Last updateFri, 22 May 2020 12pm

Looking Back: A review of October news from the 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.


Retreads group formed in Chapala

A new, first-time charter in Retreads, an ex-servicemen’s organization, has been issued in the name of Lake Chapala Hut 4, the first time in the national organization’s history that a charter has been authorized outside the continental United States. A Retreads a member must have served in both World War I and World War II.

The Lake Chapala Hut (post) is small, because the number of veterans still living who served in both wars is getting smaller each year.

Karl Lender has been elected the new commander of the Chapala Hut. He was partner in the firm that built Charles Lindbergh’s famed plane, Spirit of St. Louis. He served in France in the World War I spent 23 years between wars with Pan-American Airways helping build seaplane bases and Midway and Canton Islands and was retired a four-striper Navy captain from the World War II.

The rest of the officers and members include former generals, submariners, Navy commanders, cavalry and infantry, among other military occupations.

Retreads was conceived during the first landings in Africa in 1942, and was officially formed in Brooklyn in 1946. It has one or more charters in every state in the Union.


Agriculture takes a hit

Mexico has faced tough weather conditions this year that will negatively impact crops around the nation. A rainy season that started late caused late planting in much of the country, while in other areas flooded fields delayed planting. To add insult to injury, the rains stopped early this year and cold air is drying up many {milpas} and bean fields long before they are ready to be harvested. In Durango, Zacatecas and Aguascalientes, 55,000 people have lost their crops. A billion pesos of corn and beans were lost in these states; 60 to 100 percent of crops were lost in Tlaxcala and if there is no rain in mid-October, Jalisco will lose 60 percent of its production. Some farmers described the drought as the worst in 50 years.


pg24PAN leader dies in car crash

Manuel de Jesus Clouthier del Rincon, leader of the Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) died in a collision with a tractor trailer on a highway in Sinaloa, October 1. The dynamic leader was on his way to lend support to the PAN candidate for mayor of Mazatlan, Sinaloa and to confer with Ernesto Ruffo Appel, PAN’s governor-elect of Baja California. Clouthier, who converted from the PRI to the PAN in 1984 in protest of the nationalization of the banks in 1982, traveled tirelessly and enthusiastically in support of his party and colleagues, so his death on the campaign trail seems tragically apropos.

Mexican leaders ranging from the Communist Party to the Catholic Church praised Clouthier as a valiant peer.

“It is an irreparable loss … Defending the interest that he represented, (Clouthier) always acted in good faith for the good of Mexico,” opined one PRI-allied union leader.

The PAN faithful mourned the loss of a man who single-handedly revitalized the party. Although he lost an election for governor of Sinaloa in 1986 (he alleged PRI vote fraud), two years later he convinced Ernesto Ruffo Appel to run for governor of Baja California. When Ruffo takes office November 1, he will be the first non-PRI governor since the Mexican Revolution.


Minors kidnap and kill 7-year-old

The body of a seven-year-old was found in a ditch in the neighborhood of Lomas de Zapopan, the victim of a botched kidnapping by two boys in their early teens.

Jaime Orozco, 15 and Oscar Ramirez, 14, saw Balther Garcia playing alone outside a Zapopan school and led him away to a nearby wooded area, with the intent of keeping him there until a ransom was obtained, according to a statement by Orozco. Orozco admitted keeping watch while Ramirez beat the seven-year-old unconscious. After waiting 20 minutes, the teenagers assumed that Garcia was dead and buried him face-down in a ditch. An autopsy later revealed that Garcia died from suffocation, as traces of dirt were found in his trachea and lungs.

The pair fled the scene and the following day began calling Garcia’s parents from their homes, demanding a ransom of 40,000 pesos. The boys continued to negotiate the sum until it was reduced to 8,000 pesos.

Police traced the calls and arrested Orozco and three other minors suspected of aiding in the ransom demands and concealing the crime. Ramirez has not been located.

If convicted, the boys will be sent to Jalisco’s juvenile detention center where they will be subjected to a rehabilitation program no longer than three years in length.

Orozco said he and his friend got the idea for kidnapping from U.S. television programs that recreate crimes and film actual arrests.

He said they wanted the money to buy video games, but panicked when they realized the boy would be able to identify them if left alive.


Chapala hands out liquor licenses like lollipops

Local entrepreneurs who are in the good graces of Chapala Mayor Gerardo Degollado get an easy ride in the process of obtaining authorization to sell or serve alcoholic beverages as his administration finished its term.

The favoritism came to light following a heated closed-door session of the municipal Council on Restricted Commerce that is responsible for reviewing applications for issuance of liquor licenses.

Several of the enterprises in question were known to be operating for as long as one year without proper liquor licenses, including Wal-Mart, Number Four Restaurant and the 7-Eleven at the north end of the Libramiento.

The main thrust of the opposition was related to six establishments filed in the name of individuals who closed lakefront restaurants and relinquished their rights to federal land on Chapala’s beach area to make way for the Malecon renewal project. In exchange for transferring those rights to the city government, each one received a monetary compensation and the promise of liquor licenses to start up new businesses. With time running out for his administration, Degollado openly admits he was anxious to make good on that pledge before leaving office.

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