Sinverguenza Mexico Turns 201: Time To Grow Up, Missy
This piece is from Sept. 2010, Mexico’s Bicentennial. Originally published in the late Cafe Magazine. An oldie worth revisiting…

Mexico: 200 Sinverguenza Years and Counting

Mexico celebrates its bicentennial this September (2010).  For nations, as birthdays go, this is the quinceanera of celebrations.  It’s when a country blooms into womanhood, wears a big puffy dress, and declares to the world “Here I stand, world, court me and whatnot.”

Of course, you only turn 200 once, and it’s important to make it count.  However, Mexico has a history of bad birthdays, and now she’s worried about this important milestone further cementing that tradition.  Poor thing.  Should she worry?  See for yourself.

Mexico’s Quick and Dirty Sinverguenza Highlight Reel:


Mexico’s birthday: What the frock?

Some bold clergyman in some town (unbelievably, the town’s name is literally translated to “Pains”) lets out a shout to revolution, eventually leading to Mexico’s independence from Spainish rule  A violent, painful birth follows.  Grito de Dolores?… A huevo… and… a-ppropriately named.  Mexico kicks and screams her way into the world.


The first hundred: Buenos Diaz, Mexico

After a presidency that spanned 30 controversial, corruption-laden years, 80 year old dictator Porfirio Diaz runs into a bit of opposition in the form of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata (and other disgruntled mustaches with guns).  A bloody decade follows. Yet again, violence scars young Mexico.


Déjà vu…Otra Vez…Again

With ski masks and no signs of snow, The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) continues the bloody birthday tradition on New Years Day 1994, when the mostly indigenous members take control of towns in Chiapas, Mexico in objection to injustices committed against the indigenous.


The Show Must Go On

So, there’s no surprise that today an anxious, pouting Mexico is standing in her big lavender dress, biting her unprofessionally manicured fingernails, and demanding huffily that mom and dad make her 200th go perfectly.  Bloody violence is one particular hitch they’d all like to avoid.  So, equipped with perfected diva eye rolls and empty threats, Mexico begs and berates the warring drug cartels into letting her celebrate in peace and, instead, she urges the bands of ruthless killers to spend the day cleaning their assault weapons and maybe (fingers crossed) take a day off from decapitations and disembowelments.

Add to the complicated landscape that Mexico’s neighbor, the cantankerous U.S., who normally peeks out through the blinds and shouts things like “Enough with the trumpets and accordions. Some of us have to work in the morning.” Well, if that alone wasn’t a total buzzkill, the U.S. is currently suffering through unemployment herself, but it hasn’t softened her up any.  In fact, now in addition to keeping the Frisbees that fly onto her lawn, the U.S. doesn’t want anyone stepping foot on her grass unless he/she has been explicitly invited to come over and mow it.  As a result, she (The US) is in no mood for any funny business and insists that Mexico keep its biggest export, Mexican people, in its own backyard or the sprinklers are coming on.  By “the sprinklers are coming on,” the US means unleashing unholy draconian laws on anyone on the wrong end of the color spectrum (burnt sienna or darker in the Crayola box).

Clearly this particular celebration’s backdrop is marred by inauspicious circumstances.  But the show must go on, and our distraught Mexico’s been through a tight spot or two before.  So, while she’s been asking mom and dad for a new Bentley like the one her friend got for her birthday, times are tough and she’ll be disappointed and sneer at the used Ford Taurus with a shoddy alternator and one window that won’t roll down.  She wanted a new dress, but she’s wearing a patched-up hand me down that’s two sizes too big.  Who styled Mexico’s hair for the occasion?  A sought after stylist to the stars? Nope. The guy down the block – the beauty school drop out with the patch over his eye and the dull, child-safe scissors.

Mexico’s distraught parents, of course, try desperately to stop their daughter from alternating wildly between obscene temper tantrum and deep depression.  They want her to look at the bright side: According to interpretations of the Mayan prophesy, she still has a couple of good years before doomsday.  Then the guacamole really hits the fan.

Your handsome and humble servant-

El Guapo

[photo by esparta, will clayton, tuxmemento, oscar alexander, prayitno]