“Baby, soy latino!”

I am bitterly disappointed by many things in this world. During my morning run today I saw at least ten things on CP24 that deeply troubled me, most of them having to do with Syria and the asinine presidents of Venezuela and Russia’s reactions. On a smaller scale, I am disappointed that Liberte no longer makes 2.1% un-Greek coconut yogurt, and that three out of every four Golden Girls are dead. And don’t even get me started on dinosaurs or Data’s death!!

But nothing in this world has disappointed me more consistently than my adopted country of origin, Mexico. I was born September 15, which is when Mexicans begin celebrating the Grito de Dolores (the beginning of their revolt from the Spaniards). In other words, my birthday is the day when Mexico gets really, really messy.

So it’s fitting that I have always had a special relationship with Mexico. I watch its telenovelas, I listen to its music, I single-handedly keep Corona in business, and, yes, I’ve been known to see a Mexican man or two in my time.

Now anyone who has been following the events in Mexico for any amount of time is likely pretty horrified, as am I. Ciudad Juarez had/has the murder rate of a war zone. The police force is so corrupt and ineffectual that vigilante groups are popping up all over the country. The state of Michoacan is in danger of being overtaken by drug cartels. Many of the candidates in recent elections faced violence and some were murdered. And now the one bright spot–the miraculous “Pacto por Mexico” project of cooperation between the three major political parties, the PRI, PAN, and PRD–is in danger of derailment due to an ugly spat over the privatization of Pemex, the state-owned oil behemoth.

But many of these problems have been argued and lamented over for years. The violence in Mexico has been turning my stomach pretty much ever since I had a stomach to turn, and the nation is certainly no stranger to failed state speculation. The thing is that now the one thing that President Pena Nieto said his government would be good at, the economy, is also falling into the shitter. This is purportedly due to a weak export market in the States, but I don’t know why anyone even feels the need to make excuses: how can the economy function, let alone grow, when much of the country is in a constant state of chaos and insecurity?!

At the outset of his mandate, Pena Nieto vowed to focus on the economy; economic prosperity, he claimed,  would be the key to solving the country’s grave security issues. (Though he has also outlined a comprehensive security strategy.) By severely downplaying the situation, he attempted to attract foreign investors, and official crime stats since he took office have been promising. However, this is probably due to factors outside of his control: his predecessor Calderon took down many of the major narcos in his bloody and ill-advised war on drugs. Even more worrying is the PRI’s history of cooperation (for a price) with the cartels, which makes me wonder how much of violent crime reduction is due to the PRI returning to old ways. I have my suspicions, but I haven’t seen any coverage of this issue in mainstream media, so I’m not sure how concerned I should be.

So as I’ve previously mentioned, Mexico would do well to diversify its export market away from the States, but it really needs to deal with the crazy shit happening inside its borders, and it probably needs some help to do that. Some of what should be done lies with the US–gun control and drug legalization would be a nice start, but good luck getting anything accomplished in that partisan cesspool. And Mexico’s regulators should use this rare moment of harmony to focus on creating a strategy to deal with the violence instead of squabbling over oil.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am not really disappointed by Mexico, as most Mexicans are not actively and maliciously attempting to take down their own country. I am disappointed by the events that always seem to conspire against Mexico, and I am disappointed that its neighbors to the north are too self-involved to care. I am disappointed that I cannot go there and start a new life without wondering if my severed head will be put on a stick outside of a nightclub at some point–and that’s one of the better ways to die.

Also, I am disappointed that Jaime Camil doesn’t seem to be aging as gracefully as I’d hoped. Yowza!

Seriously, Jamito, get it together…or not. A few days ago, a Mexican man I used to date proudly declared that he was a player. I asked him why, and his response? “Baby, soy latino!” Way to ruin it for everyone else, man. Just one more thing to add to the pile of Mexican disappointments.


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