A transportation hodge-podge:

It’s been raining; and raining; and raining… the federal transportation secretariat estimates run as high as 85 percent of numbered (official) roads that have suffered damage to some degree; bridges are washed out in many places; many are still stranded after a couple of weeks in remote mountain villages from which there is no road of return.  Bus delays are common, where they run at all.  This on top of additional demand (as much as 3 times) created by the bankruptcy of Mexicana airline subsidiaries Link and Click along with the mother company, accounting for about 50% of all airline miles logged inside Mexico.

The coast of Oaxaca has been seriously pounded by a couple of tropical storms, and streams coming off the southern mountains are straining their banks.  So far, no problems getting to the craft villages and major ruins in the central valley, but it you’re planning that trip of a lifetime over the San Jose del Pacifico pass, check carefully to see if the road is still open; and if you’re planning to visit Tuxtepec on your way to Veracruz, you might want to rethink your plans.

The mysterious disappearance of Lane Gilbert:

A couple of weeks ago, local realtor-to-the-Gringos Lane Gilbert — depending on which version you read – either walked or drove his car off his property in Huayapan to take care of some business, never to be seen again.

The local and state police were at a loss.  No leads, no clues, we can wait and see if he shows up.  For the first few days, nothing happened.  Then, his mother and other members of his family arrived.  They started demanding action.  Relax, they were told; everything will take care of itself.  Not good enough, they said: within hours of arrival, they had heard that a certain local person with high political connections had threatened his life over a land deal gone bad.  Why had this person not been questioned?

Very well, they were told.  You want an investigation?  Try this:  Lane’s life partner, and his partner in the real estate business, both Mexican nationals, were picked up for questioning, and threatened with arrest, based on no evidence whatsoever.  The family is demanding that the case be removed from the believed-to-be-corrupted hands of the local and state lawmen, and pursued by the PGR (office of the federal prosecutor).  In pursuit of that goal, many local gringos have written to their representatives asking them to put pressure on the State department to demand a federal investigation.

I do not know Lane Gilbert.  I have never met him.  I do not know what his immigration status is.  I suspect that he has a Mexican partner in the business because he does not have permission to do business himself.  Whatever reservations I have when it comes to his role in the “gentrification” of places like Huayapan and the Etlas, where rapidly escalating land values have forced local peasants to sell off their family property to newcomers, I certainly don’t believe it deserves a death sentence.

There have been no ransom demands, so it seems unlikely he was kidnapped.

I do not know the name of the person that many people suspect of having killed Lane Gilbert, and other than having been told that he had threatened Lane’s life I have no basis for believing he did it.

The whole case has a certain smell to it that is reminiscent of Brad Will.  Brad’s murderer(s) were filmed in the act of shooting him, and identified by name by several bystanders.  They were very close to Ulises’ regime.  An investigation was held.  It was decided that a person standing next to Brad, a member of the organization he was working with, should take the fall, and that person spent a few years in prison before being released recently for lack of any evidence whatsoever.

Don’t kid yourself.  Gringo privilege here is very thin.  We’re alright as long as we don’t cross someone with power.  Mexico is a country of many laws and little justice.

Happy Independence Day:

Tonight at about 11 p.m., our beloved governor will step out onto a second floor balcony of the old government palace on the south side of the Zócalo and repeat the “grito” (shout) of Miguel Hidalgo, a priest and politician: Viva México!  Uttered two hundred years ago, his call to arms in aid of ridding the country of the hated Spanish rule failed, and he was executed.  Ten years later, others had taken up the cause and the Spanish left.  Nonetheless, Mexico’s independence has always been timed from Hidalgo’s grito, making today the bicentennial.

There will be two gritos in MexCity: that of the official president of the Republic in the Zócalo; and that of the “legitimate” president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), which will be held in the plaza of the three cultures, scene of the shameful slaughter of hundreds of students in 1968 to make Mexico safe for the Olympics.  AMLO’s grito will take place at 10:00, an hour earlier than Felipe’s.  I wonder if AMLO will spend much time pointing out that it’s also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican revolution.  I doubt that Felipe will, and neither will our beloved Ulises…

Has the tiger changed his spots?

Like Barak Obama, Gabino Cué was elected largely on hope and desperation.  An unlikely coalition of politically antithetical parties got together to pull it off, and on December 1, the PRI will be out of the state house for the first time in nigh on 80 years.  The question on everyone’s lips is, so what?

There is no doubt that, like Obama, he will come into office facing intractable problems, starting with official corruption at every level, an impossible deficit, and an opposition – and, often, his own supposed allies – determined to tie him up in knots and prevent any meaningful change.

With problems like what to do about mining in San José; and the paramilitaries occupying San Juan Copala, information is being released that ex-governors José  Murat and Diodoro Carrascaro,  both with bloody PRI reputations, are lurking in the wings; in fact Cue worked for Diodoro, most infamously overseeing the bloody slaughter and disenfranchising of the progressive government and people of Loxicha in the mid ’90s.

Will Gabino make good on his promises of more autonomy and better stewardship of the ecology, or will he stay true to his earlier-expressed principles of globalism, neoliberalism, and growth through development of natural resources by multinational corporations?

Vamos á ver  (we will see)…