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Jalisco is in favor of medical marijuana

September 26, 2014

The western Mexican state of Jalisco supports allowing marijuana for therapeutic use but opposes increasing the amount currently permitted for recreational use, a public survey showed this week.

The Jalisco Electoral Institute revealed on Wednesday that of 13,662 Jalisco residents who participated in the survey, 60.77 percent favored allowing those who suffer from terminal, chronic or degenerative diseases to keep five plants or 150 grams of marijuana in their homes, while 39.22 percent were against the proposal.

However, when it came to raising the amount of marijuana allowed for recreational use from five to 30 grams, the results were reversed with 60.9 percent of participants voting against the proposal and only 39.09 percent voting yes.

Jalisco has traditionally been considered one of Mexico’s most conservative states, but the results show that public opinion on marijuana has grown much more liberal in recent years. The survey was sponsored by the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which hopes to pass a bill based on its results.

The outcome does not guarantee any change in Jalisco’s laws, but it could help set new precedents for more democratic decision making and will put pressure on the state’s legislators to consider allowing medical marijuana…

Click here to read this article in full at Latin Correspondent.

Mexico City profile for Sportcal Insight

September 25, 2014

Sportcal-Insight-Mexico-City

“Is this your first time in Mexico City? It’s a monster, isn’t it?” soccer agent Dario Vidali asks his newest recruit upon driving him into Mexico’s sprawling capital. “But even the ugliest monster has its charms.”

Vidali is a fictitious character in Mexico’s popular 2008 comedy Rudo & Cursi, but his description of Mexico City is certainly fitting.

Once synonymous with kidnappings and severe pollution, Mexico City has worked hard to improve its image over the last decade. The liberal local government has kept the capital free from the drug-related violence that has plagued parts of Mexico and it has been widely lauded for its efforts to improve air quality.

In a bid to combat obesity, crime and drug addiction, the city government has installed 600 open-air gyms across the city for free public use. Urban renewal has seen once-rundown neighbourhoods flourish and tourists have flocked to visit the capital’s ancient ruins, gaze at its famous murals and dine in its many world-class restaurants.

Previously the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, the city was home to several majestic ball courts in which two teams would compete to force a rubber ball through a narrow stone hoop using only their elbows, knees, hips and heads. Historians believe the losing or even winning teams were often sacrificed to the gods.

Centuries later in 1968 – with such practices firmly in the past – Mexico City became the first Latin American city to host the Olympic Games, a feat not to be repeated for almost 50 years until Rio de Janeiro stages the Olympics in 2016…

Click here to read this feature in full in the fourth issue of Sportcal Insight magazine (pages 40-41).

Missing Mexican congressman found dead in Zacatecas

September 23, 2014
Images from surveillance cameras appear to show the moment Gomez was abducted.

Images from surveillance cameras appear to show the moment Gomez was abducted on Monday.

Mexican authorities discovered the charred body of federal congressman Gabriel Gomez Michel in Zacatecas on Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after he was kidnapped in Guadalajara.

A member of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Gomez represented the eighth district of western Jalisco state in Mexico’s House of Deputies. He was abducted at around 5 p.m. Monday while driving to Guadalajara’s international airport to catch a flight back to Mexico City.

CCTV images circulating on social media purportedly show the moment that Gomez was kidnapped at the intersection of 8 de Julio street and the Periferico ringroad in the municipality of Tlaquepaque. The images show men aboard a white Toyota Sienna pulling up beside Gomez’s black Suburban, although Mexican newspaper Excelsior reported that assailants in as many as six vehicles participated in the abduction by surrounding the victim’s car.

Jalisco Prosecutor General Carlos Najera confirmed the following day that the bodies of Gomez and one of his assistants had been found in a burnt-out car in Apulco, Zacatecas, just across the border from Jalisco. The bodies were badly burned but DNA tests are expected to confirm the identities of the victims.

Gomez, who served as mayor of El Grullo, Jalisco from 2010 to 2012, is the first federal legislator to be murdered since Moises Villanueva, also of the PRI, was killed alongside his chauffeur in the southern state of Guerrero in September 2011.

Guadalajara’s tortas ahogadas will fix your hangover

September 23, 2014

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Every Sunday morning, thousands of Guadalajara residents engage in a ritual that is every bit as sacred as Mass. Before, after, or instead of slinking into church, they brave the scorching midday sun to find a hole-in-the-wall eatery where they can chow down a torta ahogada and sweat out the previous night’s tequila.

The city’s signature dish, the torta ahogada (literally a “drowned sandwich”) is essentially a pork-stuffed baguette seasoned with salt and lime juice, garnished with raw slices of onion and swamped in so much spicy salsa that it must be eaten with a spoon. Unique to Guadalajara, Mexico’s second biggest metropolis, it is considered a potent hangover cure.

“We get more customers at weekends when people come in to recover from a night of partying,” says Armando Segura from Betos, a family-run restaurant in the heart of Santa Teresita, a colorful working-class neighborhood reminiscent of small-town Mexico. Bunched around the tables and perched on the unvarnished log bench out front are half a dozen local families and several disheveled partygoers still up from the night before…

Click here to read this feature in full at Vice Munchies.

Ronaldinho scores on his Liga MX debut

September 22, 2014
Ronaldinho scored one and assisted one on his Liga MX debut for Queretaro.

Ronaldinho scored one and assisted one on his Liga MX debut for Queretaro.

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho scored a penalty just six minutes into his Mexican league debut and produced a sublime second-half assist as Queretaro beat Chivas de Guadalajara 4-1 in the Omnilife Stadium on Sunday.

Ronaldinho had made a less than impressive first appearance for Queretaro in Mexico’s domestic cup competition last Wednesday, misplacing many passes and sending a penalty way over the bar in a 1-0 defeat to Tigres. But he soon banished any memories of that miss when former Fulham defender Carlos Salcido was sent off for making a goalkeeper’s save in the fifth minute.

This time Ronaldinho made no mistake, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way and sliding the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year then celebrated his first goal in Mexico with his customary dance moves, much to the crowd’s delight.

Deployed at center-forward – a more advanced position than he has traditionally occupied – Ronaldinho benefitted from having fewer responsibilities as well as the increased space created by Salcido’s early exit. He rarely broke out of a trot, but still showed plenty of menace, coming close to scoring a second with an acrobatic flick in the 35th minute.

Although he saw less of the ball in the second half, Ronaldinho played a key role in the goal that killed off the game, sliding an inch-perfect ball through to the excellent Camilo Sanvezzo, who finished with aplomb. Having effectively won the match for his side, the Brazilian was then substituted to rapturous applause after 78 minutes.

Despite Chivas raising prices, the Estadio Omnilife was also almost full for Ronaldinho's debut.

Despite Chivas raising prices, the Estadio Omnilife was also almost full for Ronaldinho’s debut.

But that was not the end of the action. Ronaldinho’s compatriot William da Silva added a third for Queretaro with a low, long-range strike before Giovani Hernandez netted a consolation goal for Chivas with a wonderful free kick curled into the top right corner. With the home side having long since given up, Queretaro substitute Othoniel Arce then fired in a fourth with the last kick of an entertaining game.

Ronaldinho is now the third Barcelona star to have played in the Mexican league. His former team mate Rafael Marquez won consecutive titles with Leon over the course of the last year, while Pep Guardiola – the man who sold Ronaldinho upon becoming Barcelona coach in 2008 – ended his playing career with a five-month stint at Dorados de Sinaloa.

Ronaldinho, who was called a monkey by a member of Mexico’s right-wing National Action Party (PAN) only last week, has often found a way of proving his critics wrong while maintaining a smile on his face. Many had dismissed his move to Queretaro as little more than a marketing stunt by the Mexican club but the 2002 World Cup winner showed on Sunday that he still has the talent to make a decisive impact at this level.

Hurricane Odile leaves seven dead after battering western Mexico

September 22, 2014

Seven people were killed, at least one more is missing, more than 100 were injured and thousands of tourists were left stranded as Hurricane Odile wreaked havoc across northwestern Mexico last week.

The strongest hurricane on record to hit the popular tourist area of Los Cabos, Odile was rated a category-three hurricane with 125-mph winds when it made landfall on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula late on September 14.

The Baja California Sur state government reported that Korean mining executive Kyoun Yin Park was killed when his vehicle was swept away by floodwater the next day, while the body of his companion Chai Sung Ken was eventually recovered on Friday.

German tourist Hunter Treow also died of a heart attack aboard his boat near the La Paz harbor, while British woman Simone Wood was later found dead in the same bay. Her husband Paul Whitehouse is still missing.

Juan Francisco Ponce Quezada, a 28-year-old plumber, was also found dead on Thursday. He was apparently washed away while trying to cross Santa Rosa river in San José del Cabo…

Click here to read the rest of this article at Latin Correspondent.

Mexican police chief implicated in attack against female reporter

September 12, 2014
The brutal assault left Karla Silva in hospital with cerebral edema and problems with her vision.

The brutal assault left Karla Silva in hospital with cerebral edema and problems with her vision.

Mexican authorities are searching for a municipal police chief who was allegedly responsible for the savage beating of a 24-year-old female reporter in the central state of Guanajuato last week.

Nicasio Aguirre Guerrero, head of the police department in the city of Silao, stands accused of hiring three men to assault local reporter Karla Silva at the offices of El Heraldo de León newspaper on September 4.

Two suspected culprits were arrested on September 11 and Guanajuato Attorney General Carlos Zamarripa Aguirre told the press there was substantial evidence indicating that the police chief “orchestrated it and hired these people to carry out the attack.”

Having evaded arrest that morning, Aguirre is now considered a fugitive from justice. Silao Mayor Solís Arzola is also being investigated and faces questioning over the attack…

Click here to read this story in full over at Latin Correspondent.

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