MEXICAN MATTERS: TOXICOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY AND A JAILED BURRO
By Allan Wall
June 8, 2008
In the latest Mexican professional soccer championship, the Guerreros of Club Santos Laguna, were victorious (on June 1st) over the Cruz Azul team.
was the Club Santos’ third championship. Naturally, there was
plenty of exultation on the streets of Torreon, Gomez Palacio, and Ciudad
Lerdo, the cities which make up the urban conglomeration at the heart
of the Laguna Region, in northern Mexico.
As for the Mexican national team, its failure to qualify for the Olympics led to the dismissal of coach Hugo Sanchez and his eventual replacement with Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson.
According to the International Society of Toxicology and Toxinology, Mexico is #1 in the world in development of antivenoms. Mexico is home to many venomous animals, including spiders and snakes. So, as the saying goes, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”, these dangerous animals spurred on the development of needed antivenoms.
There are several recent items in the field of archaeology of interest.
The Olmec culture, which flourished in Mexico from 1200-400 B.C., considered the mother culture of Meso-American civilization, is famous for the monumental stone heads . However, one of these heads, purchased by a German collector for millions of euros, turned out to be a fake, and was apparently sculpted in Europe.
On June 6th, INAH (National Institute of Archaology and History) announced that they have located the Casas Nuevas palace of Montezuma. (Montezuma was Aztec emperor from 1502-1520, and was reigning when Hernan Cortes arrived in 1519).
Given that Mexico City was constructed atop the ruins of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, interesting discoveries are made from time to time and many more doubtless lie undiscovered.
As for the Casas Nuevas palace, it was discovered right under the National Museum of Cultures in downtown Mexico City, during a museum restoration project.
Part of the palace is the Casa Denegrida, a black basaltic structure into which Emperor Montezuma would retire to meditate and reflect in the darkness. It was described by a Spanish conquistador as “a black house, a room without windows and painted black”. Sure enough, what the archaeologists found fit the description.
In a recent list of the world’s dirtiest cities , Mexico City rated #5, scoring a 37.7 on the Mercer Health and Sanitation Index. It rated right above #6 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at 37.9 on the Mercer scale.
Ranking right above Mexico City was the Port-au-Prince, Haiti, the dirtiest city in the Western Hemisphere, with a score of 34. Antananarivo, Madagascar, ranked #3 with a score of 30.1, and Dhaka, Bangladesh was #2 with a score of 29.6.
The city with the dubious honor of The World’s Most Polluted City was Baku, Azerbaijan, with a score of 27.6.
Although Mexico struggles with raising its economic growth rate, recent statistics indicate it’s having no such problems increasing the weight of its citizens. Thanks to unhealthy diets and more sedentary lifestyles, the Mexican population is growing fatter.
IMSS (Social Security, the Mexican national health service) calculates
that 70% of the Mexican population is overweight.
In 1989, less than 10% of the adult Mexican population was overweight, so that’s a rapid increase. It’s related to various health problems, including diabetes, Mexico’s biggest killer. Over 70,000 Mexicans die annually from diabetes and related conditions.
If present trends continue, within ten years Mexico is set to surpass the U.S.A. as the world’s fattest nation. Mexicans constantly compare their country with the U.S., but this is not a healthy way to compete with their northern neighbor! called
In China, Mexico’s Televisa network has begun filming Chou Un Wu Di (The Ugly Girl without a Rival). It’s a Chinese version of the telenovela called La Fea Mas Bella (the Prettiest Ugly Girl) which in turn is based on the Colombian Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty). The Chinese version is set to air in September.
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the Mexican state of Chiapas, a donkey called “Blacky” was
jailed for three days, for kicking and biting two individuals. Blacky
was released after his owner paid a $36 dollar fine and the hospital
bill of the victims ($115 dollars). Not only that, but the owner is
required to compensate the victims ($480 each) for missed days at work.
I have a feeling Blacky the Burro is being held on a tighter leash these
Now if only it were that simple to get control of the drug cartels!