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In Mexico, little to cheer for during bicentennial

Today's bloodshed parallels the violence during War of Independence and Mexican Revolution.

Furthermore, Calderon has failed to capitalize on the day with better cultural projects and campaigns to raise people’s hopes, critics say.

“This could have been an opportunity to wake up the nation, to give people some optimism,” said journalist Carlos Loret de Mola on a TV debate. “But Calderon has let this opportunity pass.”

In their defense, administration officials say they have been too busy to spend time organizing a party.

Federal police last week nabbed one of the most wanted drug traffickers, Edgar Valdez, known as The Barbie Doll, because of his light brown hair and blue eyes. Born in Laredo, Texas, Valdez was allegedly behind mass graves, snuff videos and the traffic of tons of drugs into the United States.

Mexican officials also had to deal with the massacre of 72 Central and South American migrants on Aug. 22 by gangsters apparently trying to extort them.

Following that horrific incident — which is considered to be the worst atrocity in Mexico in recent decades — Calderon had to calm anger in the migrants’ home countries of Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil.

Mexican poet Homero Aridjis writes that such incidents close to independence day call for a deep reflection about where Mexican society is headed. As he penned:

“Two hundred years after Mexican independence and 100 years after the revolution, when we ask ourselves if were better off under the domination of the Spanish, the French or the United States, a phrase of the Argentine Arturo Jauretche comes to mind, 'You can change the collar, but it doesn’t stop being a dog.'”