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

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


New Post HQ

Guadalajara American Legion Post Seven inaugurated its new clubhouse on Veterans Day. The Post headquarters is now at Avenida Vallarta 1700, a block east of Avenida Americas. The new facilities are spacious and attractive with rooms for regular game parties and a full service restaurant operating daily. Cocktail piano music is a daily feature from 6-8 p.m. The top floor has room for the library, post offices and a separate room for post service officers.

From the editor

The other night while eavesdropping among a noisy group of North Americans, we overheard someone say “Oh, he’s a Lake Chapala sort of person.” Although we are fairly sure the person was speaking about a fellow Yankee, we are puzzled. What could have been meant? Would one sub-divide the Chapala taxonomy into the OLD Chapala proper type; the Chula Vista room-with-a-view and Sunday brunch type; the sandal and slack, equipal and tequila Ajijican; and even the aloof Jocotepectus? What IS a “Lake Chapala Sort-of-Person?” We invite your comment, since we personally feel we are in way over our head on this one.


Tide begins to turn

October may well mark the birth of a tourism explosion in Mexico. By mid-month the concrete consequences of Mexico’s first August 31 devaluation were just beginning to impress travel agents, airlines and businessmen, when Devaluation II hit like a bombshell, boosting the dollar’s value an incredible 110 percent — and making the Mexican peso one of the best money buys in the world for globetrotting economy-conscious travelers. A flight from Los Angeles to Guadalajara costs US$198. Cross the border and take that flight from Tijuana and the price is only US$66.53.


Bureaucracy kills free eyeglass program

Mexican government bureaucracy seems to have delivered a critical blow to more than 2,000 needy Mexican citizens at Lake Chapala who require eye care. A series of federal red-tape obstacles now block the continuation of an eight-year-old free eyeglass program led by Canadian residents at Lakeside. Glasses are donated and shipped with no airfreight charges from Canada. Canadian doctors then give up their vacations and travel here to prescribe the glasses to locals, with assistance from the Family Development Agency (DIF). In 1984, 2,700 patients in Jocotepec were seen by the doctors. Now there will be no program. The DIF decided they couldn’t afford to help and the federal government said they could no longer waive the IVA taxes.

Environmental control

Jalisco has set a precedent in national environmental conservation by obtaining a presidential green light to establish a 100,000-hectare biosphere reserve in Manantlan and to form emergency plans to rehabilitate the ecology of the 30,500-hectare Primavera Forest and the Lerma-Chapala water basin. The preserve at Manantlan (home of Mexico’s unique and famed perennial corn) has been a nine-year long struggle by scientists and environmental advocates; and now it seems their efforts have finally paid off.


Local artists break through

Only three painters out of ten are making a living from their art in Guadalajara. A recent auction at the Industrial Club was a good barometer for the cold cash value of art. While thousands of dollars were being asked for doodles by Clemente Orozco and paintings by Dr. Atl (that were applauded but not purchased), it was the younger Guadalajara artists who were raking in the cash. Imagine Goya on speed and you will have an idea of the brooding portraits of the evening’s most popular artist, 24-year old Fernando Sandoval. Many of his studies, oil on paper, went for upwards of 200 dollars. Said one gallery owner: “Collecting has increased, but it tends to divide sharply along age lines. Older collectors tend to go for established artists and names, while younger collectors, who are just starting out, tend to be attracted by artists their own age. And their works are cheaper.”

Female priest 

at St. Andrew’s

When Iris Slocombe was a girl in Essex, England, she loved to play church. She was disappointed when adults pointed out that it was not proper for a girl to pretend to be a preacher. Slocombe was installed last month as the first woman priest at St. Andrew’s Anglican (Episcopal) church in Riberas del Pilar, and possibly the first in Mexico. Slocombe gave up her ambition as a young woman and studied nursing. It wasn’t until 1980 that she entered the School of Theology in Swanee, Tennessee. She was ordained a deacon by the Episcopal Bishop in Alabama in 1983 and began work in her first parish in Virginia. She was the first woman to be ordained a priest in that diocese. After moving to various diocese in the United States, she and her husband retired to Chapala, thinking her time in the ministry was over. Her move was fortunate for St. Andrew’s, as the Reverend Melchor Saucedo soon retired.


Capital approves same sex unions

After a prolonged five-year debate, the Mexico City Legislative Assembly voted to permit same sex unions in the capital. Five left-of-center parties teamed up to push through the polemic bill. Both National Action Party (PAN) and Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) representatives voted against the bill. The Green Party abstained.  “This advances the struggle to end homophobia,” said Marti Batres, president of the PRD in Mexico City. The president of the capital’s Human Rights Commission called the legislation an act of “a democratic society that recognizes and values its plurality.”  The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico City said the legislation was an act of “vengeance toward the Catholic Church by the radical left.”

US journalist killed 

in Oaxaca

Some 1,500 federal police moved into the center of Oaxaca last weekend after gunmen shot dead three people, including a U.S. journalist. The unrest in the state broke in May after teachers went on strike over pay, unleashing a wave of antigovernment protests. When Oaxaca Governor Ulises Ruiz ordered police to disperse protesters with tear gas on June 14, leftist, indigenous and student groups joined the teachers and the Popular Assembly of Peoples of Oaxaca was created to coordinate the uprising. The death of U.S. cameraman Bradley Roland Will, shot by a sniper as he filmed near a barricade, appeared to force the hand of President Vicente Fox, who had been criticized for his reluctance to become involved in the conflict.

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