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Looking Back: A review of December 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.


Never too old

Ray Naughton lives in Guanajuato where he attends the state university. He is a U.S. citizen and his story would not be noteworthy were it not for the fact that he is studying to become a Mexican lawyer and is well past the usual retirement age of 65. He used to be a lawyer in New Jersey, and after his wife passed away, moved to Guanajuato, but finding he had too much time on his hands decided to enter the university law school “to try to keep busy,” he says. “I think they let me in because they didn’t want to offend me. At first, my compañeros and teachers were somewhat amused at finding an older gringo in class, but little by little they began to accept me as just another student.” Naughton says sitting in a class with young people almost every day “keeps oneself young … the enthusiasm brushes off.”


Baby chicks slaughtered

While Jalisco chicken farmers claimed last week that there is just enough poultry to supply the market through the end of the year, a report last week in nearby Queretaro noted that 300,000 baby chicks were drowned in that state to alleviate an excess in supply. In view of the high, nearly prohibitive cost of poultry here and two rounds of price hikes for eggs in less than two months, the notice of the hatchling slaughter in Queretaro seems a mysterious riddle. One explanation is that the steep price of poultry simply created a drop in demand. The fact that many Mexicans are undernourished makes the fate of the chicks seem an unfortunate solution to the price war between producers and consumers.


Joco makes a maze

Jocotepec town coffers should soon be bulging. Every time someone is spotted by a policeman going the wrong way on the newly rerouted streets, it’ll cost them 60,000 pesos [about US$30 in 1991]. Is this the city fathers’ way of saying Merry Christmas? Civic leaders have long wanted to attract tourists and foreign residents from the Chapala-Ajijic area to Jocotepec. This peculiar move will hardly do that, and seems inspired primarily by the fact that the local constabulary cannot enforce parking laws along the main drag. Several residents there suggest that Christmas is coming and it is a custom in many local bureaucracies to seek inventive methods to raise money for the holidays.


Plague of locusts invades GDL

Bug experts are assuring citizens that the dark cloud of locusts ascending upon the metropolitan zone of Guadalajara will soon pass. Insect specialist Juan Espinoza says the invasion of locusts in Guadalajara is not uncommon and can most likely be attributed to the scarcity of fresh herbs in cultivation zones. He also explained that many people are confused as to whether or not this is a plague, but the truth is that it is a natural occurrence in Mexico and the bugs will surely move on and migrate to the state’s southern coast. In preliminary studies, it was indicated that the insects have traveled from the northern part of the country down to Guadalajara and there have been no crop or forest devastations along their route.


Illegal immigration to US drops

A result of heightened border security, the faltering U.S. economy and the dangers of attempting to cross the frontier, illegal immigration has dropped to a 40-year low. Just 340,252 migrants were arrested trying to cross the U.S.-Mexican border in the fiscal year that ended September 30 – the lowest number since 1972, when agents caught 321,326 people. This represents a drop of 24 percent from the last fiscal year, when 447,731 people were apprehended trying to cross the border. Illegal immigration reached its peak in 2000, when 1,643,679 people were detained by border agents.

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