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Looking Back: A review of October news from last 50 years

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

1966

Vocational school

The new Regional Vocational School in Ajijic now has more than 600 students registered in its first semester of operation.

At this point the school is still understaffed and lacks much equipment. But between the students selling the articles they make there and help from some of the foreign colony, hand tools are being purchased from the United States for the school’s woodworking shop. 

Goldwater visits

Ex-senator and U.S. presidential candidate Barry Goldwater and his wife, Peggy, were callers on Jalisco Governor Francisco Medina Asencio in early October. The Goldwaters are here with a group of Phoenix businessmen and Senator Goldwater was master of ceremonies at a fashion show sponsored by the Asociacion Filantropica Cultural in benefit of the Granja Juvenil.

Balloon races

The Globo races are on this month at the Ajijic Soccer field, including pari-mutuel betting. The last balloon visibly aloft is the winner. The money raised goes to the Ajijic Schoolchildren’s Breakfast Fund.

1976

Price hike controls

Hundreds of Mexican goods and services which had never before been subject to strict federal price controls are to be regulated. A presidential decree authorized a 10-percent across-the-board increase on consumer items ranging from cigarettes and soft drinks to tortillas, fish and bottled water. The new authorization will essentially mean a roll back of prices to their August 15 levels, plus ten percent. Neither electricity rates or gasoline will increase as a result of the peso devaluation and new salary hikes. 

Amsoc election

Nearly 400 members of the American Society of Jalisco (Amsoc) gathered September 25 to attend the annual general meeting and elect a slate of officers. Committee appointments included secretary, public relations, editor and assistant editor of the Jalisco section of Amistad magazine (published by the American Society of Mexico), advertising representative, Armchair Travelers’ program director, Society photographer, editor of Amsoc monthly Voice newsletter, community relations chairman, rural nurses program, Casa de Descanso program director, Zapopan project director, brunches program director, chess coordinator, discount program head, historian, membership director, office manager, parliamentarian, See Mexico Tours director, social events director, art festival advisors, book fair directors, October festivals director, Virgin of Zapopan breakfast director, United Service Bureau head, and youth activities coordinator. 

1986

Mexican prez miffed

President Miguel de la Madrid lashed out at north-of-the-border misunderstanding over the Mexican way of life. “There is no shortage of people who believe, or who would like to believe that there is only one democracy — their own, that there is not a better economic system than their own; and that there is no other valid social structure than their own.”

Unilateral interpretations generally either simplify realities or exaggerate them, de la Madrid asserted, because prejudices distort events that are perfectly acceptable in one country and make them appear questionable in another.

David Gardner, the (London) Times correspondent in Mexico had said that the guardian of the Mexican Revolution (the Partido Revolucionario Institucional) is “a party suffering from ideological sclerosis.” PRI’s decline, said Gardner, is due to bureaucrats who have used the party as a route to power over the last two presidential terms.

Hurricane’s wrath

Hurricane Paine lashed Jalisco early this month, damaging 125 hectares of farmland and leaving 3,000 people homeless. Hardest hit were the southern towns of Cihuatlan, Jaluco, Melaque-San Patricio, Villa Obregon, Lazaro Cardenas and Emiliano Zapata. Half of the crops in Autlan were also wiped out by the storm. 

1996

Metro smog alert

Thick layers of contaminants trapped over Guadalajara during a three-day period in late October prompted authorities to issue the phase one pollution alert for the first time. A dark pall estimated to be almost 900 feet deep hung over the Glorieta Minerva on October 15. Unseasonably low temperatures combined with windless days to produce serious thermal inversions. Virtually every part of the metropolitan area registered unsatisfactory levels of contamination during the three-day period. Zapopan center was the worst with a reading of 284 points on the contamination index (IMECA) on October 15 and 248 on October 17. Any reading over 100 is considered bad.

City to host P.E.N. congress

Hundreds of writers from all corners of the globe are expected to attend the 63rd P.E.N. International Writer’s Conference next month. This is a huge tribute to the local P.E.N. group, formed less than two years ago. The highest profile author invited is 1986 Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, Nigerian dramstist, poet and novelist Wole Soyinka. The International P.E.N. Club was founded in 1921 and “defends writers who are victims of oppressive regimes, be they of the extreme right or extreme left,” states the group’s charter.

2006

Fox condemns fence

Mexican President Vicente Fox launched an unusually fierce attack on U.S. legislators as President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that authorizes the construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“It’s useless … shameful for the United States,” Fox raged during a visit to Quintana Roo. He also alluded to the timing of the bill and its signing. “If this was a decision to win votes, then the sin will carry its own punishment.” According to many sources, Bush delayed signing the bill for four weeks to give the flagging Republican Party a lift before the November 7 mid-term elections.

Democrats man phones

More than 3,000 Democratic and Independent voters living in four U.S. congressional districts with hotly-contested races have been urged to vote on November 7 by 25 volunteer callers in San Miguel de Allende using low-cost internet phone services. Voters assume they’re being called from the United Stastes because internet phone services such as Vonage don’t show a number on caller ID. The phone bank is one of a package of efforts by the San Miguel chapter of Democrats Abroad to get out the vote for the upcoming election, including non-partisan drives to help some 400 U.S. citizens living in San Miguel to register to vote and apply for absentee ballots. 

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