Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mexican Police

This picture was taken in 1913, and shows two mounted Mexican Policemen. The picture was taken in Mexico City. When I was a boy, we would often travel to Mexico. Most people think of Mexico as a dry and desolate place. This is true in the Northern part, which is mainly the Chihuahuan Desert. As you go further south, into the tropical region, it is very different. There, it is beautiful mountainous rain forests. It is much more like what you would think of South American rain forests. We would pull a trailer, and go way down into the pretty parts. Back when we would go, the people there were desperately poor. Many of the small kids would have no clothes at all, and a few might have an old shirt, but no pants or underwear. Kids literally walked around naked they were so poor. My parents would fill the trailer and car with clothes, and as we went around on the trip, they would give clothes to the people who did not have anything. We very much enjoyed these trips, but it was striking the differences between there and back home. The police were very corrupt. You would be driving down a remote highway, and the police would pull you over for no reason and want a bribe. You could either pay them, or they would hold you there all day asking questions, or rummaging through your stuff. Usually the bribe they wanted was very small . . . maybe what amounted to 20 or 30 cents, but yet it was annoying and intimidating. Also, the roads were very poor. There would be very narrow roads through mountainous passes with no guardrail, and no shoulder on the road. To make matters worse, the trucks would drive down the center of the road, so you would go around a tight curve, and find a truck coming straight at you, head on, with no way to pull over. In the end, we stopped going to Mexico because of the dangerous roads, and the corruption was getting so bad. It is shame that a country that is so rich in natural resources and culture is plagued with such corruption, and today, lawlessness. I would be afraid to go to Mexico today.


  1. I made a number of trips to Mexico in the late 90s for State business and found the Mexicans to be warm gracious people. I was dealing with mid and lower level professionals rather than the poor you discussed, but I believe they are all basically the same at heart.

    The corruption has gotten worse every year so that now you have martial law at most border town to prevent the takeover of the country by the criminal elements. Much of the criminals wealth, and thus influence, is due to the illegal drug traffic that we in this country so strongly support.

    Are we then supporting the overthrow of the Mexican government?

  2. What is the weapon down by his side that look like a very thin scabard. I would guess it is a bayonet, but it is very long. Any ideas?

  3. I, too, have been to Mexico many times and have found the Mexicans to be wonderful people, despite their poverty.

    And, it is a beautiful country, I think one of the most beautiful places on earth (except for Mexico city).

    What a shame that it has remained so poor, corrupt and dangerous.

    Between the drug wars and now the swine flu, I'm afraid to go, and we used to go all the time.

    Once we went to Chicun Itza, and it was fabulous, overwhelming in its majesty and history.

  4. AB
    I agree, the weapon does look too
    long. But think it a bayonet.

  5. Looks like an empty rapier scabbard to me. And on our trips to Mexico, we've found that the Mexican people are extraordinarily talented artistically and very friendly. But, their organizational skills leave something to be desired.

    I just noticed: Yesterday, PJM was indeed correct, May 2, 1009, no one guessed his Mystery Person. (Heeheeheehee)

    Love the old photos. I have boxes of them, myself. No one in my family seems to want them and there is no one to leave them to. Any clues as to what's to be done?

  6. Greetings from Finland!

    I have read Your blog now some days, and like it very much. Old pictures are intresting, and guessing the persons is fun.

    Now I have a question especially for readers of this blog in my blog. Welcome!


  8. Bruce, they don't need no stinking badges!

    I am not a fan of Mexico for many reasons anymore. In college we went for the bars and dancing and boys, inexpensive leather goods and clothes/shopping. It was fun for a while. Now I just feel so terrible for the people living in poverty while those in power live in absurd luxury. It is truly a third world country. The people are in general wonderful and open hearted, but their lives are short, ridden with disease, malnourishment, fear... I can't stand to see the children begging.

    Mathan, I'd have to look it up, but there is a website that has albums of old photos with no provenance, they are public domain for people to use on their websites or other work. I'll try to find it and post it here.

  9. I believe the CM stands for "Colegio Militar" or military school.

    Also, municpal police were never armed with carbines.