Video: Raising of the flag

Following last week’s filming session in the Zócalo, where I was denied the chance to film closeup to the military whilst they were raising the ntaional flag, I managed to edit the move into a decent summary of the ritual.

This film was made for La Plaza, and you can see it here on this post.

In male world of Mariachi, women sing their own tune

Mariachi Sonidos de America Feminil

In Plaza Garibaldi, female musicians muscle in on the men.

(This article appeared in The News, Mexico on Saturday November 17th. They’re yet to launch a website. See below for a video of the band singing)

Dusk falls on a regular Thursday night in Mexico City’s Plaza de Garibaldi and the capital’s multitude of mariachi prepare for another night’s work.

Amidst the overwhelmingly male musicians strutting around the neglected Plaza in their skin-tight charro outfits is Mariachi Sonidos de America Feminil – a female group of musicians daring to brave the macho tradition of the mariachi. Continue reading

‘Mexican newspapers don’t explain Mexico’ says journalist

Mexican newspaper publishers sell only three million newspapers a day in a country with a population of 106 million. Most Mexican journalists will tell you that Mexican’s don’t read because Mexican newspapers have yet to get round to the job of ‘explaining Mexico’, according to Ronald Buchanan, a Scottish freelance journalist based in Mexico City.

OK, so it’s in Buchanan’s interest to say that as he is a regular writer for recently launched English-language newspaper the News in Mexico City, but he has a point. Newspapers here are rife with bias, personal attacks on politicians and partisan editorializing, making it hard if not impossible for Mexicans (never mind foreigners) to understand what’s going on. Continue reading

Punks Collect Downtown at El Chopo

El Tianguis Cultural del ChopoEl Chopo is a weekly fleamarket that has been going for 27 years in Mexico City. Punters can pick up anything from original Doc Marten boots to a copy of ‘London Calling’ by the Clash in the stalls that line the market streets. Click on the photo for more pictures.

Arena de Mexico Mascara-Seller makes nearly $1000 dollars on a good night

Mascaras for Sales, Arena de MexicoJosé Carmelo is 33 years old and has been working outside the Arena de Mexico selling mascaras for 20 years. He got into this line of work thought his brothers, who used to have another shop outside another lucha venue – el Toreo de Cuatro Caminos. Click on the picture for more photos.

Mexico Remembers Massacre

Tlatelolco Memory March

Ana Ignacia Rodriguez Marquez, now in her sixties, stood in La Plaza de Las Tres Culturas on Tuesday this week, October 2nd, in the same place that she had stood nearly 40 years ago. It was from that very spot that she saw students, men, women and children gunned down by state police and officials just after 6pm on October 2nd, 1968 as they gathered in peaceful protest in what has become known as the Tlatelolco Massacre – one of the darkest episodes in Mexico’s modern history.

This week – like they do every year – Mexicans young and old gathered to march to the city’s central Zocalo in memory of the hundred who died that day. Scores of people milled around the vast concrete square that is overlooked by the 14-storey Chihuahua building from which the students back then addressed the crowd. Continue reading

An Evening with Subcomandante Marcos

Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatista rebel leader, at a press conference, Mexico City, October 1st 2007

It was rather an unlikely setting for a press conference with one of the world’s most famous rebel leaders, Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista National Liberation Army(EZLN). Mexico City’s Casa Lamm, a cultural centre and converted mansion in the Roma neighbourhood is the kind of place you expect to see expats and well-off Mexican families breakfasting, not Mexico’s guerilla army making its latest political statement.

Arriving on time to a room packed with journalists, activists, fans and onlookers of all ages, Sub Marcos or Delegado Cero (Delegate Zero) as he now prefers to be known – took his seat at the end of a long table, replete with microphones and tall glasses of water, preceded by other members of the EZLN, including Comandante Miriam and Comandante Zebedeo. Continue reading

Mexico City’s Military March, Independence Weekend

Mexico City's Military March, Independence Day 2007

Mexico City’s Independence Celebrations Pass Peacefully

Mexico celebrated the anniversary of its independence this weekend. It was the first time that Felipe Calderon, the country’s current president, oversaw the celebrations since he took office in December last year following controversial elections.

Observers said that the military presence surrounding the annual event was much higher than past years, and the volume of the music being played by the enormous speakers around the square was painful to the ears.

Despite this, the occasion passed peacefully.

Supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador were out in force in the Zocalo during the day, and staged a rally opposite the Palacio Nacional in the evening. At 10pm, Obrador’s supporters voted to leave the Zocalo and not attend Calderon’s traditional ‘El Grito’ at 11pm in protest at what they insist were fraudulent elections last year.

Mexico City's Zocalo, September 15th 2007

But by 11pm the Zocalo was full again. Thousands turned up to hear Calderon pay tribute to the country’s heroes and cry ‘Viva Mexico!’ three times. ‘El Grito’ was followed by an impressive firework display that enthralled the crowd for 20 minutes, after which they peacefully dispersed.

The following Sunday, Mexico’s military marched through the city’s main avenues in all its splendor, watched on and applauded by the city’s inhabitants.

Mexico City's Military March, Independence Day 2007

Watch extracts of the military march here:

Mexico City’s military out in force for this weekend’s Independence Celebrations

Zocolo, Mexico City, September 13th 2007

Stalls and celebrations in Mexico City’s Zocalo. The country is preparing to celebrate its Independence Day. This will be the first Independence Day to be presided over by the country’s current president Felipe Calderon, who took office in December last year following controversial elections.

Military is out in force

Metal barriers and fences sprung up in the Zocalo almost overnight, according to bystanders. The military presence in the square is apparently much heavier than past years.

Military is out in force

The date on which independence from Spain was declared by Miguel Hidalgo in Mexico overlooks the armed troops standing between the square and the Palacio Nacional

The resistance of the people of Mexico City continues

This banner was erected by supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Calderon’s left-wing rival in the controversial elections of last year. Calderon won the election by less than one percentage point, and opposition supporters still maintain that fraud plagued the election and that Obredor is Mexico’s legitimate president. According to the BBC, Mr Obrador, a populist former mayor of Mexico City, challenged the poll outcome in the courts and led a campaign of street protests. He refused to recognise Mr Calderon’s win.

Palacio National, Mexico City, September 13th 2007

Police guard the entrance to the Zocalo’s Palacio Nacional. Bystanders said that the heightened security of this year’s Independence Day celebration signals the Government’s fear that opposition supporters of Obredor could cause disruption over the weekend’s celebrations.

Military out in force, Mexico City, September 13th 2007

NewCorrespondent.com walked the perimeter of Mexico City’s Zocalo, which is lined with military officers and police already standing guard, more than 48 hours before the celebrations are officially due to begin.

Military out in force, Mexico City, September 13th 2007

Metal barricades separate the people from the buildings that house the official powers in the country.

Military out in force, Mexico City, September 13th 2007

The guardsmen were clearly unhappy about NewCorrespondent’s photographer.

Military out in force, Mexico City, September 13th 2007

A politician emerges from behind the metal barricades guarding the buildings that house the official powers in the country.