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Gringo Gone Home

15 March 2007 News

Yesterday George W. Bush left Mexico, and for many of the local inhabitants of Merida and the surrounding countryside, it wasn't a moment too soon.

From what we have seen in the past few days, the Leader of the Western World appears to be very afraid, and his presence projected those fears onto our traditionally tranquil city in a most bizarre and invasive manner.

First came the advance team. The Diario de Yucatan reported that at least 2,500 Secret Service agents from both the U.S. and Mexican governments were in town. Who knows when they really started moving in, but it became obvious about a week ago as the area around the Fiesta Americana and Hyatt hotels started crawling with young, tall, clean-cut Mexican men wearing golf shirts and khakis and strange-looking gringo tourists wearing sunglasses. On one of our morning walks, we saw an elderly gentleman who appeared to be a local retiree, but he was wearing black earplugs with wires trailing into his shirt. The security men were serious but friendly (especially to Norteamericanos), even as they made everyone step through metal detectors inside the hotels. And all the changes were pretty low-key at first.

Then the metal barriers started showing up around town. First stacked on street corners, then gradually blocking streets and keeping cars from parking. Eventually there were pairs of black-shirted policemen on every corner within twenty blocks in any direction from the Forbidden Zone around the hotels. Then two days before the arrival of the leaders, ten-foot-tall metal barricades were erected that connected together to form a solid metal wall around the hotel area, effectively creating a walled city of three square blocks with heavily guarded entrances. To pass through the gates on Monday morning before Bush arrived, a person had to show their ID and have a good reason to be there. After his arrival, it was impossible for most people to gain entry. Once inside this walled city, the empty streets were eerie. Businesses on the ground floors of the hotels were closed and other businesses, like taxi drivers who cater to the hotels, were also effectively shut down. Schools around the hotels and around the pueblo of Temozon were closed for several days as well. Traffic was re-routed around the Centro Historico to stay clear of the Forbidden Zone encircling the hotels. Most people we talked to were not too pleased to have their routines, their income and their studies interrupted for this circus of powerful potentates, a circus that their government paid handsomely to host.

We read that similar walls of metal barricades were erected around the entire hacienda at Temozon, forcing people who usually walk through the hacienda on their way to school or work to walk miles out of their way. In fact, the entire pueblo of Temozon was put under a 9:00 PM curfew for a week leading up to the president's arrival and not allowed out of their houses when the presidents were actually in the hacienda.

Other chilling touches included the multiple flyovers with large military Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 military jets, arriving from an aircraft carrier stationed off shore. The helicopters flew lower than anything ever flies over the city, creating a lot of noise, vibration and a sense of intimidation. Some we talked with questioned the legality of the United States flying military helicopters over Mexican soil. Can you imagine the U.S. Government allowing Mexico's president to fly a full military escort over any city in the United States?

Some Canadian friends told us that the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, arrived on the last day of these events in order to participate in talks with Bush and Calderon. In contrast to the arrival of the U.S. President, they told us he flew down from Canada on a commercial jet and drove into Merida by taxi, although we've not been able to confirm this.

We've been told that when President Clinton came here in 1998 to visit with Mexico's then-president Zedillo, there were no barricades or military flyovers. A friend of our assistant who lives in Muna, a small colonial town south of Merida on the way to Uxmal, remembers seeing Clinton walking down the streets of their small pueblo, waving and talking with passers-by.

In fact, Merida has a long history of playing host to world leaders and dignitaries, from Emperor Maxmilian to Porfirio Diaz to President Clinton. The protocol for the important visitor has traditionally been one of public ceremony and friendly invitation to enjoy the people and culture of Yucatan. The former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, visited Merida and some of the surrounding pueblos at least twice since we moved here and was warmly received and moved freely among the people.

There was none of that this time. Bush and Calderon visited Uxmal, but no one was allowed near them. The two presidents and their wives had dinner at Hacienda Xcanatun and the wives visited Hacienda Ochil (hmmm, they must have read our article about haciendas...) But no one here saw the President of the United States unless they were invited to a private audience.

They say the president's people chose the city of Merida for its peaceful and friendly atmosphere. Admittedly, there were several small protests here before Bush came, but none while he was here that we heard of, though there were violent protests in Mexico City and in other countries during Bush's tour. We love our adopted city for its attitude but deplore the way the powers-that-be chose to use it for their own purposes, disrupting the very thing they came to take advantage of. It felt somehow insulting, even to us. We can only imagine how resentful many local Yucatecos might feel.

It was widely reported in the press that one of the main reasons for Bush's tour of Latin America was to counter the growing popularity here of socialist politics and especially the influence of Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. If that really was his aim, it seems to us that he failed by design. There were no public appearances, no smiling and waving from a motorcade nor any speeches to win hearts and minds. Instead we were reminded of the distance imposed between poweful and ordinary people, the walls that separate the Latin and Anglo worlds, and the imposing military might of gringolandia.

But then, just as suddenly as they came, they are gone. The barricades are down. Business friends of ours in the Fiesta Americana have said we can come by their office now, because they are free again. Driving and parking on the streets that were emptied is allowed again, the small shops and parking attendants and taxi drivers can return to work now, feed their families and normal life goes on.

Frankly, we are left puzzled and confused by our President and by his visit to Merida. We know that Bush grew up in Texas, which has a long history of relations with Mexico. We know he and his family have many Mexican friends. We know he has a better grasp of the Spanish language and Mexican culture than most gringos, so ignorance cannot be what caused Bush to leave an impression that could only create the kind of resentment his tour was supposed to ameliorate. As U.S. expatriates living as guests in this country, we cannot help but feel that his visit reinforced old stereotypes and resentments toward the U.S. that may eventually - however unintentional, however impersonal - be directed toward us. Seeing what we've seen these past few days, we can hardly blame any Mexican for having those feelings. And so it seems to us that no one, not the U.S. nor Mexico nor the president himself was served by this visit.

Those of us who were here to witness the show of power and intimidation that this U.S. President brought to Merida will not soon forget it. Seeing and FEELING those jets and helicopters patrolling Merida in stark contrast to our usual tranquilidad makes us even more grateful for this friendly and peaceful place where we live called Yucatan.


  • Yahoo 7 months ago

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  • CasiYucateco 7 years ago

    9/11 was a horrible event. But it did not change "the world." It shocked we Americans, who were smug in our isolation from the world. Pearl Harbor was just as bad, but there was no TV to endless repeat the sinking of our navy in the harbor, the bombs falling upon our land. The world, however, went on as it always has. The world is acquainted with terror. The world thought what happened was awful, terrible, horrific.

    But, the world did not change. That's an egoistical way for Americans to assert their importance, which the rest of the world -- particularly today -- casually ignores.

    Terrorists exist to inspire terror. Refuse to give in to fear and they are defeated. The average person is in more danger crossing the street than from terrorists, but if you tremble, buy duct tape. That'll help.

    I guess we'll see how security for Obama is handled. I did notice this: During the acceptance speech, nothing was heavy-handed or visible. I'm sure there was lots of security. But that's the point here: It can be effective. Or it can be visible, oppressive, and insulting.

  • TERE 7 years ago

    Even I don't agree with many of Bush's policies, all of you have to admit that after 9/11 the world has never been the same and more likely never will be. Clinton visited before that infamouse date, therefore he didn't have to be so careful. If Obama ever decides to visit Merida I can assure you that what you experienced with Bush's visit will pale in comparisson.

  • Working Gringos 7 years ago

    You know, since all this happened a long time ago (two years at least...), we're thinking it is time to close comments here. Thank you for all your comments!

  • CasiYucateco 7 years ago

    Me thinks the Secret Service would comply completely and promptly with any order from the President of the United States. Period.

    Clinton was able to visit Merida without naval flotillas and squadrons of jet fighters and helicopters.

    During the Clinton years, terrorists were just as intent on hitting the USA as during the Bush years, and in fact, exploded a bomb in the World Trade Center basement parking garage. Those terrorists were captured during the Clinton years, tried in a US court and imprisoned. The terrorists who planned the World Trade Center attacks on 9.11 are still at large.

    As to all concept that "organized crime is completely defeated in the USA," I suggest that anyone open any newspaper to read about the rings of meth gangs, the gangs dealing heroin, cocaine, etc, etc, etc. Organized crime is alive and well in the USA and killing people (though not as spectacularly) every day. In fact, there are many more drug killings in the US than Mexico. They are just spread around so much -- and so common place -- they don't get the splashy headlines that "decapitation" does.

    Finally, the drug wars in Mexico are precisely because of the drug DEMAND from the addicts and users in the USA. The trafficking to the USA is the profitable part. That is what the Mexican gangs are fighting.

    Prohibition never works until the culture or society wishes to comply. No law ever prohibits market forces. The drug wars have been going on in the USA since Nixon -- over 35 years! -- and yet most any high schooler in ANY city in the USA can tell you where to score drugs.

    If there is economic demand for a product, the market supplies it. What stopped "organized crime" in the USA -- more particularly the gangland killings -- was the end of Prohibition. Once alcohol was legal again, there was no profit in it for criminals. The precursors to the FBI nor any other police force ended the violence during Prohibition. Only the repeal of Prohibition ended the violence.

    Interesting, isn't it, how history repeats over and over, yet so many remain blind to its lessons?

  • Robert 7 years ago

    1st: President Bush, or any President of the USA, is NOT in charge of his security and has very limited control of such. Security is setup in response to threat levels and is done completely by the US Secret Service along with the host country. Often it is the host country that insists on extra security due to the terrible consequences of something bad happening with the world press watching.

    Clinton, Reagan and all Presidents have had major security such as is described when intelligence agencies deemed the threat high enough. The President has little to do with it and CANNOT tell the security services to stand down.

    2nd: You would not be aware of the security threats. It would not be the ever present protesters.

    3rd: As to the "can you imagine" stuff about foreign forces in the USA. There is something to that though the US forces were invited by Mexico or they would not have been present. The USA lets known terrorists and brutal thug dictators into New York to be at the United Nations. We all have to put up with things we do not like.

    4th: The story sounds like a lot of whining. All these security folk represented a large cash investment in the local economy. Do you complain when major festivals shut down the streets and crowd the zacalo? I doubt it.

  • Working Gringos 7 years ago

    Well, yes, we are saying that the gang wars in the U.S. during the alcohol prohibition are very much like the gang wars in Mexico today during the drug prohibition. And, yes, the reason prohibition-related crime is down in the U.S. is because we're dealing with the effects here. Yet, the U.S. still has an amazing amount of violent crime for being the richest nation on the planet, despite becoming a police state:

    You're blinded by orthodoxy and ideology, remthealamo. You have a lot to say, but you don't seem to grasp even the most obvious things. Study history and get some perspective. Then get your own website.

  • Francois Delgado 7 years ago

    Visite Merida, y me quede encantado todo fue muy bien, fui a celestun, Progreso, Chichen-itza, Cancun (muy agringado parece Las Vegas cerca de la playa y todo carisimo) tambien fui a Valladolid y fui a un pueblo a unos 30 kilometros de Valladolid llamado CHEMAX, en este pueblo buscamos con mi cunada Sra Nelly Cervera de Azcona a unos ninos que viven en una aldea "La Esperanza" y que sacaron las mejores calificaciones escolares de todo YUCATAN y estamos averiguando como podemos hacer para ayudarlos a seguir hacia adelante y que tengan un buen futuro y no se pierda esta inteligencia que an demostrado estos cinco ninos, Haci que a todo el que quiera ayudar aganmelo saber y se lo comunico a la Sra Nelly Cervera de Azcona ella es profesora en la Universidad de la ciudad de Mexico y agrego que fue gracias al Comandante de policia de Chemax que los encontramos a estos ninos 4 ninos y una nina si es posible mandare fotos Gracias Yucatanes y Yucatanas, Francois

    Translation: I visited Merida and I was charmed, everything was good. I went to Celestun, Progreso, Chichen Itza, Cancun (very gringo... it looks like Las Vegas close to the beach and everything is so expensive). I also went to Valladolid and to a town 30 kms from Valladolid called Chemax. In this town we (my sister in law Sra. Nelly Cervera de Azcona and I) looked for the children who live in a little town called La Esperanza (Hope) who got the best grades in all Yucatan and we are searching on how we can help to keep them going and have a good future and keep the intelligence these 5 children are showing. So, everyone who wishes to help, let me know and I’ll let Sra. Nelly Cervera know. She is a professor at the Mexico City University and it was thank to the Chemax police officer that we found these four boys and one girl. If it is possible I’ll send some pictures. Thanks yucatanes and yucatanas, Francois

  • remthealamo 7 years ago

    So you feel a 1929 mass murder is similar to a countrywide drug battle in modern day Mexico? I dont see the parallel. We have crushed organized crime in this country. The Italian mafia is a joke here in ny now. (i am American-Italian). The U.S. has had political stability for years. Mexico has had over 80years of rule by the corrupt and left of center PRI. Im not saying that PAN (whom i favor) is squeaky clean, but we have seen what 80 years of rule has done for Mexico. America was at the height of her industrial might at the end of 1929, and capping off the largest buidling boom in the history of the world. Even greater than that of the Romans. Part of our U.S. infrastructure problem today is that the generation of the 20's was so darn ambitious that it will be dificult for us to maintain the highway, bridges and industrial projects that they put forth. Again, you are viewing the finding of these twelve bodies as isolated acts of violence. This is not the work of serial killers, but organized drug dealers taking advantage of corrupt and malfunctioning mexican security to threaten and destabilize tourist dependent areas crucial for the economy of the yucatan. Say what you will about the U.S., but you cannot question her economic might and the overall safety we live in. I live in NYC, so I am not blind to the dangers of urban life. NYC is now one of the safest cities in the world. Im not in favor of doing a blow by blow comparison between the two great nations. But address directly your thoughts on the finding of these gangland style decapitations and the potential for escalation in and around Merida. They have been finding bodies in Quintana Roo as well, and the murdering of government officials fighting these drug slime in Qroo.

  • remthealamo 7 years ago

    I did bash Juarez, but we had a dreadful experience there as it is quite bad. In all my years of travel in Mexico and Europe that was the most harrowing of my experiences. We were lucky to leave unscathed.

  • remthealamo 7 years ago

    working gringo,

    FIghting the drug war down there?? Are you serious? Are you not aware of the Merida Initiative where we are giving $400million dollars in aid potentially after Senate approval? Sounds like you are using the U.S. mantra on fighting in Iraq. But im sure you are against that war as well. Ive travelled all through Mexico, even unfortunately to Ciudad Juarez which is an unabashed dump. I must make something clear: I, too, love Mexico as well. But to say that the country is secure or that the U.S. President was extreme in security measures is probably a stretch. Do you feel finding decapitated bodies is fighting the drug war? Do you think a serial killer, which is horrific in its own right, is comparable to the mass destabilization of Mexico by drug runners? It seems that the war is now front and center in the Yucatan as well. This saddens me as I am currently bidding on a house in the Yucatan area, and spent the last two weeks in Merida. I have been travelling to the Yucatan since 2001 or so. I have friends in Chetumal that live in daily fear of both the narcotraficantes and federal officials. I, personally, have friends who have lost family members to these pathetic drug runners and there bodies were found in Quintana Roo. I have seen a man shot in Mexico City at the Plaza de las tres culturas revisiting the student protests of '71 I believe. I was three blocks from a kidnap and shooting of hotel execs in mexico city in '03. I understand you dont like Bush, but whatever your opinions we cant deny that Mexico is under fire. They must try to achieve what Columbia has done as difficult as it will be. Unfortunately, my love of architecture and design will still have me purchasing property even as I let the place sit until a better time. Additionally, my girlfriend lives in GDL, so I am as intimately connected with Mexico as many of you are. Ive lived on and off in Mexico CIty (ojo de agua), Jalisco, Cancun and Guerrero. I was very disappointed with your Bush bash piece and really think your forte is more pasta tiles than it is political banter. It also divides this wonderful community that you have here. Furthermore, I purchased your hacienda book(in spanish for $1350 pesos...hijole!) and I really respect what you have achieved it is quite impressive. Rather than bash U.S. politics lets discuss more closely security of the Yucatan. My plan was to buy outside the city of Merida in one of the smaller towns. It makes sense that these drug running mules would try to destabilize and damage tourism. Mexico does not allow foreigners or naturalized citizens to buy guns, yet we can purchase their property. One of the bodies was found in the quiet town of Buctzotz (im not sure if i passed that town, but i know all the ruins from Xcambo to Ake to Mayapan). I have been through (and searched) by the military chcekpoints throughout the Yucatan and see the mexican military with there out of date issued weaponry. Is the Yucatan prepared for a heightening of the drug games? I think not. It would seem that ultimately the solution will involve American military assistance and training in a covert manner. The finding of these newer deaths around Merida and northeast in quiet pueblos implies that the noose has already tightened on Merida. I would really like to hear your thoughts on this new issue in a manner that doesnt rely on U.S. comparisons. I have not bashed Mexico in any manner to make my points nor do I place the U.S. on a pedestal even as I am proudly American. I actually feel that the relationship between Mexico and the U.S.(canada too) is one of the best in history, and will be increasingly important as China rises to further prominence. As an American who is often mistaken for argentinian, colombian and even mexican(!) i fret for the safety of my impending family ( i will marry my girlfriend soon) living in a quiet town slightly isolated. We are on the same side here, but im not sure if your dismissing this recent incident as isolated. It is not, unfortunately, and i regret to say that we'll prolly be hearing more gruesome tales.

  • Working Gringo 7 years ago

    You should be grateful that we're fighting the drug war down here so you don't have to fight it up there, remthealamo. Seems the U.S. Government has learned a thing or two since the last Prohibition.

    On the other hand, there are some random acts of violence we don't worry about so much anymore.

  • remthealamo 7 years ago

    before we go getting all silly about Mexican safety:

    - The discovery of 12 decapitated bodies in the south-eastern Mexican state of Yucatan has shocked Mexico, Yucatan Governor Ivonne Ortega said Friday. Over the last three months, officials had received threats that bodies would begin to appear in the state if security checkpoints were not removed, Ortega said. She added, however, that she had no plans of giving in to the blackmail.
    The checkpoints are part of a widespread effort to curb organized crime and were introduced by President Felipe Calderon in late 2006.
    The 12 bodies were found Thursday, barely 48 hours before citizens were to begin protests and marches against increasing kidnappings and drug-related crimes in several cities around Mexico, including Yucatan capital Merida.
    An average of 10 people are killed everyday in Mexico and at least three people are kidnapped.
    Eleven beheaded bodies were found in the area of Hacienda Chichi Suarez, near Merida. The authorities said they heard of the killings after someone informed local media. The twelfth beheaded victim was found hours later in a different location.
    The bodies were not only decapitated but naked, handcuffed and showed signs of abuse. Police didn't say if the heads were also found.
    An initial report from the public prosecutor's office said the bodies showed "signs of having been killed with the utmost violence." They did not have bullet wounds and all the victims were between the ages of 25 and 35 years.
    Drug runners active in the area are the prime suspects in the multiple murders. The gangs use the Yucatan coast to get large drug shipments into Mexico, either in motorboats or small planes that land in sparsely-populated areas.

  • CasiYucateco 7 years ago

    Actually, President Clinton visited Merida during his presidency and did not bring anything like Bush - US military jets flying over the city, helicopters, streets closed off from view with steel walls and barriers, and hundreds of security" personnel.

    Clinton visited with a small Secret Service contingent and his limousine. Nothing more. No streets were closed. No US military. NO dogs were killed. City clife was not disrupted. Power military task force ships were not cruising off shore. And don't think for a minute that there were no terrorists back then. The difference between the two visits is simply the attitude of the office holder. One respects other nations and the other is a bully with zero respect for the law and diplomacy.

    It simply is not true that what Bush did is "required" or "normal." Yucatecan security is perfectly capable. In fact, Bush would probably be safer alone in Merida than on the streets of Washington DC with his Secret Service bodyguards.

  • Cri 7 years ago

    Hi friends, I clicked on the above links about the dog killings but they seem to have been removed. Anybody got any copies they can post?
    As a society can be judged by how it treats the weakest of its members, this action is one that is painfully indicative of how the Bush administration thinks/doesn't think. We need to be fully aware of the degree to which this administration has perpetuated paranoia. Indeed, other leaders have traveled in times of less tension. Yet other leaders haven't created as much tension by being so ignorant. This Bush has ignored the needs of his citizens, has suffocated the media so as to perpetuate ignorance and fear, and those of us who have the relative freedom of seeing how bad it can get have the responsibility of getting the word out so that fellow voters can get mad, and never let someone like this back into office!
    The countdown is on!

  • Habibe 7 years ago

    I'm-100%-American-and-i-can-honestly-say-the-way-us-whites-embrace-this-mongoloid-from-Texas-and-all-the-brainwashing-that-goes-with-it-makes-me-angry-to-live-here- ~signed, SOON-TO-BE-THE-MINORITY-IN-10-MORE-YEARS~

  • Ginny 7 years ago

    Uninformed/ignorant!!! Blaming Pres. Bush for the usual processes of federal law enforcement. If Obama wins, he will be accompanied, as he was on his recent trip, by such pre-planning and entourages!! This is not a president's choice. Be happy in Mexico, critiquing from a distance, where you can be held without due process and never seen again!!

  • Sorrowful 7 years ago

    It has been interesting to read these comments. Just as another poster remarked, I have been to the Yucatan every year since 2001, and in my heart I have been investigating moving away from my country. I have many friends who have felt they had to go, and did - to Mexico, Canada, and Europe. Some are Jewish, and feel the lash of fascism here that has built up since the advent of Bush. Others see the disappearance of our standing in the world community. Now, many are trapped due to the housing crisis.

    Try living next to Washington, D.C. if you think Merida was wrecked for a couple of days. There are barriers everywhere, guards, fear, helicopters. Our capitol city is covered with these scars all the time.

    I envy you being away from our ruined country, and may join you. In the meanwhile, say your prayers that Obama remains safe, wins, and has phenomenal talent to govern, because he is inheriting a once powerful country in decline.

  • CC 7 years ago

    manuelito you are right. Jeb Bush, GWB's brother is married to a Colomba who is from Central America. They have a son George P. Bush, who is the grandson of a migrant worker.

  • Roberto 7 years ago

    The world will be much better in the Obama administration.
    In the words of the Beatles, "can't get much worse."

  • CasiYucateco 7 years ago

    Boo! ;-)

    It may be that people who are bold enough to move out of their own country to another with a totally different language and culture are bold in other ways, too.

    For the most part, no one´s ever really proved bothersome other than the bureaucracy. And that´s just repetitious. Haven´t met any scary expats yet. A lot of entertaining ones.

    Or do as many do and make friends mostly with locals. They have opinions about the USA too. This ´global economy´ world has us all latched together pretty firmly.

  • Francois Delgado 7 years ago

    Visitare Merida este mes de julio que viene, les prometo de no hacer tanto barullo como el dictador Bush, yo soy Frances y mi esposa de Merida y no conocemos Yuvatan, nos veremos pronto y notaran mi presencia por la ausencia de guardas espaldas, pues soy honrado y no nesecito que me guarden del maravilloso pueblo de Yucatan, sin mas VIVA MEXICO

  • Beth 7 years ago

    I am so glad I read this article and the comments following. Much of our coming to visit and check out the Merida area has to do with terrific unease about America since 2000. I would love to be able to live among and talk with people about that unease. However, it's unpopular and dangerous to do that in the South of the USA. I already know several people who are truly looking to move to Mexico because of the kindness and beauty of the people and the country.

  • CasiYucateco 7 years ago

    Ahem. "Hate the US" is such a tired,, overused expression. Reminds me of "America, Love it or Leave it" from the 1960s. And that's not what is going on here at all.

    "The USA" means free speech, along with political discourse, discussion, and competition. "The USA" means not being ordered to adopt certain ideas either due to popularity or authority. "The USA" means Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Sounds to me like everyone here LOVES those things. Sounds like what they do not like is GWB.

  • Cooper M. 7 years ago

    Thank God when USA President Bush is Out Of Power! I'm an American who hopes that a better USA Leader is soon coming to make the World...including Relations with Mexico...MUCH BETTER!
    I dream of Retiring in Mexico someday. I think I would prefer the life and people in Mexico.

  • Jim 7 years ago

    wow! no wonder you all live in Mexico, sounds like you really hate the US!

    enjoy, Merida is a great city.

  • Tim Perry 8 years ago

    BUSH My AMERICAN DISSAPOINTMENT !!! As I sit here listening to BOB MARLEY , this is the second time rereading article which I knew I'd get back to it. All of You good People have the great compassion and insite of what is going on all over the world, except for Carol's comment and maybe a couple other antis'. I want to state My own comments on my next reply, this is to thank Casi Ycateco, and Enrique !!! RIGHT ON !!! MOVEMENT of JA PEOPLE...OPEN YOUR EYES AND LOOK WITHIN.... We People do it prayers, being kind to one another, respecting others,People can govern our selves. Our biggest mistakes have given Our power to the governments.politions,committies etc who make Their own rules and expect to enforce them even if We don't agree it may be their policy I think We as American People have had it shoved down Our throats so long We have become So COMPLASENT!!! IT's time to say no more ie; Taxes-3 dollar plus Oil and gas RX-prices- insurance etc ect that no body can afford this list goes on and on thanks to Our government of careless people. We as humans of the Human race have to be more vocal and get off the sidelines and get into the opposition game ... which is WE don't have to take IT!!!! anymore. There are great minds on Yucatan living I think We can make a difference. Alot more People are developing a conscience now ,but its time to change the forum. Stop the war stop People dying from the cold because they can't afford the precios oil at over 3 dollars or the old people who eat cat food because They can't afford RX medicine because they can't afford the CRIMINAL cost of insurance. Civilizations have come and gone out of wars ,famine etc ect,, it will be Our own governments WHO will cause Our own extinction!!! DON"T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!!!! "" BOB MARLEY """ THANKS TO ALL I hope TO have coffee with You all when We move there...Tim Perry One Love TO ALL....

  • Ricardo 8 years ago

    Hey...Those little Homies were not bending down to kiss Bush's feet, they were tying his shoe laces together! Guess how long it took him to figure out how to UNTIE them...A. 20 minutes, B. All afternoon, or C. I'm switchin' to loafers!

  • Miguel el Chango 8 years ago

    Orale buenos gringos!
    ya apurence a derrumbar el Imperio porque desde afuera esta cabron

  • Suzette 8 years ago

    I searched the Canadian newspaper archives and nothing came up about a trip to Merida by PM Harper. He did however make a trip around that same time to 6 Latin American countries. I sure can't imagine that he would be taking a cab from the airport he does after all travel with security too.

  • denisec 8 years ago

    Enrique Yucateco,

    Thank you for your comments they are so very on mark. We hope that you can join us all here before to long. What state are you living in there? What city in the Yucatan are you from? I think you should bring your wife and come home. My husband who is from Oxkutcab and I left in 2002 and are so glad not to be there looking at the everyday nightmare that you are. We are to glad not to have to be a part of the madness. Hang in there and your family will be in our thoughts.

  • triatepat 8 years ago

    Saudi Arabia and Libya were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters
    who came to Iraq in the past year to facilitate attacks.

  • Enrique Yucateco 8 years ago

    I am a Yucateco living in the USA. I am very happy to see that there is a group of gringos in my hometown expressing their points of view from there, the mayan land. Many times I have told my wife (registered republican) about what I think about the American (government) invasions of others, that all I have read here today is very real, that the expression, "there is no safe place" is another brain wash performed by the American (government) on their own people.

    I know many people. The American people think that Osama Bin Laden, Iraqi leaders, Sadam Hussein and other famous (CNN) terrorists are a good reason to expend billions of dollars and sacrifice the American (people) in this American (government) show of power. I have some neighbors suffering from major illness. I can't actually afford to pay for my own life in the US. We have an income of around $70,000 dollars a year and we can't keep up.The insurance rates went crazy, (I call this a human rights violation), and we don't have anybody to help us with this abuse, which I think is orquestrated by the American (government).

    Well all this just to say that the biggest terror is called insurance companies and US federal government. I think the entire American (people) is terrified by this. I have been in th US since 1997 when Clinton was the man, and never saw this level of anxiety and fear on the American (people). People loosing their homes due to financial institution scams. Our house payment went from $570 a month to $1,050 a month. I honestly think that the American (government) should use their own money to help the American (people) instead of looking for fake enemies around the world. If oil is so important, buy the countries that have oil instead of making the American (people) pay for it in cash and with their lives in holy wars.

    Congratulations to all the gringos in Merida. I wish I was there, but I am trapped in a mortgage, insurance, car payments and more, but working hard to make my return to my land, that HOT piece of rock that is the entire peninsula. It is the safest place on earth. Yucatecos use to say that if the world ends, Merida will stay in place.

    I want to recognize as well the American people and make the world understand that they are good people. Do not confuse an American with the American Government. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Unfortunately, people think that everything the Aemrican Government does is what the American people want. I hope the Americans, with their great spirit, are able to redirect this great country for the good of the world.

  • CasiYucateco 8 years ago

    Fned, thanks for your kind words. I simply was saying what I thought, but sure, use it if you like.

    You know, this is one of the biggest, if not The Biggest Lie: "It is a different world after 9/11/01"

    No. It is not. There were terrorists before 9/11 and there will be terrorists after 9/11. And why are they terrorists? To cause Terror.

    When we change everything about what we do, where we go, the way we behave, how we interact, etc, etc, etc, then what are we really doing? We are changing because of Terror.

    Succeeding over Terror is quite simple, really: Don't be terrified. Refuse to let them win. Don't change your life or stockpile duct tape (surely one of the stupidest things ever proposed by a government figure). Go forth into the sunshine and Carry On With Your Life.

    Terrorists resort to their tactics precisely because they are a tiny minority. They cannot get attention, no one believes what they do, nothing will change to accomodate them. So, they resort to outrageous acts to gain attention. Deny them attention. (Oh sure, the police and international agencies should pursue them relentlessly, but what should WE do? The general populace?)

    More people are killed in US by car accidents, drug overdoses, gunshots, infections and everything else there is in life.

    9/11 was a horrible day. A horrible series of events. But it was no reason "for everything to be different." No reason to surrender our civil and human rights. No reason to let terror rule our hearts.

    No one was ever safe anywhere - the world is filled with hazards. You can fall off a ladder in your own backyard. And the true risks of many other hazards are much greater than a motley bunch of discontents and ideologues.

  • Tim 8 years ago

    I didn't know anyone was shorter than Bush. Calderon must be a midget. I think a president should be fluent in at least one language.

  • Fned 8 years ago

    I just want to say to CasiYucateco that your post says exactly what needs to be said in the exact precise words. I have often tried to express how I feel about 9/11, the war in Irak, the american people and the mexican immigration issue to people around me and never quite find the way to do so without putting in too much emotion so that it sounds too cheezy or putting in too much anger so that it sounds biased or putting in too much description so that it sounds false. Thank you for your post and I hope you don't mind me using it as a quotation when words fail me.

  • Bob 8 years ago

    It's another world after 9/11/01, regardless of who is president. It's clear no one is safe anywhere.

  • Mike 8 years ago

    Not to worry. After Jan 20 2009 all will be better. Hopefully.... hmm... maybe.... well... can we get it right this time??

  • Denise Courtney 8 years ago

    I would just like to say that this has become a very typical problem. I live in Cancun and am an american. My husband lived in the U.S. for 18years but is from Yucatan (Oxkutcab). We both work in tourism and the last few times that cough, cough, Bush appeared here in Cancun the whole city was grid locked, streets closed down, air planes circling the airport indefinelty delayed while he landed etc. He was in town this one particular visit to "Show the American People that it is safe to visit Mexico" What he does not seem to get at all it in doing so he cost the City of Cancun a great loss in income with his little visit. Not to mention closing Chichen Itza for the day. I remember that I had alot of clients looking on their last day to visit Chichen Itza but, no go it was reserved for 2 people. I recently just took my second trip back to the US since moving here five years ago. I was a little concerned by things that I saw. For instance when in the airport everything is Homeland Security. I had a very real recolection of a different point in History that it was called Faterland Security in Germany. How can one man cause so many problems? I for one am counting the days left in his term just so I do not have to see or hear of any more of the most sickening propoganda that we have seen to date.

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    We saw a brief article about that in the Diario de Yucatan ( after Bush's visit, and then that was it. If you read Spanish, you could try searching on it in Spanish languages publications, but we've never seen it reported in English.

  • Sadtobeatexan 8 years ago

    I was in Merida just a week ago and heard mention of the killing of the dogs..I looked at the like in one of the previous post on here but can anyone give me an idea on where to get more info?? thanks in advance

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    You know, Faith, we find it hard to believe too. We were out at Temozon recently (since the visit of the Presidents) and there were one or two dogs there... but there used to be a lot more. We didn't ask any of the locals about it, but next time we will. And we'll let you know what we find out.

  • Faith 8 years ago

    I find it hard to believe that they actually killed animals to quiet them down. People sometimes tend to exagerate or make up stuff to shift the world to their side and their beliefs.

  • Joseph 8 years ago

    This is just too much. I didn't know about this, guess I missed the article about the killed animals.

    I'm not an animal lover but, for pete's sake! They killed them so they wouldn't "make noise"??? How STUPID is that!!!!!?????

    This time was animals, next time what? Protestors? Social leaders? Me?

    I was disgusted and dissapointed, now I'm ANGRY :( :( :( :(

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    Si, es verdad. Here's the original article in a local daily newspaper here called Por Esto:

  • Khaki 8 years ago

    After your post about your own "puppies," I was just surfing the net - looking for dogs and cats in Yucatan - and found this. It broke my heart. I had no idea! Why haven't we heard about this? I guess this is the right thread to put it on.

    The dogs of the tiny village where Bush met the President of Mexico were killed because they "barked at strangers" - meaning the hordes of U.S. military arriving there. [My note: I know that village. Those dogs belonged to little kids!]

    The President of the Association of the Rights of Animals of the State of Yucatan said: An offering and sacrifice was given to George W. Bush by the Mexicans: The lives of a great number of animals to maintain his calm and avoid his wrath, an offering of blood to win us over to a man of questionable ethics and leader of the most powerful country on Earth. If one says that primative man was uncivilized, what an incongruence to speak of advances and evolution before this barbarism."

  • Teresa in Minnesota 8 years ago

    After reading many of these comments I needed a little spiritual lift and found a quote in The Four Agreements Compaion Book written by Don Miguel Ruiz.

    "The great leaders of humanity have a lot of personal power because they have great faith. But their faith comes from love instead of fear, and from wisdom instead of knowledge. The kind of faith from the head is blind faith because it comes from knowledge, from false beliefs, from fear. Blind faith is a faith that leads to fanaticism and dogmatism, which explains all the religious wars, all the fear that other people don't believe what we believe. Blind faith is a faith that we have to defend and impose on other people in order to feel validated and safe."

    I feel for the people of Merida. I am sorry for the behavior of my president and I do not look forward to the Republican Convention being held my city soon.

  • tomasny 8 years ago


    Well said, thank you.

  • CasiYucateco 8 years ago

    “Even George Bush, should he choose to start reading.‬Ě

    Maybe if you added pretzels every few lines?

    Seriously, the oppressive Bush security was mentioned by the press all over his Latin American goodwill tour. Bringing along over 400 security agents, it was easy to see how many small nations felt "invaded" or imposed upon.

    I was home on 9/11 recovering from incredibly painful surgery. My brother, an executive in a major airline at the time, called and said, "Turn on the TV. A plane hit the WTC." Oh whatever, I said. "NO. TURN IT ON!"

    A few days later, All of Europe - indeed, nearly ALL the World - stopped. Traffic stopped. People stopped walking in the streets. Businesses stopped. Waitresses stopped serving. Fry cooks stopped slinging hash. Taxis, buses.

    Everything stopped so the world could show their respect for those who died in 9/11.

    Frankly, I was moved to tears. What an outpouring of grief, support and solidarity! I don't think the world had seen anything like that since maybe JFK.

    And then what? It was all thrown away by an egotistical Eastern Establishment brat who'd be homeless if not for the Carlyle Group, Harriman-Brown, the Baker-Botts law firm and his dad's business investors hauling his butt out of the sling it was constantly in. And his dark shadow in its 'undisclosed location' was right there egging him on to be even more extreme.

    Things America has never stood for have come to pass: Torture. International Kidnapping. Internment camps. Blatant illegal act after unilateral violation of international treaties after lies after bullying.

    And all I can think of is the solidarity of the entire world. The nations who all stood with us and stopped what they were doing to show their respect. Millions upon millions of people.

    And it was all throw away.

    And for what? And endless war in a god-forsaken land that never has been a nation for thousands of years until the British drew lines in the sand (around the oil wells) and dropped their own poison gas on villages?

    When has all of America ever done anything similar to show our respect? When the train stations of Madrid were blown up, the very idea wasn't even broached. Yet that was the 9/11 of Europe. What DID Americans do? Call the Spanish "queso-eating surrender monkeys," said one braying mule in the media.

    Fearless Leader in the "Mission Accomplished" Pilot Suit threw it all away. Threw it away. A whistle stop tour with a private army of 400 isn't going to win back the hearts and minds of Latin America or anywhere else. It will take much more than that.

    Final Point: Human beings are not "illegal." They may commit illegal acts. But the people themselves are not "illegal." Honestly, unless you are voluntarily paying higher prices at restaurants, grocery stores, and for home repair, streets, janitorial services, childcare, housekeeping, etc, then you have your own skin in the game - taking advantage of the situation the immigration fiasco has created.

    Where do "illegal immigrants" work in my US city? Socket factory for Sears Craftsman. Cell phone packaging contractors for all 4 of the big cell companies. The daily newspaper printing plant. Nearly every restaurant. Nearly every labor-intensive job. Construction. Gardening. Dry cleaners.

    Personally, I'd love for them all to just sit home and not work for a week. An awful lot of eyes would be opened.

    NAFTA opened up "free trade" and "free flow" of capital. But it did nothing about the third leg of the economic footstool: Labor. Well, prohibition taught us that market forces are more powerful than law (as does the "War on Drugs" today). Labor is in demand in the USA. And people are coming to fill that demand. They will continue to come as long as there are job openings to fill.

  • Faith 8 years ago

    Sure, it is easy to compare ex-president Clinton's previous visit to that of President Bush, but the scenerios are totally different. The writer of this article fails to include all the facts. During Clinton's visit, the US was at peace, no need to bring your heavy armor then. Our President needs to be protected especially during a time of war, so it only makes sense for President Bush to have his military escort surround him wherever he travels. I personally don't think he should be appearing where many don't welcome him, but apparently some leader in Mex decided to welcome him over, otherwise he wouldn't have been there. Perhaps it is him who you all should take your complaints to. Everyone needs to get over this President Bush issue and continue with your own lives. He only stepped in your town for a short while and harmed no one. He won't be in power for too long and you will still find something else to critizize in the next president.

  • Anonymousme 8 years ago

    Thanks, interesting and informative article. Merida is a beautiful city.

  • Nubinskis 8 years ago

    The entourage that precedes Presidential visits and is present during the visits depends upon the current threats against the United States and the President. I worked with the Secret Service agents on several occasions when Presidents Carter and Reagan chose to visit Philadelphia where I was stationed and it was similar to what occurred in Merida. President Bush and V.P. Cheney at times come to the city in the U.S. where we currently live and it is the same procedure - closing highways, parts of town, etc. So don't think this is anything special because it is in Mexico and that it would be different for other presidents since 9/11. Clinton's visit wasn't during heightened national awareness and was prior to 9/11 and there was no ongoing war either.

  • Bush-- annoying the locals in the Yucatan « The Mex Files 8 years ago

    [...] From Yucatan Living comes this post written by one of the sizable MexPat community, in that usually welcoming city: [...]

  • 8 years ago

    How can some of you be talking about Mexican illegals and kissing Bush's feet? First, you are living in Mexico, and second, as a Yucateco I hope this thing won't happen again, I don't care who Bush is, or what he means to you. Since I have a life in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico for many generations, my only care is not to be bothered by an anarchist who has more problems in his own country to be disturbing other people's lives. Merida is known for how nice its people can be, but we can also be angry about those kinds of things.

    I am glad that many of you enjoy our culture, our people, our cities and towns. It makes a better Merida, otherwise, racist people living in Mexico should go home. That's the way it has to be.

  • Alan 8 years ago

    The author of this artical had it right. Right down to the fact that when we arrived in Merida on the Thursday before Shrub's arrival, (yes, I'm a Bush hater.) we could tell that this wasn't the fabulous city that we grew to love. Everyone, although they tried to be cordial and friendly, were in a major state of depression.

    However, the artical has one flaw. George Bush was born and raised in Conneticut, and only went to Texas at the age of 15.

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    Carol, actually Americans *are* running to live in Mexico these days. They can't seem to buy houses in Merida fast enough... certainly not in the numbers that Mexicans are running toward the United States, it is true. But more Americans are moving to Mexico than anytime in history since the American Civil War.

    MCM, we didn't see it in the news anywhere either. We heard about it from some Canadians who live here. We have not been able to confirm the visit by searching on the Internet, so maybe it was supposed to be a secret...? Or maybe it's a just a Canadian joke.

  • Joseph 8 years ago

    "Even George Bush, should he choose to start reading."

    He can read?

  • mcm 8 years ago

    I'm curious -- you mention that Canadian PM Harper flew in to join the Calderon-Bush talks this week. I can't find any mention of that anywhere. Is it possible you are confusing the visit last year of Bush & Harper to Quintana Roo & Yucatan?

  • Bob Wells in Boulder 8 years ago

    What a disgusting spectacle. I'm both angry and ashamed of the Bush Crime Family ... as usual.

  • carol 8 years ago

    Can you imagine us who live amongst illegal Mexican here on the border of Texas, screaming" Illegals go home"? How dare the Mexicans screanm this at a president who has done NOTHING from stopping illegals from Mexico coming into this country. They should be kissing his feet, as he allows Mexican ILLEGAL nationals to send home around $3 billion dollars per year to their families. I sure don't see any Americans running to live in Mexico. Get over it!!

  • Marilia 8 years ago

    Hi to all of you, I am mexican from Mexico City and also enjoy living in Merida because is a precious city where my children grew up saftly, I really belive that as human beings we deserve to look for a better place to live eventhough is not in your country thats why I dont like when Mexicans are not being treated well in USA or any part of the world because we as mexicans always welcome people that want enjoy our way of living and our beautiful country where we feel in peace, happy and safe. My office is in front of the Hyatt so you can imagene how terrible was to come into my own office, but well finally we were exposed to all the world as a great place to be, dont you think so? We are very lucky to live here.

  • kimba 8 years ago

    It's a really great post! I'm glad you wrote it as I was waiting for it and really interested in hearing firsthand about how his visit affected the area.

    I actually only wrote my second comment to subtly point out that I am not, nor have I or my statements about life ever been, ludicrous.

    About those locusts: Timing is everything ;)

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    Oh dear, oh dear! First of all, the locusts come every year (it's really quite spectacular to see until you register the destruction they are causing), more or less.
    And secondly, we agonized over publishing this post because we wanted to communicate the experience of being here during the event, but we know how high emotions can run on the subject of George Bush. If you sat down with us over a martini, we'd even give you an earful. But we want everyone to feel welcome at Yucatan Living, just like they do in the Yucatan. Even George Bush, should he choose to start reading.

  • San 8 years ago

    I understand he brought a "plague" of locusts. Those of us in Grigolandia are not at all surprised.

  • kimba 8 years ago

    I think there is no excuse for bad behaviour when visiting another country. And if bad behaviour ensues, then an heartfelt apology should be given. And that goes for everyone from the budget backpack traveler to the 'leader of the free world'. To basically shut off central Merida from earning a living for two or three days for the sake of a photo-op? Geesh. If the target on his back is so big, why doesn't he just stay at home?

    As a traveler I've certainly made more than my fair share of cultural faux-pas but when I find out that I've hurt someone, I really try and make amends.

    And no I wouldn't want Dick Cheney as President, but Nancy Pelosi would do.

  • Khaki 8 years ago

    Your friend is right - when Clinton was in town, not a ripple was felt in all of Merida.

    Before this trip, I was angry about what the Bush Gang has done to the U.S. Now, I really am beginning to be a little afraid. I'm not sure Americans know how bad their situation really is. This is nasty business. If the next election doesn't end it, there will be a whole lot more gringos in Yucatan than there are now - and God bless the people of Yucatan for letting us come there.

  • Jim Anthony 8 years ago

    I thought he would at least have apologized to the people of Merida for his disruption but it's obvious that he didn't even know or possibly doesn't care. Too bad.

  • Jonna 8 years ago

    "Death threats are no excuse for bad behavior"??? So, what DO you think is an excuse for bad behavior?

    That has to be the most ludicrous statement I've heard about all this. would you say that if it were your life? Come on, this guy has the biggest target on his back of any single human on this planet. Jerk or not, he not only doesn't deserve to be assassinated but it would be the worst thing that could happen, do any of you really want Dick Cheney as President of the US??

  • Grant 8 years ago

    One of my books on the Yucatecan caste war (can't find it at the mement) mentions that tensions were so great between the Campeche party and the Merida party (this was before Campeche was a separate state), that the governor had to move his administration to Campeche to lessen the threat of assassination.

    I feel sorry for Bush. He wanted to be an economic president, aiming towards an EU-style open border economy.

  • manuelito 8 years ago

    i think bush's sister in law is mexican isn't her,the wife of his brother who is the governor of florida or somewhere in the east.

  • Malcolm 8 years ago

    Wait'll we tell you the story of how, on Monday night, an hour before the helicopter touched down, and surrounded by US Secret Service and the military, we went...behind the barricades, and into the Fiesta Americana. Armed, no less.

  • Nels 8 years ago

    Thank you for another great article.
    I agree with Kimba; we should not be surprised by anything Shrub (as Molly Ivins
    dubbed him) does. The man who would be king, if only in his own mind, never fails to live up, or surpass, our low expectations of him.
    I guess the lesson to be learned is to beware of anyone who says they will bring respect back to the White House. Do you think the Maya will be available to do a cleansing of the White House when Shrub leaves?

  • kimba 8 years ago

    Why does none of this surprise me?

    I think I heard a report on our gringo news 'up here' that there were death threats against El Presidente while he was in Mexico. Still, that's no excuse for bad behaviour.

    I also read a report that the Maya of the ancient city of Iximche in Guatamala were going to do a spiritual cleansing of the site after he left from his visit there.

    Maybe the city of Merida should do the same?

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