Chinanews.com, August 28th, title: How much does Mexico “pain” with the United States as a neighbor?
Author: Zhang Olin
A Mexican teenager strayed into the "land of the dead" in pursuit of his dream. He found that all the people who lived here were the dead. Only on the Day of the Dead can they "reunite" with their relatives. And if there is no longer any relatives remembering themselves in the real world, then the undead will eventually "annihilate" and the soul will no longer reincarnate...
This is the segment of the popular animated film "Dream Traveling" on the big screen, which tells the Mexicans' unique view of life and death in an artistic way. The sincere song "Remember me" in the movie once caused countless audiences to cry.
Data map: Mexican people participate in a parade on the Day of the Dead.
The Day of the Dead mentioned in the movie is a traditional festival in reality in Mexico. In previous years, in the first two days of November, the people of this country set up altars of different sizes. They made sugar skulls, baked undead bread, and scattered marigold petals on the altars to help the dead find "home". The way. There is also a grand and lively parade where men, women and children dressed up as "dead" sang and danced and went to the cemetery to "talk to their hearts" with their deceased relatives...
Today, everything has changed. The ferocious blow of the epidemic has been too heavy for Mexico, which has the third highest death toll in the world. Not only have the lives of more than 62,000 people been ruthlessly taken by the virus, the lively Day of the Dead parade has also been held online, and people will be forced to stay at home. The grief entrusted to the deceased adds a sense of melancholy and helplessness.
[Fatal threat from neighbors]
Counting from the first case on February 28, Mexico has been "struggling" in the epidemic for 6 months. Not only has the turning point been delayed, but the death rate has risen to 10.8%.
Under the clear sky in August, the Velázquez family put up their beach chairs. The crates used as temporary dining tables were filled with tortillas, bananas and roast beef, plus a bottle of hand sanitizer.
However, this is not a summer picnic. They were in the courtyard outside a new crown specialist hospital in Tijuana, waiting for their relatives in Virginia. She was infected with the new coronavirus on August 5.
Among those waiting were Virginia's husband, son and sister. But without exception, they did not think they would wait for good news. Sister Magdalena said: "We live too far. If they (the hospital) call and say it's time, we can't rush to the hospital right away."
The tragedy of the Velázquez family is only the tip of the iceberg in Tijuana, where the epidemic is severe. Since the outbreak of the epidemic in the north, the strong neighbor of the United States, this border city has been under pressure from the import of the epidemic.
Although the US-Mexico border has been temporarily closed since the end of March and "non-essential" travel is prohibited, as the Dallas Morning News pointed out earlier, "Although the border has been closed for several months, the Americans are still Free movement between the two countries". This ban seems to be only one-sided.
On one day in March, local time, vehicles were waiting to enter Mexico on the international passage along the US-Mexico border.
Next to Tijuana is San Diego, California. Over the past few months, a large number of cars with American license plates have grown into long queues, crossing the border from here, and roaring into Tijuana.
"In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have crossed the border every day, 90% of whom are American citizens or green card holders," said Lando, the US ambassador to Mexico in July. According to US media statistics, in May alone, 1.3 million people crossed the US-Mexico border.
Currently, the US-Mexico border area has become one of the hardest-hit areas in Mexico. Compared with San Diego County, which has a similar population, although the total number of cases reported in Baja California, where Tijuana is located, the positive rate and death rate are much higher.
On August 12, Baja California reported 197 new confirmed cases, but only 300 people were tested that day, and the positive rate was as high as 66%! This is in stark contrast to San Diego, which tests thousands of times a day but has a positive rate of only 3%.
The mortality rate is even more shocking. California is one of the most deadly states in Mexico, with a mortality rate of 19%, far exceeding San Diego's 1.8%.
"In the next few weeks, we expect cases to rebound sharply," Muro, a doctor in the emergency room at Tijuana General Hospital, predicted pessimistically in mid-August.
The threat from the north of the border is far more than that.
On July 8, local time, at the border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, immigration groups protested against US President Trump’s immigration policies.
"They didn't tell us anything, they just threw us into the plane and said they would send us back to Mexico." On the morning of July 30, a man who arrived at Mexico City International Airport by plane complained.
This man is a young immigrant from Hidalgo, Mexico. He had smuggled across the border to the United States before, but was deported recently.
“The plane was full of people, and there were three people on each side of each row of seats. It was impossible to have social distancing. Everyone’s feet, hips and hands were locked by chains,” he said when describing the deportation experience. “Officials The only anti-epidemic measures we take on the plane is to check blood pressure and body temperature before boarding."
After the outbreak, US President Trump increased the repatriation of a large number of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central American countries on the pretext of preventing the epidemic, but did not take appropriate measures to prevent them. Like this young immigrant, the huge risks they bring to the local epidemic prevention and control after returning to their country of origin are obvious.
Garcia, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico, pointed out that for the United States, repatriating illegal immigrants is easier and cheaper than quarantining them.
[Cross-border drug dealers competing for territory]
In addition to the continuous “import” of infection risks from neighbors, there are more crises lurking along the 3,200-kilometer US-Mexico border.
Obid is the mayor of the coastal city of Mahawi. One day in early April, on the way to Quintana Roo, another car suddenly stopped by the van he was riding in and opened fire on him.
Shortly after Obid was injured, he was pronounced dead and the gunman escaped. Later, investigators were at the scene and found 20 used cartridge cases.
Before the accident, Obid had received death threats from the drug cartel because he decided to block the Mahavir highway to prevent the spread of the epidemic. And this may prevent local drug cartels from delivering drugs to neighboring countries.
For the murderous drug dealers, not only must they remove the "obstacles" brought about by the epidemic prevention, they are also unscrupulous in order to obtain the hidden benefits behind the epidemic.
After the outbreak, some Mexican military police were assigned to participate in the "closure of the city." The vacuum zone left has become the "fat" in the eyes of drug gangs.
On July 1, local time, militants stormed into a drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico and opened fire, killing 26 people and seriously injuring 5 others. The picture shows members of the Mexican National Guard at the scene of the crime after the attack.
On July 1, militants rushed into a drug rehabilitation center in central Mexico to kill and kill 26 people and 5 people were seriously injured. According to the authorities, the killing was caused by drug trafficking organizations competing for territory.
The obstruction of cross-border traffic has led to insufficient raw materials for drug production, which has made the violence of drug cartels rampant.
According to data released by the Mexican government, in the first half of 2020 alone, there were as many as 12,747 gun-related murders in the country, and at least 60% of crimes in the country were related to organized crime.
The border is the high-tension line. The cross-border smuggling of drugs has been repeatedly banned, adding to Mexico's already fragile epidemic prevention system.
As early as April, there was a gun battle between drug gangs in Chihuahua on the northern border of Mexico, killing 19 people. "Two criminal groups fought for the drug route to the United States," said Cesar, the state attorney general.
In July and August, at least 21 drug dealers were killed by Mexican border guards in the border area between Nuevo Laredo and Tamaulipas.
The frequent activities of drug traffickers at the US-Mexico border indicate that Mexican drug cartels are looking for new ways to deal with the impact of the epidemic, US media pointed out.
"In some cases, cartels (drug trafficking) organizations started to go to places where backpackers crossed the border." Detective Bell of the Chicago Drug Enforcement Agency pointed out that as drug dealers continue to look for new smuggling opportunities, the agency is currently on high alert.
[Sudden Elegy of Life and Death]
The Central Market of Alabato also entered a state of high alert.
Sore throat, runny nose, and body aches. One day in mid-April, Mateo, who had been selling tomatoes in the market for decades, thought he had a cold. His son Carlos said, "He (Mateo) feels bad, but he continues to work."
At first, Mateo didn't think he was infected with the new crown, but then he had difficulty breathing and died within a few days.
At that time, many of Mateo's companions were also infected, and the vendors hurriedly hung up yellow warning signs outside the market, which read "High risk of infection". However, the virus has spread in this largest farmer’s market in Latin America.
57-year-old Alonso also sells tomatoes here. He said, “In the beginning, we did not believe that the new crown virus was a threat, but when people started to die, die, and die, we no longer doubted it.”
From mid-April to mid-May, at least 10 tomato stall owners contracted the new crown disease and died, including Mateo's cousin Antonio.
The "Elegy" of the Alabato market is just a microcosm of the current Mexico.
Data map: Mexican people go to the cemetery to clean the bones of their loved ones to welcome the Day of the Dead.
"Many Mexicans don't want the authorities to know that their family members died of the virus, because once they are found, (family's) remains will be cremated." said Alpere, a foreign journalist who has been reporting in Mexico for many years.
After the death of Mexicans, due to local customs, they are usually buried. The locals believe that only in this way can the deceased "meet" with their loved ones on the annual Day of the Dead. But as the new crown epidemic worsens, this custom is becoming more and more difficult to implement.
Not only that, because there is not enough space to house the dead, the municipal cemetery in Mexico City had to dig out the previous remains to make room for the newly deceased.
For people who have lost their beloved love, this cruel reality is like a stuffy stick, shattering their already fragile hearts. Even if it is a short "reunion" with loved ones on the Day of the Dead, it is now a luxury.
[Never give up during the crisis]
However, Mexico, which is caught in the quagmire of the spread of the epidemic and economic shrinkage, has not given up.
In order to balance the contradiction between epidemic prevention and restart, Mexico has created a unique "traffic light" system, marking the 32 states of the country in four colors of red, orange, yellow and green according to the severity of the epidemic. Based on specific conditions, each state can arrange the restart schedule of economic, social, and cultural activities on its own.
On June 15, local time, in the Iztapalapa community of Mexico City, Mexico, a local market was closed for two months and reopened under strict sanitation measures. In the newly opened market, each stall is covered with plastic "covers".
Thanks to this system, the farmers market in the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City reopened two months after the business was closed. However, after the reopening of the market, the appearance of the market has obviously changed. Not only are plastic “covers” used to prevent epidemics put on every stall, vendors and customers also wear masks consciously.
People have used their actions to guard the hard-won results.
Mexico has also stepped up cooperation with foreign countries for the "life-saving straw" that may save people from fire and water-vaccine production.
Mexican Foreign Minister Ebrard said on August 13 that they plan to produce a vaccine jointly developed by the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University. The vaccine has now entered phase 3 clinical trials.
According to the agreement between the Mexican government and AstraZeneca, if the vaccine is successfully tested and approved, the Carlos Slim Foundation of Mexico will ensure that it is produced on time.
The fight against the epidemic continues, and the road ahead is dangerous and difficult. Although the "dead" in the movie can still have a chance to "reunite" with the living, there is only one life in reality.
As the Mexican Ministry of Health said, Mexicans "must be prepared for long-term coexistence with the virus." Of course, there is one more thing they will never get around, that is, the strong northern neighbor that spent a lot of money to build a high separation wall on the border between the two countries-the United States. (Finish)