Fred Admits Journalistic Dishonesty About Mexico
Who Could Have Thought It?
August 2, 2009
I have a confession to make to my readers. I have been lying about Mexico. Yes. I am a poor sinner and meant no harm, but the devil got into me, and I have done wrong. I have said that Mexico was a pleasant country of agreeable people, and harmless. I have said that children here run and play in the fountains and enjoy the blessed life of the happy young. No, no! It wasn’t true. They die of hunger in the streets. Nay, Haiti must seem a paradise by comparison.
Oh, if I could repent and redeem myself! I know now I have lured many innocent Americans, virgins (well, that may be stretching it), children, people of ripe years and helpless, into this hellhole of disease and corruption, where they have been robbed and killed and left to moulder in unmarked graves, like Ambrose Bierce. I laughed at Americans who asked me whether Mexico had paved roads. Oh, the shame of it! The truth is that Mexico does not. There are no paved roads in Mexico.
How I repent my lies. But it is too late.
What changed my life, and brought me to truth and the hope of salvation was the horrid death of my friend Richard and his sweet family. We found his mortal remains in the burning rubble of his home in Jocotepec, a village on the north shore of Lake Chapala. Beside his half-eaten body we found his diary of his family’s last days. I reproduce parts of it here with other accurate and damning verities about this abominable country.
“July 2. We have been hearing gunfire in thehills but figure it is just narcos settling accounts. It has happened before.”
“July 6. Explosions in the hills last night. Probably RPGs.”
Any American living here, if honest, will tell you that rocket fire is common. Especially during fiestas. Veterans of Viet Nam say that at times the detonations are as intense as anything they experienced in Asia.
“July 9. My daughter Chuleta arrived late at school today. A rabid coyote was in the street outside the house. She came back right away, having found that her class had been kidnapped again, except those at home with swine flu. The teachers say that if the children are released they will have to make the days up.”
“July 10. Peter Johnson is dead, presumably from food poisoning from bad mocha at the coffee shop on the plaza. Our group of Americans no longer leave our houses. We are cut off.”
And to think that I once made fun of Americans who believed disease to be everywhere in Mexico. How many of them have I killed with my fabrications?
“July 14. A policeman was shot to death by narcos this morning in the plaza, apparently to steal his cocaine. The water-treatment plant has stopped working. We fear plagues.”
“July 17. We stay in the house. Chuleta is sick with cholera. Dr. Perez came from the government clinic and sacrificed a chicken, but she got no better. He said it was a difficult case and would require a specialist who would chant and burn pig entrails.”
Food has become scarce in Mexico, a failed state. The reason of course is that the narcos have taken over all the farms to plant hemp, coca, poppies, and marijuana. A certain amount of corn is grown in clandestine fields in the mountains, but aircraft from the government spray these crops with herbicides.
“July 19. Chuleta died today. We were going to have a funeral but the wild dogs ate her.”
“July 21. I am alone. Even the government is attacking us. The helicopter of the Mexican air force dropped a load of cheap plaster bulls on the house. One hit my wife on the head. I was able to bury her decently because the sewage overflow from the water treatment plant has drowned the wild dogs.”
We who live in this inferno have learned not to trust the government. For years we heard from the peasants of nightmarish creatures that came from volcanic vents and devastated whole populations. We didn’t believe it. President Calderon himself assured us that it wasn’t true. Strange creatures? What nonsense. But then….
“July 23. We are doomed. This will be my last entry. The sewage has reached the front gate and feral possums have come from the hills to feed on corpses. If anyone finds this, tell my daughters in Spokane goodbye. For God’s sake stay away from Mexico.
The possums are coming….”