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Mexican pirates turning on Americans. Mexican soccer team in dirty drama. Mexican stocks on fire despite violence. New museum commemorates holocausts.
Rains poured down on Mexico throughout late September and October, making it the wettest year on record. In the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, the waters unleashed mudslides that enveloped villages and killed dozens. Over in the east, the cities of Villahermosa and Veracruz were turned into waterworld towns. The flooding in Veracruz also brought hundreds of crocodiles out of a farm onto streets, terrifying local residents. The rains were fed by a series of tropical storms and hurricanes, with chirpy names such as Karl and Matthew. The latest of the gang, Hurricane Paula, was bearing down on Mexico as this brief went to print.
But some people love water. Especially pirates. If people thought modern-day pirates are only in Somalia they are wrong. Americans have been complaining of a series of attacks by boat-moving marauders in Falcon Lake, which dips into Mexico and the United States. In the latest incident, an American women said pirates shot her husband dead when they ventured into the Mexican side of the water on jet skis. However, many have been cynical about the story, arguing the American woman could have invented it as she didn’t have the body. Mexican police stepped up searches for the alleged victim – 30-year-old David Michael Hartley. Then in the latest horrifying twist, on Oct 12, the lead Mexican investigator on the case was murdered and his head dumped outside a military base.
Such violence was part of the latest flurry of drug-related killings that keep burning through Mexico. Other notable bloodshed in the month included the ambush and murder of eight police officers in Sinaloa state; the deaths of 12 people in gun and grenade battles in the northeast; and the murder of several mayors. There is also rising concern about gun battles in the industrial city of Monterrey that are claiming the lives of an increasing number of civilians caught by the bullets of both soldiers and gangsters.
Monterrey was also the scene of a dirty drama involving the national soccer team has that has dominated Mexican media in the month. It all began when directors discovered the team had an all-night party with several prostitutes among the guests in the city. The national director announced bans and fines on the stars. As several play in Britain, the story even hit Britain’s famous tabloids, which erroneously reported that Mexico was in South America. Players then went into full rebellion and all refused to play for their team, with support from much of the public who said the federation had been too hard. Finally, on Oct. 12, the director resigned.
Mexican stocks and currency exchanges were unfazed by drug violence, with the IPC index increasing 6.7 percent year-to-date, outpacing the Dow Jones industrial average's 5 percent gain. The markets were helped by a tremendous bounce back in tourism this year, with foreign visitors apparently not put off by the severed heads.
In a landmark deal, Mexican TV giant Televisa brought a $1.2 billion stake in U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Univision. The deal will help Televisa – the biggest Spanish network in the world – bring its Mexican-made soap operas to Americans. The company will finance the investment through a bond sale.
Things have not been going so well for the country’s flagship airline, Mexicana, which suspended flights and filed for bankruptcy protection in August. In the latest developments, Mexicana officials announced that they would cut half of their staff and resume flying in December. Meanwhile, American Airlines and United have been increasing their services into Mexico to make up for the canceled Mexicana flights.
After a decade in the making, Mexico opened up a new museum that commemorates holocausts from Auschwitz to Central America. The 75,000 square feet Memory and Tolerance Museum in Mexico City is the brainchild of Sharon Zaga, who had several family members who survived European death camps and immigrated to Mexico. Five stories have exhibits from the Nazi Holocaust and other horrors, including the slaughters of Armenians, Tutsis and closer to home, the massacre of Mayan Indians in Guatemala. The museum aims to serve as a lesson of the tragedies caused by intolerance.