Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday 21st November 2014….a different kind of a Pearson day!!!!

As you know by now I try to reserve my Fridays for myself….no games…no appointments… talking and I usually go for a long hike today was different as I had signed up for an afternoon class so I spent the morning home in my house robe just enjoying the peace and quiet….I did some laundry, had a nice breakfast and then lucky me there was some live tennis from France that I watched.

I then went over for a short while to visit my friend Carol in her new casa it was good to catch up with her and she is starting art classes soon from her house and I have told her I will go to one class, a first for me.

From there I went to my computer class in a private residence close to the center of town there were two other students and the class was really helpful…..our teacher excellent and he taught us how to down load music, movies and TV shows onto out computers… was almost a 4 hour class and he was very hands on and whilst there I downloaded two of my favorite TV shows and one music album… will mean that I have now an option to TV and will be great when I travel as I do not need Internet to watch what I have down loaded.

Now back home and settling in for the evening…a different day but a good day when you learn something!!!




  Breaking news today!!!!



Undocumented immigrant Angela Navarro and her husband Ermer Fernandez (L), along with other immigrants and supporters, watch U.S. President Barack Obama speak 20 November 2014 Undocumented immigrants and supporters watch Obama speak on immigration in Philadelphia


Millions of immigrants living illegally in the US will be allowed to apply for work permits under a major shake-up unveiled by President Barack Obama.

They include immigrants who have been in the US for five years and have children staying legally in the US.

About four million people are expected to benefit from a reform package forced through using executive orders, which allow Mr Obama to bypass Congress.

Republicans have accused the president of an "illegal power-grab".

There are estimated to be 11 million illegal immigrants in the US.


Barack Obama: "Our immigration system is broken and everybody knows it"

Under Mr Obama's plan, undocumented parents of children who are US citizens or legal residents will be able to apply for work permits lasting three years.

Only parents who have lived in the US for five years will qualify.

Some 3.7 million people are thought to be eligible for this scheme, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Another part of the package will extend a programme that gives temporary legal status to people who arrived in the US as children.

Currently only those under the age of 30 who arrived before 2007 can apply for the programme, which was launched in 2012 and already covers roughly 1.2 million people.

Mr Obama has abolished the age limit and extended the cut-off point to 2010, potentially extending the programme to a further 300,000 people.

BBC graphic



How has the immigration debate in the United States become so polarised, so toxic, so unpleasant?

That it has cannot be doubted. Barack Obama says he has grown so weary of trying to get Congress to engage seriously that he is going it alone.

He's bypassing the legislature and brandishing his big stick - the executive order. It is governance by diktat. And the reaction of his opponents suggests it will spark an atmosphere of retaliation and revenge.

How did immigration debate get so toxic?


Undocumented immigrant Alejandra Mota, holds her son, a US citizen, as they watch President Barack Obama announce executive action on immigration, at the West Kensington Ministry church, in Philadelphia, November 20, 2014. The order will primarily affect immigrants with children who are US citizens, like Alejandra Mota (centre) and her son

Mr Obama said in a televised address that his measures would allow illegal immigrants to "come out of the shadows and get right with the law".

He insisted that his proposals, which are the biggest immigration reforms since the mid-1980s, did not amount to an amnesty.

"What I'm describing is accountability - a common-sense, middle ground approach," he said.


''I think it needs to go through Congress,'' one voter told the BBC

Republicans reacted with fury, with Arizona Republican Senator John McCain calling it an "illegal power-grab" that "fails to address the root causes of the dysfunction in our immigration system".

And Texas Governor Rick Perry argued the move would "lead to more illegal immigration, not less".

An Obama aide rebuffed the criticism that Mr Obama had overstepped his authority, saying the president had taken advice from the secretary of homeland security and the attorney general about the action.

"It's entirely consistent with the way previous presidents have exercised their executive authority," the aide said.


US illegal immigrants' country of origin (2012)

  • Mexico - 59%
  • El Salvador - 6%
  • Guatemala - 5%
  • Honduras - 3%
  • Philippines - 3%



Mr Obama's plan does not go as far as an immigration bill that failed to pass Congress last year.


Astrid Silva: "Our system has been broken for so long that people like my dad are locked out of it"

The bill was supported by the Democrat-led Senate, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives refused to debate the proposal.

It would have provided a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Mr Obama stressed that his plans would not offer citizenship, or entitle immigrants to the same benefits as Americans.

Campaigners for migrants' rights broadly welcomed his plans.

But some activists worried that the promise of a three-year work visa would not be enough for many people to come out into the open.

"It's a step in the right direction, but it's going to fall far short of the mark," veteran advocate Cheryl Little told Reuters news agency.

She said the reforms amounted to "simply a temporary reprieve from deportation".


What is an executive order?

  • Directive issued by the president to federal employees usually concerning the implementation of laws
  • Power not explicitly outlined in the constitution, but exercised by most presidents
  • Orders generally cannot force through major policy initiatives, which usually require an Act of Congress
  • Courts can strike down an order if it is deemed incompatible with other laws or the constitution
  • Up to October, President Obama had issued 193 orders in almost six years, a lower rate than most of his recent predecessors

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thursday 20th November 2014…, parades, protests and Spanish lesson!!!!!

Today was another cool and gloomy morning but off I went at 9am for tennis I sure will be glad when my new racquet arrives next week…the tennis was great and afterwards I stopped and took in some of the huge parade….the locals sure know how to celebrate!!!!






Isn’t she a cutie!!!


This afternoon I did something that I promised myself I would do and have been a little negligent in doing but I found a Spanish teacher that came very well recommended and I met Marisol and we had our first lesson.

Marisol is a 29 year old bright attractive and articulate Mexican lady and if the first class was any indication I am going to enjoy the lessons and know I will improve that goes without saying because I really know nothing…..My homework is to go buy a Mexican sports magazine, rent a Mexican Movie, listen to Mexican songs and try to understand the pronunciation of the letters.  It was so good I feel really glad that this is just the start!!!!

We were to go to her apartment but at the last minute changed to a small restaurant and these are the grounds…..


What is that box in the back ground…..would you believe a proper British telephone box!!!


I know there are local protests taking place but I did not go into the main square…the article below is very interesting!!!

Mexico's missing students: Mass protests due

A demonstration in Guerrero state for the 43 missing students The protests for the missing students reflect wider anger at political corruption.


Mass protests are expected in Mexico for a group of 43 students who disappeared in September.

Caravans containing relatives of the missing are due to converge on Mexico City. They have been travelling around the country rallying support.

The Mexican authorities say local police handed the students to a drug gang who then murdered them.

But some families of the missing are unconvinced by this explanation and still hope they will be found alive.

Thousands of people are expected to take part in the march in the capital. There are also protests planned in other parts of Mexico and abroad.

The abduction has galvanised opposition to rampant political corruption and violence, says the BBC's Wyre Davies in Mexico City.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has accused some of the protestors of trying to "destabilise" the state.

The students, all trainee teachers, went missing after attending a protest in Iguala, Guerrero State.

Forensic tests are being carried out on bodies found in mass graves in the state.

More than 100,000 people have been killed and 27,000 have disappeared in Mexico in the last decade.





Mexico missing students: Travels on the protest caravan

By Vladimir Hernandez BBC Mundo

A banner showing the 43 Mexico students, who are missing, presumed dead The 43 missing, who the authorities say may have been murdered by a drug gang.


In Mexico, a roadblock is not usually a good sign.

We were travelling with a caravan of friends and relatives of the 43 students that went missing in south west Mexico in late September.

They have been crossing the country to join mass protests in Mexico City against the government's handling of the investigations.

The initial look of consternation from those on board slowly changed to relief, and then joy. The roadblock had been set up by locals from a tiny rural village along the way.

They had forced the caravan to a halt because they wanted to express their support to the parents and friends who have been in anguish for almost two months.

The villagers had drawn up their own posters, with photos of those missing. The encounter quickly turned into a march along the road, blocking transit from either side.

A protest at a Mexican village for the 43 missing students Those on board the caravan have been touched by the support they have received along the way.

A protest rally in Mexico on behalf of the 43 missing students There is widespread anger at the authorities over the missing students.

Travellers and locals shared chants and tears.

"This is the third time we've been stopped today," one of the caravan members told me.

"People just want to join us."

The widespread support each one of the three caravans that are crossing the north, south and west of Mexico has received has taken many by surprise.

The anger of the relatives has not only been directed at the government of President Pena Nieto, but also at the left-wing opposition. No-one in the political establishment has been left unscathed.


Getting aboard the caravan was not straightforward.

After lengthy negotiations, the parents and friends of the 43 students agreed to give us access to their bus.

The bus, one travelling student explained, had become a sort of oasis where the group could rest, reflect and keep to themselves until reaching the next town.

But for Diana Abarca, whose brother Luis Alberto is one of the missing, the caravan means something else.

A roadblock in Mexico, set up in support of friends and relatives of 43 missing students A roadblock, usually an ominous sign in Mexico, turned out to be something positive.

"Being here helps me very much, because if I stay at home I get very sad. Here, instead, I feel supported and remain hopeful that my brother will return."

Ms Abarca is travelling with her mother, who is in her sixties. As soon as we get on board she falls asleep. The week-long journey these travellers have faced is taking its toll.

"It has been very hard," says Eucladio Ortega, father of Mauricio, 18, who was part of that group that in late September was last seen bundled by the police into vans.

"But we do this because we want to force the government to give us back our children, all of them."

The Mexican authorities, however, believe there is little hope.

Earlier this month Mexico's Attorney General, Jesus Murillo Karam, announced that it was very likely that some of the badly burnt remains found in one of several mass graves unearthed by diggers in the state of Guerrero were those of the missing 43.

He stopped short of confirming the official death but gave away details of the government's inquiry, which is waiting for DNA tests to be finished in the coming weeks.

Hope endures

This view, however, has not dampened the spirits of the parents we met.

Most have an extremely sad stare. Their pain is visible, and some can't stop the tears when asked about their sons.

On board one of the buses which has been travelling around Mexico to protest against the vanishing of 43 students The protest tour has helped relatives and friends of the students support each other.

A protest rally in Mexico Despite the authorities saying it is likely the students have been killed, hope continues.

But all seem to have the same answer: they are alive.

"When I heard what the government said it just gave me more strength and resolution. Because I know they are alive," says Francisco Lagro, father of Magdaleno, 19, one of those missing.

"It's been almost two months without knowing where they are. We don't know anything and we are desperate. We, as parents, are asking all sorts of things. What are they doing? How are they being held? Do they get any food or water? We have many unanswered questions."

In some cases the anguish is taking its toll within these families.

"My wife doesn't want to come with me to these caravans," says Mr Ortega.

"She simply doesn't want to join me. We have our differences."

The caravans end in Mexico City, and most of these travellers will then go back to their homes, in the state of Guerrero.

It is one of the most impoverished places in Mexico.

"I have to go back to my crop. At some point I need to go back to growing my corn," says Mr Lagro.


Yashi Kochi!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday 19th November 2014…..a really busy day!!!

I have not been to yoga in a week a bit busy and then the instructor went away but I think I am going to change schools and go to a new class starting on Monday…..this morning I went to a private residence where a lady was giving a talk on private medical insurance for expatriates living in Mexico…this medical coverage gets a bit complicated for me because I have been out of my home province in Canada too long I am no longer covered unless I go back and reside there for 5 months out of the year….I do have a local Mexican coverage policy but will not cover major procedures.  I also have air evacuation coverage but that is no good as I get air vacced to Canada and I am not covered… really my choices are to go back to BC and reside there for 5 months or buy private insurance which is what the meeting was about……the policy coverage is quite good and the cost reasonable for a years coverage and it is world wide so I really have to sit down and study it and what it does and does not cover and then work on my options for staying here full time…so lots to think about even though I know I am in great shape and able to do all I want to do I also know that for over 25 years I have had an irregular heart beat which could cause me issues anytime…so as I say lots to think and to talk over with my friends about.

I went straight from there to poker…….sorry I have no idea why the font suddenly changed……it was another winning afternoon for me but this time serious money I won 290 pesos!!!!!

Back home in time to change and go down town again for my English class but before I did I had to stop at the bakery to buy the two Birthday cakes I had ordered yesterday as two of my students have had Birthdays in the last few days







……I have not seen my students for a week because there was no class on Monday so I look forward to seeing them.    I have a surprise for them next Monday instead of coming to class we are going to meet down town and then I have arranged for them to go to a private residence where the owners have a mask Museum with over 500 masks that have all been used in ceremonies in Mexico…I think they will enjoy it and sure none of them have been before and the tour will be in English…stay tuned!!!

I do not like it is dark when I drive home but nothing can be done about that… relaxed after supper and a bath and watching a live hockey game!!!


This article shows why the common woman and man cannot relate to these athletes!!!!

Sport's highest earners compared

By Alan Jewell BBC Sport

Giancarlo Stanton might be an unfamiliar name to most people outside North America, but the baseball player has been elevated to one of the highest earners in sport after signing a £208m ($325m) 13-year contract with the Miami Marlins.

Under the terms of the most expensive deal in United States sporting history, the 25-year-old slugger will earn £16m per year, £307,692 per week, £1,831.50 per hour and £30.53 per minute.

It is a particularly stunning headline figure given that the Marlins' payroll for their entire 25-man roster in 2014 was only £33.4m with Stanton's previous contract with them worth just over £4m annually.

The value of the deal makes it a Major League Baseball record, although the £187m ($292m) 10-year contract Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera signed in March pays more annually.

BBC Sport looks at how Stanton compares to a selection of sport's highest earners.

And in the time it's taken you to read this far, he's earned £26.

Floyd Mayweather

The unbeaten five-division world champion is known as 'Money Mayweather' for a reason.

According to the Forbes 2014 list of the world's highest-paid athletes, the 37-year-old earned approximately £67m ($105m) from fights against Saul Alvarez and Marcos Maidana.

Floyd Mayweather

Floyd Mayweather (left) is unbeaten in 47 professional fights

He is only the second sportsman or sportswoman to break the $100m (£64m) barrier, after golfer Tiger Woods, despite having no personal endorsements.

Mayweather signed a 30-month, six-fight deal with pay-per-view broadcasters Showtime in 2013 and tops the list.

Forbes say he has earned almost £255m ($400m) in the ring since he turned professional in 1996.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese forward, 29, is second in the Forbes list, with an estimated annual salary of £33.2m topped up by endorsements worth £17.9m.

Ronaldo signed a new five-year contract with Real Madrid in September 2013. He has scored 275 goals in 262 games for the Champions League holders.

Tiger Woods

Woods, 38, topped the Forbes' list for 12 consecutive years until 2011 but his earnings have suffered a significant drop since he was engulfed by scandal in his personal life in 2009.

The loss of sponsors such as Accenture and EA Sports hit his bottom line, while increasing injury problems have limited his tournament play and contributed to a downturn in results.

However, despite failing to win a major tournament since 2008, Woods is still sixth in the Forbes ranking with a total income of approximately £39.1m, £35.1m of which comes from endorsements and £4m from salary and winnings.

Forbes' 2014 list of world's highest-paid athletes


The Forbes list covers the period between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014

1. Floyd Mayweather


£67m ($105m)

2. Cristiano Ronaldo


£51.1m ($80m)

3. LeBron James


£46.2m ($72.3m)

4. Lionel Messi


£41.3m $64.7m

5. Kobe Bryant


£39.3m $61.5m

6. Tiger Woods


£39.1m ($61.2m)

7. Roger Federer


£35.9m ($56.2m)

8. Phil Mickelson


£34m ($53.2m)

9. Rafael Nadal


£28.4m ($44.5m)

10. Matt Ryan

American football

£28m ($43.8m)

Roger Federer

The winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, it is a keenly-contested debate as to whether the 33-year-old Swiss is the greatest tennis player of all time, but he is almost certainly the most beloved and his worldwide popularity has contributed to his vast earnings.

Seventh on the Forbes list, Federer's income was approximately £35.9m, with £33.2m from endorsements and £2.7m from his achievements on a tennis court.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton has won 32 grands prix, the most by a British driver

The 29-year-old Briton's current annual salary is $31m (£19.8m) without including bonuses and endorsements.

However, if the Mercedes driver wins his second Formula 1 World Championship on Sunday, he can expect his earnings to increase substantially.

Wayne Rooney

The Manchester United and England striker's latest contract, signed in February this year, is relatively close to the deal signed by Stanton, with the 29-year-old earning roughly £46.50 per hour less than the Miami Marlins man.

Rooney is thought to earn up to £300,000 a week, £1,785 every hour and just under £30 every minute.

If he saw out the length of the five-and-a-half-year deal, it will earn him more than £70m.

Forbes has his annual income at £15m, with £11.8m from his salary and £3.2m from endorsements.

Usain Bolt

The six-time Jamaican Olympic gold medallist, 28, has estimated earnings of £14.8m, almost all of which came through endorsements.

German sportswear company Puma provide his main sponsorship, worth approximately £6.4m annually.


Yashi Kochi!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday 18th November 2014….the week begins!!!!!

For a change this morning the weather was overcast and cool I was a bit chilly riding down to tennis at 9am and it took over an hour for the sun to show his face……great tennis and my racquet situation is solved I have found the racquet I want which is the one I am renting from the club and Rita’s son Josh is coming to SMA a week on Thursday is going to bring it down for me…Rita ordered it for me and had it sent to her son’s address so in ten days I will have my new racquet and all will be well.

Home in time to sit outside and soak up some rays and then off to Rita’s house for are usual afternoon cards and chats always enjoy this and Rita as I say often is one of my hero's!!!!!

Getting settled after my dinner and bath to watch a hockey game…..

Hoe you find this informative

Ebola basics: What you need to know.

A family sick from Ebola wait for treatment in Monrovia A sick family waits for treatment for Ebola on the roadside in the Liberian capital Monrovia


The Ebola virus has claimed more than 5,000 lives during the current epidemic in West Africa, the largest outbreak since the virus was discovered nearly 40 years ago.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 13,000 people have been infected during the outbreak.

What is Ebola?


The virus, which is thought to have originated in fruit bats, was first detected in 1976 in an outbreak near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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How is the disease caught and spread?

People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.

The virus can be present in urine and semen too.

Infection may also occur through direct contact with contaminated bedding, clothing and surfaces - but only through broken skin.

It is still unclear how long the virus exists on surfaces but there is some evidence to suggest it can last up to six days. Bleach and chlorine can kill Ebola.

The disease is not airborne, like flu. Very close direct contact with an infected person is required for the virus to be passed to another person.

How Ebola spreads

It can take up anything from two to 21 days for humans with the virus to show symptoms.

People are not infectious until the symptoms develop.

People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus - in some cases, up to seven weeks after they recover.


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What are the symptoms?

Ebola viruses The Ebola virus causes a range of painful and debilitating symptoms

The early symptoms are a sudden fever, muscle pain, fatigue, headache and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, a rash and bleeding - both internal and external - which can be seen in the gums, eyes, nose and in the stools.

Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

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How is it treated?

A vaccine trial in the US Ebola vaccines are being tested on humans in trials in the US and the UK

There is no proven cure for Ebola.

Severely ill patients need to be rehydrated quickly using intravenous fluids. They should be isolated from other people and given intensive care by medical experts.

Potential vaccines are being tested. If the trials are successful they would be used to protect healthcare workers first.

Experimental drugs such as ZMapp have also been used, but their effectiveness has not been proved.

Blood products from survivors are also being tried as a potential therapy.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says this outbreak comes from the deadliest and most aggressive strain of the virus.

It is not known which factors allow some people to recover while most succumb but experts say early treatment is key.


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Who is at risk?

Doctors wearing personal protective equipment outside an Ebola treatment unit in Nigeria Doctors wearing protective equipment outside an Ebola treatment unit in Nigeria

Anyone in close contact with Ebola patients is at risk.

Healthcare workers are using protective clothing such as full-body suits and goggles, but hundreds have still died.

Family members of patients are also at risk. In West African funerals, it is traditional for mourners to have direct contact with the body of the dead person, washing and embracing them before burial.

But the Ebola virus is still dangerous and present in the body after death. Prompt and safe burials are now being urged.

MSF has been trying to make people aware of how their treatment of dead relatives might pose a risk to themselves. However, it is a very difficult message to get across.

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What precautions can be taken?

A Liberian man washes his hands as an extra precaution for the prevention of the spread of the Ebola virus before entering a church service in Monrovia, Liberia -27 July 2014 Washing hands and improving hygiene is one of the best ways to fight the virus

Avoid contact with Ebola patients and their bodily fluids, the WHO advises. Do not touch anything - such as shared towels - which could have become contaminated in a public place.

Carers should wear gloves and protective equipment, such as masks, and wash their hands regularly.

The WHO also warns against consuming raw bushmeat and any contact with infected bats or monkeys and apes. Fruit bats in particular are considered a delicacy in the area of Guinea where the outbreak started.

In March, Liberia's health minister advised people to stop having sex, in addition to existing advice not to shake hands or kiss. The WHO says men can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to seven weeks after recovering from Ebola.


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Where is Ebola a problem?

A woman A woman suspected of having Ebola virus cries outside a hospital in Sierra Leone.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa are the countries worst affected by this outbreak, which was identified as Ebola in March 2014.

It started in Guinea, which has never before been affected, and quickly spread to urban areas.

From Nzerekore, a remote area of south-eastern Guinea, the virus spread to the capital, Conakry, and neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Nigeria and Senegal have confirmed a small number of cases, and the US has had three confirmed cases.

In October, a nurse in Spain became the first person to contract the virus outside of West Africa.

Ebola deaths since 1976

A map showing Ebola outbreaks since 1976

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Why is this outbreak particularly bad?

A health worker is decontaminated at a treatment centre Health workers have been brought into affected countries to help treat patients with Ebola

The virus has taken hold in major urban areas this time, allowing it to spread more easily.

The countries most severely affected by the disease have weak health systems. They are short of qualified doctors and nurses, and lack the appropriate equipment and resources to combat the virus.

As a result, this is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was discovered.

There have been more cases and deaths in this one than all other outbreaks combined.


Yashi Kochi!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday 17th November 2014….day of celebration!!!!

This morning I helped Sara get all her things and moved her to the house where she is staying for ten weeks and afterwards I walked into town for what I thought was going to be a huge parade but there wasn’t.

It appears today is the public holiday schools banks etc. closed but the actual holiday is not till Thursday when the parade and real celebrations will take place.

So I took the time to slowly walk around town and into the local market I loved doing this taking my time interacting with the locals buying wonderful fresh produce and then I went into a candy store to buy chocolates for my students and there was a young girl maybe 6 years old girl on the door being a greeter and she wished me buenas dias     …and when I purchased the sweets she bagged them for me and handed me the bag with a huge smile on her face..imagine the tip she received…..these small no cost interactions make this town so great and me feel so good..

I enjoyed the walk and then came home and decided to do some house work, cleaned up some stuff, did some laundry and then had an hour outside in the glorious sun… was nice to relax and stay home enjoy a nice dinner, a long bath and some TV…..



The Mexican Revolution

Ten Years That Forged a Nation


By Christopher Minster



Mexican Soldiers - Fox Photos - Stringer/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


The Mexican Revolution broke out in 1910 when the decades-old rule of President Porfirio Díaz was challenged by Francisco I. Madero, a reformist writer and politician. When Díaz refused to allow clean elections, Madero's calls for revolution were answered by Emiliano Zapata in the south and Pascual Orozco and Pancho Villa in the north.

Díaz was deposed in 1911, but the revolution was just beginning. By the time it was over, millions had died as rival politicians and warlords fought each other over the cities and regions of Mexico. By 1920, chick pea farmer and revolutionary general Alvaro Obregón had risen to the presidency, primarily by outliving his main rivals. Most historians feel that this event marks the end of the revolution, although the violence continued well into the 1920's.


The Porfiriato

Porfirio Díaz was President of Mexico from 1876 to 1880 and from 1884 to 1911, and was unofficial ruler from 1880 to 1884 as well. His time in power is referred to as the "Porfiriato." During his decades-long rule, Mexico modernized, building mines, plantations, telegraph lines and railroads which brought great wealth to the nation, but at the cost of repression and grinding debt peonage for the lower classes. Díaz' close circle of friends benefited greatly, and most of Mexico's vast wealth was in the hands of a few families.

Díaz ruthlessly clung to power for decades, but after the turn of the century his grip on the nation started to slip. The people were unhappy: an economic recession meant that many lost their jobs and people began calling for change. Díaz promised free elections in 1910.

Díaz and Madero

Díaz expected to win easily and legally, and was therefore shocked when it became evident that his opponent in the 1910 election, Francisco I. Madero, was likely to win. Madero, a reformist writer who came from a wealthy family, was an unlikely revolutionary: he was short and skinny, with a high-pitched voice which tended to become quite shrill when he was excited. A teetotaler and vegetarian, he also claimed to be able to speak to ghosts and spirits, including his dead brother and Benito Juárez. Madero didn't have any real plan for Mexico after Díaz: he simply felt that someone else should rule after decades of Don Porfirio.


Díaz fixed the elections, arresting Madero on false charges of plotting armed insurrection. Madero was bailed out of jail by his father and went to San Antonio, Texas, where he watched Díaz easily "win" re-election. Convinced that there was no other way to get Díaz to step down, Madero called for an armed rebellion, ironically the same charge that had been trumped-up against him. According to Madero's Plan of San Luis Potosi, November 20 was the date for the insurrection to start.

Orozco, Villa and Zapata

In the southern state of Morelos, Madero's call was answered by peasant leader Emiliano Zapata, who hoped a revolution would lead to land reform. In the north, muleteer Pascual Orozco and bandit chieftain Pancho Villa also took up arms. All three rallied thousands of men to their rebel armies.

In the south, Zapata attacked large ranches called haciendas, giving back land which had been illegally and systematically stolen from peasant villages by Díaz' cronies. In the north, Villa and Orozco's massive armies attacked federal garrisons wherever they found them, building up impressive arsenals and attracting thousands of new recruits. Villa truly believed in reform: he wanted to see a new, less crooked Mexico. Orozco was more of an opportunist who saw a chance to get in on the ground floor of a movement he was certain would succeed and secure a position of power for himself (such as state governor) with the new regime.

Orozco and Villa had great success against the federal forces and in February 1911 Madero returned and joined them in the north. As the three generals closed in on the capital, Díaz could see the writing on the wall. By May of 1911 it was clear that he could not win and he went into exile. In June, Madero entered the city in triumph.

The Rule of Madero

Madero barely had time to get comfortable in Mexico City before things got hot. He faced rebellion on all sides, as the remnants of Díaz' regime hated him and he broke all of his promises to those who had supported him. Orozco, sensing that Madero was not going to reward him for his role in the overthrow of Díaz, once again took up arms. Zapata, who had been instrumental in defeating Díaz, took to the field again when it became clear that Madero had no real interest in land reform. In November of 1911, Zapata wrote up his famous Plan of Ayala, which called for Madero's removal, demanded land reform, and named Orozco Chief of the Revolution. Félix Díaz, the former dictator's nephew, declared himself in open rebellion in Veracruz. By the middle of 1912, Villa was Madero's only remaining ally, although Madero did not realize it.

The greatest challenge to Madero was none of these men, however, but one much closer: General Victoriano Huerta, a ruthless, alcoholic soldier left over from the Díaz regime. Madero had sent Huerta to join forces with Villa and defeat Orozco. Huerta and Villa despised one another but managed to drive off Orozco, who fled to the United States. After returning to Mexico City, Huerta betrayed Madero during a standoff with forces loyal to Féliz Díaz. He ordered Madero arrested and executed and set himself up as President





 - Public Domain Image

Venustiano Carranza. 

The Huerta Years

With the quasi-legitimate Madero dead, the country was up for grabs. Two more major players entered the fray. In Coahuila, the former governor Venustiano Carranza took to the field and in Sonora, chick pea farmer and inventor Alvaro Obregón raised an army and entered the fray. Orozco returned to Mexico and allied himself with Huerta, but the “Big Four” of Carranza, Obregón, Villa and Zapata were united in their hatred of Huerta and were determined to oust him from power.

Orozco's support was not nearly enough. With his forces fighting on several fronts, Huerta was steadily pushed back. A great military victory might have saved him, as it would have drawn recruits to his banner, but when Pancho Villa won a crushing victory at the Battle of Zacatecas on June 23, 1914, it was over. Huerta fled to exile, and although Orozco fought on for a while in the north, he, too went to exile in the United States before too long.


The Warlords at War

With the despised Huerta out of the way, Zapata, Carranza, Obregón and Villa were the four most powerful men in Mexico. Unfortunately for the nation, the only thing they had ever agreed upon was that they did not want Huerta in charge, and they soon fell to fighting one another. In October of 1914, representatives of the “Big Four” as well as several smaller independents met at the Convention of Aguascalientes, hoping to agree on a course of action that would bring peace to the nation. Unfortunately, the peace efforts failed, and the Big Four went to war: Villa against Carranza and Zapata against anyone who entered his fiefdom in Morelos. The wild card was Obregón: fatefully, he decided to stick with Carranza.

The Rule of Carranza

Venustiano Carranza felt that as a former governor, he was the only one of the “Big Four” qualified to rule in Mexico, so he set himself up in Mexico City and began organizing elections. His trump card was the support of Obregón, a genius military commander who was popular with his troops. Even so, he did not fully trust Obregón, so he shrewdly sent him after Villa, hoping no doubt that the two would finish each other off so that he could deal with the pesky Zapata and Félix Díaz at his leisure.


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Obregón headed north to engage Villa in a clash of two of the most successful revolutionary generals. Obregón had been doing his homework, however, reading up on trench warfare being fought abroad. Villa, on the other hand, still relied on the one trick that had carried him so often in the past: an all-out charge by his devastating cavalry. The two met several times, and Villa always got the worst of it. In April of 1915, at the Battle of Celaya, Obregón fought off countless cavalry charges with barbed wire and machine guns, thoroughly routing Villa. The next month, the two met again at the Battle of Trinidad and 38 days of carnage ensued. Obregón lost an arm at Trinidad, but Villa lost the war: his army in tatters, Villa retreated into the north, destined to spend the rest of the revolution on the sidelines.

In 1915, Carranza set himself up as president pending elections and won the recognition of the United States, which was hugely important to his credibility. In 1917, he won the elections he had set up and began the process of stamping out remaining warlords, such as Zapata and Díaz. Zapata was betrayed, set up, ambushed and assassinated on April 10, 1919 on Carranza's orders. Obregón retired to his ranch with the understanding that he would leave Carranza alone but expected to take over as president after the 1920 elections.

The Rule of Obregón

Carranza reneged on his promise to support Obregón in 1920: a fatal mistake. Obregón still enjoyed the support of much of the military, and when it became apparent that Carranza was going to install little-known Ignacio Bonillas as his successor, Obregón quickly raised a massive army and marched on the capital. Carranza was forced to flee, and was assassinated by supporters of Obregón on May 21, 1920.

Obregón was easily elected in 1920, and served his four-year term as president. For this reason, many historians feel that the Mexican Revolution ended in 1920, although the nation suffered from horrible violence for another decade or so, until the level-headed Lázaro Cárdenas took office. Obregón ordered the assassination of Villa in 1923 and was himself shot to death by a catholic fanatic in 1928.


 - Public Domain Image

Pancho Villa with his troops. 

Women in the Mexican Revolution

Before the Mexican Revolution, Mexican women were relegated to a traditional existence, working in the home and in fields with their men and wielding little political, economic or social clout. With the strife of revolution came an opportunity for participation and many women joined up, serving as writers, politicians and even soldiers. Zapata's army, in particular, was known for the number of female soldiers or “soldaderas” among the ranks and even serving as officers. Women who participated in the revolution were reluctant to return to their quiet lifestyle after the dust settled, and the revolution marks an important milestone in Mexican women's rights.


Importance of the Mexican Revolution

In 1910, Mexico still had a largely feudal-style social and economic base: rich landowners ruled like medieval Dukes on large estates, keeping their workers impoverished, deep in debt and with barely enough basic necessities to survive. There were some factories, but the basis of the economy was still mostly in agriculture and mining. Porfirio Díaz had modernized much of Mexico, including laying train tracks and encouraging development, but the fruits of all of this modernization went exclusively to the rich. A drastic change was obviously necessary for Mexico to catch up with other nations, which were developing industrially and socially.

Because of this, some historians feel that the Mexican Revolution was necessary “growing pains” for the backward nation. This is true to an extent, but this view tends to gloss over the sheer destruction wrought by ten years of war and mayhem. Díaz may have played favorites with the wealthy, but much of the good that he did – railways, telegraph lines, oil wells, buildings – were destroyed in a classic case of “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” By the time Mexico was once again stable, hundreds of thousands had died, development had been set back by decades and the economy was in ruins.


Mexico is a nation with tremendous resources, including oil, minerals, agriculture and hard-working people, and its recovery from the revolution was bound to be relatively speedy. The biggest obstacle to recovery was corruption, and the 1934 election of the honest Lázaro Cárdenas gave the nation a chance to get back on its feet. Today, there are few scars left from the revolution itself, and Mexican schoolchildren may not even recognize the names of minor players in the conflict such as Felipe Angeles or Genovevo de la O.

The lasting effects of the revolution have all been cultural. The PRI, the party that was born in the revolution, held onto power for decades. Emiliano Zapata, the symbol of land reform and proud ideological purity, has become an international icon for just rebellion against a corrupt system. In 1994, a rebellion broke out in Southern Mexico: its protagonists called themselves the Zapatistas and declared that Zapata's revolution was still in progress and would be until Mexico adopted true land reform. Mexico loves a man with personality, and the charismatic Pancho Villa lives on in art, literature and legend, while the dour Venustiano Carranza has been all but forgotten.

The revolution has proven to be a deep well for inspiration for Mexico's artists and writers. The muralists, including Diego Rivera, remembered the revolution and painted about it often. More modern writers such as Carlos Fuentes have set novels and stories in this turbulent era, and films such as Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate take place against the revolutionary backdrop of violence, passion and change. These artists have romanticized the gory revolution in many ways, but always in the name of the inner search for national identity that continues in Mexico today.


Yashi Kochi!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday 16th November 2014……A Big Hike!!!!

Up at 7am and down to the gas station by 8am where the hiking group meets….Pierre   was there and also my Tennis buddy Gregg and the three of us took off on our own hike whilst the rest of the group did a shorter hike..we drove about 25 minutes to a small village in the campo  and parked and then we were on the trail by 8.30am…this is the first peak we were heading for


The first hour was continually up hill but the scenery was wonderful….

Looking back at the village where we left the car..


The first look out and Gregg taking it all in…


Myself in a more pensive mood……


We continued on but the scenery changed to dense forests and some lovely flowers…





After about three hours we arrived at out destination the rim of the old volcanic crater where we stayed for lunch!!!




Do not know what these vultures were  waiting for!!!

Almost back down



A Sunday hike would not be complete without an animal shot!!!!


Healthy looking animals!!!


A wonderful 6 hour hike and at the high point we were at 9000 feet!!!!

I came home and had geared my day around watching the repeat of the tennis final from London which was live at noon but being relayed at 6 o clock tonight……so armed myself with refreshments and an the couch turned on the TV and that is when I found out the game was not played as Roger Federer had to pull  out with a back injury what a shame!!!!

So off to the bath tub!!!!  Blessings….

Yashi Kochi!!!!