Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

The Left Strikes Again (and Again) in Mexico City

Rate this topic


D'kian
 Share

Recommended Posts

Last month Mexico City's police conducted a raid at a disco called "News Devine." 12 people, including three police officers, died from suffocation and/or crushing injuries, when a pile-up ensued at the main entrance.

The first news reports stated the disco's owner urged customers to elave when the police first entered, whereupon panic and a stampede ensued and thence the pile-up. The source for these reports were the police and other authorities. it turned out to be a clumsy attempt at covering up reality.

Here's what really happened:

To begin with the disco was ful of underage teens, some as young as 13, celebrating the end of the school year. When the police raided, the owner stopped the music and urged the customers to walk out calmly as ordered by the police. Outside all the kids were being detained and taken into waiting buses. When the buses ran out of room, the police commander ordered the entrance shut, but did not tell the police inside to stop trying to get the rest of the people out. That caused a massive pile-up at the entrance and the deaths of 9 kids and three police officers.

That's plenty bad enough, but it gets worse.

The disco's owner and barman were arrested for contributing to the delinquency of minors, for allegedly serving alcohol to minors and allowing drugs to be traded at their locale. None of these acusations have been proven. I suppose there's a good chance theya re true, as discos and such make money from selling drinks, and drug trading goes on in most of them with or without the owners' knowledge or consent. But as of today there is no proof.

The police commander was accused of murder. That's ridiculous. Clearly, if he did order the entrance shut while people were being taken out, he would be guilty of negligent homicide. But the only way he's guity of murder is if he acted as he did for the purpose of killing people. Nothing in the evidence reported so far even hints at it.

Many of the kids were taken to various police facilities. Some young women were sexually harassed (stripped naked for cursory medical exams, groped, photographed naked, etc). many of the kids were robbed by the police, too. As far as I know none were charged with a crime. Which naturally begs the question: why were the kids detained and treated as felons to begin with? Also unanswered is why the disco was raided at all.

But not content with all of this, the City's government announced today it is expropriating the disco, supposedly to turn it into a drug addiction counseling center for teenagers. Still worse, the disco's owner leased the building from someone else, someone not involved in any of this mess, someone not guilty of anything.

Today one of the better center-left columnists, Sergio Sarmiento, wrote an editorial about the expropriation. Interestingly he made an excellent point. He says Mexican law does not guarantee the ownership of private property, and that such property is private only as long as the government allow it. More interesting still, this was Sarmiento's main point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having traveled to Mexico a number of times, I feel fortunate that I was able to avoid any contact with the police. These sorts of stories about the police acting similar to the criminals are not uncommon. I wish you luck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having traveled to Mexico a number of times, I feel fortunate that I was able to avoid any contact with the police. These sorts of stories about the police acting similar to the criminals are not uncommon. I wish you luck.

Living in Mexico, contact with police is unavoidable in the long run.

Traffic cops are not so bad. I usually work late nights and, often, I rush home as fast as I can. Two months ago I was pulled over. The cop asked where I was headed, where I came from, and wanred me to slow down. That was it. He seemed honestly concerned I might cause an accident.

Last year I accidentally left Walmart early in the evening without my headligths on. I got pulled over and that cop asked for a bribe (hinted, really). I gave him about half of what the fine would be worth. the not so bad part is these days they don't pull you over unless you've actually commited a traffic violation of some sort.

But aside from traffic cops and sometimes asking beat cops for directions, I've successfully avoided any other contact with police. And for that I am grateful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always thought Mexico was kind of a lawless anarchy of a country, and I never suspected that they actually have Wal-marts there. That's cool as hell. I'm surprised and glad it's not as third-world as I always thought it to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always thought Mexico was kind of a lawless anarchy of a country, and I never suspected that they actually have Wal-marts there. That's cool as hell. I'm surprised and glad it's not as third-world as I always thought it to be.

Compared to much of the world, Mexico actually has a decent per capita GDP. They are #70, based on 2005 data.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_gdp_...inal-per-capita

That puts Mexico ahead of places like Russia (which has probably moved ahead due to the oil price run-up in the last 2 years), Egypt, China, Brazil, Argentina, and India. Just imagine how much better the country could be doing economically if the rule of law and property rights were fully embraced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always thought Mexico was kind of a lawless anarchy of a country, and I never suspected that they actually have Wal-marts there. That's cool as hell. I'm surprised and glad it's not as third-world as I always thought it to be.

Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco, McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, etc etc. Even better there are some homegrown franchises and businesses. Office Depot and Office Max compete with a local called Offix. There's even a local fast food type teriyaki and sushi chain called TeriYaki San (odd, isn't it?)

There's some innovation, too. I'm told Telcel, the country's biggest cell operator, invented the pre-paid cell phone card. Walmart actually came over here in partnership with an old supermarket and restaurant chain called Grupo Cifra. At first the partnership was limited to a joint venture called Club Aurrera, which was exactly like Sam's Club. Over time Walmart increased its investment and eventually bought out Cifra. Now it's called Nueva Walmart de Mexico. They operate a bunch of Walmart stores, Sam's Clubs, Vips restaurants, El Porton restaurants, and are trying out a chainof mid-scale Italian restaurants. Oh, there's a subsidiary chain of supermarkets called Superama, They're smaller, but have better selections.

All this is the result of the policies ennacted by President Carlos Salinas between 88 and 94, some of which continued by President Ernewsto Zedillo from 94 to 2000. Since then, though liberalization of the economy and of politics has slowed down. In some areas, such as electoral laws, it has been reversed. Worse yet since free elections in 97 the reactionary left has taken on a lot of power. They've ruled uninterrupted in Mexico City since 97, for instance.

The left isn't all bad. In the City they've instituted the right to abortion in the first trimester, a living-will law and civil unions for same sex couples. But on business issues they've been terrible. Like the Democrats, they oppose any proposals by the party in power regardless of merit. Thus all attempts at tax reform have been shot down, or reconfigured into added laws and added complications, usually with higher taxes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Update: the chief of police of Mexico City, Joel Ortega, resigned about two hours ago today, as a consequence of the deaths at the News Devine disco.

I think that's good. He wasn't there, true, and he didn't order the raid. But such raids are policy under his adminsitration, and Mr. Ortega is responsible to make sure the police are trained for such things. as of today, there's not even a procedural manual for that kind of raid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mexico probably stacks up pretty well compared to Detroit, Michigan. Here we have a corrupt mayor, a city council that takes bribes, a bankrupt school system, a thoroughly incompetent Thief of Police, crumbling infrastructure, high taxes, a disappearing manufacturing sector, a virtual depression in real estate, unemployment above 8.5% and a state governor who is too stupid to do anything but spend money on commercials telling people that Michigan is a great place to take a vacation. If one thinks about it too much, you get depressed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bad as Detroit is, it doesn't compare to how truly bad Mexico is.

It's not as bad as the link makes it out to be. Millions of Americans come here every year and I doubt more get in trouble here than in other countries. Of course, it makes sense to keep to known tourist spots, and safe (or safer) locations within cities and towns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mexico probably stacks up pretty well compared to Detroit, Michigan.

I've no idea. It might be in some ways. For instance while we do have public education, middle-class families can afford to send their children to private schools, at least some of their children. Also there are plenty of charitable scholarships for private schools for poorer families.

Here we have a corrupt mayor,

Ha! You don't know what corrupt means. After the 2006 elections the PRD closed down Reforma avenue in "protest." Mexico City's mayor then was also PRD. You'd think even so he couldn't allow a major thoroughfare, and very long one, to be closed down for even a few hours, never mind a few weeks. Well, it turns out he could. He could also spend city money to provide "humanitarian" support to the thugs camping out int he street (portable toilets, food, blankets, medicine).

That's corrupt.

Speaking of the PRD's loosing candidate, Lopez Obrador, he published a book before the election advocating certain policies. One was to allow private firms (!) to partner with the state oil monopoly, Pemex, in order to explore, find and exploit new oil fields in deeper waters in the Gulf of Mexico. This year, when President Calderon proposed just that, Lopez Obrador took to the streets, again, to protest Calderon's sinister plot to privatize the nation's patrimony. That's not just corrupt, it's so beyond hypocritical to be hilarious (if it weren't to make Mexico an oil importer in a few years).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's not as bad as the link makes it out to be.

The fact that it is that bad at least some of the time is more than enough for me to be in agreement with that blogger - I will not voluntarily leave the protections of the rule of law (such as still exist here) for anything so frivolous as a vacation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last month Mexico City's police conducted a raid at a disco called "News Devine." 12 people, including three police officers, died from suffocation and/or crushing injuries, when a pile-up ensued at the main entrance.

The first news reports stated the disco's owner urged customers to elave when the police first entered, whereupon panic and a stampede ensued and thence the pile-up. The source for these reports were the police and other authorities. it turned out to be a clumsy attempt at covering up reality.

Here's what really happened:

To begin with the disco was ful of underage teens, some as young as 13, celebrating the end of the school year. When the police raided, the owner stopped the music and urged the customers to walk out calmly as ordered by the police. Outside all the kids were being detained and taken into waiting buses. When the buses ran out of room, the police commander ordered the entrance shut, but did not tell the police inside to stop trying to get the rest of the people out. That caused a massive pile-up at the entrance and the deaths of 9 kids and three police officers.

That's plenty bad enough, but it gets worse.

The disco's owner and barman were arrested for contributing to the delinquency of minors, for allegedly serving alcohol to minors and allowing drugs to be traded at their locale. None of these acusations have been proven. I suppose there's a good chance theya re true, as discos and such make money from selling drinks, and drug trading goes on in most of them with or without the owners' knowledge or consent. But as of today there is no proof.

The police commander was accused of murder. That's ridiculous. Clearly, if he did order the entrance shut while people were being taken out, he would be guilty of negligent homicide. But the only way he's guity of murder is if he acted as he did for the purpose of killing people. Nothing in the evidence reported so far even hints at it.

Many of the kids were taken to various police facilities. Some young women were sexually harassed (stripped naked for cursory medical exams, groped, photographed naked, etc). many of the kids were robbed by the police, too. As far as I know none were charged with a crime. Which naturally begs the question: why were the kids detained and treated as felons to begin with? Also unanswered is why the disco was raided at all.

But not content with all of this, the City's government announced today it is expropriating the disco, supposedly to turn it into a drug addiction counseling center for teenagers. Still worse, the disco's owner leased the building from someone else, someone not involved in any of this mess, someone not guilty of anything.

Today one of the better center-left columnists, Sergio Sarmiento, wrote an editorial about the expropriation. Interestingly he made an excellent point. He says Mexican law does not guarantee the ownership of private property, and that such property is private only as long as the government allow it. More interesting still, this was Sarmiento's main point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last month Mexico City's police conducted a raid at a disco called "News Devine." 12 people, including three police officers, died from suffocation and/or crushing injuries, when a pile-up ensued at the main entrance.

The first news reports stated the disco's owner urged customers to elave when the police first entered, whereupon panic and a stampede ensued and thence the pile-up. The source for these reports were the police and other authorities. it turned out to be a clumsy attempt at covering up reality.

Here's what really happened:

To begin with the disco was ful of underage teens, some as young as 13, celebrating the end of the school year. When the police raided, the owner stopped the music and urged the customers to walk out calmly as ordered by the police. Outside all the kids were being detained and taken into waiting buses. When the buses ran out of room, the police commander ordered the entrance shut, but did not tell the police inside to stop trying to get the rest of the people out. That caused a massive pile-up at the entrance and the deaths of 9 kids and three police officers.

That's plenty bad enough, but it gets worse.

The disco's owner and barman were arrested for contributing to the delinquency of minors, for allegedly serving alcohol to minors and allowing drugs to be traded at their locale. None of these acusations have been proven. I suppose there's a good chance theya re true, as discos and such make money from selling drinks, and drug trading goes on in most of them with or without the owners' knowledge or consent. But as of today there is no proof.

The police commander was accused of murder. That's ridiculous. Clearly, if he did order the entrance shut while people were being taken out, he would be guilty of negligent homicide. But the only way he's guity of murder is if he acted as he did for the purpose of killing people. Nothing in the evidence reported so far even hints at it.

Many of the kids were taken to various police facilities. Some young women were sexually harassed (stripped naked for cursory medical exams, groped, photographed naked, etc). many of the kids were robbed by the police, too. As far as I know none were charged with a crime. Which naturally begs the question: why were the kids detained and treated as felons to begin with? Also unanswered is why the disco was raided at all.

But not content with all of this, the City's government announced today it is expropriating the disco, supposedly to turn it into a drug addiction counseling center for teenagers. Still worse, the disco's owner leased the building from someone else, someone not involved in any of this mess, someone not guilty of anything.

Today one of the better center-left columnists, Sergio Sarmiento, wrote an editorial about the expropriation. Interestingly he made an excellent point. He says Mexican law does not guarantee the ownership of private property, and that such property is private only as long as the government allow it. More interesting still, this was Sarmiento's main point.

I totally agree with Sarmiento who's only making an apparent observation. Capitalism only works if it has the government in its pocket. When its the other way around and the capitalists are the little twits getting their noses bloodied, their property has always been conviscated (China and Russia for example) and they end up hanging from street lights. Incidentally, the lawlessness of the Mexican legal authorities will soon be coming to the United States, so don't think so lowly of the Mexicans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having traveled to Mexico a number of times, I feel fortunate that I was able to avoid any contact with the police. These sorts of stories about the police acting similar to the criminals are not uncommon. I wish you luck.

A number of years ago I went to Baja for 3 weeks. It was certainly an eye opener for me. Particularly when I had a discussion with several college educated people who were making in a year what they could have made in a couple months if they had just moved north to the states. When I asked them why they wouldn't go, they replied that "you Americans don't have any laws." Obviously I shocked. If anything we gringos have more laws than we could ever use in a million years. Nonetheless, after I thought about it I had to agree with them. In Playa Rosarita there was no need to lock doors because no one would ever think to steal anything. That definitely isn't the case where I live. I think our problem is caused by the fact that our laws contradict each other and in effect create a lawless paranoic society. I think Americans have to wake up and start viewing our country like a foreigner. In other words we have to stop being xenophobic. In regard to Mexican police, I have to agree with you. I certainly don't want to have anything to do with them. But then, have you taken a look inside our prisons lately? What's the difference? The entire world, thanks to "free enterprise" is becoming a ruthless Orwellian place to live in. I think we're more like Mexico than you may think.

Edited by Ryunkin
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are you blaming this on the 'left'? Puritanical attitudes towards drug use/underage drinking/etc are generally a feature of right wing conservative movements rather than coming from the left, which is normally more open to legalisation arguments. The same applies to demands for a totalitarian police-force and hysteria over cracking down on victimless crime - these are all classic traits of authoritarian conservatism.

Unless things are totally different in Mexico.

Edited by eriatarka
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I totally agree with Sarmiento who's only making an apparent observation. Capitalism only works if it has the government in its pocket.
Capitalism works best when the government protects individual rights.

Why are you blaming this on the 'left'? Puritanical attitudes towards drug use/underage drinking/etc are generally a feature of right wing conservative movements rather than coming from the left, which is normally more open to legalisation arguments. The same applies to demands for a totalitarian police-force and hysteria over cracking down on victimless crime - these are all classic traits of authoritarian conservatism.

Unless things are totally different in Mexico.

Given that the PRD is a leftist party and they control the show in Mexico City, it sounds to me like the left rightfully (no pun intended) gets the blame for this one. :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are you blaming this on the 'left'?

Good question. Because mayor of Mexico City, as well as the chief of police, is a left wing politician from a left wing party, the PRD. Besides Mexico City has been ruled by the PRD since 1997.

Puritanical attitudes towards drug use/underage drinking/etc are generally a feature of right wing conservative movements rather than coming from the left, which is normally more open to legalisation arguments.

Not really. They're a feature of puritans and prudes, be they left or right wing.

The same applies to demands for a totalitarian police-force and hysteria over cracking down on victimless crime - these are all classic traits of authoritarian conservatism.

Oh, I don't know. Ask anyone in the USSR and Eastern Europe how totalitarian the police was during communist times. In Mexico City police use force most against non-violent, non-criminal targets. For example, they won't clear "protesters" blocking streets and snarling traffic, but they will clear off sidewalk cafes which may ir may not have valid permits.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nonetheless, after I thought about it I had to agree with them. In Playa Rosarita there was no need to lock doors because no one would ever think to steal anything. That definitely isn't the case where I live.

So? that's not the case where I live, either, and I'm as Mexican as the Bajans you cite. I wouldn't dream of not locking my front door, not locking the office tight and alarmed, not locking the car, etc etc. I've been robbed at gunpoint once, had one car stolen, had parts of cars stolen, had our family's company broken into three times, two delivery vans stolen (one recovered by the insurance company, not the police), we had our payroll stolen twice. Does that soud like an idylic, peaceful city to you?

Not to mention the current narco wars. Not a day goes by you don't hear of executions, whether of drug gang members fighting each other, police, army, etc.

I think our problem is caused by the fact that our laws contradict each other and in effect create a lawless paranoic society.

One of the early articles of the Mexican constitution gurantees freedom of speech. An article modified this year regulates "electoral" speech, and imposes very stiff fines for private citizens who hire TV or radio spots supporting or opposing a particular candidate, aprty or political issue. I call that a contradiction. there are many more.

I think Americans have to wake up and start viewing our country like a foreigner.

That's good advice, but it applies to all countries. It helps you understand how your country is viewed, and in some cases why.

In other words we have to stop being xenophobic.

I'm not sure how xenophobic or not Americans are. I can tell you Mexicans are very xenophobic. I'm descended from Polish and Lithuanian Jews. On my mother's side, the family's lived in mexico since the late 1800s. On my father's side since the 1920s. Both my parents were born in Mexico, as was I. I'm regarded as a foreigner by a lot of people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hahahahah. Leftist ghetto-and-third-world-idealizer meets someone-who-actually-lives-there. This one is a classic. Give 'em hell, D'kian.

Thanks.

There's a lot about Mexico that isn't well known outside. Take the US, for instance. The typical mexican's feeling for America are quite complex. You could call it a hate/love relationship. Your average mexican has little good to say about how America works, but he also prefers American products and movies. Even such brands as Samsung, Hitachi and Sony are perceived as being American in origin. Of course, having gone to see an American film, your typical mexican will also complain that things in films are idealized and meant to serve as US propaganda (I kid you not). Mexicans who can afford to love to shop in the US. Maybe less now than before, since we've been catching up as regards choices and prices, but it's still cheaper to buy everyday clothes at a US outlet shop than a mexican one. then they complain about America's consumerist culture. And for some reason there's a widely held perception that Americans are cold and aloof.

You might think these attitudes are more prevalent among those who know the US least. That's not so. I know plenty of people who travel to the US more than I do and most hold one or more of these ideas and notions.

Where does all this and more come from? Several sources. Let's list a few:

1) The US-Mexican war. It began a few years after Mexico gained independence. The trouble started because Americans had settled in Texas at the time it belonged to Spain (with Spain's permission). Blunders took place on both sides, and in the end America's superior army carried the day (Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson both fought int hat war, I think Grant may have too). Now, there was a dispute as to where Texas' border lay. Mexico claimed it was the Nueces river, farther north, and the US claimed it was the Rio Grande. Who wins the war usually calls the shots. Later one California, New Mexico and Arizona (and possibly Nevada) were also annexed to the US.

Now, overall this was a bad act by America. But the US did pay money as compensation for the seized lands, and it was over 150 years ago. Who has the energy to carry a grudge that long?

2) The drug war. The perception is that America is flooded with drugs (it isn't) which in turn cause drug violence here (it does). The US indeed has erred in criminalizing drugs. At that just about every other country in the West does, but America has gone farther than most, not having learned anything from Prohibition days. regardless of that, US aid and assitance to mexico is tied, in part, to cooperation in the war on drugs. But the real problem is that Mexico requires such aid and assistance, not how it is offered and with what strings attached.

3) America has terrible labor laws. Not really. I mean, if Mexican labor laws are that much better, why aren't Americans sneaking here illegally to find jobs? read my post on Mexican unions found in the anti union ad thread.

4) America covets Mexico's oil because it has none of her own. I am serious. Few people know America is one of the biggest oil producers in the world, but that she uses much more than she can produce. Fewer know america began the industrial exploitation of oil in the XIX century in Pensylvannia of all places.

I digress. If America wanted our oil, she could grab it all within a week or two. I know the Mexican Armed Forces and I'm far from impressed. We'd be licked so fast most of us wouldn't even know we'd been licked. ah, but when the Peso crached in 1995 and interest rates rocketed to levles best forgotten, the US offered $50 billion (dollars) in loan gurantees. Only it asked for oil income as colateral. The income itself, right? not the oil. No matter. It was seen as a crude attempt (no pun intended) to steal our oil. <sigh>

5) Americans are fat and lazy. Obesity is a problem in the US, everyone knows that. Why, even poor people are fat. But it's a problem in mexico, too. I'd say it's about even. As for lazy, it applies to neither. There are lazy and hardworking people, and any degree in between, in every country.

6) You can't find decent mexican food anywhere in the US, but there is a burger joint in every corner in Mexico. I don't know about the first. I don't go looking for Mexican fare when I visit the US; plenty waiting when I get home. I do know that Taco Bell is about as Mexican as Sushi, but then there's more to American cuisine than burgers and hot dogs. In any case, it's hardly America's fault that McDonald's and KFC have expanded internationally, but few Mexican chains have done so (to be fair there are few mexican restaurant chains). I think authentic mexican fast food fare would be a hit in America if done properly and with mild salsas. final note, I don't suppose you can get good mexican fare in Japan or France, either.

7) Most important, while a lot of education is and has been private for a long time, the Education Department sets the various curricula for all grades, and distributes an official textbook for elementarty schools. and for 80+ years the same party, the PRI in various incarnations, ruled the country. This combo means several generations were taught jingoistic nationalism (everything we do and as we do it in mexico is better than anything else, and woe to whoever says or shows otherwise), economic welfare nationalism (everything belongs to the government, which graciously allows private enterprise to play around and pay taxes), and a jaundiced view of America (we studied the US-Mexico war every year). This hasn't changed much.

That's part of it. there's more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...