The Show Must Go On…..?

by Wendy Wohlfeill

As Mexico prepares to celebrate its bicentennial on Wednesday and Thursday, CNN reports that most of its citizens are short of jumping for joy. In light of the governments attempt to create a huge “part Disney, part infomercial” celebration, the 28,000 lives lost in the last four years to an on-going drug war seem to be taking center stage.

CNN reports that the Mexican government has spent $232 million for celebrations in Mexico City alone, including parades, fireworks and attendees ranging from five Latin American presidents and dignitaries from 50 countries.

The tone of this story, including quotes from citizens were reminiscent of news stories from not too long ago in our area.  On a smaller, and much, much less dangerous scale, I was reminded of Chicago’s Olympic Bid. Some citizens were excited about the large-scale celebration, world recognition and possible tourist boost, while others feared government officials were overlooking the reality of a city that was already struggling to stay a float.

I read countless testimonies from local social service organizations that were months away from closing their doors due to a lack of government funding. The same tone was reported by CNN when Adrian Jesus Garrido Gomez, who owns a car rental company and chauffeur service in Villahermosa, the capital of southeastern Mexico’s Tabasco state, said “the climate in which we’re living in this country does not lend itself to a real celebration.”

Why do Mexican government officials find it necessary to spend millions of dollars on celebrations?  Would the $232 million dollars make a difference in combating the drug war that is reaching epic proportion? Or is it as the over-used phrase goes, “The show (and celebration) must go on.”

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