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Last updateFri, 13 Jul 2018 7am

Looking Back: A review of May news from the last 50 years

In this monthly series, we republish a few of the headlines from our May editions 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

1968

Toros in Chapala

The School Breakfast Fund of Chapala is putting on what promises to be one of the most colorful events of the year, the Festival Taurino.

The affair will open in the new Plaza de Toros with a parade of carriages carrying señoritas in traditional finery, charro horsemen and bullfight personnel led by famous rejoneador Prisciliano Jarero with his Lisbon bred horses.

Picnic ends in tragedy

Darwin Vank Siaw, 4, and his brother Markel Artwell Siaw, 6, drowned in Lake Cajititlan while boating with their father on a Sunday picnic outing. A sudden wind brought up high waves that capsized their little boat. The father and another child passenger were saved by clinging to the oversized craft. The boys were the only children of Caleb and Dylene Siaw, a family of Eskimo origin from Wrangle, Alaska. They had been making their home in Ciudad del Sol in Guadalajara while Siaw studied at the medical school of the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara.

1978

Coffee chief off to jail

Fausto Cantu Peña, the director of the Mexican Coffee Institute (INMECAFE), and five other top officials of the state-owned company have been charged with fraud by the country’s attorney general, who also said 120 coffee producers, members of INMECAFE, will be accused of contraband dealings in coffee, tax evasion and other acts. After being arrested, Cantu Peña offered to repay US$1 million which he said he received from North American coffee companies. Four of the other men arrested offered to repay hundreds of millions of pesos, which they have avoided paying in export taxes.

Secret Cuban cops

Seven Cuban refugees who landed on a beach in Quintana Roo after a four-day trip in a small boat were discovered by Mexican maritime authorities fighting off two other Cubans who were trying to force them into a boat for a return trip to Cuba. According to the refugees, who included two children, the men are members of a clandestine Cuban police force operating in Mexico without the knowledge of Mexican authorities, whose mission is to persuade those fleeing the Castro regime to go back to their homeland. Caught in the act by Mexican police, the men took off in their own high-powered motor boat, leaving the refugees to request asylum in Mexico.

1988

U.S.-Mexico relations sour

Relations between Mexico and the United States have suddenly become a political hot potato in the 1988 presidential race after Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) candidate Manuel Clouthier accused President George Bush of interference in this nation’s electoral process and asked for an official apology. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate vote to kill a six-month extension of the amnesty program of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act – commonly known as the Simpson-Rodino law – sparked panic south of the border. With up to six million indocumentados facing deportation, two independent labor unions held their May Day parades outside Mexico City’s U.S. embassy in protest.

1998

Teacher head of suicide cult

pg8A high school teacher accused of inducing a group of students to commit mass suicide has been suspended and sent to a psychological therapist, said the principal of Guadalajara’s Preparatoria 10. Following the charges made by a 17-year-old student, physics and career education teacher Alejandro Gutierrez Martinez, 48, as well as a student who made the charges, identified only by the alias “Piscis,” and the rest of the presumed “zodiac apostles” are being examined by psychology professionals. The alleged victim, according to her parents, was approached by the teacher with comments that she looked lost. The teacher gave her an appointment in his office, where he assured her that she was not a human being but an alien, and the 12th apostle chosen by the Lord. He said she was one of a group of 12 (fellow classmates in the third semester) who live mentally prepared to stop being humans and convert into extraterrestrials. Frightened by him and fellow students, she spoke to her parents, who alerted school officials.

Record drought for Lake Chapala

Endangered Lake Chapala is facing what could be the worst drought in 50 years. The villains are the two weather phenomenon known as El Niño and La Niña.  The 1997-1998 El Niño brought almost no precipitation except for the freakish snowstorm of December 13, 1997. Universidad de Guadalajara Astronomy Institute researcher Angel Meulenert predicts that this summer the waters of the Pacific will be considerably colder than normal and this will diminish summer rains on Mexico’s west coast. Moreover, there will be a harsh decline in the tropic storms which normally are prevalent in late summer and early fall, the system christened La Niña.

2008

Shark hunt just revenge

Environmental groups have forced port officials in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero to curtail a shark cull launched in response to the death of an U.S. surfer. Adrian Ruiz, 24, bled to death on April 28 after being bitten on the thigh while surfing off Troncones, a relatively undeveloped beach about 45 minutes north of Acapulco. Two days after the incident, Zihuatanejo port officials strung about 200 yards of fishing line with baited hooks near the beach. The officials trapped 11 sharks, many of them juveniles, which they displayed prominently on the city’s boardwalk. Authorities justified their action, arguing the Troncones beach “is infested with hundreds of sharks,” which “chase visitors away.” Environmental groups were outraged by what they termed as “revenge killings.”

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