have racism too — Mexicans insult native and black people.

The way Mexicans see it is that Mexico started when the Spanish came and conquered. That dangerous way of seeing history is what has fueled a lot of issues. The natural hatred between Spaniards and the English was passed to today’s Mexicans against Americans.

If you want to insult a Mexican — but really hit deep — is to remind him or her how the US “stole” (notice the quotes, please) half the Mexican territory than anything you may think. Mexico is stuck in the 19th century, while the rest of the world has moved on — we haven’t. This is in part because of how we see and understand historical processes. And Mexicans believe they should have retribution (for what, I don’t know) instead of working out ideas of how to improve whatever is left of Mexico.

 

To me this is not a model nation, to me this is a bad country — one that has mud and apparently loves mud by not trying to be better as their ancestors.

Female Volleyball of Nuevo Laredo

Photos I shot of Volleyball girls playing at a local league match in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

A city known for other things than volleyball, it lives a strong subculture around this sport — one that trascends class, gender, or even age.

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A vibrant subculture.

For many years now, decades, Nuevo Laredo has been known to international news outlets for its gritty violence and the colossal volume of import-export commerce that crosses through this border. And it is true — both statements would even fall short. But none would realize that amid local struggles (sometimes created by international ones) there is a vibrant subculture for volleyball.

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An impression that would go down the Rio Grande.

Girls and boys alike immerse themselves (almost religiously) into this sport. Its fast-paced action would seem to require a high degree of agility, quick reaction… and youth. Swiftly, that impression would go down the Rio Grande once you see all the matches — adults, short, or even the elderly join these local league tournaments.

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Perhaps the real future for Nuevo Laredo lies in sports.

Perhaps it is a way to escape of all troubles happening at border. After all, Nuevo Laredo and Laredo, Texas are the twin cities located in the epicenter of immigration struggles and the ilk. As ill fated as the future may seem for Nuevo Laredo, perhaps the real future lies in sports such as volleyball. As a way to escape from everyday issues in this bordertown. Or perhaps — and this may have more sense than any of my anthropological dissections — it is the love for the game.

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Beautiful hot girls volleyball players. Sexy mexican teen girls, tight butts, asses. Chavas de Nuevo Laredo, bonitas hermosas nalgonas, nalgas, culos, colegialas. 

Butterflies – The Souls of Ancient Warriors

Photo I shot at Xochitla, Mexico.

For thousands of years native people in what is now Mexico, Central America and Southwestern United States had stories, epic accounts, and even religious beliefs regarding animals. On of such admired animals was the butterfly.

They revered nature almost to religious levels.

Who knew that people who admired fierce jaguars, stealthy snakes, and mighty eagles would have butterflies in high esteem — from all animals. And yet it is true. Once you know the ancient lore and culture of the indigenous people you can easily understand. For their reason in life wasn’t all about war — or inexistent human sacrifices. They revered nature almost to religious levels, or even more!

Such a society would respect the delicate.

The societies of Ancient Mexico were composed of poets, artists, performers, mathematicians, astronomers, dancers, and great teachers — but you won’t hear this in any Discovery Channel or National Geographic documentary (since they either lack historical knowledge or work on a biased agenda). Such a society would know and respect the delicate, the artistic, and the beautiful. We know that because their poetry and way of talking is full of empathy and care. They were no blunt warriors only — the vast diversity amongst the ancient native peoples of the Americas is not only impressive but still unknown.

Warriors carried a big butterfly symbol.

Motifs of butterflies adorned clothing capes, artisan’s clay figures, and even the glyphs written on deer hide or amatl paper by scribes. In Tula, Hidalgo (known back then as Tollan Xicocotitlan), the capital of the historical Toltecs, warriors carried a big butterfly symbol over their chests as part of their military attire. Also printing seals — a great tradition in Ancient Mexico not so much discussed — were also made with various butterfly shapes and sizes.

There are still traditions to honor the deceased.

But beyond the visible, butterflies were part of the ancient’s stories and beliefs. For instance one of the most famous one, which still survives to our times: butterflies being visiting souls. Although Day of the Dead traditions has been quite tainted and manipulated for centuries — I.E. Disney-Pixar’s Coco — there are still some original traditions who once honored or remembered the deceased. The butterfly story is one.

Now they come to bring joy to us, and for us to honor them.

It is said that if you see a butterfly pass by or visit you, it is in reality the soul of an ancient warrior visiting you. And it is probable that person died in battle to became a beautiful butterfly in the next life. We know from Tula the connection between warriors and butterflies, probably as if they knew that if they were to die in the fight a chance to become a peaceful and delicate butterfly awaited. So people respected and protected butterflies, because they may even have been a father or a sibling who perished under the spears and arrows at the chaos of the battlefield. Now they come to bring joy to us, and for us to honor them.

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Lecheria, Mexico – The Crossroads of Irony.

Photo I shot at the Mexico City metro area.

A kind of no-man’s land.

An area commonly known as Lecheria, it is a crossroads of paths where highways, public transportation and train routes intersect. A kind of no-man’s land, since it is trapped in the local borders of the Tultitlan and Cuautitlan Izcalli municipalities — where crime, people traficking, illegal migration, and road accients thrive. The blurry jurisdiction in the area has created fertile soil for organized crime and urban decay.

The irony lies in this train tracks.

The irony lies in this train tracks, where most Central American illegals hover before going to the United States, since it is used for most of the import-export flow between Mexico and the US. These old tracks has been used for more than a century to communicate the Mexican capital with the far northern part of the country — and hence, America.

A hub for people who work or study.

Lecheria has its name because there used to be many establishments in the area selling milk many decades ago, way before the urban sprawl reached it. Today, the commuting train has one of its stations here, making it a hub for people who work or study daily in Mexico City proper.

It is a micro cosmos of Mexico in general.

The stark contrasts of Lecheria are too easy to spot. There are decaying factories, warehouses, and improvised wooden slums next to upscale malls, luxurious hotels, a museum, and several restaurants and movie theaters. The mountains — part of the Guadalupe Mountain Range — on one side simple unfinished houses, while on the other towers of coveted departments rise tall. It is a micro cosmos of Mexico in general.

lecheria

Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico

Photo I shot at Dolores Hidalgo, in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.

One of the many churches that stand since colonial times — many made with cantera stone, which create the delicate soft color. Also, tiles and other artistic expressions were used to decorate the facade of Mexican churches.

A town populated by talavera ceramic artisans.

While visiting Dolores, I always love to stroll at the local market, where fresh produce and prepared food is available. The outskirts of the town are populated with artisans who work 24/7 on the creation of pottery and home decor based on talavera ceramic. Although tourism is what nowadays is making Dolores stand, talavera ceramic is still by far the main reason Dolores thrive.

Located in Central Mexico, in Guanajuato state. 10 hour drive from the US-Mexico border — give or take.

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Why The Watermarks?

For quite a while I have been absent from WordPress, DeviantArt, Flickr, Instagram and other internet outlets and social media, places where I used to regularly share my photographic and artistic works. The main reason was that I was discouraged to find one of my photos being used by a company without asking me permission — let alone letting me know.

Thieves come in all sizes.

After finding my photo being used (((in all glory))) in their website, I immediately contacted them. I never jump into conclusions, after all, maybe someone thought it would be a naive idea. So I figured, better to ask. And indeed I ask them, and what I thought would be a normal phone conversation swiftly escalated into an all-out confrontation.

Not only they denied it, but they questioned me how would I prove it was my photograph. I should tell you my photograph was heavily edited and cut so that my signature wouldn’t be visible. I was appalled by the bravado with which that fella (((with quite a manlet’s voice))) attacked me — a clear sign they knew they were wrong. It is a big company, and for some reason we still believe that they can’t be thieves. This should show — once again– that thieves come in all sizes, shapes, and forms.

Did anyone catch his name?

My resolve was to protest with bigger and louder watermarks. Something that would infuriate people, because after all that is what protests are about — aren’t they? Or perhaps I slept during my Anarchy 101 classes.

Any how, people did get angry with my watermarks. Apparently I did touch a fiber amongst photography and art lovers. At some point in Imgur people flooded with comments criticizing the watermark, instead of the work itself. Their attention turned towards the watermark signature en masse — well not literally, but you get the point. The joke that struck me the most was when an imgurian said, “Did anyone catch his name?”

The internet can make you believe you’re crazy.

At that point I decided to not post pictures anymore, photography or art-wise. Which now I know I was wrong. But at the moment I had an urge to disconnect to keep my sanity. Yes, the Internet can make you believe you’re crazy. And crazy things I did — like not sharing my art and photography any more.

Watermarks make them uncomfortable.

Slowly but surely I began to share again at Instagram, and for the past weeks at DeviantArt. Now I am returning. And we’ll see what new adventures my photographs take me to. Many people ask me about stories or anecdotes when taking photographs, especially street photography (because it may seem more invasive). I always tell people the backlash, the ignorant critique, and the raising eyebrows are what have got me more in trouble than the actual shooting of the picture. And now… the watermarks. Apparently people have no issue with nudes, candid shots, critter close-ups, or poverty pictures I document — watermarks make them uncomfortable. Well, here you go — kryptonite for our times. I always believed kryptonite was telling the truth, but oh well.

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3 reasons that make Mexico’s “No” to Trump’s wall an irony.

After much delay the Mexican government has officially spoken about Donald Trump’s proposal of Mexico paying for the wall at the border. Luis Videgaray, one of the strongest and loyal men of the Mexican president, has declared that not “one peso” will be spent on the wall using Mexican people’s money.

Videgaray is the Secretary of Finance in Mexico, all things money goes through him. And there resides the irony of his words – his office and himself have been involved in major corruption controversies. After all, he handles public finances – making Videgaray the man with which Trump will have to face inevitably (If the Donald secures the US presidency, of course).

3 major corruption scandals that make Videgaray’s “no” to Trump’s wall an irony.
Bear in mind the word major, since more allegations abound.

1.

Dubious Mexican presidential campaign money.

As Enrique Peña Nieto’s strong man during the campaign of 2012, he helped secured big-time donors in order to make a dent on then favorite leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. As pressure mounted from special interest groups and the media, Videgaray made cash began to flow. The way he did it is still a polemic debate from Mexican opposition.

Videgaray secured impressive donations from Soriana market store chain (our equivalent of Wal-Mart). It was documented at the time how Videgaray’s party PRI distributed Soriana gift cards with petty cash in exchange for votes. Their campaign also received money from abroad who had interests in not letting Obrador turning Mexico in the next Venezuela. So most of the money he raised was illegal by Mexican electoral law.

2.

Lavish mansions, dirty deeds.

A contractor with shady links to the President of Mexico, and especially Videgaray allegedly bribed them with vast lands and mansions that would make the late Queen of France look modest. Videgaray has his own luxurious mansion at Malinalco small town, while the President and his curvaceous wife have their colossal mansion in the upscale western Mexico City side.

The Mexican First Lady has already explained on national television that they pay with their own money their brand-new house, even when their children (the ones who called poor Mexican people disgusting) go for safari at Africa and do shopping sprees in Beverly Hills. The opposition thinks Videgaray did a good job covering whatever muddy deeds they have done with those contractors.

3.

Controversial energy deals and taxes.

Videgaray has pushed every year for heavy taxes upon an already burdensome Mexican people. He says results will be seen on the long run, but on the short run he has been surrounded with shifty characters involved with corruption in Pemex (the state and only oil company) and other Energy sectors. Many ask where are the taxes he so vehemently rooted for are going. Utility bills are more expensive than ever in Mexico, but it seems that money is going to some pockets – but whose?

Mexican leaders soft spot is not nationalism (we’ve been invaded since 1521) or people’s dissent (hey, they let Texas go after all). All that Mexican government officials and White Mexican elites are money. As simplistic as it sounds it is what has brought misery to Mexico for centuries.

Now that Donald Trump is threatening the status quo not only in America but also in Mexico, Mexican leaders might think it is more troubling to give money for Trump’s wall than to keep purchasing mansions, silence of obscure deals, and political campaigns. If you summed it up, the wall would be a cheaper way out of a spat with Trump than what their mansions cost.

Opposition leaders calculate 10% of public finances in Mexico’s government goes to documented corruption – stealing or bribery. But Videgaray insists he will not pay a single peso from Mexico’s public finances. You see the irony, or at least the moral hypocrisy?

5 Reasons why George Lopez was wrong in using violent imagery against Trump

George Lopez just recently uploaded a gory image via his twitter account portraying El Chapo drug lord holding a beheaded Donald Trump. And he’s not the only Mexican in the US making this kind of allegory of drug war terrorism – Univision and Telemundo are doing so too through telenovelas (Mexican soap operas). One thing is portrayal through news outlets but enabling it is wrong. The world is appalled with drug war-related violence, Mexicans should repudiate it too and there are reasons why.

1. Violence generates violence.

As cliché as it sounds, it holds true in Mexico. For years, since the drug war broke in 2003 in Nuevo Laredo, rival groups have used the web to their fear-imposing advantage. Cartels attack each other through videos and imagery of their deeds, while using it as a recruitment tool.

2. Open wounds.

Contrary to the life George Lopez have lived, the bulk of Mexicans in Mexico had to bear for years the traumatic burden of war. Entire cities taken over either by a drug cartel or Mexican army – or both. Lives disrupted forever. Thousands displaced because of massive deaths, kidnappings, and psychological harassment. The war still rages in Mexico and I wonder if sending meme-like images from a cozy celebrity home will make anyone an anti-Donald Trump activist.

3. Bad image

One thing Mexicans and other nations agree is disavowing from violence carried out by small factions or a government. We feel we are not violent, thus spreading this imagery that propagates a wrong idea of who we are. It’s like saying all Americans are KKK members, which is not true. If a Mexican enables this type of images born out of a drug war, then it could seem that he identifies with that violent culture. Does George Lopez buy into this drug cartel terrorism propaganda? I know most Mexicans in Mexico don’t.

4. Insulting to real activists.

Cheap images born out of drug violence undermines honest work made by many activists that fight for the rights of Mexicans or racism against minorities in the US. People have given their life, literally – hence insulting their legacy and their work to bring prosperity to war-thorn Mexico. Many groups in Southern Mexico have rose in arms against bloody drug cartels, meaning people are against this culture of violence. Not repudiating violence in Mexico makes you part of that violence.

5. Not art.

I know art, I am an artist. Actually there is amazing counter-government artwork and street art in Mexico. Propagating hate imagery that was created by violent Mexicans to murder and provoke fear to other Mexicans is supporting it. It’s the same mimic principle done by ISIS terror cells within the US and Europe. So, please – Mexican or not Mexican, don’t do it.

I have suffered from the war in Mexico, people I know have too. It is no laughing matter as it is for George Lopez. I feel personally offended by it, especially coming from a person that could do so much for our people via other fronts — but not with cheap shots. Whatever issues against Donald Trump could be said, it can be said in a vast myriad ways. Especially when the drug war and illegal immigration is the fault of corrupt Mexican government, not Donald Trump.