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Articles tagged "Mexico"

María Times Seven

Across the entire region, people spoke about Doña Toña’s multiple births for weeks. Seven strong and healthy baby girls had issued from their mother’s swollen belly, screaming at the top of their lungs. No sooner had Doña Toña finished breastfeeding the lot of them than a ravenous appetite roared again in those who were first to take their turns. For thirty days and thirty nights she didn’t sleep, dutifully offering each child her chance to...

The Beast Has Died

For Alfredo Brigada Monjaraz and Carlos Pérez-Tejada y Salazar, in memoriam 1872 The bronze bell in the mechanical brain rang, pulling Prince Salm Salm away from the security report he had been reading. There appeared on the spherical screen, which always reminded him of a submarine diving helmet, an electronic message.   Through the window of his office in Chapultepec Castle, he could see a pair of dirigibles slipping like lazy manatees through the clouds that covered the...

The Book of Denial

This story is the worst story in the world—it's just terrible. For those who don't like tragic stories, this book has a happy ending on a page near the end. I recommend you don't keep reading after it. * My mother always told me that there are books that are not for children. I didn't understand this until yesterday, when I secretly read the book my father is writing. * The Book of Denial his book is called . . . but, it wasn't because of the title that I...

Ayotzinapa

On October 26, 2014, a national assembly of Morena (Movement for National Regeneration) was held at the Zócalo in Mexico City, marking one month of the disappearance of the forty-three students of the rural teachers’ college of Ayotzinapa. Amid the crowds chanting “Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos” (“they were taken alive, we want them back alive”), award-winning writer and journalist Elena Poniatowska took the podium to denounce the lack of...

The Beginning and End of the Oil Curse?

Why does oil wealth so often become a curse for developing states?  In the developing world, oil-producing states are fifty percent more likely to be ruled by autocrats, and more than twice as likely to have civil wars, as non-oil states. They are also more secretive, more financially volatile, and provide women with fewer economic and political opportunities.  For the last thirty years, good geology has led to bad politics. Not all states with oil are susceptible to the...

A Report from Hell

The so-called "war on drugs" began five years ago. According to official sources, the victims—children, teens, adults, women, men—number roughly 50,000; other sources claim over 60,000 have died. Neither figure includes the tortured, the maimed, the kidnapped, the disappeared. This war did not emerge out of nowhere.  It developed over the course of two decades, perhaps more, of government and police corruption, terrible social inequality, and the growth of illegal...

Violence and Drug-Trafficking in Mexico

In Mexico, people will pay up to $70,000 dollars for a license to hunt and kill a bighorn sheep. Killing a man is much cheaper—about $2,000, according to the rates charged by hitmen in Ciudad Juárez, the most dangerous city in the world. And yet, on occasions, death comes free. On August 24, 2010, in Tamaulipas, seventy-two migrants were murdered before they could achieve the golden American dream. The workers, who had no passports, came from Brazil, Central America, and...

The Way to Juarez

The doctor didn’t try to hide from me the storm my father was passing through: “It’s called delirium. Hallucinations, amnesia, psychic disorder. It could also be a case of dementia caused by psychotic depression. We need to do a serum electrolytes test and an unenhanced cranial tomography.” The neurologist wanted to look inside the theater of my father’s brain, to become a spectator of that absurd drama, as if there might be a new Ionesco trapped inside...

The Mystery of the Parakeet, the Rooster, and the Nanny Goat

The Tate Drugs Gallery Inside the Ministry of Defense in Mexico City is a museum that’s not open to the public. It displays all the jewels, weapons, clothing, and reliquaries that have been seized from drug traffickers since 1985. The collection is an example of the symbols the Mexican drug trafficker draws strength from: a gold Colt .38 studded with emeralds that belonged to Amado Carillo, leader of the cartel from the northern state of Chihuahua, and which was a present from the...

Death Count

In the small hours of March 13, 1964, Kitty Genovese ended her shift at the bar as usual, took her car, and parked a few  yards from the apartment complex where she lived, in Kew Gardens, Queens. As she started to walk toward her home she noticed a shadow behind her. Terrified, Genovese ran to Austin Street, closely followed by a man. Before she was able to take refuge in a building, the attacker stabbed her twice in the back. She screamed for help. Of the dozens of apartments in the...

Notes on a Zombie Cataclysm

(Opening Song) Hey, sweetheart, don’t go picnicking in the cemetery: don’t go drinking in the cemetery: don’t go doing drugs in the cemetery: don’t dress and make up like a Goth tonight.   Because things are turning weird: because they found just the arm while the rest of the body remains a mystery; because they found just the ear  of another mystery and teeth from the devil knows whose smile;   because things are...

Tijuana: On the Pozole-Man’s Hill

1 A writer from Tijuana told me: “If you want to know what Tijuana is all about, you have to go there.” There was the village of Ojo de Agua, in a dusty valley on the outskirts of the city, that you reach after crossing the hills dotted with houses that appear in all the stories about Tijuana. On the top of a rise, like Dracula’s castle, stands the shack of Santiago Meza López, aka The Pozole-Man1 of the Arellano Félix brothers’ cartel. A man...

The History of the Present: Sergio González Rodríguez on the Mexican Literary World and the Drug War

Carmen Boullosa: When I approached you for this interview you said you were convinced that the situation in Mexico should not be read as a conflict between “good” and “evil”—criminals attacking innocent people—but rather within an altogether different frame of reference. Sergio González Rodríguez: Yes, the situation in Mexico today adds up to much more than some filmlike scenario with good guys and bad guys. There’s malice in it,...

The Heart’s Secret Moves

It happened on a Wednesday, this tale of enlightenment. Tuesdays Pedro was The Heart, which meant cracking heads. He was a Lightweight, and a real brawler. Wore a red mask and had a red, triangular kaboom painted on that smooth chest of his. Got his opponent in a Boston Crab till the trainers threw in the towel and The Heart told the ref, count. It didn’t really matter if the ref didn’t count, or if he counted too fast, because it was all just part of the show. It was the buzz...

The Politics of Mourning

“Acapulco, September 18 [2010]. Two unidentified men, decapitated in the town of Coyuca de Catalán. Heads thrown into a soft-drink bottling plant from two moving vehicles. One has its eyes masked with gray industrial adhesive tape. The bodies have not been identified.” “Juárez, Chihuahua, December 27 [2010]. On Jarudo and Sierra Candelaria streets, in the community of Jarudo, two young students were riddled with holes and charred by Molotov cocktails in the...

Notes on the Violence in Sinaloa, Mexico

For two weeks I sensed violence as an invisible force. I only experienced one act of direct intimidation: a thirty-something, ultra-well-dressed woman with five-centimeter nails adorned with precious stones barged into me in an OXXO grocery store while I was paying. I look her in the face, raise my voice and emit a DF-style “be my guest,” forgetting the typically Sinaloan comment “you put up with it or they kill you.” And nothing happens. No “now you’re...

Sleepless Homeland

…   Did we lose you in a game of dice? Did you escape from us in one snort? In which junkie’s syringe did you become trapped, my Homeland?            Maybe some Nordic addict’s? When did they brand you with the mark of the pill that gives short-lived pleasure? I’m addicted to you, stamped with your indelible mark.     My Homeland, once eloquent, now you stutter, stutter daily, ever more alive, voracious,...

Juan Pablo Villalobos’s “Down the Rabbit Hole”

Juan Pablo Vilallobos’s debut novel is a smart variation on the recent vogue for Latin American “narcoliterature”; Down the Rabbit Hole is told from the point of view not of a gangster, a cop or a prostitute, but that of a young child. Ensconced in the cold and zany milieu of Mexican cocaine deals, political string-pulling and back-alley assassinations, narrator Tochtli is the son of a powerful drug lord known as “The King.” A witness to its horrors and yet too...

With March’s Moon the Photo

with March’s moon the photo arrived and we were all alive; rapid words from that essence that is fast and that turns and detaches itself; slow, the moon, returns month by month Translation of “[con la luna de marzo llegó],” by Olvido García Valdés, from Y todos estábamos vivos (Barcelona: Tusquets Editores, 200. Copyright Olvido García Valdés. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright by Catherine Hammond....

The Rook, the Crow, the Magpie

the rook, the crow, the magpie, like humans, one step and the next, in order to walk lost in thought each could become a talker; head weighted down, learning almost reflective, touch of iridescent light, each walks measuring, meditates, shakes its head, a foot, three traces and one more, the other foot, on the roof, in the snow, mind and eye, there, feathers of air on earth. Translation of “[el grajo, el cuervo, la urraca],” by Olvido García Valdés,...

Nahuatl (Aztec)


Spanish


Natasha Wimmer on Roberto Bolaño’s “2666”

This essay was originally featured in the brochure for Natasha Wimmer and Francisco Goldman's December 4, 2008 discussion of Roberto Bolaño's 2666, held at the Idlewild bookstore in New York City. Francisco Goldman's essay can be found here—Editors I'm often asked what challenges I faced in translating 2666. I should say first of all that, despite appearances, 2666 was not impossibly hard to translate. In many ways, it was easier than The Savage Detectives;...

Francisco Goldman on Roberto Bolaño’s “2666”

This essay was originally featured in the accompanying booklet to Francisco Goldman and Natasha Wimmer's December 4, 2008 discussion of Roberto Bolaño's 2666, held at the Idlewild bookstore in New York City. Natasha Wimmer's essay can be found here—Editors The first Roberto Bolaño novel I read was Estrella Distante. It was Aura's copy and we were at the beach in Mazunte, and I read it pretty much in one sitting, with a few breaks to go in the water....

The Rooms Aren’t What They Appear to Be

The rooms aren't what they appear to be nor are they the sum of what they seem. What comes clear is their daily record of contact: from the contours that rooms impress on objects and that objects briefly lend to rooms. From the changeable features they share. They know themselves, define themselves at those borders, as at a mirror's edge: that thin feeling that sews space to solidity, that severs and couples it in a ceaseless drafting. Translations of...

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